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Talking Pompey with ChrisW

Vital Pompey has previously brought you the 'knowing me knowing you series' - which is still running, so others will be added and if you want to do one just email - now we have a little something extra this summer...

ChrisW was asked 5 quick questions, this is what they said.

  • What are you expecting from Pompey in the coming season?
    The optimist in me hopes for improvement over last season and I can see us finishing higher in the league but let`s face it, 2 Cups in a row might be a bridge too far. Talking of Bridges, our opening game will tell us much. No doubt, in true Harry Houdini style our squad won't be complete until the last possible minute of the transfer window, but we should be able to give them a better game than we did last year. In saying that, many neutrals saw us as the better team, but of course goals = points and unless you score you walk away in most instances empty handed.

    My worry amongst all of this is that the arrival of Defoe, undoubtedly a coup par excellence, set in stone a series of events that virtually dictate our formation this coming season. Whereas last year saw us improve mostly on our travels using a cast iron 4-5-1, having Defoe means we will almost certainly consign 4-5-1 to the history books and will no doubt be playing 4-4-2 or a true 4-3-3 in most of our premiership games. [note: for those of you that missed the news, Pompey won the FA Cup, and we are in Europe!]. I have no doubt that we will be stronger than 10 or 12 teams next year home and away, but I have serious doubts as to how Harry will build a team that wins by power of attack rather than power of attrition as was the case last year. Not saying we can't, but switching from a packed midfield to a packed attack is no easy task - Keegan did it at the Toons, but he has a pretty unique front line - can we acquire similar in the next month or so? I doubt it. In saying that Harry surprises me weekly, and mostly they are pleasant surprises. If he doesn't do so well in the market then shock -horror we might see our FA Cup formation being used again the league, and I can't see Defoe standing [or sitting on the bench] for that.

    Overall, Pompey should achieve more next year, not by winning Cups, but I expect us to be more consistent and hopefully we shall return Fratton to its true Fortress status and I look forward to seeing the big boys getting a spanking as used to be the case a couple of seasons back when we had half the team we have now.

  • Uefa cup - are you a fan of us being in this, or are you against it? Either way how well do you reckon we can do?
    Put it this way, Pompey aren't ready for the Champions League, so if nothing else the UEFA Cup will be a useful experience. Can we win it? Sure we can win it. But remember, last year we didn't have the squad for the CUP and the League and Harry had to make a choice, and he chose wisely. This year, we have arguably an even bigger challenge in Europe and given it's our first attempt I reckon Harry [or should I say Harry and the Board] will decide to concentrate on domestic competitions and see how far they can get in Europe without compromising the principal domestic objectives. Although Everton for one may have wished that they had taken Europe more seriously, given they ended they ended a great season with nothing of substance.

  • Which 3 players - that we could realistically sign - would you like to see arrive this summer?
    Given, with the exception of Muntari, very few us foresaw Harry's signings in 07, who knows who he will sign in the coming weeks. If Crouchie does come then I reckon he and Defoe will be serious contenders for the Prem's top strike partnership, although that will give Capello a headache. I can't see him playing James, Johnson, Defoe and Crouch in the same England team, immaterial of merit. As for Wingers, I can't see Glen Little being Harry's first choice, not saying he won't perform, but he hasn't proven himself in the Prem and may end up holding hands with Nugent in the reserves. I expect we will end up with SWP or Lennon or similar. I think Bentley is beyond our reach if only because the siren of the top 4 calls loudest. One thing is for sure; we will have at least one new signing in the same mould as Kranjcar and Utaka. Players that came from relative obscurity into the bright lights of the Prem.

  • If you had to select 1 player to get shot of - or maybe to rephrase or make this decision easier, 'sacrifice' - to make a signing who would it be and why?
    Many of you will offer Utaka's head but I think he will perform this year, if not for us then somewhere else in the Premiership. So I'd like to see him stay. Our two most sought after players, if you believe what you read, are Kranjcar and Diarra and I'd be happy to see either go as long as the sacrifice was for the greater good [think Benjani]. Diarra is just too selfish for my liking and despite touches of brilliance is too often a liability. He could have cost us the Semi Final against WBA, luckily he didn't. Kranjcar always looks to me as if he needs to go on a serious exercise regime. I appreciate he is a lot fitter than last year, but he needs the help of a professional development coach if he is to perform at the top level. But on the other hand he can turn matches with his technique and only Kanu, of any player in the Prem, has better close ball control. As I write this, I am thinking perhaps we should add Diarra to that list - how far we have come guys when three of the leagues best technicians resides within our ranks. Oh and did I mention David James, from what I saw at Euro08, probably the best keeper in Europe right now.

  • How many Pompey games do you expect to make this season?
    I share season tickets with the family so I expect to get to 10 or 12 home games with the odd away game. My local team Reading has been relegated so that's not an option and Hull looks a bit fishy to me. I'd like to do one European away game, that should be fun!

