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NEW ARTICLE: Charlton Athletic 2018/19 Review - Strikers

So as this week draws to a close, so does the review of the players performances of the 2018/19 season. The review has been broken down into positions: Goalkeepers, Full-Backs, Centre-Backs, Midfielders (1/2), and Midfielders (2/2), and so finally, we get to a position which arguably often makes the biggest difference in how a team performs.

Strikers

The signing of Lyle Taylor provided most of us Charlton Athletic supporters with more hope than expectation that we would have a striker on our hands capable of doing the business at the top end of the pitch. What we didn’t know at the time was how well would he be able to strike up a partnership with either Karlan Grant or Igor Vetokele. The decision to start Grant at the beginning of the season was made already for Bowyer with Vetokele picking up an injury during pre-season. It would only be fair to mention Nicky Ajose too - who played his part in the season by assisting some important goals, and scoring the second in our 2-1 away win at Portsmouth - but there always seemed to be talk in the background that Ajose wasn’t going to be here for very long. A player who had only started 13 league games for us in the last 2 seasons, it is not a surprise to see Nicky leaving for pastures new.

The strike partnership of Karlan Grant and Lyle Taylor - later known as G&T for their initials of their last names, and how well they went together as a pairing – blossomed early on with Grant winning the penalty in the opening game of the season for Taylor to confidently fire us into an early lead. Both players scored 5 goals in their first 9 league appearances of the season, signs of a formidable strike-force were emerging. Grant and Taylor were beginning to look for one another regularly when they were getting into dangerous positions, first shown by Grant’s persistence away at Southend United to win the ball high up the pitch and find Taylor to tap in from close range. This continued and only got stronger. We had the talismanic figure of Taylor bullying and bundling the opposition defenders, and we had the pace of Grant to get in behind and stretch them. By the turn of the new year, both strikers were in double figures for goals and had a very respectable number of assists to match. Was this partnership the best and most dangerous we have had at Charlton for a long time? Karlan Grant has of course since moved on to Huddersfield Town, but the difference we saw in him, from the young boy who got thrown into the deep end too early all those years ago, is phenomenal. Grant matured and had a model professional alongside him that took Karlan under his wing, told him how good he was and allowed him to go out and succeed. Many will say that Taylor played a huge part in Grant’s development, and a reason as to why he scored so many for us in half a season, but the talent of Grant was always there, it just needed a helping hand.



It’s fair to say that Igor Vetokele’s Charlton career has been blighted by injuries. Achilles, pubis, shoulder dislocation, and the most recent thigh strain that kept him out of the Play-Offs. We started to see the old Igor back for a little while at the end of this season, again playing alongside Taylor who does seem to bring out the best in those around him. The threat that Igor holds was key, he came alive in the box, has a burst of pace, strong in the air despite his lack of height, and has shown to be capable of scoring goals.

When Igor played more than 60 minutes for us in a match this season, we didn’t lose and picked up 25 points in 11 games. This statistic alone shows the lack of game time he had due to a variety of reasons, fitness being a main one and cited to be the reason for his release. But on the positive it has also shown that he added quality to our team when he was involved. One of Vetokele’s most important moments of the season would be away at AFC Wimbledon, scoring the winner so late, it helped to restore some confidence in the team after losing Grant in January. Vetokele continued to put in some excellent performances, a real standout one being against Luton Town, a game where we ended their 28 run of being undefeated. Igor scored one and set up one for Taylor in a dazzling second half display. I think we all can see the quality that he brought to the team, it is just a shame that injuries disrupted so much of that. I have said previously that what he needs is a strict training and nutritional plan for the off-season, going into pre-season. He needs a bit of luck with injuries, but Vetokele is certainly a player who will have a good career.


 

The signing of  Josh Parker in January was always going to be challenge for him. It was an almost impossible job to fill the boots of Grant’s departure and score anywhere near the amount of goals that Grant achieved. As we know, Parker did in fact fail to open his account for the Addicks. However, his work rate and determination on the pitch made up for maybe a lack of quality on the ball or in front of goal. Josh endeared himself to the Charlton faithful by the end of the season and grabbed his opportunity by giving his all.

