Portsmouth - HR & Nicholas on win, James & Diarra
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HR & Nicholas on win, James & Diarra

I do not think that too many people can disagree that we were fortunate to come away with all 3 points against Bolton yesterday, and Harry Redknapp is no different as he acknowledged so to sky sports after the game: 'they had us under the cosh for so much of the game, but that's how it goes.

'We go and nick it on the break. I knew before today it was going to be very tough'.

We were 'under the cosh' for large periods of the game but Bolton failed to take their chances, and more often than not if you fail to do this you do get punished - as we found last season when they did to us what we have to them - and we did that, albeit with the aid of a dodgy offside goal and an inspired David James...

To be honest Charlie Nicholas has not been one of my favourite pundits, well since he really, really slagged off Benjani - but I have started to warm to him of late and he was full of praise for us yesterday.

Nicolas could not give James enough praise on sky sports soccer Saturday, saying exactly what he thought of him, and what he made of 'that save' at the death: 'Gretar Rafn Steinsson cut the ball back for Tamir Cohen, who was only eight yards out right in the middle of the goal and he hit it really clean and it was flying into the net.

'David James was diving the opposite way, but as he did so he stuck out his left hand and flicked it over the bar. He was totally in control of the situation and it was a simply sensational save. It's the save of the season so far by a distance.

'People laughed last season when I said he was the best goalkeeper in the Premier League and now he's the number one for England again and quite rightly so.

'Today's performance was world class and he is as valuable to Portsmouth as Cristiano Ronaldo is to Manchester United and Cesc Fabregas and Emmanuel Adebayor are to Arsenal. He was immense.

'If you look back at the real class goalkeepers like David Seaman and, in particular Peter Schmeichel, they can win you as many points as strikers can. And that's why I think James is so valuable for them'.

Some might say that his thoughts are over the top, I am happy enough with them to be honest!

It really is 'the save of the season', you have to watch it several times to fully appreciate it, but it truly was a remarkable save and if there has been a better save this season, or in recent seasons perhaps I am not sure I have seen it? Markus Hahnemann pulled off a blinder in the 7-4 win, but James' tops that for me...

Then Nicholas went on to heap the praise on Lassana Diarra - who is gaining in stature all the time - and when you look at his logic is makes sense: 'the boys were asking about Javier Mascherano going to Liverpool for £17million, but this boy Diarra is every bit as good as him, if not better.

'For his goal, I have to say he was in an offside position. But what happened was they fired it into him and he turned like a world-class striker would and suddenly he was running at the heart of the defence.

'He tried a one-two with Kanu but Andy O'Brien knocked it back to the goalkeeper and it hit Kanu again. Diarra was in an offside position but he was quickly onto it and then he lashed it into the roof of the net with a stunning finish'.

At £5m when you compare as he has he really was a January steal... We will have to almost certainly, no two ways about it have to make Europe to keep the fella - even then it might not be enough, hopefully his 'love' for the club which does seem to be growing can be enough to help keep him here for a while longer?

So all in all, yep we were lucky but in all fairness how often in recent times have we got the rub of the green when we well and truly did not deserve it? We might not have played well at times, but have we often pulled of such a daylight robbery as we did yesterday? I do not feel that often to be honest. Seasons can change on this type of fortune, hopefully ours can too...


Join the Vital Pompey Debate

The Journalist

Writer: pompeyrug Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday February 10 2008

Time: 10:30AM

Your Comments (oldest first)

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I'll keep singing "Diarra, Diarra, Diarra…" at FP until my throat runs dry. I've said it before - he makes Muntari look positively average. I really can't see him with us past this season.
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10/02/2008 11:13:00

Great b3 pts but if we play like that again we won't be so fortunate. If it wasn't for Jamo & some last ditch defending & some awful finishing, Bolton could have had 5. Of course we are better than that. However we were awful with Spurs, Boro & Sunderland, games which we should have picked up maybe 7 pts had we been playing our normal stuff. We'd be 4th if it were so. I'll take 7th but the new players coming have improved the side & now it's a case of finding the pattern to make them fit.
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10/02/2008 11:16:00

I gotta say, when we play baddly & win games, u know you've hit new hights!! Storagematts dead right though, we were very very lucky!
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10/02/2008 11:37:00

We've all gone home feeling robbed over the years and as Harry pointed out, Bolton at Fratton was a superb example. Luck or bad luck is a part of the game and that's why it is "the beautiful game" plus the brilliance of Jamo that is. Nicholas got it just about right and i'm so glad that Jamo is again getting the recognition that we all know he deserves. The only reason he didn't do No 1 for England was because of that nieve, tunnel visioned Mc Claren and look what's happened to him. Play up Pompey, an ugly win is still a win and we deserve a robbery every now and again...
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10/02/2008 12:37:00

The fact is we are not playing as a team, frattonaussie has well covered this subject, we have been bad with few exceptions since well before christmas. Diarra and James are excelling both with points to prove, and Distin and the late lamented Benji could hold their heads up high, but the rest have not performed with will or intent.
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10/02/2008 12:37:00

i agree that on the whole for several months too many players havent performed - or some have, but not as part of a team and as such we have struggled abit, but end of the year, beginning of the next is always our 'dodgy' patch isnt it? altho i do not think that we have been battered as badly as we were against bolton yesterday and still come away with 3 pts for a long time - but i'll take those pts for sure, improvement needed against preston and then sunderland, back to back wins and we are set up nicely for the crucial month of march...
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10/02/2008 12:51:00

