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Pompey 0 - Arsenal 0

Fratton

Sun 13-05-07, 3pm

Attendance: 20188

Pompey 0-0 Arsenal

Arsenal were the last guests to Fratton this afternoon, victory was a must for Pompey and even that might not have been enough to earn a Uefa cup place. If I was confident of a Pompey win before the teams were announced - despite the quality Arsenal posses, I was even more confident after seeing their team, particularly their bench. It wasn't too be though and a performance generally lacking the spark and urgency you would have been expecting wasn't there and the game ended in a 0-0 draw.

Injuries to Sol Campbell and Lauren prevented them facing their former side with injuries also ruling out Dejan Stefanovic and Matty Taylor. Richard Hughes did return to face his former club though he replaced Lauren. Arsenal had former Pompey keeper Mart Poom in goal for them with a very youthful looking side, very, very much so on the bench.

Chances were at a premium for Pompey really but the one time we did break down the Arsenal back four to score through Niko Kranjcar the goal was very controversially ruled out for offside. In Graham Poll's final match as an official it was inevitable that their would be some controversy wasn't it! Prior to this David James saved a Julio Baptista penalty, with the Brazilian guilty of several other misses

First Half
We were looking for a bright opening and when Sean Davis had a go from the edge of the area early on from a well worked free kick it looked promising. Davis' effort had Mart Poom flying across his goal but was never really looking too threatening.

Arsenal very nearly took the lead themselves as Gael Clichy burst through. His effort deflected off Glen Johnson and looped up over David James but was brilliantly hooked away from beneath his own bar by Djimi Traore.

Shortly after Kanu had worked an opening before shooting wide Julio Baptista had his first chance of the game. The Brazilian got in but was denied brilliantly by James, diving down low with the ball somehow going over the bar to the other side from which the shot came in.

Pompey threatened the Arsenal goal again, or at least should have when Kanu's layoff found Niko Kranjcar but a poor first touch saw the chance get away. The Croatian still got in an effort but it was never troubling Poom.

Baptista's next chance should have seen him at least hit the target but with a free header - even if he did look suspiciously offside he headed wide, then came Poom's first save of the match. Again Kanu made space for himself before his shot from range was turned over by the former Pompey keeper.

With half time approaching Arsenal were gifted a chance. Emmanuel Eboue took on Abou Diaby's fine flick and as he burst through Linvoy Primus' mistimed challenge was a clear cut penalty. Up stepped Baptista but a well hit penalty was turned away by James.

Second Half
The second half got underway with a Pompey change, Lomana LuaLua came on with Benjani coming off, could the erratic LuaLua be the man to turn things for us?

In the first five minutes of the second half Arsenal had a couple of good chances, firstly another good Arsenal break saw Baptista in. A good first touch gave a clear shooting opportunity but James saves well then as Alexander Hleb got away from Gary O'Neil a poor finish denied him and end product.

As the Arsenal fans sang 'England's number one' to James a patient, good passing move eventually saw Traore's ball finding LuaLua offside, but he couldn't connect in any case. Then Kanu again tried his luck from range but a deflection made the save easier for Poom as he comfortably claimed.

On 64 minutes Pedro Mendes made his return from injury as he came on for Sean Davis, shortly after Justin Hoyte had the ball in the net for Arsenal but Baptista had long since been given offside.

With around 20 minutes to play we had won the match, or so we thought! LuaLua, unwilling to pass as I was screaming at him to do so proved why he wouldn't as he made himself some space before shooting. Poom saved well but Richard Hughes followed up - he really should have scored but credit must go to Poom as he reacted well to save again, but the ball still found its way to Kranjcar and he tucked home.

After quite delay the goal was eventually ruled out for offside but with the ball finding its way to Kranjcar via Philippe Senderos it shouldn't have been. It wasn't an easy call to make but it was the call that counted. 'Graham Poll, you're a f**king a**hole' soon reverberated around Fratton!

With just under 15 minutes to play the last Pompey change was made with Gary O'Neil limping off to be replaced by Arnold Mvuemba, but there was just no goal for Pompey. With pretty much the last kick of the game Pompey had one last chance with a free kick but Kranjcar's effort from Mendes' layoff that went horribly wide pretty much summed up the afternoon.