Parker's performances throughout the three Play-Off games cannot be underestimated and he was very unfortunate not to score for us on multiple occasions in each one of the Play-Off games. Things took a little bit of time for Parker to get to grips of the way Bowyer wants us to play, but that’s always difficult when you’re new to the team and aren’t playing regularly. Parker played only 443 minutes in the league for Charlton and incredibly started only 3 league games for us in comparison to the 19 he started for Gillingham. He was however, involved in all 3 of the Play-Off fixtures from the start, but that maybe down to Vetokele being injured at the time. Without playing higher than League One in England, the chances of Josh staying beyond the final was always going to be very slim.


 

Leaving the best until last? I don’t think that can really be argued for our Player Of The Year, Lyle Taylor. Having already mentioned the influence that he has had on Grant and Vetokele, there isn’t too many more adjectives to describe him, but I’ll give it a go. Charismatic, enthusiastic, hard-working, integral, leader, generous, passionate, considerate, and reliable.

Taylor’s ability on the field is for all to see, he scored in 20 separate league games this season, that’s practically 50% of the games he played. Ending with 25 goals in all competitions, Lyle also assisted an astonishing 15 goals, whether that is directly or indirectly through winning penalties and free-kicks, and it means he has been involved in the most goals across all of the top four divisions in the country. Taylor has been nothing short of fantastic, and it was insulting that he wasn’t included in the official Team of the Year for League One. However, thankfully his hard work was later rewarded by receiving the PFA Fans' League One Player Of The Year.

We all know what he is like playing, and some may think he moans a little too much during games, but without that edge, without that fight, he may well lose a touch of influence and ability. However, the main thing for me that has made Taylor head and shoulders above others is his personality outside of the pitch. He gets it. With his awareness of troubles and struggles of others, such as cancer and raising money, dying his hair pink, doing all he can to spread the word to help save lives, and recently his visit to see Betty in a hospice, Lyle knows there is more to life than what he does for 90 minutes on a matchday. His understanding of the role he plays in the community, making lives better and improving others is faultless. It’s inspirational. It’s players and people like Lyle Taylor that makes us proud of the club we all love. Getting him signed up to an extension on his contract in the summer is just as important as it is having others signed up on new deals.

Lyle, you’ve fired us up to the Championship and brought the fire back in the belly to so many supporters who had lost it from the darker and tougher days we are unfortunately still experiencing. In my opinion, you've written yourself into Charlton history and are up there with some great players of modern times. Congratulations, and thank you.

Full Series:

GOALKEEPERS: https://forum.charltonlife.com/discussion/85971/new-article-charlton-athletic-2018-19-review-goalkeepers/p1

FULL BACKS https://forum.charltonlife.com/discussion/85978/new-article-charlton-athletic-2018-19-review-full-backs/p1

CENTRE BACKS https://forum.charltonlife.com/discussion/85981/new-article-charlton-athletic-2018-19-review-centre-backs/p1

MIDFIELDERS (1) https://forum.charltonlife.com/discussion/85984/new-article-charlton-athletic-2018-19-review-midfielders-1-2/p1

MIDFIELDERS (2) https://forum.charltonlife.com/discussion/85989/new-article-charlton-athletic-2018-19-review-midfielders-2-2/p1

STRIKERS https://forum.charltonlife.com/discussion/85992/new-article-charlton-athletic-2018-19-review-strikers/p1


Comments

  • Thank you for this series of insightful articles @Sage - I have thoroughly enjoyed reading them all.
  • edited June 15
    Great analysis of our strikers. Given we are now shopping at Lidl, I can't help thinking that letting a recovering Igor go is a big mistake. 1 in 2 in Championship before injury often in 4-5-1. Alternative Eaves, one good season, one mediocre in the league below, rest rubbish. We have no money in a division where sides are paying £10m+ for unproven goal scorers. I'd also have retained Parker as 4th striker. Definitely has some skill.
  • edited June 15
    Great analysis of our strikers. Given we are now shopping at Lidl, I can't help thinking that letting a recovering Igor go is a big mistake. 1 in 2 in Championship before injury often in 4-5-1. Alternative Eaves, one good season, one mediocre in the league below, rest rubbish. We have no money in a division where sides are paying £10m+ for unproven goal scorers. I'd also have retained Parker as 4th striker. Definitely has some skill.
    I see where you’re coming from, I do, but with a budget as small as ours we can’t be taking risks and have to make the most of the budget we have.

