Sorry Jamie, I disagree
Jamie O'Hara has said that he thinks that December is a 'make or break' month for Pompey and could be 'pivotal' in our season.
To be honest, whilst he of course has a point, I would have to say that I disagree.
In all honesty, and as I have mentioned before, it is most likely the continued negativity that comes back on the club from the 'off the field' situation that has warn me, and others, down, but the situation is starting to look pretty dire to me - once again I say, 'this is not like me', but the optimism is being sucked out of me, and it can only be because of the jokers off the field...
But, and putting any lack of optimism aside, whilst this month is important to us, when you look at the fixtures when you are being 'realistic', and realism is something we MUST deal in, can we really see many points being gained up to the end of 2009?
You cannot really can you?
Then again, and this is a saving grace from us, there are better teams than us that would look at the likes of Chelski, Liverpool and Arsenal and be somewhat 'surprised' if they got anything from these games.
This is NOT to say that I would expect, sure as hell do not want, us to roll over, accept what we will get and die against these clubs - as we should not!
Sunderland (a) this weekend is a real toughie. They might be 'poor' on the road, having failed to win as many away from the Stadium of Light as they have at it recently - something like 6 without a win away with 6 unbeaten at home - but this 'could' be a game to get something from. Whilst a point is better than nothing I am not sure how much good, other than getting an unbeaten run going, as is it going to help that much. They have defensive injury problems, so if we 'give it a go' you never know. So this SHOULD be a game that we target something from, as Sunderland are a club that we should target for points this season.
Chelski (a) the midweek after is almost certainly going to be a defeat, right? Whilst I would love to be proven wrong we barely score against them, let alone take anything from them - we have lost every premier league game we have played against them haven't we?
Liverpool (h) are struggling this season, and whilst no one would be 'ashamed' to be beaten by them, they ARE there for the taking if we want to take it - this 'could' be, what some would consider, bonus points perhaps...
West Ham (a) on Boxing Day is a massive, massive game. The importance of 3pts from that could not be underestimated. Going into their backyard and winning could not only be a huge psychological boost for us but be a damaging one to them as well. This has to be a game we target for a win, right? And, on paper anyway, must be the game that we now see as the most 'winnable' one between now and the end of the year?
Arsenal (h) just before the turn of the year is a game that you would like to 'think' we might be able to get something from, but they have turned over better sides than us over the years - including better Pompey sides than the one we currently have. I guess a lot depends on what happens against West Ham a few days earlier, but in all honesty if we got a point I do think I would be surprised, even if Arsenal can be a bit 'flaky' at times.
So, all in all I do think that O'Hara's thoughts on this month being 'crucial' are not entirely right, perhaps in terms of 'bonus points' it could be, but few will expect much return from December will they?
We got the win that we needed in the 'MUST WIN' game against Burnley, perhaps we can label West Ham the same, but much else would be a bonus.
For me, January and February are the months when I feel we will REALLY find out once and for all what our season is about.
January sees us face Fulham (a), Birmingham (h), West Ham (h) and Citeh (a) - so, 'on paper' there are 3 games that I would say are 'winnable' and almost most win, especially Birmingham and West Ham at Fratton.
February sees us face Manyoo (a), Sunderland (h), Stoke (h) and Burnley (a) - so, again, I think 'on paper' we have another 3 games we can say are game we can win, I would say these 3 are 'must wins'.
So, all in all, despite the fact that January might end and February begin with defeats, meaning back-to-back defeats, seeing these against Citeh and Manyoo would not exactly be disaster would it - SO LONG as the others around these months yielded good results.
That is why, like I say for me, January and February are the 'vital' months for Pompey and December is not the 'make or break' month that O'Hara might think it is.
That said we have the African nations to contend with in January, which means we miss 'key personnel' for these key games...
PLAY UP POMPEY!