Pompey’s farewell to the Premiership is approaching fast, as the teams run out we will welcome the side who first greeted us to the top flight 7 long years ago, Aston Villa.
Villa were still in with a shout of Champions league football a couple of weeks ago and in a Wembley semi-final, since then it has gone a bit lopsided, first the league form tailed off and then Chelsea saw them off with three late goals at Wembley, all this after a disputed penalty early on never went their way.
Avram has laughed off all threats of an inquiry into our ‘weakened’ side midweek, the team included two debutants, but was good enough to hold a desperate Wigan and included probably the two top performers on the day.
Pompey Team News:
Avram will not risk anyone with even the slightest of knocks, Ashdown should start again, but with two clean sheets in his last outings we can hardly complain.
O’Hara has a back injury that is meant to threaten his chances of a Wembley showpiece, I reckon this is also linked to his bookings situation which is close to earning him another ban.
Matt Ritchie took the M.O.M plaudits in the local rag, while Joel Ward earned the same on this site, don’t bet against either figuring again today.
Buster Boateng is a victim of the Icelandic fallout, stranded in Hamburg, he supposed to be returning by car, but you can probably count on him missing out.
Tommy ‘Phantom of the Opera’ Smith should get another chance to push his claims for Wembley involvement, while Kanu is one game away from a re-newed contract, this should see him dip out, likewise Dindane who has clearance for the final, but negotiations on with Lens go on.
Player to watch: Ritchie
The boy from Gosport has made the breakthrough and will be desperate to impress the fans he counts himself anong, he has been here since he was 8 and has the club at his heart.
Villa Team News:
Villa probably can’t wait for the season to end, it promised so much but has flat-lined of late, Uefa football is still on for next season, but it is scant consolation for silverware or Champions football.
Warnock should return after limping off midweek, while O’Neill has no new injury concerns, Reo-Coker and Harewood are the only long term absentees.
Player to watch: Agbonlahor
He is an England hopeful but just outside the squad right now, he is however one of the brightest prospects of the fringe list, he will be a threat, Heskey is present as well of course, he gets about 3 a season, normally a couple against us!
Match Facts & Stats
16/8/03 was the day, Pompey were all new and shiny, and a goal apiece from Sheringham and Berger saw us home with a 2-1 win, Barry getting red-carded if I recall, since then we have only triumphed twice more, both in 2008 when the side was inspired by Muntari, no points since however as 3 straight defeats have seen us off.
The predictions league is almost done, a couple of correct scores will boost you up the table, but you have to be in it first! Place today’s guess here.
Bolton up North