    The club have obviously felt that paying a decent wage for Vetokele is too big of a risk when history has shown that he may not be available for half of it. Money could be better spent, even with his ability, he needs some time where he is fit and regularly playing.

    Regarding Parker, at his age it is only fair for him to go out and play regularly too. His two most successful spells came in the Slovenian and Serbian leagues. I don’t think he possess enough of the consistent quality required in the Championship, unfortunately.
  • Saved the best till last indeed Sage.  Thanks for these, and only fitting we finish on Lyle.  Thanks for your efforts in compiling all the articles over the last few days, I’m sure I speak for everyone on Charlton Life when I say thank you for taking the time 
  • cabbles said:
    Saved the best till last indeed Sage.  Thanks for these, and only fitting we finish on Lyle.  Thanks for your efforts in compiling all the articles over the last few days, I’m sure I speak for everyone on Charlton Life when I say thank you for taking the time 
    When going through them, we all know how brilliant the season went and as a team the group of players we had were fantastic. But as individuals, they have so many different qualities which make this group even better, supported with stats, actions, and words too. It’s a shame the majority of it is likely to be broken up, but at least we got to witness and end in a fitting fashion. 

    Overall, thank you @cabbles as I appreciate your kind words.

    It’s been great and I hope many enjoyed them because I’ve enjoyed putting them together.
  • Many Thanks Sage for your time in putting this all together- A truly great read from a truly Memorable season.Thanks again.COYR


  • Great stuff, Sage - thank you.

    Another interesting point on Taylor was how few bookings he got in latter part of season once pressure of suspension was off. Has he finally worked it out or did the oppo ease off winding him up? I hope we get to find out this coming season. 
  • Great stuff, Sage - thank you.

    Another interesting point on Taylor was how few bookings he got in latter part of season once pressure of suspension was off. Has he finally worked it out or did the oppo ease off winding him up? I hope we get to find out this coming season. 
    I know for certain that Taylor was speaking to a sports psychologist about finding ways to stay calm and just walk away because it wasn’t worth getting into trouble for, even when most of the time he was the one being fouled. I think we saw a difference in him in the latter stages of the season but he still had that edge which makes him better. 
  • Sage said:
    Great stuff, Sage - thank you.

    Another interesting point on Taylor was how few bookings he got in latter part of season once pressure of suspension was off. Has he finally worked it out or did the oppo ease off winding him up? I hope we get to find out this coming season. 
    I know for certain that Taylor was speaking to a sports psychologist about finding ways to stay calm and just walk away because it wasn’t worth getting into trouble for, even when most of the time he was the one being fouled. I think we saw a difference in him in the latter stages of the season but he still had that edge which makes him better. 
    Not reacting should make him less of a target as well.
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  • Sage said:
    Great stuff, Sage - thank you.

    Another interesting point on Taylor was how few bookings he got in latter part of season once pressure of suspension was off. Has he finally worked it out or did the oppo ease off winding him up? I hope we get to find out this coming season. 
    I know for certain that Taylor was speaking to a sports psychologist about finding ways to stay calm and just walk away because it wasn’t worth getting into trouble for, even when most of the time he was the one being fouled. I think we saw a difference in him in the latter stages of the season but he still had that edge which makes him better. 
    Thanks, Sage - good to hear the club / Taylor being proactive on stuff like that. Maybe one area where Bowyer could not really draw on his own playing experience to advise ;-)
  • Great work sage.
  • More great stuff there again Sage .
  • edited June 16
    Sage said:
    Great analysis of our strikers. Given we are now shopping at Lidl, I can't help thinking that letting a recovering Igor go is a big mistake. 1 in 2 in Championship before injury often in 4-5-1. Alternative Eaves, one good season, one mediocre in the league below, rest rubbish. We have no money in a division where sides are paying £10m+ for unproven goal scorers. I'd also have retained Parker as 4th striker. Definitely has some skill.
    I see where you’re coming from, I do, but with a budget as small as ours we can’t be taking risks and have to make the most of the budget we have.

