Vital Football

Pompey v Middlesbrough


Fratton Park

13th September 2008


It is back to Premier League action after the International break. Players are returning from all over the world in different states of fitness etc and both managers will leave it until as late as possible to finalise their line-ups.

Vital Quotes:

After the great win at Everton, Pompey will be keen to start to climb the table and score at home for the first time since the 2-0 win over Wigan, nearly six months ago.

Boro have made a good start winning their two games against Stoke and Spurs both 2-1 and rather unluckily losing at Anfield to a late, late Gerrard goal. To prove the point Gareth Southgate has just been awarded manager of the month for August.

Pompey Team News:

Fans are looking forward to getting their first glimpse of Nadir Belhadj the Algerian who has arrived on loan although he may have to settle for a place on the bench.

Kanu is back fighting for a place for the first time this season after missing Nigeria's game to get fit. The England trio of David James, Jermain Defoe and Glen Johnson should have returned in top form after the Croatia result. No news yet of Ben Sahar`s knock picked up in Moldova.

Those definitely out are Niko Kranjcar (ankle) and Jerome Thomas (back) with Glen Little still trying to shake off his thigh injury.

Player to watch: Peter Crouch

Was rightly credited with the final goal at Goodison Park and will be keen to get off the mark at home. His partnership with Jermain Defoe is beginning to flourish and if 3-5-2 is the chosen formation it is Vital that Crouchie can get on the end of the number of crosses this formation will bring.

He will also be keen to up the pressure on Fabio Capello to include him in the England squad for the October games with Kazakhstan and Belarus.

Boro Team News:

Tuncay a key man up front was injured early on playing for Turkey against Belgium and must be rated very doubtful. I assume Mido will play with Alves in attack. Midfield star Mohamed Shawky picked up a hamstring injury in training with Egypt and will also miss out. Jeremie Aliadiere and Julio Arca are both back in training but David Wheater has been suffering from tonsillitis.

Player to watch: Gary O'Neil

GON was fired up for last season's encounter, some say too fired up, which upset Pompey fans who wanted to give a welcome home to their one time hero. A gifted midfield player, who has settled on the right at the Riverside, despite his dislike of the position. Pompey faithful always believed he was better in the centre.

Match Facts & Stats

This will be the 50th League meeting between the sides at Fratton and Pompey have the best of recent meetings although Boro did the double last season.

Ref Watch:

Stuart Attwell (Warwickshire) This will be his second Premier League game of the season after Blackburn v Hull City

Match Prediction:

Ace predictor-sea juicer- who correctly predicted England's 4-1 victory over Croatia says 3-1 to Pompey. How can I disagree? Put what you think here.

Next Fixture:

UEFA Cup 1st Round v Vitoria SC (H) 18th September at 6pm.


Join the Vital Pompey Debate

Date:Friday September 12 2008
Time: 8:38PM


mido was always likely to start becuase he is bigger than tuncay - and as we all know, our team is "powerful". The commentators on 5 live kept getting confused between niko kovac and niko kranjcar - and kept saying he was playing, which really confused me - however we will probably still miss a little creativity if boro come and defend. belhadj - if he plays - may be able to provide the necessery crosses for crouch, otherwiuse, I would say "keep the ball on the floor" - crouch isnt very good in the air anyway - and we play better when we arnt booting the ball forward...
12/09/2008 21:08:00
What a rush!! Thanks for posting on behalf rug. Pint calling!! See some of you tomorrow.
12/09/2008 21:08:00
we need to score early or a repeat of last year is a risk. they came to defend and caught us on the break. would be nice to see belhadj, but traore is pretty much on form for us, so it will be a tough call for 'arry.
12/09/2008 21:26:00
I'm looking forward to seeign us playing 352. It was great to watch in our promotion season and I think we have the players now to make it work again. I hope we give GON a warm welome, and he repays us properly this time by having a quiet game!
12/09/2008 22:28:00
I can't wait for tomorrow. I hope we play as well as we did against Everton and I am looking forward to Belhadj playing, so I hope he does.
12/09/2008 22:39:00
the sun us shinning, the wind is calm - were gonna win 3-1 today, perfect!
13/09/2008 08:09:00
Sea-jucier has asked me to put a tenner on 3-1 to Pompey for him.. so are you gonna have the same punt topo Ruggers ?... I 'm going to 3-0 with a goal from Sean Davis against his oldmate and watch for the 'hair-cut' celebration. Two completly different sides to last year and I like Northstanddan can't wait to see a 352 back at Fratton.. Those heady promotion days were really something weren't they... and our team is so much better now.. PLAY UP POMPEY...
13/09/2008 08:43:00
We need a good home win, a bit starved of it last season. Also it will be interesting to see how many empty seats there will be & the next episode of Westwood & his muscial instruments!!!
13/09/2008 08:51:00
Well having not checked the site since Friday afternoon I wonder on all the chat that I missed!
15/09/2008 09:09:00
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