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Arsenal 3 - Pompey 1

The Emirates

Sun 02-09-07, 1.30pm

Attendance: 60114

Arsenal 3-1 Pompey

Could Pompey build on the performance that they showed against Chelsea a week prior when they went to Arsenal today, pre match there was a positive vibe, but when the teams were announced to be honest I lost some of that myself.

David James, Lauren, Hermann Hreidarsson, Sean Davis, Sulley Muntari, Matty Taylor and Kanu all returned after being rested for the league cup-tie and Glen Johnson came in for his second Pompey debut, having re-signed on Friday. However Sol Campbell missed out with 'a slight knock' - does he have something in his contract or something that means he cannot face Arsenal.

Only Noe Pamarot, Sylvain Distin and John Utaka retained their places from midweek, as Jamie Ashdown, Martin Cranie, Djimi Traore, Benjani, Richard Hughes, David Nugent, Pedro Mendes and Niko Kranjcar all dropped out, the latter four to the bench along with Ashdown.

Arsenal were a classy act, but Pompey were overall poor, defensively all over the place, with the midfield lacking any kind of spark. Goals from Emmanuel Adebayor - from the spot, Cesc Fabregas and Tomas Rosicky, the third coming after Phillipe Senderos had been sent off. Kanu scored for Pompey but 3-1 was the least Arsenal deserved.

The Match
Pompey won an early corner after John Utaka had seen his shot deflected over, then Lauren headed over after a bright opening.

Arsenal were soon ahead, the message would have been 'keep it tight', but being breached so early always left this an uphill task, it is even harder if you do not play well, which we did not overall. Sloppy play at the back when we refused to clear it eventually saw Lauren's attempted pass ricochet to Robin Van Persie who broke into the box. Feeling he had no other option David James flew out of the traps to dive at his feet, but could only bring down the Dutchman, the referee had little option but to award a clear penalty. Emmanuel Adebayor stepped up and made not mistake as he sent James the wrong way, 1-0 Arsenal on 7 minutes.

Arsenal could, and possibly should have had a second soon after as a ball into the six yard box saw both James and Adebayor miss it and we escaped, then Cesc Fabregas had a pop from range, but it was straight at James and he saved well.

It was starting as a good open game but Pompey were conceding possession far too easily and giving Arsenal far too much space.

Arsenal put on the pressure and the danger that had been coming, particularly from the wide areas with both Pompey fullbacks having problems, brought Arsenal a second goal. Having won a corner Gilberto Silva was picked out, his header hit Sean Davisand fell to Fabregas who showed poachers instinct to tap into the empty net on 35 minutes.

An uphill task had become a mountainous one.

I do not know what has happened to our defence, but what was thought to be our strongest area has been anything but so far this season and was looking very shaky in the 1st half here today.

Something had to give and Harry Redknapp decided changes were needed at half time so on came Pedro Mendes and Niko Kranjcar for Lauren and Hermann Hreidarsson, who although I do not like to single out people he is not looking like the man to solve the left back problems, this area is still a very weak area for us in my honest opinion.

We were undone again early in the 2nd half on another corner, but for a good save from James it would have been 3-0 as Phillipe Senderos was given a free header. James parried away well and Kanu completed the clearance as the Arsenal attackers converged.

Almost immediately after his chance Senderos was sent off. With Kanu looking like being through he was pulled back and the referee had little hesitation in sending him off after 49 minutes.

From the resulting free kick Utaka was denied by a strange save from Manuel Almunia but he only parried into the six yard box, with the goal gaping Sean Davis should have scored, but with him seeming to have lost the ability to score he blasted over the open goal.

There seemed a little more belief from Pompey at this point and a second goal almost came, well maybe it could have come. Distin surged out of defence passing to the otherwise quiet Sulley Muntari who picked out a fine ball into the box to Kanu, but his control let him down.

Although they did not seem like they had 10 men, as they did, Arsenal were 3-0 up on 58 minutes when some shockingly slack defending gifted Arsenal a goal. A quickly taken free kick saw Utaka with his back to the play and Mendes looking god only knows where and Tomas Rosicky was picked out in the area, shooting through Glen Johnson's legs for a simple, yet completely avoidable goal.

