Heads Up…..on Portsmouth
Here is a Heads Up on Arsenal’s opponents.
The team have only lost once since January 1st in all competitions and won’t roll over for Arsenal.
2) Formation and Potential line up…
3) Absent players….
No suspensions. Bryn Morris out injured. Star player Ronan Curtis with a knock, but will play as will Naylor (same issue). Paul Downing and Brett Pittman out of favour.
4) In form players……
H – Ronan Curtis is Pompey’s best and most in form player, a clinical inside forward who loves to attack the fullback. Andy Cannon (if he plays) controls the tempo of the midfield. Tom Naylor is the consistent CDM who holds everything together. Sean Raggett is the most improved centre back, he was once a liability but next to Christian Burgess, he’s rock solid.
5) Out of form players….
CM Ben Close is erratic but will likely be on the bench.
Pompey are in a rich vein of form and most all players in form.
Set pieces – Portsmouth have scored 19 goals in 49 games in all comps from set pieces (corners, pens, fks). Very impressive. Corners tend to go back post to the CB’s then headed back to front post.
Curtis and Seddon have excellent dead ball deliveries.
Their link play has proved to be a threat but perhaps that will be tested against PL opposition.
Primarily, Pompey have issues after losing possession in midfield.
Secondly, the Southampton 0-4 game is probably the best example of their strong mentality crumbling. Pompey have only lost once at home and are unbeaten in the league at home. The issue however is when the fans get on their back, they struggle sometimes, but that would be surprising in this one off game with so much at stake.
For Pompey to have a chance to win the game, they have to score in the first 20 mins before the Arsenal players get used to the toxic atmosphere and will naturally control the game. Pompey can also lose it in the middle of games and get complacent and make mistakes.
8) Insight/Patterns/Potential strategy….
Firstly they use the high press to win and play into wide areas. Pompey love to use crosses as their main source of creativity.
Many thanks to Pompey bloggers Freddie Webb @PompeyNewsNow and @jackhancock20 who provided the majority of this blog as I’m unfamiliar with Pompey. Great guys!
PREDICTION….. Portsmouth 2 Arsenal 2
Former Highbury regular. Moved to TN, USA in ’99. Married with 3 kids. Coached in UK and US for 27 years.
Mike McDonald Soccer Academy in Morristown TN, Olympic Development coach, Regional Premier League Champion.