Consistancey is what we are lacking, the talent is there for sure. This is the best sqaud we have ever had but you will always get those that stand out head and shoulders above others. It also depends on how the opposition play because certain players get nullified. You can play sweet passing football against some and look good when your average , or stop start stuff when your on the top of your game. At the end of the day it's about putting the ball in the back of the net and i'm sure we'll come good and get the results...
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10/02/2008 13:10:00

This Bolton game was the last one affected by the ANC. SO now there are no more excuses, the ANC is over now and we should be getting all our players back for the next game. We feared this whole stretch of games and we came out ok (2-2-1) it was our christmas/new years form that was the poorest, and that was with all our available players. With the addition of Diarra and Defoe (albeit with the loss of Benji) I think we are an improved squad and I think we can start making that push for that Euro spot.
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10/02/2008 17:33:00

Three Cheers for Matty Taylor. Pompey till he dies....
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10/02/2008 19:57:00

in all honesty we have a 'decent' run-in dont we, if we can avoid any major slip up we'll make europe, and not only make it im really starting to think that 'if' we can play to our ability the champions lge isnt as far fetched as it was thought - liverpool are there for the taking fellas, they were crap today, they played for a point at chelski - granted that isnt a bad thing but teams with 'bigger' aspirations than they 'should' have shouldnt be simply playing for a point, not even at chelski...
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10/02/2008 23:10:00

Taylors miss was a classic, like Jamo's save. 8 wins on the road is amazing, but just as equally is our poor win ratio at home. We need to bury teams like Sunderland if we are to believe in Europe.
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10/02/2008 23:16:00

The Taylor miss summed up why I haven't had big wraps for him. Bolton seem to be allowing him to play forward and go for goal. They will probably regret it. I understand he's already muffed a few before our game and missed 2 penalties. As a defender going forward on occassions he is good but he seems to have it in his mind he is a top class striker and gets forward far to often looking for goals and forgetting his defensive duties. He cost Bolton the game and it wont be the last time. Gary O'neil was a far bigger loss and Benji might come back to haunt Harry or whoever was responsible for his transfer. Utaka looked better for the time he was on so lets hope the sunny weather did him good. Kanu, well he did assist Diarra's goal. David James, well why we keep him I'll never understand. Let him go on a free to Plymouth. THAT'S A JOKE BEFORE ANYONE ABUSES ME OR A SAINTS OR PLYMOUTH SUPPORTER AGREES WITH ME.
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11/02/2008 06:01:00

if we make europe we might be able to keep him otherwise if your good enough to partner viera for france then you are good enough for most of the top teams in europe
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11/02/2008 08:10:00

We were lucky, but we're not giving the 3 points back. Its great to see Jamo on top of his game, and we really are lucky to have him here, and whats more I don't think he is going anywhere anytime soon (except away on England duty). How Matty missed I have no idea! Thanks mate. But we do need to address the consistency!
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11/02/2008 09:23:00

I think we all agree we need to look at this win with a fair bit of caution - although we added to our previous away tally of 7, we didn't do it with the same formula. Whereas when we have previously won away the opponents didn’t look like scoring [apart from the odd Sol og] , this time we could easily have been beaten 3 or 4 goals to nil. The problem I see arising [‘scuse the pun] is the height issue up front - both of our last 2 goals have come from a pair of shorties and unless it's a set piece when the tall boys at the back come up then our goals are all going come from work on the deck. That’s great from one perspective given this time last month I was bemoaning our lack of poacher finishes, but now we have the opposite problem. Despite Kanu nodding a few in with his head over the past couple of seasons it’s not something he’s known for – and even Benjani’s last couple of headed goals (v Derby and for Man C yesterday) looked like he was heading a balloon at a birthday bash. Liverpool prove the point best, when £50m of ground talent fails to find the net then on he comes… it’s no surprise that he scored so many last year as they were situations that he alone in that squad could exploit. Even his volleys when he wraps his legs round the ball before lashing it home are at much the same heights as our strikers’ heads… So, for me, the new player request comes in the form of a tall striker, someone who is happy to sit on the bench and be available for when we are locked out of the game – someone content to come on as sub or start when we know we are up against a tall physical team – I believe we need this player more than the much requested winger.
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11/02/2008 09:43:00

guys, the Pool player above, I mean Crouchie of course...
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11/02/2008 09:45:00

He's tall, he scores goals with his head, but he is NOT a good header of a ball.
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11/02/2008 12:21:00

you could also say Benjani wasn't a natural striker of the ball either - he still got a hatful of goals....
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11/02/2008 12:33:00

Definition of a striker is a player who scores goals regularly and consistantly. The definition doesn't say he has to kick them, head them, shoulder them or bash them in with his bum. As long as he keeps scoring he is a striker in my book. So Benji is a true striker and so is Crouch. If I just want an elegant striker I'll go to a fashion parade and maybe I'll score a goal. No offence TracyC.
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12/02/2008 07:55:00


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