Date:Wednesday September 17 2008
Pompey enter the unknown as a team tomorrow night, European football comes to Fratton for the first and hopefully no last time.
Pompey maybe novices as far European football is concerned, but as individuals we have plenty of experience, we have a finalist and Champions league goalscorer as our captain in Sol Campbell, and Peter Crouch is more than familiar with foreign opposition, in fact only Traore of the current back 4 has yet to feature in a European tie.
Until this season, the closet Pompey have come to European was a couple of seasons of Anglo-Italian football donkeys ago, but get past our Portugese oppents and the proper big boy stuff has arrived.
Much has been made of our formation tomorrow rather than personnel, 3-5-2 worked at Everton, while it took the switch to 4-4-2 to overcome 'boro, but with Guimaraes likely to go 4-3-3, I reckon our wing-backs will get another run-out, first half at least.
No new injury worries for the blues, in fact Kanu, Nugent and Little all made come-backs against Arsenal ressies Tuesday night, so the pot is getting fuller to pick from.
Who plays depends on Harry's formation rather than who is fit, Diop and Kaboul both gave way on Saturday, so they are probably the only 2 at threat tomorrow.
Defoe has hit a good vein of form with 3 in his last 2 outings, scoring against foreign opposition will surely give Capello a little more to think about for England.
Crouchie has been overshadowed by Defoes exploits in front of goal so far, I get the feeling tomorrow may be his night.
Nuno Assis and club captain Flavio are the biggest absentees for Guimaraes, Marquinho and Luis Filipe are also not expected to travel, the Portugese are hardly packed with familar names, but an injury ravaged squad is expected to arrive at Fratton park, damage limitation seems the name of the game as the Portugese are a power house at home and rely heavily on home form for results.
The young forward gets his chance due to Marquinho's abscence, a big task but names are made on responsibility unexpectedly thrust upon a mans shoulders.
Nothing to compare, Guimaraes finished 3rd last season at home, Pompey qualified through the cup, we have played each other, er, never!
John Pace (L-O-S)
A rampant crowd will surely roar Pompey on in front of 5's cameras tomorrow, so surely, surely a Pompey win?
Back down to the nitty-gritty with a trip to the richest Premiership club, no, not Chelsea the other one
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Date:Wednesday September 17 2008
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