Date:Saturday January 7 2012
Not so long ago, a standard premier league fixture, now the teams are poles apart.
The cup is supposed to be a great leveller though, we shall see.
Pompey have been written off in some quarters already, I read on one Chelsea site headlines like 'a big win needed to boost morale' and 'another FA cup win looks likely', I couldn't help but think Pompey may as well not turn up!
Pompey have their problems of course, mainly financial, team spirit is no concern whatsoever though, Appleton has bonded the team well and displays are on the up.
The same cannot be said for Chelsea however, cash flow is second to none, but the senior players seem to be at ones with their young manager, the very public display when Ramires scored midweek was quite frankly embarassing, it all points to papering over cracks.
Most will remember that this is a replay of the 2010 cup final, a torrent of water has passed under the bridge since then, Pompey are unrecognisable from that team, even further so from the team that triumphed a mere 4 years back.
Chelsea are without Drogba and Kalou who have both flown out to Africa, also a doubt is John Terry, he always seems to make a miraculous recovery though.
Having a great season so far, with Drogba away, he will be the main man even ahead of Torres.
Pompey will have no Mattock as we wait for his return on Monday, Joel Ward and Halford will boost the squad though after serving their bans, Varney and Rocha still looking like coming up short in their fitness battles.
Hermann Hreidarsson may well make the team at left back, Appleton is very much a man for playing players in their positions, as a left footer this may be his way back with no other natural options.
Taking like a duck to water in the second level, premiership defences are different however, but Chelsea are a little suspect ijn the air at the back.
1-0 at Wembley last time we met of course, the last time we had any success was before the Beatles though.
West Ham at Fratton next week
Date:Saturday January 7 2012
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