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Krystian A Winner And 89 Revisited

This afternoon provided a blessed relief to the tedium that is waiting for the Europa League Final to be over. Normally I wouldn’t take any interest in a match between Charlton Athletic and Sunderland, but the appearance of on-loan Krystian Bielik in the League One play-off final at Wembley made it required viewing.

Like Calum Chambers at Fulham the Polish U21 international has performed two roles at The Valley this season and indeed fulfilled them both this afternoon. In the first-half he was on the right side of a back three and an early slip from which he recovered in the opening minutes aside his performance was assured. Strong in the air, he did a job in both boxes.

In the second-half Charlton reverted to their preferred system of a flat back four and a diamond in midfield which Krystian was at the base of. If one were being ultra-critical it might be said that he lacks a change of pace, but it is the tail-end of a long, tough season. Such was his control of the areas in front of that defence that at the final whistle he was voted the Sky Sports man of the match, and rightly so.

Charlton’s dramatic winner with six seconds remaining will have catapulted him into the thoughts of Unai Emery, surely? It should be enough to ensure he gets a pre-season with the club so the head coach can evaluate the player and decide if his future is with us, or does he get another loan? The only threat to him getting a full pre-season in could be his inclusion in the European U21 Championship which ends on June 30th after which he will need a break to recharge his batteries. Good luck Krystian.

It was thirty years ago today

That Sergeant Pepper taught the band to play? No, of course not, it was the greatest ever finish to any top-flight season when we went to Anfield to topple the reigning champions and recent FA Cup winners with virtually the last kick of a remarkable season.

I doubt I will be alone in watching Fever Pitch, and 89, this evening. The memories, in as much as they have ever gone away, will come flooding back. Smudger’s header, Mickey’s miss, then his conversion of a similar opportunity at the death. A winner away to your biggest rivals, not at home to a relegated club, Sky Sports.

Enjoy them again too, ‘holics. I know I will.

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