    BTW, I'm looking forward to the North Stand toilets being renovated if anybody at Fratton Park happens to be reading this. Oh yes, Mr. Bloke in row C, D or E circa seats 120-125, North Stand, please stop shouting mindless obscenities, there's a good chap.

    Thanks to ChrisW for answering these.

    PLAY UP POMPEY!

    ==========

    The current top 10 contributors to Vital Pompey have been selected and approached to answer these questions but if anyone else wants to answer these questions simply drop me an email on portsmouth@vitalfootball.co.uk and/or visit this link and I will make it happen.

    Here are the others so far:
    sneakay
    storagematt
    paultsmouth
    pentonpompey
    pompey4me
    UKTony

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  • The Journalist

    Writer: pompeyrug Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

    Date:Tuesday July 1 2008

    Time: 7:00AM

    Your Comments

    I find your worries re: Defoe's arrival very pertinent. It has thrown us into disarray and the problem needs to be addressed in this transfer window. We desperately need Crouch - and if we need to up our offer, then we must do so now. We cannot leave it up to the Defence again next season.
    Gandor
    Chris, a very articulate, humourous and realistic view of the current situation. Too much to pick out in one post but it good to see somebody take the rose tinited glasses off when it comes to Diarra & Kranjcar. All too often we forget the shortcomings of some players and build them up beyond reproach
    Chix
    Hull looks a bit fishy ....(lol)
    Chix
    Interesting views. Can't agree with you on Diarra. Maybe he is too good for some around him? Yes we need to harness the qualities of Defoe & not over rely on our superb defence.
    storagematt
    completely agree with pretty much everything u said specially the defoe 'problem' i reakon if we get crouch we would play him as the lone striker in the 4-5-1 then use defoe and him in the 4-4-2 but then again i expect Arrys thought it thro i'm sure he has all the answers he usually does lol so who i'm i 2 question him =)
    pompeym@
    Great stuff Chris. Hull used top smell fishy but no more and is that North Upper or Lower where the problem is?
    eastneydave
    Good answers Chris, I also belive as others do that Harry has a plan for the formation of next season. Well lets hope so anyway!
    sneakay
    Thought provoking stuff Chris. As Blackadder might say, "Harry has got a plan so cunning, you could put a tail on it and call it weasel"......well, let's hope so! By the way, Mr Bloke has got a mate (Mr Gob*****e) in the South Stand - trouble is the stewards just think it's a laugh.
    NinjaTim
    A good read chris. I certainly agree with what you say about Krunchie. I raised this a couple of months back before the Cup final. I thought he was looking a little laboured and podgy. Agreed with Defoe, while undoubtedly a class act his arrival has caused a few problems for Harry's team selection.
    pentonpompey
    Food for thought Chris and I've started eating.
    UKTony
    Oh....no chance with the toilets I'm afraid :(
    UKTony
    Disagree about Diarra Chris, Muntari and Diop both give it away far more often than him, if a ball is played out of defence to a player in a tight spot, I'd rather have Diarra as that player than anyone else
    paultsmouth
    Cheers for your comments guys - re Diarra, let's see, but I reckon there's a reason he didn't play for France, Chelsea or Arsenal - perhaps a touch immature still.
    ChrisW
    Dave: North Stand Lower
    ChrisW
    That's a good read Chix. Surprised you'd be prepared to see those two go, but its interesting to see different points of view. I think Diarra is in another class completely, and Kranjcar will be when he fully realises his potential.
    tracyc
    omg I've been chixed - actually Tracy, I wouldn't want them to go but would be prepared to see them go if it meant the team as a whole was better.
    ChrisW
    Chris, very thorough as normal! Just dont agree with you over Diarra. Personally I think he's got the lot, drives our midfield. Effort and commitment in abundance, I dont see him giving the ball away as often as you! Would love to see SWP here. Were you saying add Diarra to the list of players to let go?
    pompey4me
    really good read Chris.
    at times you can see why diarra hasnt made it with the 'bigger' clubs he has been with, but not that often and altho we dont know how long he will stay i feel he is a major player for us and osmeone we must look to keep, if i had to sacrifice a player diarra wouldnt be the one for me...
    pompeyrug
    Simon, Rug - thanks for comments. I appreciate your thoughts on Diarra. Yes I would add him to the disposable list if for no other reason than his time here is limited and if it is not then ironically it is because as I fear he is far too mercurial for a team to build its foundations around. He may well play well as an individual but there is no challenging the fact that since his arrival, mid-field as a unit has been in dissarray (sp?) so much so that Harry started moving Diarra further forward in the last couple of matches in order to bring Muntari back into the game - save him having to run like a rabid bull everywhere seeking the ball. In saying that I am getting on a bit now and my eyes weren't what they were.
    ChrisW
    "omg I've been chixed" (lol) ... Hopefully you'll recover quickly Chris... although I never have - Good responses to the challenges too
    Chix
     

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