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Portsmouth v Arsenal or Things I Think I Know

Is this really necessary?

Is this really necessary?

Well, another match day is upon is. I am finding it hard to actually do a critical assesment of this match because on paper these are two clubs in two dinstinctly opposite positions. Arsenal and the Gunner faithful are bouyed after two magnificent starts and Portsmouth and their fans are sadly focused on how not to fall into the relegation zone.

Portsmouth comes into this tie with a lot of history against them. No Portsmouth side have beaten Arsenal since 1958. No Portsmouth side have beaten Arsenal at home since 1955. Also consider that Portsmouth haven’t scored an away goal in about 10 hours (8 or so matches).  They’ve not won away in 2009 at all.  Their last win against a big four opponent? A 2-1 win against Pool in 2007.

On the opposite coin you have an Arsenal side that has lost only once in the EPL in 2009 (jan through August). Are coming off of two very impressive wins. Have a second squad of players that could all be starters at Portsmouth.  In the last 19 meetings (league and cup) Arsenal are an astounding 11 wins and 8 draws against Portsmouth. The Gunners, even the reserves will have loads of confidence coming into this match.

What’s all that mean? Well, if you believe the old gaming addage that you still have to play the games – true – you do. But realistically, this should be a match that poses little threat to the Gunners. It should also be a match that allows Arsene to rest some of his squad from last weekend and Tuesday’s CL tie. I expect the likes of Gibbs, Wilshere, Vela, and Eduardo to come out. I also expect to see Vermaelen and Gallas out there. I think Wenger will be eage to give them reps to continue to build a solid center tandem.

I am also eager to see on Portsmouth Niko Krancjar. I really like him. He plays the ball well and does a good job in the midfield. I know Arsene has been fond of him and even as late as last January he was a supposed target. I expect that as Portsmouth go under the likelihood of him leaving will grow. If Niko were to come to the Gunners, maybe this January or next summer.

I would expect that our starting XI may be:
Almunia, Gibbs, Eboue, Vermaelen, Gallas (Maybe Djourou), Wilshere, Ramsey, Song, Bendtner, Eduardo, Arshavin/RvP

An now for Things I Think I Know:

1. Yes Man City won against Blackburn but their defence was woeful and if not for Shay Given Blackburn could’ve easily walked away with a 2-1 or 3-1 win. City will not make the big four

 2. Man U have 3 points out of 6. Last season after 5 matches they had 5 points out of 15. They went on to win the season. They should still be considered dangerous

3. Chelsea have had to comeback in both wins. While resiliency is good too, gifting goals to better teams is going to hurt some time

4. Arsenal are two games in and are better than last year, I am not ready to say they will win the league. Ask me again after 2 months

5. I love David Moyes ethic of standing by his decision to keep Joleon Lescott. Though by now, I think the lad is done. Should the  board decide to sell him without Moyes input – Moyes will walk.

6. Liverpool are a freakin nightmare. They are putting the fun in dysfunction. Blame it squarely on the American owners and their inability to run the club or understanding of running a Premier League club.

7. Rafa Benetiz is the most annoying manager in the EPL – followed closely by Mark Hughes

8. Thomas Vermaelen is the real deal

9. Andrei Arshavin will be the best player in the EPL this season

10. EA Sports is ridiculous for not supporting its PC franchise as well as it does its console franchise. The platforms have plateaued in their abilities while PCs continue to crank up the performance of games

11. Arsenal will be Portsmouth 3-0 – Eduardo, Arshavin and Vela

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