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Manchester City FC vs. Portsmouth FC

City of Manchester Stadium

21st September 2008

3pm

MCFC v Portsmouth FC

A crucial match for both sides after both teams had good results in Europe on Thursday. A defeat for either team would make a reasonable start into something very much below par.

Vital Quotes:

Mark Hughes talks about the arrangements for today's game: 'It was a quick turnaround, we stayed in Cyprus to get all the recovery done before flying back to Manchester on Friday, and I hope that helps us with regard to Portsmouth. They are a good side again this year and they have to travel for an away Premier League game on the back of a UEFA Cup tie on Thursday as well, but we'll be prepared,'

Hughes also talks about our new Argentinian right back Pablo Zabaleta: 'I thought Pablo was excellent against Omonia,' adds Hughes. 'The timing of his runs, when he knew he had to join in an attack, his recognising situations as they developed were all top class. He is going to be a great asset for us.'

Manchester City FC Team News:

Michael Johnson remains a doubt with a groin strain, while Martin Petrov is still to recover from a hamstring strain, meaning Hughes will probably continue with the same midfield quartet of Elano, Stephen Ireland, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Vincent Kompany. Although Elano needs to show more if he is to keep a place in the side in the long run.

I also expect Michael Ball to come back into the defence to replace Javier Garrido who was exposed a few times against Omonia.

Robinho and Jo are set to lead the attack once again, with the former converting a free-kick - with the aide of a deflection - against Chelsea last week, handing him a goal on his debut.

Tal Ben Haim is likely to continue on the bench, with Micah Richards and Richard Dunne reforming their solid partnership in the heart of City's defence.

Former Portsmouth player Benjani Mwaruwari has failed to recover from his thigh strain in time to face his former club.

Kelvin Etuhu has recovered from his hamstring strain. City are still without long term injuries of Valeri Bojinov and Darius Vassell.

I would also like to wish the Dunney Monster a very happy twenty ninth birthday today.

Player to watch: Robinho

He looks to have settled into the side very well and his link up play with Jo and Shaun Wright-Phillips is showing real signs of flourishing in a very attacking team.

Portsmouth FC Team News:

Harry Redknapp is likely to opt for the same starting eleven that saw off Guimares, with Peter Crouch partnering the in-form Defoe up-front.

Nadir Belhadj was also on-song in the side's last match, setting up the former Tottenham Hotspur man and earning a standing ovation from the club's faithful, and he will continue at left-back.

Portsmouth may rest wingers Armand Traore and John Utaka, so Younes Kaboul and Papa Bouba Diop could return.

Ben Sahar has a knee injury, Niko Kranjcar (ankle) and Jerome Thomas (back) are still out so fit-again Glen Little has a chance to make the starting line-up.

Player to watch: Jermaine Defoe

Has started the season in real hot scoring form and City's defence will have to be alert to stop him getting on the scoresheet again.

Match Facts & Stats

Portsmouth have only faced City in the premiership at Middle Eastlands and have yet to return to the south coast with more than one point. Portsmouth also hold the distinction to play the first league game at COMS.

You have to go back to 13 November 1954 for the last time that Portsmouth won at City in the top flight.

Portsmouth fans are certainly one of the best out there as they really act like a twelth man and despite the distance to Manchester always bring a good following.

Ref Watch:

Alan Wiley - first game for both clubs this season. He referee'd the famous balloongate game at Sheffield United last season. Apart from that he has always seemed to have a fair game with City.

Match Prediction:

Portsmouth are a strong team and I cannot see City stopping them scoring; however I think City have more fire power than Portsmouth and will just edge it. MCFC 2 - 1 PFC.

Next Fixtures:

Brighton away in the Carling Cup on Wednesday 24th September with a 7:45pm kick off at the Withdean.




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The journalist

Writer: Gavin Cooper  Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday September 21 2008

Time: 9:50AM

Your Comments

well after today's most highlighted match CHELSEA-MANU I will like to keep an eye on this match.I hope u & Uncle Harry put up a good show.
Saimon_blues
Pompey to edge it!
paultsmouth
Close game but City to get three points!
oliverblue
They might have to wait another fifty years for a win at our place !!!
alphieblues
A real crunch tie this for both teams. It is amazing how this can happen only five games into a Premiership season. Both have everything to play for: Europe, Prem, FA and Carling. Both could finish top 6 in the Prem. Both have fantastic attacking duos: Defoe and Crouch versus Robinho and Jo. Both, too have great managers who are renowned for sending their teams out with a shrewd game plan. This game won't define the whole season for both teams... But three wins out of five games is a good start -- three losses isn't. And that is the case for both teams. They have both won and lost a game -- home and away this season. Everything seems to scream a draw!! But the fans and managers of both sides are desperate for wins. City have home advantage, sure, but it is the performance of key players in this game which will decide. Birthday boy -- our own Dunney Monster has to play the complete Captain's game today. If he can win the battle with Crouch and Defoe we will win. Both sides will score. I can see 3-2 or even 4-3.
Sindbad
city have home advantage - but pompey often play better on the road, so that possibly doesnt mean much. Jo and Robinho could be too quick for our aging central defenders to handle - on the other hand, they are inexperianced, and sol/sylvain could keep them out of the game. I would possibly expect us to win the battle in midfield, although whilst defoe is in amazing form at the moment, and crouch is supporting him well, I think your defenders could be able to keep them quiet - and I also expect your strikers to run us down too... intresting game, hopefully it will be a good game too.
pompeycarpet
Pompeycarpet - will be interested to see how your two big, physical centre backs cope with two small quick forwards in Robinho and SWP. Defoe is always a handful, and Richards will have to have his concentrating head on to keep him out.
oliverblue
It's a long coach ride back to Portsmouth. As one who has worked in Fareham and loves the warmth of the Pompey Bells, I am sorry it had to be you. City were going to slaughter another Premiership side soon this season, and today it was you. You know you have a great team, manager, fans. Hey that's football. In some ways I think English football may have fundamentally changed today... Skill won out and all lovers of football can enjoy that. When you do beat us at Eastlands I will be the first to say well done. But not yet.
Sindbad
Pompey to edge it,! Who wrote that.
Red Wimp
 

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