    The club have obviously felt that paying a decent wage for Vetokele is too big of a risk when history has shown that he may not be available for half of it. Money could be better spent, even with his ability, he needs some time where he is fit and regularly playing.

    Regarding Parker, at his age it is only fair for him to go out and play regularly too. His two most successful spells came in the Slovenian and Serbian leagues. I don’t think he possess enough of the consistent quality required in the Championship, unfortunately.
    We know Gallen is a genius but even he might struggle to find a proven Championship one in three striker in our budget. There are more Taylors out there I'm sure, under the radar, but Igor is proven and still young, much of his injury history down to mis-management by our medical team.

    Parker spent most of his career as a midfielder, and I think you'd have to ask the defenders he played against in his last six games whether he was any good. I reckon I know the answer.
  • Sage said:
    Great analysis of our strikers. Given we are now shopping at Lidl, I can't help thinking that letting a recovering Igor go is a big mistake. 1 in 2 in Championship before injury often in 4-5-1. Alternative Eaves, one good season, one mediocre in the league below, rest rubbish. We have no money in a division where sides are paying £10m+ for unproven goal scorers. I'd also have retained Parker as 4th striker. Definitely has some skill.
    I see where you’re coming from, I do, but with a budget as small as ours we can’t be taking risks and have to make the most of the budget we have.

    The club have obviously felt that paying a decent wage for Vetokele is too big of a risk when history has shown that he may not be available for half of it. Money could be better spent, even with his ability, he needs some time where he is fit and regularly playing.

    Regarding Parker, at his age it is only fair for him to go out and play regularly too. His two most successful spells came in the Slovenian and Serbian leagues. I don’t think he possess enough of the consistent quality required in the Championship, unfortunately.
    We know Gallen is a genius but even he might struggle to find a proven Championship one in three striker. There are more Taylor's out there I'm sure, under the radar, but Igor is proven and still young, much of his injury history down to mis-management by our medical team.
    *Previous medical team, nothing to do with the current one we have now.

    Otherwise, I do agree with you but Igor was on good money and that has to be looked at being spent on someone who doesn't have a history of breaking down.
  • Of the squad regulars, from my memory only Phillips, Sarr, Pratley and Taylor didn't miss half a dozen games through injury/illness. Having two players in the same match suffer dislocated shoulders is extraordinary and doesn't come into injury prone. The quad Igor damaged is more  prevalent on pacy athletes, kept him out for four games and he was nearly fit for Wembley.
  • edited June 16
    Of the squad regulars, from my memory only Phillips, Sarr, Pratley and Taylor didn't miss half a dozen games through injury/illness. Having two players in the same match suffer dislocated shoulders is extraordinary and doesn't come into injury prone. The quad Igor damaged is more  prevalent on pacy athletes, kept him out for four games and he was nearly fit for Wembley.
    If you go to the Igor thread I’ve previously gave a detailed explanation on him and how he isn’t injury prone and how I don’t like that term either. There have been a variety of injuries on different landmarks for Vetokele in his time here.

    Igor started only 12 league games this season just finished, the game of which he dislocated his shoulder was his second league start of the season, he wasn’t in the squad on 21 occasions either, practically half of the whole campaign. Yes that was mainly down to his unfortunate shoulder dislocation, and no these stats don’t mean he is injury prone. Instead it means that the risks quite likely outweigh the pros.

    I really like Vetokele and wish that the budget stretched enough to allow us to keep him as he would be an asset when fit, but whilst Roland is still here, that isn’t going to happen and he unfortunately had to be let go.
  • OK but where will we get better? Hughill? Wages? Marquis? Donkey. Washington? Spongefootesque. Pigott? Delort? Polish Pete? 
  • Don’t believe we are after any of them and there’s no a lot of point in naming random players. I have faith in Bowyer and Gallen to get in enough quality just as they did last summer. 
  • Thanks for some insightful penmanship. 
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  • Has this thread been spanned again?
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Roland Out!