Pompey 1-1 Chelski
Sat 02-02-08, 3pm
We were blown away by United in the week, but we returned to home turf today hoping to retain our unbeaten home record against the 'big 4' so far this season - and we did getting a much deserved 1-1 draw.
Sylvain Distin - injury, Lauren and Benjani - transfer still up in the air all made way. In came Hermann Hreidarsson, Richard Hughes and Jermain Defoe - for his Pompey debut.
After falling behind to a Nicolas Anelka goal a debut goal from Jermain Defoe equalised to ensure that we got the point we deserved.
We started brightly, and Lassana Diarra who started the game fantastically again put in a fine ball to Milan Baros who took it first time, when he did not need to - but it was a promising start.
Chelsea then added some pressure with Michael Ballack and Joe Cole having chances that David James watched go wide.
However we were still ore than in the game and looked threatening with Niko Kranjcar showing some quick feet before getting a shot away that went wide, with Diarra trying his luck shortly after - but Petr Cech had both covered.
For over half an hour things were fairly even, but a foul by Noe Pamarot then gave Chelsea a free kick and a chance, but the wall did the job but only at the expense of a corner - from which Kranjcar headed Ballack's header off the line.
Shortly after this Baros did very well to show some fine skill and should have won Pompey a penalty with Juliano Belletti guilty of a handball, despite having a perfect view Howard Webb gave nothing... but a corner. From this corner Pamarot then struck the angle of post and bar with a header before coming out to safety.
A fantastic opportunity presented itself to us in the final 5 minutes of the half when Claude Makelele gave the ball away to Baros on the edge of his own area. A good run from the Czech striker gave him a chance but instead of taking a shot he kept going and the chance passed.
In injury time Nicolas Anelka got in behind the defence but James came out to meet him and got the save in, and Ashley Cole could only put the rebound from the far left edge of the area into the crowd.
Within minutes of the 2nd half getting underway Jermain Defoe weaved his way into the way but could not quite get a shot away as he was blocked out by their defence but the ball still fell for Baros but his shot was saved by Cech - but maybe Baros should have done better?
For a second time in the afternoon we had to clear an effort off, or away from the line when Hermann Hreidarsson, then after another call for a penalty was denied us Chelsea broke and despite the fact that at least 2 players, including the goalscorer, were offside - and the flag appeared to go up and then down - nothing was given and Anelka volleyed home Joe Cole's knockdown to give Chelsea the lead.
We got the equaliser that we deserved soon after when Baros flicked on and Defoe showed why we paid the money, calmly taking his chance to smash home a debut goal. James was again worked straight after but he was up to the task.
Midway through the 2nd half the first Pompey change was made when Sean Davis was taken off and Arnold Mvuemba came on, then Hreidarsson almost put us ahead with a header, which if on target would have surely been a goal.
End to end football saw Chelsea firstly have a chance to regain the lead, but James saved from Belletti and we then scrambled it away before Anelka could get a shot in then we broke away quickly but could not quite get a clear chance at goal.
We opened the Chelsea defence up when Mvuemba put through a fantastic pass and Defoe was away but Cech denied him a second goal, which probably he should have got, right after another fantastic ball - this time from Chelsea - from Ballack gave Shaun Wright-Phillips a great chance but he could not take it.
In the last minute Diarra again won the ball in the middle of the park and his skills eventually brought a chance for Defoe but he blazed over from the edge of the area, the 4 minutes of injury time were then signalled and in the first of these James saved from an Alex header.
Both sides were looking for the win in injury time again, and Defoe tried his luck again but could not hit the target but we still finally got a point from Chelsea.
I will get 'the bad' out of the way first, the ref Howard Webb was terrible today...
We were fantastic today in a superb game, with both sides looking for a win but finally we were able to get a point from Chelsea, and a point that we more than deserved.
Everyone of our players were fantastic today, and we have set standards that we have to maintain now, this is what we want to see at Fratton Park, and if we play like this against lesser sides we will no two ways about it win more often than not.
As I say we were all good but Lassana Diarra was once again 'the dogs nuts', as I was texted by russellm during the game 'we must achieve European football to keep him here next season'...
PLAY UP POMPEY!
Pompey 1 - Jermain Defoe 64
Chelski 1 - Nicolas Anelka 55
Sean Davis (Arnold Mvuemba 68)
Substitutes Not Used