Portsmouth Preview: Must win this first of four games 30 December, 2009Posted by lasagnechef in Arsenal News.
We face a tricky visit to Fratton Park tonight to face bottom of the table Portsmouth – that sentence is a bit of a contradiction, but it’s true. Liverpool lost there in recent weeks and they aren’t as easy to beat as their table standing shows.
With Chelsea beating Fulham on Monday we need another three points here to keep up the pace. Man United host Wigan tonight and I’d be surprised if there was an upset there.
Our next four league games are Portsmouth away tonight, Bolton home, Everton home and then Bolton again, away. The next four after that are Villa away, United home, Chelsea away and Liverpool home. So you can see it is vital that we pick up as many points as possible from our next four so that we’re not reliant on wins against Villa, United, Chelsea and Liverpool. Of course we’d love to win all eight but that’s a bit of a long shot. We want to be in a position where we if we drop points against the big boys we’re not totally out of it.
If we win these next four league games we’ll be high on confidence and give ourselves the best chance. By mid-February we’ll have a good idea of where we might finish up come the end of May and it’s vital we go into that run on the best form possible by winning the next four games.
That starts tonight at Portsmouth. We’re without one or two but we’re going to have to deal with that – we’ll have no Fabregas to rescue us tonight. Wenger mentioned yesterday that Rosicky could return but I’m more confident of him playing on Sunday than tonight. Denilson and Fabregas as we know are out from the weekend so I think we could line up like this:
Sagna – Gallas – Vermaelen – Traore
Ramsey – Diaby
Nasri – Eduardo – Arshavin
I’d be quite surprised if it was anything other than that, the only other option I can think of is if Nasri came to where Ramsey is and we played Vela or someone with Arshavin and Eduardo.
I’m glad we still have Song tonight, with both Cesc and Denilson out that midfield would be looking very makeshift without him. We can also thank Diaby for his recent form – we need another top showing from him.
Tonight will mean a return to Fratton Park for Armand Traore. He’s actually been doing quite well in Gibbs and Clichy’s absence and I don’t think I’ve really mentioned him. He’s been very consistent and done his job well. I think I only noticed when Silvestre had to come in for him and how exposed we looked on that left side. He’ll be looking to impress tonight, I’m hoping for another good game from him.
Portsmouth have Jamie O’Hara suspended and David James has a calf problem so Asmir Begovic is expected to continue in goal. Pompey are known for their African stars but they’re lucky to have Kanu, Belhadj, Hassan Yebda, and Aruna Dindane all still available. It’ll be nice to see Kanu if he gets to play, amazing to think he’ll still playing at the top level. I’m sure he’ll get a massive ‘NUUUUUUUUUUU’ from the travelling Gooners.
I went to this fixture last season and I thought it was an odd ground, all up and down and all over the place. They make some good noise though so we need to be vocal and support the boys, I know we will.
Enjoy it those of you going (or probably gone by now). It’s Sky Sports 1 job for me, I’m watching this one in St. Albans. Thanks for reading. Come on The Arsenal!