Match Summary
It has been a long season but the lack of urgency today pretty much summed up that the Uefa cup was realistically a bridge too far this season. Arsenal are a great side but with the young side they fielded - talented as they are this was a chance.

As it happens on this particular round of matches the wrongly disallowed goal today did cost us a place in next seasons Uefa Cup as results saw both Bolton and Reading fail to win, but looking at the bigger picture it is moments throughout the season that saw us miss out, especially since the turn of the year.

Nevertheless this has still been a fine season, to miss out is sad and whether a better chance will come around again for a while only time will tell, as three places - two more than usual due to the way the domestic cup's worked out, via the league will not come round all the time so a top 5 maybe 6 place is what we would normal need, or a cup win of course.

All in all we can't really complain too much, had we been told this time last year that we would be going into this game with a shot at the Uefa cup would many of us really have believed?

PLAY UP POMPEY!

Goals
Pompey 0
Arsenal 0

David James
Linvoy Primus
Noe Pamarot
Glen Johnson
Djimi Traore
Richard Hughes
Gary O'Neil (Arnold Mvuemba 76)
Niko Kranjcar
Sean Davis (Pedro Mendes 54)
Benjani (Lomana LuaLua 45)
Kanu


Substitutes Not Used
Jamie Ashdown
Andy O'Brien




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The Journalist

Writer: pompeyrug Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday May 13 2007

Time: 8:45PM

Your Comments

It wasn't to be was it... Today wasn't good enough really was it, lack of urgency and not a lot of spark... The disallowed goal did cost us the win and a place in the Uefa cup with the way others games went but our bollox away form has really cost and we only have ourselves to blame... All in all though, top 10 finish with only a handful of additions to last seasons sqaud is some improvement, I'm still proud... PLAY UP POMPEY! Next season will be the big test as we have to consolodate, if not improve - depending on who arrives...
pompeyrug
Excellent and spot on report pompeyrug, totally agree that our away form has been the main reason why we've not managed a higher position but I am mightily pleased and proud of what has been achieved this season - it was only a year ago that we were celebrating staying up, so we've done brilliantly this year.