Instantly Pompey had a goal back. The luckiest goal that we will score all season came from Kanu. He had been trying to control Utaka's pass but somehow a ricochet off one leg to the other saw him score, 3-1 on 59 minutes could there be hope?

Straight after this goal David Nugent was thrown on in place of Davis - his miss was looking even more costly now.

Had a Pompey striker gambled we could have been right back in the game on 70 minutes. Matty Taylor put in a brilliant cross shot that was only needing a touch, which it did not get, right after this Arsenal should have scored again. A mere six yards out with a free header sub Abou Diaby - who had all the time in the world with the defence AWOL again - could only head wide.

With the Arsenal defence backing off, Johnson given time. He continued moving forward and he got closer to the area before forcing a good save from Almunia, when it came back to him again poor control let him down and the chance was gone.

Arsenal were always comfortable, with them always looking threatening on the break.

A quickly taken free kick brought Pompey another chance, but Utaka's effort was comfortably saved by Almunia, with him also saving comfortably from Pedro Mendes in the final 10 minutes.

Johnson did what he does best, when another attacking run picked out Nugent, maybe he took too long but he still got a shot in which was blocked by Kolo Toure for a corner.

As time ticked away Pompey were beaten, finishing like a beaten side too, with the final chance coming to Diaby, who shot over from distance.

Match Summary
After the Chelsea match I thought we might have turned the corner, we might actually look like a side that could compete against the best even when away from Fratton, but today we looked completely unorganised virtually right through the side and were completely void of and real ideas.

I do not want to do Arsenal a discredit, as they were fantastic and deserved to win, arguably 3-1 flattered us, but we made it easy for them. We had chances, but few were genuinely threatening chances, with Arsenal rarely stretched.

Arsenal played most of the second half with 10 men, but it did not make a blind bit of difference, you would not have known if you did not count up the players had you missed Phillipe Senderos' sending off whilst returning from a half time pie!

The defence was an absolute shambles, we were all over the place with only Sylvain Distin only to come out of this with credit in the back line. The midfield was virtually non-existent for most of the match and had little or no creative ideas.

This caps what has been an overall bitterly disappointing 3 days or so - it also shows that we still have a lot of work to do. It is early days, but if we want to get into the uefa cup this season we need to buck our ideas up.

Liverpool look like a formidable side, so Fortress Fratton or not we will need to play a lot better than this or we will be facing another defeat in a couple of weeks time.

PLAY UP POMPEY!

Goals
Arsenal 3 - Emmanuel Adebayor 7 (penalty), Cesc Fabregas 35, Tomas Rosicky 58
Pompey 1 - Kanu 59

David James
Glen Johnson
Noe Pamarot
Sylvain Distin
Hermann Hreidarsson (Niko Kranjcar 45)
Lauren (Pedro Mendes)
Sulley Muntari
Sean Davis (David Nugent 60)
Matty Taylor
John Utaka
Kanu


Substitutes Not Used
Jamie Ashdown
Richard Hughes


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The Journalist

Writer: pompeyrug Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday September 2 2007

