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'If It's Football, It's Vital'

Portsmouth vs. Manchester City

Fratton Park

11/11/2007

16:00

On Sky

City at Pompey

When Sky pulled this one from the hat for its Sunday live fixture I don't imagine for one minute that they had it down as a top of the table clash.

With City sat in third place and Pompey in fifth after a third of the season gone, no-one outside of Stretford or Southampton can argue with the genuine credentials of this game.

From reading between the lines it seems that Pompey's support is less surprised than City's at their current standing but there can be little doubt that both sides deseve their lofty positions.

Pompey have played all of the self proclaimed 'big four' whilst City have met all but Liverpool of that quartet. That both teams are still sat at the top end of the table speaks volumes for the football they are playing and their ability to get results.

So what of this game? City/Pompey games of recent years range from the sublime to the awful with controversy never far away.

Both sides are built on strong defence with Pompey perhaps being a little more free scoring than City. That said when the blues take the lead this season they generally win and rarely concede.

The defensive performances in West London are the only abberations this season and we are to hope those performances are kept to that region of the country.

Vital Quotes:

Sven talks about the loss of Michael Johnson:

'He is being operated on for groin problems. If we are lucky he will be back in three or four weeks but I am not sure. It's a pity but we had to do something.

'He started the season well but for the last month and a half he has had problems every second day. It is better this way.'

Portsmouth Team News:

Hermann Hreidarsson could return in defence but Diop misses out through suspension. City jinx, Pedro Mendes, could return in Diop's absence.

Player to watch: Benjani

The lad from Zimbabwe is scoring for fun at the moment but shouldn't find himself facing a defence as generous as Newcastle's this weekend.

Manchester City Team News:

City are without Michael Johnson due to a groin operation. Vassell could start with Ireland moving infield.

Player to watch: Elano

As ever City will look to the Brazilian's class to unlock the pompey defence.

Match Facts & Stats

Pompey go into the game unbeaten at home and on the back of a seven game unbeaten run in the league.

City moved back into third spot after winning their fourth game in five in the league.

Both teams are enjoying their best ever starts to a Premier League season.

Last season Pompey won the corresponding fixture 2-1 with goals from Mendes and Kanu; Corradi replying for City.

The two teams have never played out a 0-0 draw at Fratton Park.

Ref Watch:

Mark Halsey
Considerd something of a City favourite but hasn't officiated in a City win on his last seven games in charge of the blues.

Match Prediction:

A tough one to call with Pompey's home form perhaps making them slight favourites.
I'm going to buck the trend though and suggest a 2-1 win to City after a defensive mishap between James and Distin, exported from their days together at Eastlands.

Next Fixtures:

Reading (h) 24/11/2007




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The journalist

Writer: Andy Leggott Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday November 10 2007

Time: 8:31AM

Your Comments

Banzai!! Just imagine a through the legs, hand on hips disbeliever between James and Distin! Like it! I heard a whisper that Distin was seen as going for money alone in some quarters of our dressing room when he left City. Be interesting to see if he gets clattered...
Johnny Baguette
Now when I say "clattered," I mean tough tackled fairly, not virtually assassinated *****cher style. So just to recap, that's not attacked, merely reminded who he used to play for.
Johnny Baguette
Always a lively game usually ending in a home win.
storagematt
away win. but a great game. we are a slightly more free scoring side, with a gol difference 7 better than yours...but when it comes down to it, we can both hold onto a lead, so whoever scores first will probably win
pompeycarpet
Sorry Ciy Fans - You are in for a tough time this afternoon and Pedro will be polishing his boots in anticipation of thumping one in from 30 yards.. Should be a good game but I've a feeling you're gonna go home disapointed..... Enjoy the long journey home though ;)
Chix
yep it will be a cracker i reckon and sky must have foreseen this as a 'top of the table clash'... its just a shame that this fixture has barely had a mention from the media etc isnt it... mendes will crack one in, jamo will have a blinder as will distin - again! - in a 3-1 pompey win, hope we all enjoy a crackin' game tho.
pompeyrug
Should be a very good game between the two teams who look the most likely to be batting for UEFA cup spot at the end of the season.
dazza71
Fernandes in for Johnson! Only 9% of our pollsters went for that. Vassell up front too. What next?
Johnny Baguette
JB was just looking at that stat, he did not do too badly, petrov tried his best and teams have woken up to elano, we very nearly stole it in the end. Great game for Joe Hart, draw fair result, but by the end you could see the confidence returning to City. Defended well, as did Portsmouth. Agree we need a finisher.
Buzz Lightyear
Sven pulled another rabbit out of the hat in selecting Fernandes in preference to Geo or Ball. For me he was MOTM and an able replacement for Johnson.
alphieblues
Good result for you lot. A hard place to get anything down there!
will it ever happen
It is still very close at the top, hope it stays like that til the end of the season, makes it a bit more interesting if you ask me.
Blue is the colour
 

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