It seems that Charlton suffer a catastrophic mid-season injury crisis every season, last year it was at centre back and this season’s victims were the strikers. Prior to Tuesday’s home victory against Gillingham, first choice duo Jayden Stockley and Conor Washington last started together in December, when Washington’s two goals pushed the Addicks to a 2-0 victory against Cambridge United. Between them, they have scored 42% of Charlton’s league goals and are both on track to reach double figures by the summer. Their importance to this team is highlighted by the fact that the Addicks are yet to lose a game in which the pair started up front.
|Crewe Alexandra||Stockley (x1)||2-0|
|Doncaster||Washington (x1), Stockley (x1)||4-0|
In the 14 games that followed that Cambridge victory, Jackson utilised 10 different strike partnerships with limited success. The re-signing of Aneke in January did help cover for the injured Stockley in the short term but with his injury record it was always going to be a gamble. Generally, Charlton play best when Washington (10 goals) and Stockley (8) are starting and clearly lack adequate cover for them. After the pair, the next highest scorers in the squad are Purrington and Lee with 3 each. However, it’s not just up top that Charlton rely on the duo, it’s their defensive work too. Washington tirelessly presses from the front whilst Stockley’s aerial ability brings some defensive steel to an often shaky backline at set pieces and late on in games. This defending from the front mentality helps to ease the pressure on the backline and fashion chances at the other end.
|Partnership||Minutes Played||Goals||Total Shots||Shots on Target|
|Stockley & Leko||175||1||9||3|
|Burstow & Aneke||175||2||8||4|
|Washington & Aneke||166||2||10||3|
|Burstow & Leko||152||0||4||0|
|Washington & Leko||90||0||4||3|
|Burstow & Stockley||81||0||6||0|
|Leko & Lee||76||0||0||0|
|Burstow & Washington||75||0||0||0|
|Burstow & Lee||75||0||2||1|
|Washington & Davison||68||0||2||0|
Perhaps the loss of the Washington & Stockley partnership from December onwards was the real heart of the problem. Jackson has previously spoken about how his formation was built from the front first, therefore the loss of this duo was no doubt a blow. Having them back at least make Charlton look like threats in front of goal.
Finally, Blackett-Taylor deserves a mention for his form in the last few games and he could potentially be an important player next season. Generally the natural winger’s form has been mixed at times but his stats are impressive. The Addicks have scored in all but 2 of the 20 league games that the 24 year old has featured in, suggesting that he scares opposition fullbacks and brings an attacking spark when he is on the pitch. His goal today was well deserved.