Looking forward to next season but it has to be said that this one has now set new standards and ones that I hope we improve on.
TruePompeyBlue
Hmmm,Poll helping Arsenil AGAIN hey...??His performance at the Emir*****es for the North London derby on December 2nd was bent beyond belief.....!!He"ll buy a season ticket next year.........
chalky76
Pompey's Euro hopes were Poll-axed
paultsmouth
We lost Europe on our away travels in England. Still a great season, lots to be proud about. Let's hope we can build on this. Need to improve the team, just to stand still. Play Up pompet.
storagematt
All in all, the best season we've ever seen. just seen the game on MOTD. So, the goal was disallowed for offside, how come the linesmans flag didnt go up?? Poll is an awfull ref, luckily we wont be seeing him again! Why was it disallowed? Why did poll even approach the linesman? Must have been questioned by his beloved Arsenal! Thanks for the memories this year. ENGLANDS NO. 1, ENGLANDS ENGLANDS NO. 1!! Looking at today's team, Harry needs to get busy in the summer, Need much more strengh in depth at the back, and a YOUNG striker to score .....Bent looked good when Charlton came here.
pompey4me
Sorry paultsmouth but reality the is , as Storagematt, has it, "pompet" had too many poor performances against low / mediocre quality teams home and particularly away, and to often put out a team with players with indifferent attitudes. As the self appointed leader of the doom and gloomers (oh pompeypessimist where for art thou) i have to say we need someone who can teach harry to win away, i spent hundreds ( thousands if you budget beer tokens) travelling to away games this year and feel completely ripped off, by the team not the beer, i swear i wont do it EVER EVER again. We will never make that next step steveC is always on about unless we can win away. Krunchie came good, hope he stays, same of Mendes, Campbell, Lauren,GO'N Primus & Taylor. But Dej, should be coaching now & it was sad to see LuaLua taking the ball off his own team mate's shooting foot again. Kanu staying, is that good? Im not convinced. Viduka bagged another couple today so IF the daily mail has it right bring him on, he cant be worse or more inconsistent than what we have already... Was it a good season? well i think that depends on your attitude, is it better to have loved and lost? or do you think a taste of honey is worse than none at all? oooh look missus Cathay pacific have a deal on flights to hong kong.
russellm
did anyone see MOTD? I've seen a few replays and the ball comes off of Senderos, yet Motd have an angle which shows it might of hit Hughes, naturally they only show that one! Now big Sam has left Bolton it only leaves us for them to ignore
paultsmouth
Fair play, we can't just blame poll although the decision looked to be wrong. Like the other guys have said poor away form has done us and I think it was the watford game which we could point the finger at. We'll be back next year hopefully with a few additions and then the tough task starts. PUP
bluedr
I saw MOTD paultsmouth and have to say even by their standards the attention they paid to the 'goal' that wasn't was ******** terrible. How many times would we have seen, let alone heard about it if it were United, Chelsea, Arsenal et al... One replay and Alan Shearer's yes it was the right call were not enough. I saw the goal as it happened and dozens of replays later it still looks like it came off Senderos to me... Why was Poll disallowing it anyway, he wasn't the linesman was he, if he didn't put his flag up why is Poll putting ideas in his assistants head? But as I've said Poll isn't entirely to blame, we - the team, not fans - are over the season... Hughes should have scored with his effort really shouldn't he then we'd not be having this debate anywy, not that I'm blaming him...
pompeyrug
We'll be back... I see Hyypia is being linked along with Fowler, not spring chickens but Hyypia is much better than Distin and wouldn't cost much more, if anymore in wages. Fowler still has plenty to offer so him and/or Viduka would suit me fine...
pompeyrug
I would say our failure to qualify for the UEFA Cup is as much down to our formation when playing away, as much as it is our form. I know I've moaned about it all season but we have to be a little less cautious when playing away. I am very happy though to watch the relegation battle from a safe vantage point though. Long may it continue. Come on Derby, make my season!!
The Rabbi
Freddie Lundberg is coming to Portsmouth. Remember - this is where you heard it first. He is to rejoin other Arsenal Vets Cambell, Lauren and Kanu. Combined with James, Taylor, Mendes, Davies, Traore and Primus this is going to be a force to be reckoned with next year. I also hear we are likely to take Yakubu back to Fratton Park too, or is it Vaduka?? looks like an interesting transfer window ahead... BRING IT ON!!!!! Play Up Pompey!
Midge
Oh yes and as to ball coming off Hughes... Yes it looks like it did come off Hughes, but then if lifts after hitting Hughes's ankle and lifts before deflecting off of sandaros's knee. therefore, last man it hits before reaching Niko = Sandaros. Goal! Robbed! Typical!
Midge
generally agreed Rabbi, watching pompey away is quite depressing, although form has to be a part of it. In some ways the Poll thing was a double disaster, one we didnt get Europe, two we blame Poll and not the post chrimbo performances, any way there is one derby we should all look forward to winning and thats Derby County
russellm
i hope the Barton rumour is not true, unless the plan is to play him only against thatcher... or is to make sure he doesnt play against Pedro
russellm
Is Poll Having a Laugh???? He said at 43 he could carry on refereeing in the top flight for another six years, but he has walked away from the game saying he has become fed up with all the abuse that goes with being the number one official in English football. ????? Number 1 official??? full article = http://www.thisisguernsey.com/code/showsportarticle.pl?ArticleID=016402
Midge
ok so are away form hasn't been up to scratch this season, but we will be better placed to take the next step (as i put it) next season with more quality players added to the squad. Viduka though i don't think is the answer he's always been a player that scores a few goals in a row then disappears for weeks on end. He's not going to add anything we don't already have.
Steve C
How about Owen & defoe, with Kanu playing just behind them? Kanu holding up the ball, then putting through to two knippy forwards would be awsome! just an idea! :)
CharlieChimes
Owen & Defoe now somebody's being greedy. I would like to keep Kanu though as i think he's had a lot of unfair stick this season.
Steve C
sulley muntari is another supposed "done deal"
paultsmouth
Actually, after much thought, I agree with Steve C, we do need to keep hold of Kanu...







