Date: 17th August 2008 at 5:03pm
Written by:

Pompey’s new season got off to the worst possible start with a spanking on millionaires row, many speculated how Chelsea would fare under Scolaris new regime, if is the answer God help us!
On the day Pompey were below par, but that is not to take anything away from Chelsea who were first to all loose balls and moved it around a lot better than we did.

Pompey actually started fairly brightly, we had the first effort at goal comfortably fielded by Cech, but on 12 minutes Ballack clipped a ball through Pompey’s static defence for Joe Cole to tuck inside James’ post, Pompey were slipping into the familiar routine at the Bridge.
Only minutes later and it was 2, watching the goal again it had an element of luck, Jamo went awol but the cross for Anelka’s header had more luck than judgement about it (Chelsea fans and SkySports presenters aside) the ball seemed to ricochet off of Deco and loop into the perfect cross for Anelka to get a running jump in on the flat-footed Johnson.
Pompey were showing little as an attacking threat, our midfield couldn’t string two passes together, Kranjar was largely annonymous, Diarra over-run, Kaboul looked like a centre-back in midfield, and Diop looked like a ball winner asked to impersonate George Best on the wing.
Pompey were trying desperately to find a foothold when the linesman decided to kill the game off once and for all, Distin was both trying to keep one arm out of the way, and looking the other way when a ball struck his flailing left arm, hand to ball my arse.
Lampard did the rest, tucking the ball low to James left (just as SkySports stats showed he nearly always does) and Frank got his usual goal against Uncle Harry.
Half-time and 3-0.

The second half started and Pompey were going with the same 11, Chelsea were in the comfort zone but at least we kept the ball a little better, Crouch was winning a few flick-ons and Defoe was trying desperately to get on the end of them, hooking wide from one of them. To sum the game up, Carvalho succeeded where Distin failed, he managed to turn a Kranjar shot arond the post with a hand but get away with it. From the corner he was also given free reign to try and change shirts with Hreidarsson a little early, but Mike Dean was again wearing Stevie Wonder eyes. Mvuemba replaced Diarra, who had taken a kick on the knee very early in the game from Deco, Thomas got his debut replacing Kranjcar to try and provide the width we so desperately craved.
Pompey were pushing hard for for a consolation, but Deco finished it all off with a 25 yarder into the net which James got a bit wrong.
As the game drove into a death, Kaboul managed to block out Ferreira, he ran in on goal but his shot was smothered by Cech when a square ball to Crouch was maybe a better option.

Player Ratings

I said in my preview that he had to be on top form for us to get anything, he wasn’t

Beside one dodgy square ball across the goal was okay defensively, and actually provided the best bit of wing play all day, running a long the line beating 2 players before crossing just over Crouch

Oo-er, skinned down the left more than once and was caught out along with Sol for the first goal

Looking more like Naomi Campbell these days, his pace has gone, and good strikers playing off of his shoulder know they have him.

So unlucky for the penalty, was rightly agreived, he and the rest of the defence have a lot of work to put in.

Took an early kick and I don’t know if it subdued him, but it highlighted why Arsenal and Chelsea felt they could let him go, he is our best player most days, but struggled against a rampant Chelsea.

Given a surprise debut in midfield, didn’t look like one!

Non-existent display, in 2 appearances so far this season he hasn’t shown at all what he can do.

I’m not his biggest fan, but the big man battled gamefully on the right side of midfield, he tried hard to beat his man, but again he is no right winger, if he can keep Utaka on the bench the Nigerian needs to hang his head in shame.

Won a few headers as you would expect, one knock down presented Defoe a chance, more to come hopefully.

People question his work-rate, but the little half of our strike force covered a lot of ground in pursuit of the ball, spending a lot of time in midfield trying to help out his team-mates.

Faired little better than the rest of his team-mates in midfield

Was greeted with a kick as soon as he came on, hopefull he can provide a bit of service to the front two.

Manager Rating
Harry must be despairing, he has lost Mendes this week and deemed fit to replace him with a centre back in midfield, this experiment didn’t work. Today though Chelsea were on top of their game, not many teams leave Stamford bridge with any more than we did, what Harry will be crying out for though is width, we lack it so badly, if we can get Little fit we need him in the side, Utaka needs a rocket up his arse rather than be content with a place on the bench.

Opponent Rating
Scolari will be made up with this result, new managers normally win their first match in charge, but he will have tuffer resistance on other days.

What now?
Us fans have plenty to say after a defeat like this, but what went wrong and how can it be put right? Haveyour say with vital.

Join the Vital Pompey Debate