Vital Football

Pompey Get A Point

2 - 2

Emirates Stadium

Saturday 16-12-06, 3pm



Pompey's first visit to Arsenal's new home the Emirates Stadium ended with us going home with a point when it looked like we might have got three before then looking like we might even get none!

Having missed the victory over Everton last weekend Pedro Mendes returned to the Pompey midfield in place of Manuel Fernandes who dropped out of the squad completely and seems destined to exit Fratton Park with rumours mounting that we don't actually have the funds to sign him?

Kanu won his battle to be fit and took up his role as a lone forward; Benjani's injury ruled him out so David Thompson came in as part of the five man midfield.

A Noe Pamarot first half injury time goal put us ahead, with Matty Taylor, with another beauty putting us two up shortly after. An immediate impact by Arsenal substitute Emmanuel Adebayor brought Arsenal back into the game with Gilberto Silva levelling things two minutes later. Arsenal pushed for the win but we held firm as the game ended 2-2.

First Half
With the game only minutes old David James was called into action for Pompey, saving well with his feet from Robin Van Persie's header from close range before the ball was cleared to safety.

The match's real turning point came early in the second half but another key moment came as early as the sixth minute in my opinion. With Freddie Ljungberg injured his place was taken by Theo Walcott who caused Pompey problems all afternoon with his pace.

Pompey did have an early effort of our own, right-back Glen Johnson venturing forward tried to catch out Arsenal's goalkeeper Jens Lehmann with a drive, this however went safely into the Germans hands.

At the midway point of the first half James was called into action again, twice in fact in very quick succession. Cesc Fabregas' shot from just outside of the area appeared to deceive James slightly as he almost dived passed the ball but he managed to parry it away but it fell to the arriving Van Persie but James recovered to block his follow up.

Arsenal arguably controlled most of the first half but we stuck to our task well and remained in the game giving Kanu support up front when needed, David Thompson and Kanu himself both missing half chances.

With half-time almost upon us, in fact in the dying moments of injury time Pompey did the unthinkable to stun the Emirates crowd. Matty Taylor's free kick found the head of Thompson who will be disappointed not to have scored himself as his effort came back off the post but Noe Pamarot was quick to react and the former Spurs man headed into the empty net to give Pompey a half time lead.

With the pattern of results at the Emirates this season the only outcome was a 1-1 draw now, wasn't it?

Second Half
Pompey were quick out of the traps in the second half, not content with the one goal maybe beyond many's wildest dreams we found ourselves 2-0 up! Could we really become the first team to win at the Emirates? As Arsenal failed to clear the ball from their area it finally found its way to Taylor waiting on the edge of the penalty area and he expertly lifted a volley beyond Lehmann.

Efforts were then exchanged through Thompson and Alexander Hleb before Arsenal's most telling contribution saw the vastly improving yet highly underrated Emmanuel Adebayor come on for the ineffective Jeremie Aliadiere. His impact was almost immediate as he was maybe unfortunate not to have been awarded a penalty under a challenge from Johnson.

Minutes later Adebayor did what he was brought on to do, he scored. Walcott's pace saw him get away and his pull back found the arriving Adebayor who slammed home from 12-yards to bring Arsenal back into the game.

Two minutes later Arsenal were level! A stunning 40-yard drive from Kolo Toure was superbly saved by James, but his parry was only as a waiting Arsenal forward and try as we might we couldn't get it away. Walcott`s fortunate miss-hit fell to Gilberto and the Arsenal captain made no mistake.

With twenty minutes to play Harry Redknapp made his first change, Niko Kranjcar came on for Thompson.

Robin Van Persie pulled an effort wide, Walcott shot straight at James and Gilberto shot narrowly wide as the Arsenal pressure increased. Redknapp responded by making another change, the lone ranger Kanu, who had been getting support came off with Richard Hughes coming on.

Mathieu Flamini had one final chance for Arsenal in injury time but he drilled wide as we stood firm to claim a point and slightly alter the pattern of results at the Emirates, an away goal had previously resulted in a draw but a 1-1 draw.

Match Summary
Had any Pompey fan been told they would come away from Arsenal, be it at the Emirates Stadium or Highbury with a 2-2 draw they`d have bitten your hand off and anyone who tells you differently is a liar.

Having taken a two goal lead we must be disappointed not to have won but at the same time with the amount of chances Arsenal had and should have had a 2-2 draw was the least they deserved. We battled well and showed more attacking threat for periods of this game which was good to see.

We now go on a run of games over the next few months that are all winnable and why shouldn't we be looking to go through them all without defeat? It isn't until March that we next face one of the big four when Chelsea come to Fratton Park, remain undefeated or beaten minimally winning most, if not all home games and European football will be very much a possibility at Fratton Park next season.


Arsenal - Emmanuel Adebayor 58, Gilberto Silva 60
Pompey - Noe Pamarot 45, Matty Taylor 47

David James
Linvoy Primus
Noe Pamarot
Glen Johnson
Matty Taylor
Sol Campbell
Pedro Mendes
Gary O'Neil
Sean Davis
David Thompson (Niko Kranjcar 71)
Kanu (Richard Hughes 84)

Substitutes Not Used
Jamie Ashdown
Rodolph Douala
Andy O'Brien

Date:Saturday December 16 2006
Time: 5:29PM


Fantastic result. Well done boys you did us all proud.
16/12/2006 18:55:00
You should have won! What happened in those three minutes when they scored twice?
16/12/2006 20:09:00
I am very very happy with getting a point away to the gooners,...but..& their is always a but...what was the deal with the defending on the two goals??? First goal wasnt easy to defend cause of the pace of wonder kid & Adie, but I still think we should have cut that cross out. Sencond goal was a bit of a nightmare, did any one notice how we totally stood of the cross???. I am a bit gutted we didnt get all three, but they did have there fair share to put us away too. All in all a good performance! well done boys!
17/12/2006 09:11:00
O, & wasnt it nice to see how many chances we had, even with 1 up front! the midfield was outstanding!
17/12/2006 09:15:00
what a fantastic result!!!
17/12/2006 19:44:00
If we'd been offered 2-2 beforehand,we'd have taken it,no question. Well done lads,and what price Matty in the next England squad ???
17/12/2006 22:22:00
Proper game of 2 halfs match!! shame you couldn't of held on, but good result all the same!!
18/12/2006 12:10:00
Was a fantastic result, could have been so much better though. GJ stood and watched Adebayor as he got away for the goal, this was very disappointing you would have thought he would have done more. Had plenty of chances to close down/get the ball away for Gilberto's goal also, but we could have lost if they'd taken more chances. We did offer more in attack this time out though which ws great to see!
18/12/2006 12:42:00
Another good goal by Taylor
18/12/2006 18:08:00
Must be kicking yourselves for not closing out the game. Just shows you can't keep a top team quiet for too long. Another top performance though - well done!
18/12/2006 20:23:00
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