Monday, November 12, 2007

Portsmouth 0 City 0

I was away in Rome for a few days until Sunday and only managed to catch the second half of this game but from what I saw (and subsequent) reports it looked to be a decent game between two useful sides who were creative and had something about them going forward, but primarily were concerned that the opposition could hurt them and sought to avoid defeat.

In the post match interviews, both sets of management talked about the need to keep things 'compact' - Portsmouth to nulify Elano and Petrov, and ourselves to keep it tighter at the back and put more pressure on their defence.

Perhaps that was a reason why Vassell was preferred up front to Mpenza, leaving Bianchi once again fixed firmly onto the bench whilst Richards came back into the side and young Fernandes replaced Johnson alongside Didi Hamman.

It looked overall to be job well done, and I wrote in The Observer it was important to pick up a point away at home to a side in the group of sides challenging us for a European spot - and a third clean sheet was another bonus after the Chelsea game, particularly coming against a side who have been free flowing in scoring goals at home.

Joe Hart took most of the plaudits and for me he looks to be firming his grip on the number 1 jersey with each performance, whilst the defence was as solid as we have come to expect. Fernandes slotted in well in place of Johnson, but as gainly as Vassell plays, for me he doesn't have the confidence needed for a striker.

Look at most top strikers and they want to score, believe they will score and have the utmost of confidence, wheras Vassell almost looks afraid to miss - explaining why he didn't attack the ball from Petrov and ended up making a hash of what should have been a goal and perhaps all three points.

Still, a point is a good return from a difficult place to go to and somewhere we have not fared well in the past and again keeps us in the Champions League positions with a pair of games (Reading at home and Wigan away) after the international break that are very winnable.

vote it up!

2 comments:

NANCYSCROTCHSTAIN said...

FOR ME FERNANDES SHOULD BE USED FOR AWAY GAMES HE HAS THAT BIT OF STEEL THAT I THINK WE NEED ON OUR TRAVELS.I THINK NOW JOHNSON IS OUT FOR A MONTH ITS A GOOD OPPORTUNITY FOR HIM TO STAKE HIS CLAIM NO DOUBTING HIS TALENT JUST NEEDS GAMES

Wigan Blue said...

Well NCS - Yes I agree with you. Our 'one for the future' lad has arrived and is looking as hungry for success as the rest of the team.

Nice to see the 'Apologies' for underestimating Sven in a couple of the papers today.

Those articles were right - we aren't sparkling and firing like the JM & MA team yet - but it took Joe and Malcolm a great season in the second, a dire season in the first, and then a sublime season when all our dreams came true.

I think Sven's going to do it quicker than that. I think he's going to mend all our broken hearts all at once over the next couple of seasons.

We've now got a team that has strategy and tactics - something that as City fans we haven't seen for a long, long time.