Charlton Athletic have made a very slow start to the 2021/22 campaign, picking up a win, a draw and four defeats in their opening six league games.
Nigel Adkins’ men were beaten 2-1 at home to Cheltenham Town on gameweek six, sparking plenty of concern around their promotion capabilities particularly after an impressive end to the transfer window. They travel to newly relegated Wycombe Wanderers next weekend, with Gareth Ainsworth’s Chairboys posing one of their toughest tests so far.
The defeat to Michael Duff’s, expected to be relegation fodder, Robins has ignited the concerns around Adkins and especially the first half performance demonstrated that the team are a mile off building a promotion push. The Addicks created under 0.1 expected goals (xG) in the first period, going into break 2-0 down with a mountain to climb.
Jonathan Leko halved the deficit early in the second half, on his second debut for the club, and looked a threat as a crumb of positivity for the supporters but with six games gone the South Londoners are eight points off the pace of the top six.
Here, then, we look at three concerning trends of Charlton Athletic’s poor start to the season…
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Charlton have had just 15 shots on target from their opening six which is an average of 2.5 per game, it is no wonder they are struggling to get ahead in games with a record like that. They have been criticised for a lack of variety in their play, opting for route one balls up to Jayden Stockley far too predictably and now only above the relegation zone on goal difference, the issues need to be addressed.
With dynamic forward players like Charlie Kirk and Diallang Jaiyesimi yet to really get going this season, there is hope that once the group of players start to click they will be able to cause problems against even the better sides in the division.
The numbers suggest this is not as much of an immediate concern as some other areas of the pitch however the creative department has flattered to deceive so far this term. There is a lot of stress on the shoulders of 21-year-old Albie Morgan to carry the playmaker role in the side and creating 1.46 xG per match is not horrendous but the Addicks have only scored three goals from open play.
Therefore, there has to be a point where Adkins questions whether his attacking contingent are receiving the right service.
Soft goals conceded
After looking back at the eight goals the side have conceded so far this season, there is only one goal, Tendayi Darikwa’s 88th minute header as Wigan Athletic won 2-0 at The Valley, where the team’s defending does not come into serious questioning. Poor clearances and a lack of defensive organisation has been exposed time and time again, Cheltenham’s two goals last time out were no different.
Akin Famewo has been impressive in flashes in the opening stretch and the addition of Sam Lavelle alongside him does look like a partnership that could grow into a promotion pushing one, however the full backs and midfielders have not sufficiently protected their own goal. Allowing too many crosses and opposition players to flood the Charlton box and profit from rebounds and balls that have been swung in on an all too regular basis.