Date:Monday August 25 2008
Pompey get the chance to appease for last weeks debacle at Stamford Bridge, against none other than old foes Man utd, tonight at the park.
To be frank, last week we were bloody awful against a Chelsea side who were on top form, getting anything at the Bridge was a tall order anyway, but to under-perform was a lost cause straight away.
Tonight won't be any easier, Man Utd had a dissapointing start themselves last week, only drawing to a committed Newcastle side at Old Trafford.
In early press we have had Ryan Giggs saying only a win will do at Fratton, while Vidic has been praising the virtues of both Crouch and Defoe, backing both to come good sooner rather than later.
On the Pompey front its a case of does Traore step straight in and give the side a lift.
Pompey will be forced into at least one change tonight, Niko Kranjcar was injured on international duty wednesday and will not figure, Glen Little,fit again and newly signed Jerome Thomas will vie for that berth.
You can count on Defoe and Crouch to start up front, Ben Sahar will have to strain at the tether a little while longer.
Defensively its only Hreidarsson who looks under threat at the moment, Traore's arrival at last gives competition at left-back. Younes Kaboul didn't look too fit last week, I reckon he will sit on the bench for this one, but any frailties in the middle of defence and he could come on sooner rather than later.
In midfield, Davis, Hughes and Little have all returned to full training, as I said, Kranjcar's injury has necessitated a change on the left, I feel Diop may slip back into the middle with Utaka replacing him on the right, whoever can display the greater fitness will get in on the left, Thomas is my bet.
His performances are starting to slowly ebb away, that is clear, time is catching him, but he always performed in the big games last year, we need big Sol for this one.
Man Utd's midfield has been all but wiped out by injury and suspension, Nani is ruled out by the latter, Anderson has only just returned from Beijing, Carrick crocked, and Hargreaves and Park just back in training.
Looks like old man Scholes must do it all himself again!
He needs a performance after falling flat last week both for Utd and England, he is hardly a favourite at Fratton after his antics from his Everton days, how he curtails his temper and channels it tonight could have a big part to play.
Charity shield lost on pens, Nigeria lost 2-1, but the last real competive game belonged to us, Muntari blasting home a penalty in the quarter finals at Old Trafford.
At home our record isn't too bad either, 1-1 last year and a 2-1 win the year before.
Bruce Foxton (bass)
Pompey to come alive? Or Man utd to get the season up and running? Place your bets here.
Date:Monday August 25 2008
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