Total Pageviews

Friday, January 19, 2007

24 of 38 - Portsmouth (away)

Remember October 22nd 2005? Seems a lifetime away now but that was when we last won away in the Premiership. Shameful really, but in the 25 games since then we have lost 20 and drawn just 5! Pardew, 25 is a nice round number and its time to stop this appalling run right now.

Anybody remember the team that day nearly 15 months ago: Anderson, Young, Perry, Hreidarsson, Spector, Rommedahl, Kish, Murphy, Smertin, Ambrose and Darren Bent. We won 2-1 coming from behind with 2 second half goals from Ambrose and Rommerdahl. It was our fifth consecutive away win and broke the Addicks record that had stood for nearly 70 years! It was our 9th game of the season and was our 6th win.

Five of the players from that day have left, another two are injured which leaves just Hreidarsson, Rommedahl, Kish and Ambrose that will take the field tomorrow and what will be their reaction to such an anniversary? Well, three of them have extra reasons for enjoying themselves at Fratton Park. Hreidarsson will be making his 250 top flight appearance and Kish will be having his 200 game for the Addicks and Thatcher will playing his 200 Premiership game - lets hope he doesn't hit too many people during his celebrations! Meanwhile Marcus Bent, if he needs reminding has been stuck on 99 career goals for over two months now and is obviously desperate to make it 100.

As for Portsmouth, just a year after they survived the drop with just 38 points, they now stand in 6th place. With just 2 wins in their last 6 games they have currently not won in 3 games but have just 1 defeat in their last 10 games. They've only suffered only 1 defeat at home this season, 0-1 against Bolton, and have already scored more goals at home, 20, that they did all last year. But in their last home game against Wigan, in the FA Cup, they only managed a 2-1 win with a last minute Kanu goal so maybe its a good time to visit Fratton Park.

96th League Meeting but hey this is a Cup Final
We've played Portsmouth more times than anybody else in the League, 95 times, but have lost 39 times, to our 31 wins with 25 draws. Of late, however we have usually had the edge with 4 wins in the Premiership to their 2 with only a single draw.

At Fratton Park over the years we've lost 25 but won on 12 occasions with 10 games drawn but again in the Premiership we've won twice and only lost once.

But as everyone knows this is not a League game, this is a "Cup Final" and the last time we played them in the Cup in 1976 we won 3-1 at Fratton Park in a 4th Round replay. And its now been 78 years since we lost there in the Cup, 1929 to be precise.

The Opponents
Only a single Home defeat
As mentioned Portsmouth have only lost once at home to Bolton back in September so they're obviously due another one about now. And they are weak in one area, they have conceded more goals in the first five minutes of Premiership games than any other club this season - three. So hit 'em hard from the whistle, Pards.

The turnaround from last year has been explained by the arrival of old heads, Campbell, James and Kanu. Kanu now has 9 goals in the league while they have no less than 11 players that have scored goals, contrast this with the Addicks where only 7 have scored.

The Addicks
Reid Out Again
Andy Reid, our one quality player according to many papers last weekend, will once again be missing. "Aggravated hamstring" is to blame but the words of Martin Jol spring to mind. When asked why he sold Reid back in the summer he replied "he always seemed to be injured".

Carson will be in goal and with the return of Sankofa from suspension, the Elk will probably move back to central defence alongside Hreidarsson. The infamous Thatcher can enjoy himself at left-back complete with special woolly ear-muffs borrowed from Diawara to keep out those nasty Portsmouth whistles.

Midfield......Maybe Pards will try the unexpected just to rattle Redknapp by putting out the Elk, Fortune, Kish, ZZ and Pouso in a packed defensive midfield but I don't think so its obviously going to packed with 5 of our best players, well 5 of the best we have which means Kish, Holland, Hughes, Rommerdahl and Ambrose unless of course, Pards believes in the theory of ex-players having the evil sign over you in which case he'll "unleash" the beast of a Faye onto the Portsmouth hordes.

So, unless we see Lisbie making a comeback, we'll have our only fit forward Marcus Bent alone up front with "I only score against my old clubs" Hasselbaink warming the bench. Meanwhile we'll have to wait for ZZ to make an appearance as he apparently has to get used to the country, customs, ironic banter and 100 mph football. Not like China at all except for the takeaways.


We want a win
Nobody's going to give a bean for our chances tomorrow least of all Lawrenson, who sees an easy 2-0 home. We have to win sometime, of course, this can't go on for ever and I'm determined to be the one to predict the amazing feat when it happens so its a lucky 1-0 win for me.

No comments: