Vital Football

Sorry Jamie, I disagree

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...


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Date:Wednesday December 9 2009
Time: 8:11AM


It is a hard end to the year. In all honesty, if we don't play well against Sunderland we won't manage to win. Our performance against Burnley was so poor that instead of having the morale boost we were expecting, we are feeling down. Somehow, I am missing the spirit we had when we had Hart in charge.
Pompey Malta
09/12/2009 08:58:00
Good article Rug, but I think Jamie is probably saying this as a player that has a possible "OUT" in January, should the position be any more dire ! I think if we get 4 points for the remainder of this month we will be lucky and probably fortunate! The defining part is what the end position looks like to any potential (are there any?) investors as to what to do if we are able to use the transfer window - personally, I think that the next 2 weeks will define our fate - and that has nothing to do with affairs on the pitch!!! PUP
09/12/2009 11:29:00
It's early days in Avram's tenure, for me he showed he has more tactical nous by the changes he made against Burnley in the second half...yes his initial selection/formation was hopeless, but he recognised that and made the changes that got a rare win in the bag. In the past Hart has perhaps either not made changes in time, or made changes that left most of us scratching our heads. Got to agree with Rug's article, I don't think the points gained or lost this month will decide our fate - that'll be down to matches like our last one, which although terrible to watch got the right result.
09/12/2009 11:32:00
Every month is a crunch month until we have enough points to secure our safety ... We must go into every game thinking it is do or die .. a point here and a point there are not going to be good enough... Sunderland have a defensive crisis .'. we must lay with width and get in behind them to supply our forwards ..The nice passing stuff needs to be forgotten .. If it is to be five across the middle then we need players to play with width ... and two of the middle three need to take up positions in the box .. After that comes Chelsea who need to be bullied .. They are one of the most physical teams in the premiership Kaboul and Wilson will need sheilding from Drogba.. Diop and Mullins and probably Brown too all need to play in this game .. If we get amongst them and don't let them play we might get something out of it .. Nobody is unbeatable.. We must have this attitude irrespective of the skill level of the player in our squad ..
09/12/2009 12:43:00
hmm we do have hard games till the end of the this year but so do all the clubs around us. so i don't think its as bad as some people make out. as for sunderland they are heavily weakened and should be for the taking especailly after 2 defeats on the trot and IF we can get a win from them, then suddenly things don't seem too bad after all. and although i highly doubt we'll get anything from Chelski, liverpool are still in meltdown atm so we might be able to nick something there as well. but i agree the West ham game although not a must win is defenatly a must not loss. and then it all comes down to what happens off the pitch in january i suppose....
09/12/2009 13:36:00
Make or break month? Let's just try and get through the day.
09/12/2009 16:13:00
I agree with m@ as long as those around us lose points as well. However if they do get points and we don't I have to agree with O'Hara. OK, nobody expects us to get many points this month but if our rivals nick results it'll leave us with a steep mountain to climb. Unfortunately we're now in a position that means we're reliant on those teams to lose when we lose. As Chix said, every month will be a crunch month; unless we can get a winning streak going.
09/12/2009 16:15:00
Just worked it out on the BBC Predictor .. If EVERY result went against us .. we'd be 16 points adrift come the end of December.. But it also means that Arsenal, Manyoo, Chelsea and Liverpool lose all their games too (apart from the ones against us of course).. we will be fine... We may still be bottom but always within touching distance..
09/12/2009 16:52:00
Every game and every month is crucial - but we started a Great Escape before in January - so we know it can be done.
09/12/2009 17:53:00
ahh chix, i was thinking about using the predictor but i haven't been bothered to sit there and do it all yet and now i don't have to :D so ty lol
09/12/2009 20:20:00
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