Vital Football

Villa 1-3 Pompey

1 - 3

Villa Park

Sat 08-12-07, 12.45pm

Attendance: 35,790


Pompey travelled to Villa Park looking for a 6th straight - yep 6th straight! - away premier league win... and we got it 3-1.

The continued absence of Sean Davis through injury meant he missed out again so Pedro Mendes again filled in as Pompey were unchanged from last weeks draw with Everton, keeper Asmir Begovic was named on the subs bench though.

An early Craig Gardner own goal and a stunning Sulley Muntari goal in the 1st half was added to another scorcher from Muntari in the 2nd half, before a Gareth Barry penalty - but we did enough to win again on the road!

The Match
Villa started brightly enough but it was Pompey that took the early lead. Wilfred Bouma horribly sliced his clearance which fell kindly for Benjani, who took a touch and was about to pull the trigger when Craig Gardner stole the glory to tuck away, unfortunately for us this was into his own net…

Pompey were ahead but Villa had chances, firstly Gabriel Agbonlahor headed over and then came two spurned chances from Martin Laursen, which probably cost Villa. Firstly his headed was saved by David James then a free header, a header which he will not need me to tell him that he should have scored from was headed wide.

James made another fantastic save from Agbonlahor when his shot from the angle took a slight deflection and he stick out a leg to turn it away.

One minute there were appeals for a Villa penalty, the next Pompey were 2-0 up. A quick break eventually resulted in Sulley Muntari picking up the ball on the edge of the area and he curled into the corner giving Scott Carson no chance.

On the stroke of half time James was again at his very best, sticking out a strong hand to deny Agbonlahor when he was clean through.

Villa came out again pushing in the 2nd half but no real end product was to be had and then Muntari made it 3-0. Carson did not really clear very well but Nigel Reo-Coker dwelt on the ball in midfield and Muntari robbed him, he nutmeged Zat Knight then fired home from 30-yards, again giving Carson no chance.
The more Villa pushed on the more the gaps were left at the back and Pompey looked to exploit this.

Harry Redknapp's first change of the afternoon came shortly after the hour when Kanu came on for John Utaka, who once again it must be said had a very quiet day - maybe he is just not getting the ball enough?

Villa did keep pushing and finally their efforts were rewarded when Sylvain Distin gave away an unneeded penalty when he brought down Ashley Young. Villa captain Gareth Barry stepped up and rarely misses - he did not again today.

Further chances came to Patrik Berger but he shot over then Olof Mellberg sent a fine effort just wide, but I do think James had it covered.

Again Villa pushing on left gaps and Pompey kept exploiting this and one such break should have resulted in what would have been an excellent goal. A move involving Pedro Mendes, Papa Bouba Diop, Niko Kranjcar and Kanu eventually saw Mendes square to Bouba Diop he missed from around 4 yards with the goal at his mercy… I still do not quite know how he put it wide?

Matty Taylor got on for Kranjcar with a couple of minutes to go and Villa were only denied a second at the end when Agbonlahor beat James but not the frame of the goal, as it came back off the bar.

Match Summary
We went to Villa Park to do a job and we did this very well and on balance did deserve to win with Sulley Muntari's stunning goals being goals that were good enough to win any game!

Villa huffed and puffed but the end product was often lacking, whereas Pompey's was not.

It was cold, wet and I had to watch sat with the Villa fans - but the hospitality shown by my host was top class - but it was a cracking day and another 3 valuable points, and vitally 3 points against a team that could rival us for a European place come May?

Everyone played there part Glen Johnson was fantastic again, defensively he is getting better and better, as he again proved today keeping Ashley Young very quiet. David James made some fantastic saves again to show why he should be the England no.1.


Villa 1 - Gareth Barry 72
Pompey 3 - Craig Gardner 10 o.g, Sulley Muntari 40, 61

David James
Glen Johnson
Sol Campbell
Sylvain Distin
Noe Pamarot
John Utaka (Kanu 64)
Pedro Mendes
Sulley Muntari
Niko Kranjcar (Matty Taylor 88)
Papa Bouba Diop

Substitutes Not Used
Asmir Begovic
David Nugent
Hermann Hreidarsson

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Date:Saturday December 8 2007
Time: 9:03PM


At some point i'm going to wake up and realise just how good we've become!!!! oh my god i might just start believing. Krunchie, Muntari, Johnson, James...superb, in fact they all played their part... And the bloody ref! what was he doing??????
08/12/2007 22:00:00
If you go away and get 3 shots on target, you'll lose the majority of times. But we're getting the breaks and in the end I really couldn't care how we win as long as we win. I thought we were strong, pacey and resourceful. Bring on the Spuds, we're going to score at home!
08/12/2007 22:48:00
Fckin amazing. So proud to be 100% Pompey. I'm beaming inside & out. Another great result. Not sure what we did to get 5 bookings?
08/12/2007 22:58:00
the ref was a joke, he was awful in both the 1st and 2nd half... one of the stewards told the villa fan i was sitting with that at half time 'arry was livid at him and was letting him know so!
08/12/2007 23:00:00
it was a crackin' game, interesting experience having to sit in with the villa fans - saw myself on motd just a minute ago too! - but it as well worth it, bring on spurs indeed - i would love to win that game... we might have been alittle lucky to win 3-1 but we took our chances, villa didnt and could have had more as we broke several times didnt we, how bouba diop missed i dont know...
08/12/2007 23:01:00
Interesting discussion - Harry seems to be going through a bit of a tough time of late, yet Pompey are riding higher than ever. Do you think he'll hang his trackies up at the end of the year having taken us as far as he possibly can (realistically)? (I appreciate there's a long way still to go…)
09/12/2007 03:00:00
do i think harry will hang up his trackies at the end of the season? no chance. this is his one chance to prove that he can make it at the top, so why would he not take it??? How we didnt win by more, (papa...?) will be a mystery though...if only we could keep the ball better (giving it away needlesly a couple of times). had villa come out, and got on top of our players whenever we had the ball, they might have kept us quite, but they gave us too much space, particually on the counter attack - and every time we got the ball, we cut strait through there midfield, and it was only misfortune that stopped more goals. great effort, anfield awaits!!!
09/12/2007 10:22:00
'arry has a great chance to leave a legacy as a great manager, and not just a good manager should he achieve true greatness with pompey - which he has really already... but if he can break into a european place this season, which i will be disappointed if we dont there is no reason why we shouldnt go even higher... if we can get into the top 4 then his status will be assured and he can well and truely walk away from the games flipping 2 big fingers to those that doubted just how good a manager he is... we still have plenty of years left with 'arry at the helm - and im more than happy about this.
09/12/2007 12:47:00
Cracking result and considering the other results from today (Sunday) it cements us a little in 5th but if we beat Spurs next week and Liverpool fail to beat Manure then we will travel to Liverpool occupying 4th spot ...above Liverpool ........ bring it on !! - Im begining to think we can qualify for the champions league !!
09/12/2007 19:28:00
Not only were we second on MOTD but we got analysis as well. And Shearer was on, who is quite Pompey-friendly. Unheard of! Great times to be Pompey, lets enjoy it!
10/12/2007 09:39:00
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