Vital Football

Pompey 0-0 Arsenal

0 - 0

Fortress Fratton

Wed 26-12-07, 7.45pm

Attendance: 20556


After two straight defeats we looked to halt the slide, but we could have had an easier opponent than Arsenal, even at home - but even so we managed to keep them out to draw 0-0.

Sean Davis was still unfit and his replacement Pedro Mendes missed out through illness, so Richard Hughes came in for a rare start. Glen Johnson also had to sit this out through injury so in came Lauren. The final change saw the recently ineffective John Utaka drop to the bench with Kanu coming in for him, still we retained the 4-5-1.

It was a game of few real clear cut chances but a much improved performance saw us gain a hard earned point, which although Arsenal had some chances arguably Benjani had the best chance.

The Match
An early Arsenal break saw Emmanuel Eboue send in a cross that just evaded Cesc Fabregas' head, but the opening half an hour or so was even.

Niko Kranjcar went close, turning onto his left foot before shooting just wide.

The first real Arsenal chance of the half came near the end of it as Tomas Rosicky curled an effort towards the top corner, but this was safely claimed by David James.

Early in the 2nd half a Pompey break saw Benjani come down the right and with a pull back also an option he took on the shot which Manuel Almunia saved, Papa Bouba Diop then tested Almunia - but again he saved comfortably.

When presented with a glorious opportunity Emanuel Adebayor volleyed wide - but the flag was already up for offside anyway.

Once again Kranjcar threatened the Arsenal goal, twisting and turning before getting a shot away that was comfortably saved again by Almunia.

The best chance of the game then came for us. Cleaver play from Kanu saw him play a fantastic ball to put Benjani clean through. He tried to go around Almunia, which he did but he could not get to the ball and the chance passed. Our first change followed soon after as Matty Taylor came on for Kranjcar.

Again Rosicky went close, working a chance in the box before shooting wide - then our second change came as Benjani came off for John Utaka.

With only 2 minutes to go William Gallas should have won the game. Fabregas' miss hit shot came to Gallas who put over from 6 yards - and in injury time Rosicky went very close, shooting just wide from within the area.

Match Summary
Another goalless return at home from Pompey was against frustrating, but it is hard to be unhappy with this point here to be honest - and if we were honest we would have taken this before the game.

We would all like to see a 4-4-2 at home, but what we did tonight worked very well, we were well organised, hard working and got what we deserved - but a win over Boro at the weekend is a must...

Richard Hughes came in for a rare start, but he was fantastic and on this evidence if Harry Redknapp does persist with his 5 men in midfield against Boro then he has done more than enough to warrant keeping his place as the holding midfielder.


Pompey 0
Arsenal 0

David James
Sol Campbell
Sylvain Distin
Hermann Hreidarsson
Benjani (John Utaka 81)
Papa Bouba Diop
Richard Hughes
Sulley Muntari
Niko Kranjcar (Matty Taylor 76)

Substitutes Not Used
Asmir Begovic
Djimi Traore
Dave Nugent

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Date:Wednesday December 26 2007
Time: 11:17PM

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thought hughes was very good, glad utaka was finally dropped. : ), looks like santa didnt bring me the perfect christmas, no 3 points, and no 4 -4- 2?
26/12/2007 23:44:00
one point that TRULEY concerns me is what Arsne wenger said about our "tactics" - "and in the end they got the maximum they could from this kind of game." Does this suggest we can only hope to ever draw with them? that we are a lowley team, unable to compete with the likes of them, man u, etc? He should remember that Man U also drew with us at fratton, as did liverpool - who viewed it as a point gained not lost.
26/12/2007 23:44:00
oh, and has he not been paying atention to the fact that we have ALWAYS played 3 defensive midfielders in the centre of midfield, and that it was not just against them that we did? I think Arsnes rant was totaly unjustified...thought richard huges was great...
26/12/2007 23:46:00
Good atmos and good performance from Portsmouth FC today. I could go into a moan but I was happy with that. Early January moves and very important.
26/12/2007 23:50:00
As a connoiseur of 0-0 home draws, that ranks as the best performance this season.
26/12/2007 23:56:00
Hughesy excellent, as always. The atmosphere was back today, proves my point (i feel) that the crowd is up for it, and needs something back from the pitch, which is what happened today.
26/12/2007 23:58:00
A much better performance especially by those at the back pity we could not turn the solid platform and the possession into a goal. Hughsie was superb in his own way. Lets get some goals on Saturday against Boro.
27/12/2007 00:15:00
Hughes was mom for me, the bloke is a 7/10 every match, never more, never less, sheer consistency, he should have done enough to keep his spot, Diop must be close to another ban. Anyone notice Rosicky looks like Feargal Sharkey?
27/12/2007 09:36:00
Forgot to say how much better Lauren is as right back rather than midfield
27/12/2007 09:44:00
Well done to the lads, they dug in and held a good side to a draw, thought that Hughsey and Lauren played very well. Got home at 3 in the morning, but happy with the effort, we are a better side with Kanu arent we.
27/12/2007 10:27:00
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