...after all, we will need someone to take the pish out of next season!
TruePompeyBlue
Just seen viduka having lunch in the shepherds crook.
The Rabbi
really now, I saw eto'o at the spinnaker
Lysimachus
Is Defoe on his way?? Must be true 'cos it's in the evening news!
pompey4me
and Muntari is in the Bold forester......so to speak
russellm
stevec, if you are right about Viduka, then you are right..... " he's always been a player that scores a few goals in a row then disappears for weeks on end. He's not going to add anything we don't already have" i agree completely SteveC we already have a player like that he is called Kanu. Viduka 19 goals, Kanu 12. perhapse we have Kanu up to Chrimbo then the Duks for the rest of the season. :-) I like Muntari rumour, I know our game is faster and fitness is more of an issue but i saw him in Italy three times and he was a class act.... also i read in London Evening standard that Pompey have made an enquiry re Defoe... the old rumour mill is grinding faster
russellm
Yeah, Ive seen Muntari a couple of times & he does look pretty good, could definatley do with his strenth & stamina in the middle! I dont think were going to get hold of someone like Defoe, im still a little bit sceptical about the cost. Still want Distin though, he would be a great aquisition. And whats this about Barton??!?!?!????....I dont care how good he is, I would rather eat my own head than have a ***** like that play for us!
CharlieChimes
Barton? No chance, pure speculation in the media, i'll bet anything he goes to everton
paultsmouth
Muntari got 9 yellows and 3 reds in the 06-07 season according to his Sky Sports file. It may be a miscalculation (it might be his discipline record over his 5 years at Udinese), otherwise that discipline is incredibly hazardous for one season, it's suprising he hasn't killed anyone in the Serie A at that rate (... well the fans handle that).
Lysimachus
If Joey barton signs for us after the stick he's been given by Pompey fans this season then he's a bigger**** than I gave him credit for. I'm quite pleased with Muntari, i think he's the sort of player we should be looking to sign. I also see we're linked with 3 trinidad and tobago internationals which could be interesting (to see where they end up on loan). I can't see Defoe signing but....
The Rabbi
Should have included a none of the above option in the poll. The only remote possibility i see is Fowler. As for Kanu he does hold the ball up well and i'm sure he'd have scored a few more goals had he been given the same quality of service in the 2nd half of the season as he was in the first. But Russellm i was making just that point that we already had players that could do that, i'd like to see us sign an out and out goal scorer maybe Eastwood or Nugent but HR doesn't seem keen to give anyone from the championship a chance. I'm going to stick my neck out now and say that if Benjani can start the season fit he will chip in with a good number of goals next season.
Steve C
Steve C, I feel that HR doesnt seem to give anyone a chance unless they are a proven premiership player, and that normally means old! The only exception to that is the magnificent Benjani.
pompey4me
brave man Steve C, brave man! Benji has looked a little more like a striker in the last half of this season. I think he just need to take a few more attempts on goal & he will score more! still love his work rate. I guess I have to agree with you guys, Kanu is worth having around, he is very good at holding up play & has a great eye for a pass, however, Im convinced he will not get more than 10 goals next season, bring in defoe, I would really like to see him at fratton!
CharlieChimes
I think at 12M Defoe is possibly out of our price range, i think benji could be a ten goal player, but we need more than that. SteveC i would love to see Nugent or Eastwood with us next season but do you feel it will happen? They are 300 years too young for a start. so if we cant afford JD ( by the way many spurs fans i work with consider him lazy) & Harry wont buy a striker under 300. We need a consistent striker which is why i like the Duka, he is also in the Opta / Actim top 4 pitch time against goals ratio and i am told accuracy of shots, Kanu doesnt even get in the top 10 of either. No mis calc Lysi, he is a tough player but the Italian league allows that in defenders only. He was also supposed to be frustrated at not getting the Pompey move last season. 7 yellows is average for our league as well (unless Poll was refing then it is about 47). and we should budget for at least 1 red per midfielder. i would love to see him play along side Mendes next season.... I guess it means Sean Davis is on his way.
russellm
I hope you will all join me in congratulating Derby county on beating scum. Not just keeping them down but raising their hopes right up to the bitter end then dashing them on penalties....
russellm
Sure will russellm! How the hell could I post earlier without mentioning it!! well done Derby, yet another season in the fizzy pop for Scum!!!! makes me feel all warm inside!
CharlieChimes
Massive big up to Derby, superb outcome! Tell you what though, this was Scum's best chance of getting back up but now they have missed out, chances are they will struggle next season as they will need to sell players to survive, their parachute payments are over and they are facing a huge loss in revenue.