Time: 5:02PM

Your Comments

The best team won today, pompey deserved what we got from the game...nothing! On this display we will struggle, so a much improved performance is req'd. Hope this doesnt persuade HR to revert back to one up front.
pompey4me
we basically played 1 up front anyway for most of this match didnt we? yep, i agree mate without doubt the best team won, arsenal won at a canter. arsenal deserve credit as they carved us open at will and looked so comfortable but we made it easy for them though didnt we...
pompeyrug
Yep, and what is up with sol?? Hasnt featured in many of the games against the 'big' teams.
pompey4me
he picked up a mysterious 'slight knock' i said to someone here that it must be in his bloody contract that he cannot play against arsenal - as he is always 'injured' when we play them... i dont know what the problem is but the thought is he will miss the england games, so my thinking is his chances of playing for england again are slipping away anyway.
pompeyrug
pompey fans rock! Everytime we meet your one of the only teams fans who are intelligent, honest and not stupidly biased and this article also shows it. I enjoy these fixtures every year. Was an exciting end to end game either way. Hopefully you can get europe this year!
smokin
we tell it as it is mate - arsenal won and deserved to, i also tell it as it is with the articles i write and called it how i saw it... i hope we can get into europe this season, but we need to improve, there is along wat to go tho so it is not 'all over' after 5 games. as for arsenal, i had written them off as genuine title contenders, but from what i have seen recently if they can kep up their start they will be right in there come may - as will liverpool...
pompeyrug
Blimey we were awful today and more perfmances like this will mean long and difficult season. As I said in my posts earlier this week Glen Johnson is absolutely useless.
bluedr
he looked lively at times coming forward but defensively it makes me want to come out of retirement... my old man is not a fan of johnson, he called him everyname under the sun today, all of which basically sumed up his distaine for the fella. in fairness to him tho the whole denfence looked terible, distin aside. ive given him alittle go, but im not taken by hermann at left back so far either tbh...
pompeyrug
I'm glad certain pompey fan's aspirations and slight boastful predictions about getting something from the match have been given a dose of reality. I repeat - Arsenal are a decent team, but they won't win the league. Pompey are a decent team, but they shouldn't beat Arsenal. Now if the pompey team matched the pompey fans.. Oh and Utaka looks another good rednappi signing.
-Kha0z-
I went on the Arsenal site last night, they all agree that Lauren is a right back not a midfielder, Kanu was very quiet today, his goal was a total fluke, Muntari faded after his knock, but in all honesty if you can't keep the ball for more tham 3 passes you will get nothing, Arsenal dominated possesion wuth 10 men!
paultsmouth
-Kha0z- mate these predictions were not boastful, i honestly beleived that we could get a win, even at the emirates ... we were poor today, had we played well, defended well and keep possession - instead of constantly giving it away - then maybe we might have. not trying to give arsenal a discredit, they were superb today but we were shocking.
pompeyrug
tbh mate everyone was quiet werent they on the whole - i could not believe how non-existent the midfield was and how shocking our defending was, the defending for the 3rd goal was unbelievable...
pompeyrug
for a team with a supposidly good defence, and midfield, it seemed like they all decided to have a rest today, in order to be fully fit for the liverpool game ;-). Kha0z - there is no reason why pompey couldnt beat arsnal, and lets face it, we aint ever going to predict that we will loose will we? either way, PLAY UP ARSNAL...oooops, i mean PLAY UP POMPEY!!!!
pompeycarpet
Technically speaking, we were b0ll0x. My fears of Lauren/Johnson as a defensive/midfield pairing were sadly abused by a classy Arsenal. Still not convinced with Davis, all puff & little else. The only one who came out of the game with creit was Distin. We missed GON all action running & hustle.
storagematt
Alright, lads, I'm not here to gloat or anything, I just wanted to show some appreciation. As someone else said you're very good fans; the support is unbelievable and you say it as it is. If I'm honest, you've got a decent squad down there, a few quality players. Utaka gave Clichy a run for his money and Kanu, well he was a gooner... Good luck for the rest of the season, oh and I'm sure the draw against United'll do us a favour in the long haul ;)
super_gooner
Rhymes with plank. We were awful today, too slow in our decision making and never looked a genuine threat. We haven't got an out and out goalscorer and until we do we'll be on the fringes. Someone has to lift Nugent's head. He's plodding along like a headless chicken. Full marks to the goons though.
stillthewhizz
Why so bad at the back all of a sudden? Is it because Tony Adams is not working at the club full time now?(sure i heard that somewhere) Why could we not keep the ball? and Johnson did nothing to change my mind.....crap and bollox all today, only Distin emerged with any credit in my book.
pompey4me
