Sunday, 30 August 2009

Portsmouth 0 - 1 City

  • The key to success this season lies in conquering the battlefields of the bottom half. And now we're two for two. Today was an object lesson in how to win these sorts of matches; a real novelty from a City side. Everything that we failed to do in these games last year - and at Fratton Park in particular - we did today.
  • For a start, we kept the ball. Portsmouth did a good imitation of Crystal Palace three days ago - pressing us hard with their three central midfielders (Michael Brown, Richard Hughes and Hayden Mullins.) But Gareth Barry and Stephen Ireland were unruffled throughout - Barry in particular was excellent - and our midfield managed to control the game in a way that they have not always done so far this season.
  • Another sign of our improved maturity and solidity is our newfound proficiency from set pieces. In this fixture last season, Hermann Hreiðarsson was left unmarked from a corner at the Fratton End to head in and put Pompey 2-0 up. Today Emmanuel Adebayor headed home a Gareth Barry corner from the same end. Having barely scored from a corner for years we now have two in four days. In a defensive sense, too, we have improved in this area: Kolo Touré and Joleon Lescott never looked like letting Portsmouth in.
  • Last season we were nowhere near dynamic enough in attack. Elano and Robinho, who started either side of Craig Bellamy, were pathetic in their inertia and ambivalence. But effort and running were enshrined in today's selection, with Robinho dropped and a front four of Craig Bellamy, Adebayor, Carlos Tévez and Shaun Wright-Phillips. The moves did not always click, but the work rate was unquestionable. They ran and ran and ran, tiring out the Portsmouth players and pinning back the potentially dangerous Nadir Belhadj and Anthony Vanden Borre at full back. The goals will come.
  • We go into a thirteen day break now with a 100% record thus far. Our £50million strike force has not torn a team to pieces yet, and neither Robinho nor Stephen Ireland has yet recreated last season's form. But there's a lot to be optimistic about. The spine of the team is the strongest I have ever seen it: Shay Given has been excellent, both new centre halves look good, and Gareth Barry is the form central midfielder in the Premier League so far. And Wayne Bridge and Shaun Wright-Phillips both look better than they did last season. Some time in October we'll beat someone 5-0. But until then these ground out wins are joys in themselves.

4 comments:

petetheskyblue said...

what are we singin for adebayor - anybody know

jfell said...

Adebayor...he's hung like an elephant, his wife is so sore. Shit remix of the United song - "...his Dad washes Elephants, his mum is a whore." Both tasteful I think you'll agree.

Steven McInerney said...

It has to be the simple, yet fun....BOOM BOOM BOOMMMM, LET ME HERE YOU SAY ADE-BAYORRRRRRRRRR!

Ps - I agree with everything Jack. I was more than happy with this result. We never looked like conceding today, until Nugent's last minute chance, but any premiership team are always going to grind out at least one decent chance - for example Burnley had two or three against Chelsea.

Adebayor, Barry, Bridge, SWP, Given and Kolo look very very reliable at the moment, and that's a fantastic omen as I'm sure Lescott, Ireland and Tevez will soon joim them in the form books. Exciting and encouraging times.

stwrtjcksn said...

How about...

Thank you very much for Adebayor, thank you very much, thank you very very very much....
Thank you very much for Kolo Toure, thank you very very very much....

Especially v Arsenal...?

But after that it's got to be simply...

We love you Ade, we do, We love you Ade, we do....