Charlton Athletic got off to a solid start to the 2021/22 League One season when they shared a goalless draw with Sheffield Wednesday at The Valley.
Both Darren Moore and Nigel Adkins were content with a point against a promotion rival to begin the campaign but that does not mean the game did not throw up some new propositions for the managers to consider.
Neither side registered a shot on target in the game with the biggest chances falling to Jayden Stockley and Barry Bannan. However, the respective defences held firm and the focus moves onto matchday two.
The Addicks travel to 2020/21 play-off semi finalists Oxford United, the U’s and their former gaffer Karl Robinson pipped Charlton to sixth spot on goal difference last term, adding a little spice to the meeting. With the South Londoners’ squad still too thin for a realistic automatic promotion push Adkins must shuffle his pack for the challenge Oxford pose, which he would have learned a lot about on matchday one.
Here are two fresh dilemma’s for the manager to consider ahead of the weekend…
A lot of the Addicks’ success at the back end of last season came from capitalising on set piece opportunities and building attacks from direct balls up to Jayden Stockley. The 27-year-old striker was marshalled excellently by Dominic Iorfa and the rest of the Wednesday rearguard on Saturday, leaving Charlton a little hesitant on a new approach.
The summer signing’s physicality and hold up play may be good enough against some of the weaker sides in the division. However, against their promotion rivals, they will have to be more creative if Saturday is anything to go by. This does seem trickier with the limited options from the fringes apart from U23 players at Adkins’ disposal at the time of writing.
Lack of width
A symptom of their lack of a plan B was the failure to get the ball in wide areas and isolate full backs one versus one. Diallang Jaiyesimi achieved this a couple of times and got in dangerous positions but without a quality final ball, Conor Washington on the other flank was also struggling for service with makeshift left back Chris Gunter having difficulty joining in attacks on his weaker left side.
Jaden Brown and Liam Palmer inhibited Adam Matthews’ ability to support attacks down the right, making the game even more narrow. Contributing to a dour afternoon for an attacking football fan.