Archive for May 4th, 2009

Pompey Review; Van Persie in tomorrow’s squad

Add comment May 4th, 2009

Bendtner climbs highest to head home the opener

Portsmouth 0 – 3 Arsenal (Bendtner 13, 40, Vela 56)
Highlights here; Arsene’s reaction here

It seems a little peverse to be talking about the Portsmouth game  when we are now actually closer to the United match than our last league fixture, but peverse is the shape of the hole I dug myself when failing to produce a comprehensive report yesterday.

The win at Pompey was an open game, and particularly entertaining for our travelling fans as we ran out 3-0 winners.  The side was much changed from the one that lined up at Old Trafford, with only three players retaining their places in the side.  Lukasz Fabianski came in between the posts, whilst the back four (from right to left) read Sagna, Song, Djourou, and Eboue.  Denilson and Ramsey patrolled central midfield, flanked by Theo Walcott and captain for the day Andrey Arshavin.  Upfront, Carlos Vela played just off Nicklas Bendtner.

Even by our standards, it was a young side, but from the kick-off they displayed bundles of attacking invention.  Whilst Nadir Belhadj and Peter Crouch spurned early chances for the some side, we made no such mistake, with Nicklas Bendtner heading us into an early lead.  Andrey Arshavin’s corner was headed straight back to him, and his lofted volley to the far post was met by the towering Dane.  David James ought to have kept it out, but failed, prompting ironic chants of “England’s Number 1” from the away end.

Before half-time it was two.  Arshavin danced into the penalty area, before being felled from behind by Sean Davis.  Replays suggested Davis had touched the ball, but a penalty was given – as much to Arshavin’s surprise as anyone else.  Whilst the decision did seem somewhat harsh, it’s worth noting that we were denied a stonewall penalty for a foul on Carlos Vela, and Arshavin also thought he ought to have had one earlier in the game.

Bendtner tucked the pen away for his fourteenth goal of the season.  It’s an impressive tally considering his age and limited opportunities, and worth noting that he now has only one Premier League goal fewer than Robin van Persie.

At half-time, Pompey introduced former favourite Kanu and John Utaka, with the latter’s pace causing us plenty of problems.  However, as with much of Utaka’s career in English football, he couldn’t apply the finishing touch to convert that threat into goals, and seconds after a glaring miss having gone through on-on-one with Fabianski, we had sealed the game with a third.  Andrey Arshavin’s cross-shot deflected out to Carlos Vela, who took two touches before firing into the corner for his first Premier League goal.

From that point on the game was a dead rubber, and we were even able to give run outs to Amaury Bischoff, Fran Merida, and Mark Randall.  Things went from bad to worse for Pompey, who had Noe Pamarot dismissed for hauling down Arshavin after a beautifully curled pass by the excellent Ramsey.

All in all, a good win which guarantees fourth place and keeps up the pressure on Chelsea ahead of our clash at the weekend.  And, indeed, improves morale ahead of tomorrow’s gigantic tie with Man U.  The good news on that front is that no injuries were picked up on the South Coast, and that Robin van Persie took part in training today and will almost certainly be available for selection.

A quick note on the latest takeover wranglings: Alisher Usmanov’s ‘Red & White’ have requested an investigation into the trading between Danny Fiszman and Stan Kroenke, essentially levelling the accusation that the two men have entered into a collaberative stakeholding, and as their combined stake totals over 30%, should thus be forced into an offer for the entire club.  Obviously I echo the AST’s call for working together to the benefit of the club rather than petty finger-pointing.

I know you can’t wait for the United game.  But really, it only seems at a distance because of our inherently flawed linnear perception of time.  The moment of kick-off is actually as real as this moment right now, or the one ten minutes ago.  it exists already in another dimension.  I hope that’s some consolation to you.

<ducks to avoid the many objects being thrown at him>

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