Saturday, September 1, 2007

Arsenal vs Portsmouth - Match Preview

Coming up this Sunday, Arsenal face 8th-place Portsmouth at Ashburton Grove. We will be looking to keep up the pace of league leaders Chelsea by recording their 3rd home win of the new season. Arsenal have been in fine form recently, coming off of a 3-0 home victory against Sparta Prague - a victory which secured their place in the Champions League. That match was preceded by a 1-0 win over the then league leaders Manchester City, so Arsenal will certainly not be lacking in confidence. Many of Arsenal's important players were also rested for the midweek clash against Sparta, including Cesc Fabregas and Alex Hleb (although Hleb needs to face a late fitness test after feeling ill Friday morning). We will also probably see Lassana Diarra's debut at right back in place of the injured Bacary Sagna and Emmanuel Eboue.

The Portsmouth players will also be confident though, after winning midweek against Leeds in the Carling Cup, and nearly holding Chelsea to a draw at Stamford Bridge. Portsmouth have seen a decent run of form after holding last season's champions, Manchester United to a 1-1 draw and beating Bolton 3-1. Arsene Wenger has warned us to look out for Portsmouth's defense.

"They have a very strong spine. Sylvain Distin, Sol Campbell and David James at the back. Kanu and Lauren too. They are very intelligent and I feel those former Arsenal players means when they come to us they are always highly motivated."

Arsenal will have to hold back former gunner Nwankwo Kanu and new signing John Utaka if we are to hold onto a clean sheet. Another key attacking player in Portsmouth's roster is defender Matthew Taylor who scored 7 goals last season. If Senderos and Toure manage to snuff out these players, I don't think that we will have a hard time winning the match.

With Eduardo and Robin van Persie likely to start the game upfront we should see plenty of chances, especially as Portsmouth will crowd the midfield seeking to neutralize the threats of Tomasz Rosicky and Cesc Fabregas. With some fine runs from Gael Clichy (and maybe Diarra) we should be able to create easily, and with Eduardo to kick the balls in, I think that it is unlikely that we won't score.

I say we win the game 2-0.

Match Review