Pompey draw another blank
Attendance: 20,000 and something
Pompey came up another stubborn rearguard at Fratton once again, and although we kept another clean sheet, the feeling was reciprocated at the other end once more.
Clean sheets are lovely when you are sleeping in them, but beside the 11 goal glut against Reading, that is now 4 blanks in front of Pompeys home fans. Normally this would be cause for concern, but electric away form counters this feeling somewhat.
Everton came with the same intentions as West ham, Man City and just about 80% of the rest of the Premiership will, stifle Pompey and make Pompey do the breaking down.
While our successful 4-5-1 formation is tailor made for away games, where the onus is on the home side to push forward, it is starting to look predictable at home.
Pompey were forced into 1 change this afternoon, Sean Davis missing out and Pedro Mendes taking the centre berth. Kanu returned to the bench, and Matt Taylors hiatus from the side continued.
The match looked deemed to be a scrappy affair from the off, where the last couple of games looked more likely for goals, this one had the look of a nil-niller all the way. Everton were happy to defend, that was clear, but did Pompey have the nous to break them down? Yobo and Lescott gave the kind of close defending on Benjani that could have led to claims of sexual harrassment from the African, but referee Walton was happy enough for it. Kranjcar was Pompeys main architect, his flicks and turns were testament to a man in fine form, but clear cut chances were few and far between. Papa Diop should really have got off the mark with a header, but he could get nothing on Muntari's free kick with the goal gaping, while Muntari went close with a drive and free kick which Howard did well to tip over.
The second-half led to a similar pattern, Kranjcar prodded wide when well placed, sub Kanu blasted one wide and Muntari summed it up with a shot which nearly spun back to the half way line!
As for Everton they had only Arteta's free-kick straight into James' hands to show for their efforts, Yakubu looked disinterested and Johnson did a fair impersonation of Craig Bellamy, when tackled he fell over, and when James plucked a cross out of the air he tried to start a fight! Pienaar will be glad of Referee Waltons Christmas spirit, his tug on Utakas shirt would normally have meant red.