Vital Football

Adams takes the 'Wenger' approach

Adams takes the 'Wenger' approach

We ensured we took our place in the 4th round of the FA cup yesterday - where we will face Swansea who beat Histon 2-1 - but this was not without some controversy...

Adams on Crouch 'handball'
'I didn't see it. It was a good counter-attack but apart from that...

'I don't get involved in controversy. I can't control these things because they are moments of luck and chance. I concentrate on working with the team and getting them organised.'

Peter Crouch is said to have handled in the build up to the first goal, but I honestly can say that I did not see it - seeing it only as it happened and all that - I thought there 'might' have been a handball by Nadir Belhadj as the ball bobbled up near the half way line but Tony Adams was taking the 'Arsene Wenger' approach, saying that he did not see it...

'If' there was a handball in the build-up maybe this is a sign that the tide is beginning to change and maybe the Pompey manager is finally going to start getting some luck?

As for the goal itself, what a fantastic break away it was - as the second was when Bristol City really pushed on for that equaliser.

I think Belhadj and Armand Traore really showed their worth again last night and showed just why they need to be paired up down the left - we can rip sides apart. Having Glen Johnson back on the right was also a major boost and the fella was fantastic down the right. Dave Nugent is hard working, but if only we could have a 'Traore' in front of him, and I still feel that there is a chance that Johnson and Marc Wilson, who does not have the blistering pace mind, can do that job down the right...

Adams on reinforcements
'I will do a roll call and hopefully there will be reinforcements too. We are down the line with a few.'

Playing two players that really are not central midfielders in the shape of Younes Kaboul and Wilson in central midfield showed we are really down to the bare bones - both did the job, and look fairly comfortable on the ball but we desperately need at least one player to come in by the weekend - I am not convinced that midfield would keep Spurs at bay...

The overlooking of Arnold Mvuemba, after he had been talked up all week, will be a body blow to him and that could signal the end of his Pompey career? As soon as the whistle went he legged it down the tunnel. 'Not amused' would probably be a fair assessment of how he was probably thinking. To be honest as much as I like the fella I do not think he is good enough, he has not progressed as would have been hoped.

Adams on Crouch
'It's just a couple of strides for him. He's a great lad who wants to fight for the football club but he did annoy me a couple of times.

'He was staying up too high but Peter is an honest guy and I'm pleased he got his goal.'

Crouch, like everyone else on that pitch, wanted to play for Portsmouth Football Club, which is exactly what we want and need. I think the big man leads the line well but does need more help from the midfield with players arriving to help his flick-ons and knock downs - hopefully these will arrive in due course.

Crouch on his 'handball'
He told Setanta Sports that this was not intentional: 'I heard a claim. But I just tried to block the shot; it might have struck my arm, but it wasn't intentional.

'It would have been very harsh to give the free-kick.'

My own thoughts on this have already been shared, so I will not go over them again.

Crouch on James' penalty save
'It was a fantastic save. He is top class, and we can always rely on him.'

James has had some really ropey moments in recent months, but as I have said several times I really do think this is due to his lack of belief in the defenders in front of him - so he tries to do too much. In fairness though these defenders have not getting anywhere near the protection from midfield that they were last season, so there is a knock-on effect - and this is mostly due to the departure of Sulley Muntari, who is being missed much, much more than most people expected. He did a lot of stuff that was not seen, or appreciated... I for one am sorry that he has now gone, sadly it took this departure for me to realise! But then again needs must and all that.

I think that James' belief in his defence is coming back, and the strong midfield core - even if players being used recently are not ideally suited to the role - has also helped. Two clean sheets in three, and only the one goal conceded in that time is starting to show signs that we are getting back to where we want, and need, to be. We need to build on this now, and please let this be this weekend...


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Date:Wednesday January 14 2009
Time: 9:06AM


Nice write up, cheers Rug! A good solid performance, and the first match it's been a pleasure to watch for a while (although Sproule was working us hard at times!). Nice to be back to winning ways, and good to see the whole team working their proverbials off for the cause!
14/01/2009 09:22:00
Well i really didn't see the handball, nut i haven't seen the match yet. Over the course of a season you will get decisions like this some go for you some against. We've had more than a few dodgy decisions against us in recent weeks so maybe the balance is being restored.
Steve C
14/01/2009 10:03:00
And another clean sheet - anyone know the FA Cup record for successive clean sheets?
14/01/2009 11:41:00
Arnold has been given a few chances and hasnt taken them so I'd get rid. I'm glad to see Jamo gaining confidence. With him playing well we're always a good bet for a clean sheet. Sols on his last legs though, whats the betting he wont make an appearance on Sunday?
14/01/2009 11:51:00
Job done, got that winning feeling back. Yes centre midfield is the main area. Spurs will know every weak link & we really have to be up for it.
14/01/2009 11:58:00
with kaboul back to fitness he shouldn't make an appearance sunday, hes been great for the club but hes just lost it this season and i'll be very surprised and a little bit miffed if he gets a new contract in the summer. but nice article rug lets hope we an do the same sort of thing against spurs shall we
14/01/2009 12:04:00
Still have belief in Arnie, just Tony wanted to defensive midfielders to play together, to facilitate Niko going forward all the time. Leaving out Arnie was tactical, not because he isn't good enough. If we don't bring in anyone during the week, hopefully it will be the same again, but with Davis where Kaboul played, with Kaboul takng Sol's place.
14/01/2009 13:11:00
Fantastic game to watch I thought!! Crouch was his usual best and Traore was everywhere he almost had a free role... he was popping up everywhere! I thought it Worked extremely well! Nice to see us finally win! Adams has finally got it right and Tottenham are there for the Taking!
14/01/2009 17:27:00
my only thinking with mvuemba was that Tony didn't want to get him injured for the totenham game. We played much better with 5 in midfield last season, and it looks like we can play much better now! Bring on spurs!
14/01/2009 17:36:00
Crouchy looked a bt juggly really but ho hum, is a crime a crime if no-one notices? A bit of philosophy there to test you over the coming days. We've had such a load of bad luck, I don't think any of us is going to be feeling that guilty about it. Given the amount that Crouchy has been tugged and held by opposing defences to the extent that one or two of them seemed on the verge of committing public obscenity offences, he needs a bit of credit off the referee now and again.
14/01/2009 22:35:00
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