The Walsall Low Down
OPPONENTS: Walsall Football Club
MANAGER: Jon Whitney
NICKNAME: The Saddlers
LEAGUE POSITION: 12th
THE JOURNEY: Bescot Stadium to Fratton Park - 170 miles - about 3 hours.
LAST TIME OUT:
* Pompey fell to their first league defeat since March 18th at Oxford last Saturday. Three second half goals after Pitman's first half header was ruled out saw Pompey's first away game in League one end in defeat. Also, Pompey drew 3-3 then lost on penalties to Fulham U21s in the Checkatrade trophy, but who cares.
* Walsall on the other hand gained their first win of the season against Oldham. The Saddlers trailed 1-0 at the break but goals from Joe Edwards and a 90th minute winner from Erhun Oztumer gave them a 2-1 win in front of their own fans.
* Pompey's defeat last Saturday was their first defeat in the league in 10 games. Pompey's 5 wins in a row had not been done since March 2014. 6 wins in a row has not been achieved since 2002.
* Portsmouth have failed to score in their last 5 defeats. The last time they netted in a game they lost was Kal Naismith's goal against then league leaders Doncaster in January.
* The Blues have only lost once at home since January this year. That loss is the now infamous defeat to Crewe where Pompey failed to muster a single attempt on target, a game which many consider to be a turning point last season.
* Pompey have won 6 of their last 7 league games at Fratton Park, scoring 20 goals and conceding just 5. Portsmouth have not conceded more than 1 goal at Fratton Park since November 2016 (2-1 defeat to Stevenage)
* Top Scorer: Pitman (2)
* Walsall had only tasted victory once in 10 league games prior to last weekend's win against Oldham.
* In their last 10 away games they have only scored more than once on 1 occasion, and have failed to find the net in 6 of these.
* The Saddlers have not tasted victory on the road since Boxing Day 2016 (a 1-0 win at Port Vale), a run of 12 games without a win.
* Last season, Walsall gave away less free kicks than anyone else in the League (412), including 7 spot kicks.
* Top Scorers: Joe Edwards & Erhun Oztumer (1)
HEAD TO HEAD (Courtesy of Pompeyrama.com):
* In their 25 previous meetings Pompey currently have the upper hand having won 10 to Walsall's 7 (with 8 draws)
* These sides met in League One in the 12/13 season as Pompey parachuted through the football league. Walsall won both meetings, 1-0 at the Bescot and 2-1 at Fratton Park with Izale McLeod scoring a late consolation.
* Portsmouth's last success against Walsall came in the promotion winning season of 2002/03 when they done the double over them. Pompey won 3-2 at Fratton thanks to goals from Quashie, Taylor and Todorov, and won 2-1 at Bescot Stadium thanks to goals from Harper and Todorov.
PLAYED FOR US/PLAYED FOR THEM/SCUMMER WATCH
* Florent Cuvelier: Might ring a few bells for some, the Belgian midfielder was just 16 when he joined Portsmouth's youth set-up and featured in a couple of pre-season games in 2009, but never made a first team appearance.
* Milan Lalkovic: Spent a season at Walsall before moving to Portsmouth with reasonable success. He started 40 games that in the 15/16 season scoring 7 times.
ONE TO WATCH:
* Erhun Oztumer: The London born midfielder of Cypriot/Turkish decent hit the ground running at Walsall last season. He played in Turkey until 2012 when he joined Isthmian Leauge Dulwich Hamlet, scoring over 60 goals in two seasons. Despite playing in midfield, he was Walsall's top scorer last season with 15 goals, and although he poses no threat aerially he is quick and is not afraid to dribble past players.
* Walsall's away record makes good reading for Pompey, who need to pick themselves up after last Saturday's defeat. An early goal will settle all nerves and hopefully see Pompey grab 3 points to keep them in the right half of the table. 3-1 for me, a brace from Pitman (one from the spot) and a Bennett special.
NEXT 5 GAMES:
Sat 26 Aug - Wigan Athletic (A) - League One
Sun 3rd Sep - Rotherham (H) - League One
Sat 9th Sep - Wimbledon (A) - League One
Tue 12th Sep - Northampton (A) - League One
Sat 16th Sep - Fleetwood (H) - League One
Written by PompeyFrippy and originally posted in the forum.
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2017-18 Prediction League - August
Walsall (h) - Saturday 19th August 2017 - click here.
Wigan (a) - Saturday 26th August 2017 - click here.