The Relegation Rumble: Portsmouth
Until late October, Portsmouth seemed destined for a mid-table season. After a rough August start against Chelsea and Man United, the trophy-winning club won four out of seven matches, looking frisky once again. Then Harry Redknapp left for the Tottenham and the seam exploded. Tony Adams had no perceivable managerial skill. Financial problems forced the sale of Defoe and Diarra. Fortune followed the clubs geography and they currently sit in 15th place, just three points above water.
Form: Portsmouth have not played particularly well, winning just two out of eight and losing four. Though, all of the losses were to clubs in the top half of the table, and Pompey did hang with Liverpool and Chelsea. Had they been lucky they could have picked up a few more points. They scored a big victory over Everton. Jumping back on track isn’t inconceivable.
Schedule: Pompey have a rather benign squeaky bum journey ahead. They host Arsenal and travel away to Old Trafford, but the rest of the matches are winnable. West Brom, Bolton and Sunderland come to Fratton Park. Portsmouth play Hull City, Newcastle, Blackburn and Wigan away. They also have the game in hand, although it will be against a Manchester United team probably sorted by that point, so it will be irrelevant. If Portsmouth can pull things together, their schedule won’t stop them.
Injuries: Health could hinder Portsmouth a little bit. They need Crouch’s thigh injury to heal completely. He has 11 goals. No one else on the team has more than three. He’s essential. They also need Pennant and Traore back fit as well to provide some creativity in midfield.
Prognosis: Based on their ability, Portsmouth should not be in this position. On paper, they have decent, often above average, talent at every position. They have experience. Many of those players tasted success in the FA Cup last season. The team’s performance should reflect that. Tony Adams deserves the blame. Portsmouth has presumed leaders like Sol Campbell and David James. They should stay up.