Pompey 0-0 Arsenal
Wed 26-12-07, 7.45pm
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.
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.
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.
PLAY UP POMPEY!
Benjani (John Utaka 81)
Papa Bouba Diop
Niko Kranjcar (Matty Taylor 76)
Substitutes Not Used
To join the Vital Pompey debate - in the forum or with comments on articles - simply take a few seconds to register an account.