I trust you all had a good time yesterday and it is back to some semblance of normality today with the visit to the South Coast. Portsmouth have been in mixed form recently yet the only consistency they have shown this season is inconsistency. For the good wins at Villa and Newcastle, counterbalance these with the performances at The Emirates and Anfield. The fact they have won just two of their eight home games, although five have been drawn means that it all adds up to a tricky little trip.
Had anyone given Harry Redknapp the stats at the start of the season, I am pretty sure that he would have bitten their arm off to be in the position that Portsmouth find themselves in now. Benjani, Kranjcar and Muntari are their main goalscoring threat yet they have struggled to hit the back of the net at Fratton Park. It is two hundred and seventy minutes since Kanu found the back of the net for Portsmouth, a last minute goal in the 1 – 2 home defeat against Blackburn. Indeed, that is the only goal scored by them at home since their 7 – 4 win over Reading. As long as that run continues tonight, I doubt that we will be complaining.
Early team news is that Theo Walcott will not make the trip and indications are that Robin van Persie will not either, his thigh strain yet to have fully cleared up. I have a suspicion that this will mean an unchanged team from the starting line-up in the last two games, subject to any strains being reported in the interim of this preview being posted. Arsene may well be saving those for the weekend’s trip to Goodison Park, a game that will prove in my estimation a tougher trip than this, Everton being the better organised of the two sides. If Arsene decides to have a little tinker, then Rosicky seems the more likely to make way with Abou Diaby coming in to replace him.
I suspect Arsene will go with
Almunia; Sagna, Toure, Gallas, Clichy; Eboue, Fabregas, Flamini, Rosicky; Hleb; Adebayor
And a bench of
Lehmann, Senderos, Diarra, Diaby, Bendtner
The Dane might feel that he perhaps should start one of the next two games and he may at Goodison but only, I suspect, if injuries are picked up this evening. He seems happy at the club now that his appearances are becoming more regular, even if the press are trying to stir up the Hornet’s nest. At the age of nineteen, not many forwards are ready to lead the line at a big club but Bendtner could probably do so. However, that would have to be in tandem with someone rather than the sole striker role that Adebayor seems comfortable playing. Next season however, might be a different story for that. The confidence he will have gained from the goal against Tottenham is immeasurable. Scoring in the ‘bread and butter’ weekly games is what he needs to do to push Arsene into changing his thoughts on the formation. I think Bendtner and Adebayor would probably make a good combination. In close control and pace, Adebayor is similar to a smaller striker; that he is a big man makes him harder to predict. Bendtner meanwhile is not quite so good on the ground compared to Adebayor but is an impressive header of the ball, his goal on Saturday more evidence of that. Indeed, he commented after the game on an exchange that he and Vic Akers had,
Get me on for the corner and I’ll score for you. It was quite funny when it actually did happen
Yep, they were laughing all the way down the Tottenham High Road at that one. A partnership in the making perhaps but something RvP and Eduardo may have alternative thoughts on.
With United travelling to Sunderland and West Ham in their next two games, wins this evening and on Saturday are vital. It is hard to see either of them scoring against United, let alone winning the games so we need to keep the pressure on by taking maximum points. Kicking off after them is in some ways an advantage, knowing what is required is often a great motivator.
Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it. ‘til Tomorrow.