Date: 10th February 2008 at 10:31am
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I do not think that too many people can disagree that we were fortunate to come away with all 3 points against Bolton yesterday, and Harry Redknapp is no different as he acknowledged so to sky sports after the game: ‘they had us under the cosh for so much of the game, but that’s how it goes.

‘We go and nick it on the break. I knew before today it was going to be very tough’.

We were ‘under the cosh’ for large periods of the game but Bolton failed to take their chances, and more often than not if you fail to do this you do get punished – as we found last season when they did to us what we have to them – and we did that, albeit with the aid of a dodgy offside goal and an inspired David James

To be honest Charlie Nicholas has not been one of my favourite pundits, well since he really, really slagged off Benjani – but I have started to warm to him of late and he was full of praise for us yesterday.

Nicolas could not give James enough praise on sky sports soccer Saturday, saying exactly what he thought of him, and what he made of ‘that save’ at the death: ‘Gretar Rafn Steinsson cut the ball back for Tamir Cohen, who was only eight yards out right in the middle of the goal and he hit it really clean and it was flying into the net.

‘David James was diving the opposite way, but as he did so he stuck out his left hand and flicked it over the bar. He was totally in control of the situation and it was a simply sensational save. It’s the save of the season so far by a distance.

‘People laughed last season when I said he was the best goalkeeper in the Premier League and now he’s the number one for England again and quite rightly so.

‘Today’s performance was world class and he is as valuable to Portsmouth as Cristiano Ronaldo is to Manchester United and Cesc Fabregas and Emmanuel Adebayor are to Arsenal. He was immense.

‘If you look back at the real class goalkeepers like David Seaman and, in particular Peter Schmeichel, they can win you as many points as strikers can. And that’s why I think James is so valuable for them’.

Some might say that his thoughts are over the top, I am happy enough with them to be honest!

It really is ‘the save of the season’, you have to watch it several times to fully appreciate it, but it truly was a remarkable save and if there has been a better save this season, or in recent seasons perhaps I am not sure I have seen it? Markus Hahnemann pulled off a blinder in the 7-4 win, but James’ tops that for me…

Then Nicholas went on to heap the praise on Lassana Diarra – who is gaining in stature all the time – and when you look at his logic is makes sense: ‘the boys were asking about Javier Mascherano going to Liverpool for £17million, but this boy Diarra is every bit as good as him, if not better.

‘For his goal, I have to say he was in an offside position. But what happened was they fired it into him and he turned like a world-class striker would and suddenly he was running at the heart of the defence.

‘He tried a one-two with Kanu but Andy O’Brien knocked it back to the goalkeeper and it hit Kanu again. Diarra was in an offside position but he was quickly onto it and then he lashed it into the roof of the net with a stunning finish’.

At £5m when you compare as he has he really was a January steal… We will have to almost certainly, no two ways about it have to make Europe to keep the fella – even then it might not be enough, hopefully his ‘love’ for the club which does seem to be growing can be enough to help keep him here for a while longer?

So all in all, yep we were lucky but in all fairness how often in recent times have we got the rub of the green when we well and truly did not deserve it? We might not have played well at times, but have we often pulled of such a daylight robbery as we did yesterday? I do not feel that often to be honest. Seasons can change on this type of fortune, hopefully ours can too…


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