Charlton Athletic’s flawless start in the league is another indication of the importance Lee Bowyer possesses.
Athletic’s 2-1 victory at Ewood Park and a crushing 3-1 win against Stoke City has given Charlton supporters the perfect supplement to briefly forget the chaos that endured in the off-season.
However, the Addicks were eliminated from the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night after losing to Forest Green 5-3 on penalties.
With the momentum continuing into the league from their successful League One play-off campaign, there are areas which we are to be sure to take note of as the season progresses.
Here are THREE things we’ve learnt so far…
Dangerous without the ball
In Charlton’s first two league games, it suggests Bowyer is happy for his team to play without the ball. This tactical choice will put their defence under greater pressure, but it has so far paid off.
Blackburn controlled 62% of the ball on their home ground, while Stoke offered more of the ball to Charlton by commanding 54% of the possession. Nonetheless, Charlton still managed to create chances and obtain victories, even though they were dwarfed in the opening two league possession stats.
A vital reason for their ability to be so dangerous without the ball is due to the clinical finishing. Striker Lyle Taylor scored two in the first two games, Chuks Aneke scored on his debut after coming off the bench, and attacking midfielder Conor Gallagher scored on his full debut. The trio has played their role in converting 36% of their shots.
Stoke manager Nathan Jones was even left frustrated by Charlton’s ability to clinically score goals, in comparison to his team. “We created 10 chances and scored one – they created four and scored three,” he said after their 3-1 defeat at the Valley. “That’s a hell of a difference and goals win games, but that’s what we’re not doing.”
However, even though this is an admirable conversion rate, it is difficult to know how long their strikers will be able to keep up with this.
Taylor off to a flyer
Despite this concern, the ability of Taylor will be a life-line to Bowyer. The 29-year-old has a phenomenal record at Charlton. He averages a goal every 1.9 games in the league (43 goals in 43 appearances) and has started the season just how Bowyer would have hoped.
In addition to his goal-scoring form, the 6ft 2 striker is an aerial threat. He has won 2.5 headers per game so far this season which will provide defensive and offensive strength.
Bowyer will hope his reliable striker can continue his form, in what he believes could be his last season at the Valley.