At this point I was reluctant to actually do a PP for this round of matches. There’s not a lot to play for in one aspect, but then I thought a group of eleven players could take the title to one last match, and one player in particular needs to be on top form Thursday night. Nicolas Penneteau!
The 36 year old has been nothing short of fantastic in all honesty this season, mainly due to the fact that the 10 in front of him have equally been as impressive. Building on their 8th position in the league last season on 39 points, to finishing 6th on 49 points in the regular season, he has been part of all of this season, except for the first match due to a suspension carried over from the season before.
Claiming 11 clean sheets too, including one recently against Thursday’s opponents Anderlecht, the Frenchman must instill confidence throughout his defence, with years of experience in Ligue 1 behind him, as well as his steady consistency since joining Charleroi in 2014.
It’s sometimes tough to talk about a goalkeeper unless you are one or were one. I’ve always believed it is the most important position on the pitch as well as the most damning. We all know goalkeepers can be remembered more for their errors than their match winning saves, plus, their versatility is slightly limited as they tend to just stay in one position on the pitch. But without a quality goalkeeper, you can lose points throughout the season due to costly mistakes. Real top goalkeepers, and I include Penneteau in the Pro League, can win you 6-8 points a seasons from certain match positions, and maybe even 10 points depending on how the team is really performing, especially in the last ten minutes of a match.
Being able to have kept clean sheets so far against Anderlecht, Club Brugge and Zulte Waregem, along with Mechelen and Standard Liege away too this season shows he is a real big game player. Not only do they accumulate to just under half his tally, anyone who has watched the Pro League this season should know goals are scored at an alarming rate sometimes, so to keep out those 5 clubs is a big achievement in my opinion. I mean Ludovic Butelle not only was top of the Clean Sheet charts until recently, his been dropped for Horvath, showing that if you don’t do it consistently enough, managers can be ruthless in their selection.
With Les Mauves visiting the Stade du Pays De Charleroi, I’m sure a fantastic Thursday atmosphere will aid the team in getting a positive result on the night. And Les Zèbres will hope that Thursday’s will become a common night for football with Europa League action coming their way next season. I predicted that they’d finish 3rd in PO1 before a ball was kicked and that’s still on the cards as we have 6 points to play for! The club raise their game for big matches in Belgium and Penneteau seems to relish stopping that ball going over the white line!
I guess we’ll have to see…