I thought Distin was brilliant. Kept van Persie quiet, but if I'm honest if Adebayor wasn't so wasteful it could have been many more. Not impressed with many of your new players, are ya? Still, chin up, you've got a decent shout for a European spot.
super_gooner
distin was awesome, he was virtually the only member of the defence and midfield, yep, he had to almost run the midfield and bring it forward too as no one else was doing jack... 'arry has praised johnson since the game - why? the full back areas are looking incrediable unstable, sorry to write him off so soon, but hermann isnt good enough. i worried about dejan's ability, but hermann isnt much better... the sooner optimus is back the better, i would be really tempted to pul sol, distin and optimus all in if i was 'arry even if it means playing one in a less favoured position as a fullback - distin left or optimus right.
pompeyrug
thanks super_gooner and all the other gooners for that matter, good luck this season - you wont need in :) tbh mate most of us knew what we were getting with johnson when he came back, he has alot to do to change alot of people's minds, clearly he will get a chance but needs to show alot more than he did for alot of his loan last season and his showing today - granted all, bar distin, were bad. we'll be back, but im just glad we face liverpool at the fortress next time round...
pompeyrug
Hey, i can kick with my left, how about giving me a go??lol
pompey4me
To be fair to Johnson he didn't have a bad game but it was his indecisiveness that led to the penalty. Distin by far our best player today then Johnson.
stillthewhizz
Agree with the distin bit, but i thought Utaka looked bright, maybe it's his pace that makes him look so good, apart from that, i thought they should all think hard when picking up those wages this week!!
pompey4me
So Harry's playing Johnson at RB and Lauren in midfield? I see where the problem lies mate ;) This is biased obviously, but Lauren's class. I don't think your defence is very strong at all, but I think Pompey are very underrated, a good, strong and technically good midfield. Muntari sounds a like a player in the making, Utaka's looked very good from what I've seen, Diop's just a giant and there's more as well. But as I say always a pleasure to play you lot, especially when it's as easy as it was today ;)
super_gooner
if it is as easy at the fortress when we meet again i'll be miffed - more so than i am now :) utaka is a classy player and he did look threatening again but gael clichy was a different class. who needs ashley cole when you have him - he can attack like cole, but unlike cole he can also defend... the only time clichy got caught out was for our goal. do you reckon wenger would let us borrow him, he may 'just about' get in ahead of the herminator...
pompeyrug
Yep super_gooner, a bad day at the office for us pompey fans. Strangely enogh, our defence was the strong point last year, but for one reason or another, this year we look shakey at the back, think it is because Sol has been a bit of a sicknote, and Linvoy has been injured so far, and they were the main stay of the defence last season.
pompey4me
Absolute rubbish, all the way to London to see that, it was heartless and gutless and the team should take a long hard look at themselves. Outplayed by a brilliant exhibition of passing football, we received a lesson from Arsenal even when they went down to 10 men. Matty you will not score from 30 - 40 yards every game,Sean Davis was awful as was Kanu. Niko gave us nothing and David Nugent has lost the little confidence he had. The decision to play Lauren in midfield was a terrible one and Herman was lost against the pace of the Arsenal attack. Glen Johnson, John Utaka and the outstanding Sylvain Distin were the only ones to emerge with any pride from this. Bring on Liverpool !!
Owenspompey
Well you've got a lot to look forward to, that's IMO the 3 biggest teams in the county out the way for ya (I know the Scouse are top, but they're no match for us). Pick up some points against some of the lesser teams and you're in a good position. As you said once you've got Sol and Primus back the defence will be more solid and that can only be a good thing. I better stop complimenting you, or I'll sound like a Pompey fan...
super_gooner
carry on mate, everyone is a pompey fan at heart :) my kid bro was seduced by the gooners as a nipper and has stayed with them. out of 4 kids, 3 boys 1 girl only he has taken a route other than pompey - but im glad it was arsenal as opposed to united or liverpool tho! so with that in mind because of him im not ashamed to say i clearly show an interest in arsenal, as much as you can have 'a 2nd team' arsenal would be mine...
pompeyrug
Owenspompey did you really think johnson had that good a game? i thought he was as poor as most others, but maybe my judgement is clouded on him - it could be that i am not giving him a chance, which i should and i will.
pompeyrug
Yeah I kinda consider Pompey "a 2nd team", I mean I know there was the Pires dive but there's always been a good reception and that between the two clubs. Take Henry for example. That night where every Pompey fan gave him a standing ovation. I don't remember anybody else doing that to any of our players and I've seen Thierry perform better. Plus its quite fascinating to hear the fans, simply the best. Wish ours were a bit better. Apart from when the goals went in we were outsung. Bit embarassing really. Did anyone go today, or last season? If not, go next year, such an astonishing stadium... apart from the 5 hotdogs