Couldn't happen to a more deserving lot!
TruePompeyBlue
What a night that was. Still prefer the idea of them being down in the fizzy pop than in the prem, playing us. Leave them down there for years to come!! Hope this billionaire doesnt buy them tho.
pompey4me
thanks for holding arsenal for us!
richy23
My prediction for Benji is between 15 and 20 goals next season, he's starting to look like he's completely settled in now. the only thing thats held him back is he's been carrying an injury all season. if we can get him fit he's going to really cause teams problems next season.
Steve C
15 to 20??? I love the guy, but I really don't think hes capable of 15 to 20.I hope I'm wrong!!
CharlieChimes
Steve C, you been on the sherry again? I love Benji too, absolute must start for me, but he just aint got that many goals in him!
pompey4me
Tell you what guys, I'll have a 10 wager with CharlieChimes and pompey4me that Benjani will hit more than ten by the end of next season - what do you guys think?
TruePompeyBlue
You may as well count the rest of us in with CharlieChimes and pompey4me because we never turn down a free tenner.
Lysimachus
Sorry TPB, i will not bet against a pompey player, but i do hope he proves me wrong!
pompey4me
Yeah, im up 4 that! (-:! the loveble Benji got 6 this season if im right, 11 goals??........no chance! I sound like a right scummer!!!
CharlieChimes
ok if he doesn't get 15 or more next season i'll give a tenner to cancer research, if he does you can all do it instead.
Steve C
sounds like a great idea, can we get more people involved, maybe sign up somewhere on the site?
CharlieChimes
Actually, that sounds a far better idea - the only problem there is if he fails, the charity gets nothing.
TruePompeyBlue
I tell you what's a better idea - not depend on footballers to give money to charity.
Lysimachus
I'll have to think about it then, see how far i can stretch it, but i'm sure they'll be happy with any donations. Lsyimachus is right we shouldn't depend on footballers to decide our charitable donations but i saw it as an extra donation as an alternative to betting.
Steve C
daily mail has said distin is on his way "to win silverware" don't know where they get their info, but my last memory of silverware in the top-flight was 1950!!
paultsmouth
Did anyone go to the charity match? Songoo showed he has quite a few tricks in his locker not least of all a sublime Rainbow flick and a stepover that made Ronaldo's look rather understated.
Steve C
Maybe they mean the Hampshire Cup paultsmouth?
The Rabbi
Songoo does look a quick and talented player but Harry likes to ignore the young starlets and stick to the golden oldies. I do wish he would give some of these young guns a chance to chance every now and again. They need more than reserve footy, look at James Keene he never had a chance.
tommo3146
Tommo, that's something i've commented on before, HR doesnt play people who are not established stars already (Benji asside) remember Gary O'neil was sent on loan to cardiff when HR was here before, and it was Perrin of all people who brought him back. That said, just look at what he achieved for us this year, we do need to look to the future though.
pompey4me
U were lucky!
Goofle
Ta Goofy.
pompey4me
thats my one real concern with HR but it seems to be a Pompey related thing at west ham he brought through the likes of Lampard and Cole at s*** he played Walcot so i just hope that he gets over it too many Pompey youngsters have fallen by the wayside or gone on to good things with other clubs.
Steve C
In fairness pompey4me, HR did play GON throughout the 2002/03 season when we won the First Division and also featured in quite a few of the games during the first season in the Prem too.
TruePompeyBlue
Fair enough TPB, bow to your superior memory there, but it has to be siad that the youngsters dont seem to get a look in at pompey. True what Steve C said HR did it at West Ham, maybe it is to be looked at when the new training groud is set up. Distain and Muntari this week then, Lets hope Tithead Brumble stays away.
pompey4me
 

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