1. Goalkeeper Stephen Henderson was Charlton’s most important signing of the summer
Stephen Henderson was shipped out of West Ham last summer as he wasn’t good enough for the top flight. Despite being 26 and having played at nine clubs, he hadn’t found one that suited him.
But he has now at Charlton, proving to be the most consistent goalkeeper at The Valley since Dean Kiely. His penalty save against Billy Sharp on Saturday was superb.
If he had played just a few more games over Christmas then the player of the season vote would be a foregone conclusion.
2. Inverted wingers do work
Charlton have never really got on with inverted wingers – something about square pegs in round holes. It’s all a bit too European.
But put a left-footer like Johann Gudmundsson on the left-wing and his lack of pace would be found out. The man’s a right winger and the two goals which beat Leeds both came from the Icelandic star cutting inside.
So often are full-backs unable to defend on their weak foot so the inverted winger is one of the most valuable tools in a side’s armoury, if they are lucky enough to have it. Let’s hope Gudmundsson’s tied to a new contract soon.
3. Guy Luzon has let his mask slip with Yoni Buyens. Why?
Guy Luzon lets his side’s football do the talking. It’s simple, attacking and effective. But so too is the way he handles his players.
In press conferences he constantly refuses to pick out individuals and instead praises the team, helping build dressing room spirit.
However, on Saturday he did big up one man – midfielder Yoni Buyens. The pair had a fall-out at Standard Liege but Buyens has been a key man since the reunion.
Luzon said Buyons, who is set to return to Liege in the summer, was “the best player on the pitch”. It looks like the Israeli wants his penalty king to return next year. Why else would he break the habit of a lifetime?
4. Leeds are a warning to all of us
Was it luck rather than judgment that Charlton have built a side heading the right way at the end of the season while Leeds have lost five in a row, can barely put a team out and have a manager who looks like a dead man walking?
I’ve no answers to that but we have to be thankful for now Roland Duchatelet is not Massimon Cellino. For the time being our busy owner seems to be content to let Guy Luzon and his team manage. Let’s hope and pray it stay that way.
5. The last game of the season could be the most important of the 2015/16 campaign
On May 2, Bournemouth – complete with a man called Yann Kermorgant – will come to The Valley, looking for promotion or even the Championship title.
Imagine the Charlton team doing a customary “lap of honour” while the Cherries lift the trophy, with promises of bumper pay rises and pitting themselves against some of the best players in the world on a weekly basis, in front of their ecstatic fans.
But that would really hit home to Charlton’s young stars just how fantastic it could feel. I hope Bournemouth are celebrating on The Valley pitch next month. It would be a great incentive for next season.