super_gooner
same comments i said after the chelski match:- we conceed every match, we are always 1-0 down before we start playing the game... first rule of football! dont conceed! we wont make europe and i stand behind my prediction of 10th-16th... too many changes and crucial characters gone, the team arent binding well atm. give it time and get rid of big teams and maybe some points will come our way! wheres benji?!
spoiler
benji was injured, apparently
pompey4me
we have time to lck our wounds nowbefore our season starts in earnest. Most teams wont get anything against thwe top 4 - and unless we can get a win against liverpool, it will be a disopointment for us - but no matter, we can still improve. Once nuggent scores against liverpool, and we knock them off fro there dizzying heights then we can expect the best of him. GJ looked good on MoTD - he played well attacking, and no obvious mistakes at the back. As i keep saying, he is better than any left back we have, so why complain. Lauren really should have moved into right back, and i would have preffered dimji to play rather than herman, who looks awful so far. Muntari is looking something special in the middle, and utaka is at his best wide right. I just cant wait for primus to be fit again, and maybe THEN we can start defending properly!
pompeycarpet
Super_gooner - Your hot dogs are over priced and over rated, your stadium and team though are not ...... Its a shame gooners are so quiet especially when you see such talent on display week in week out - I just cant imagine (altough would love to) 60 thousand Pompey fans in a stadium like yours ..... We' take the roof off (even 3-1 down) Good luck for rest of the season (top 4 def) and hope you crack the champions league
Chix
Johnson is getting slated for the penalty, did anyone notice we actually won the ball back after his error? Utaka was the man caught in possesion
paultsmouth
tbh i may be slating johnson, maybe unfairly, but not for the penalty... wasnt it lauren caught in possession - his attempted final clearance hit an arsenal player and bounced into the area didnt it?
pompeyrug
its because a lot of of die hard gooners like myself have been shafted by the club,i was clockend through n through,sung my heart out home n away.....when it was time to allocate us our new seats the south stand,which was the most vocal,was relocated last out of the whole stadium,which meant that the clockend gooners were left with the smallest choice of seats.so that if you didnt get into the north lower with the red action,you ended stuck in the upper tier,as the south stand lower was not available for season tickets holders,being in the upper tier though it has great views,is 90% non singing,its full with the old west n east upper gents who just want to watch the game....being told to sit down all the time,and singing by yourself is just no fun.
fran merida
I thought matty taylor was absolute rubbish. Kranjcar did well when he came on, threaded that great pass for Kanu which drew the red card. Nugent was just a bit too slow on the ball. But silly mistakes, in attack and defence
ausoccer
Cheers, Chix, I think we can go a long way this season. We've been written off by all the "pundits and experts" and I really don't see why. We've been excellent so far without Henry, haven't missed him at all. Cesc keeps getting better, Rosicky was outstanding today, the defence is solid and once RvP gets a well-earned rest, he'll get back to banging 'em in. It's good to get some honest feedback from oppo fans, too. I feel this quality of football is becoming more and more regular, we're turning in performances like this every week, but maybe not getting the result we deserve, only to get slated by the media. And, is Matty Taylor really all that? I mean I know he gets the odd screamer from distance but has he really got the quality, and is he good enough to play for the, ahem, mighty England?
super_gooner
in my own opinon - matty taylor was fantastic when we won the division one title, for along time after that he struggled with injuries and couldnt really get back in the team. we he did he lacked consistancy. tbh i thought last season saw him getting back to his best, he was playing regularly and performing consistently as well as socring screamers for fun! this season has been difficult for him, so far he has not been playing consistently, its been a bit stop start, but given a run - which i worry he wont get - he will show that form again and is good enough for england i reckon...
pompeyrug
Traore is a left back, so play him there dont keep putting Hermanin there as he is not that quick or give Crainie a go, but we need to have Full backs at Fullback and midfielders in midfield not Lauren, Matty and Herman doing their best.
Owenspompey
when needs must you play people our of position dont you but no matter what bollox 'arry comes out with about 'being down to the bare bones' we are not down to the bare bones to the extent he would make us think are we, so completely agree mate play players where they should play, dont just put them in to accomodate them because you dont want to leave them out!
pompeyrug
Owenspompey, I agree. Lets hope we don't have a manager who is going to accomodate players just to please them ! Will be interesting this season, as we do have depth in our squad so selection will be an issue. Sometimes it is easier when you only have 11 to pick from.
L L Blue
 

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