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How can Charlton get out of their current state of decline?

Charlton’s return to League One football so far has been very unimpressive with only two wins in the first 11 games. This poor form sees the Addicks lying 18th in the table, their lowest ranking ever since the club began in 1905. The club has never had to experience League Two (or 4th division) football but have never been as close to it as they are now. It has been going downhill since the start of the 2013 season and has shown no sign of seizing up since.

Going through manager after manager, fans thought relegation from the Championship last season had forced the club into making the right changes, appointing an English manager with experience in Russell Slade and spending money on talent that has proven themselves in the league; yet somehow no improvement has been seen, with the team missing a win at home in their last four matches at the Valley.

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Charlton fans are still protesting against the owner and CEO of the club, but a few are also calling for Slade’s head as well after poor tactics on display has already cost the club points and also after losing in the Checkatrade Trophy to League 2 side Crawley town, at home. Fans who went to the game said it looked like Slade had ‘given up’. So what is the reason Charlton can’t stop their free-fall, despite the extra effort being invested into the club?

Russell Slade’s tactics are not working. Ever since Josh Magennis joined the club, Slade has stuck him up front by himself, just to have hopeless long balls hoofed up to him. In doing this, he is leaving strikers Nicky Ajose and Lee Novak on the bench, both of whom scored a bunch of goals for their respective clubs last season. One striker isn’t enough and this has frustrated fans a lot, leading them to sing “put two upfront” on more than one occasion.

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This is the reason behind the reds only bagging two wins so far. Slade needs to change things up. If he wants to carry on playing Magennis by himself then he needs to have Holmes as right winger and Lookman on the left. Charlton have a good reputation for scoring, having failed to find the net on just 3 occasions, but the amount of chances the club have created and haven’t put away has proven the difference, with many of the draws and losses experienced not reflecting the dominance the club has shown.

Secondly, the defence. Unlike last season the defence isn’t a major problem so far, but looking at the club’s goal difference you wouldn’t be able to tell that Charlton have been dominating matches. The Addicks difference at the moment is 0, with 12 goals scored and 12 conceded.

This makes sense for a team who has drawn over half of their matches, but as mentioned previously, the club holds a good reputation for scoring goals. Nonetheless, conceding on average just over a goal a game isn’t great and Charlton have more-than-qualified defenders and and capable goalkeeper, and should be holding sides to clean sheets. However, like the rest of the team, the form doesn’t seem to be there.

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The Addicks have simply got to improve on recent performances. The club boasts players who have quality and are good enough to receive international call ups, after all. Hopefully Russell Slade doesn’t end up as just another manager in and out the Charlton door, as he is a veteran who knows the game, but form will have to change in order to prevent this.

Charlton should be able to win the league with the quality at their disposal and the regime of the Belgian owners is not at complete fault for what is currently happening at the Valley. Passion needs to be shown on the pitch, something for the fans to notice and get behind.

So, with Charlton just three points of bottom of League One, one would  hope performances don’t continue and that this start is enough of a wake up call so say that, just because it is League One, doesn’t mean you can just half-hack yourselves back to the Championship; 100% energy and effort is still required.