Date: 2nd February 2008 at 12:36am
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Our first major challenge of the new year at Fratton comes against Chelsea today – can we finally kick start our home form at Fratton, which will be crucial to our chances of making Europe this season…

Vital Quotes:

In all fairness we have not been good for sometime, but although it was United and little would have been expected we were poor – overall – against them, so if nothing else we need to see an improvement in home form.

With all due respect to Derby and Plymouth we should have beaten them, as we did – but this will be a real test, and if we can stand toe to toe with a much strong team in Chelsea this could give us an indication of how our season might pan out?

Pompey Team News:

Defoe will almost certainly make his Pompey debut, but who he starts alongside – if anyone remains to be seen? Baros would seem most likely as with Benjani not finding out until next week if he is still officially a Pompey player, he is unlikely to play a part even though he is being reported as being in the squad.

Distin (hamstring) is likely to miss out so Hreidarsson will probably play alongside Campbell. Bouba Diop is back after Senegal crashed out of the African nations so he might play a part? I would think Mendes will return after missing out in the week, but very much doubt Lauren will after another dismal performance.

Player to watch: Defoe

Diarra will be looking to impress his old side, but who else would I pick after he finally signed – besides I am a ‘defoeist’…

Chelski Team News:

Terry (broken foot), Shevchenko (back) and Carvalho (suspension) are all going to be missing for Chelsea, but they have plenty that could fill in, with Ivanovic likely to make his debut.

Lampard (thigh) could be fit to take a place on the bench.

Player to watch: Ballack

The German has had his knockers but I think the fella seems to be finding some form after a long injury lay off.

Match Facts & Stats

We have only scored once in our previous 9 premier league meetings with Chelsea, and even that came in a defeat, and Chelsea come here looking for a club record 10th straight win in all competitions so it will not be any easier.

In all meetings at Fratton we have a 13-12 aggregate lead, with 9 draws, however it is more than 50 years and 21 league games since a win over Chelsea at Fratton, this being a 3-0 win in 1957.

Ref Watch:

There will be a web at Fratton this weekend, but it will not be the web of ‘Spiderman’ Jonas Gutierrez, this will be Howard Webb.

Match Prediction:

We are owed something from Chelsea; we were mugged at Stamford Bridge so it must be payback time… what do you think? Place your bets here.

Next Fixture:

Matty Taylor’s Bolton at the Reebok next Saturday.