Morning all. We travel to Portsmouth today with AW is still looking to nick 3rd place but I don’t think there is enough time. With games running out and a six point gap between us and Chelsea I just don’t see it happening. However I do firmly believe in momentum and a good result today will set us up better for United than a bad one. I’d love to see Arshavin employed in the split striker role and given the freedom to go and impose himself on the game, but I expect many of the team to be rested and Pompey will be looking to secure survival asap so they’ll be a tough nut to crack. This week I’ve been speaking to Jim from http://www.portsmouth-mad.co.uk/
PGL: So what’s been going on at Fratton Park since we last met?
JIM: We’ve replaced our manager (again), sold our two best players because the owner has stopped funding the club, dropped into the bottom three but thankfully have climbed out again and look like being in the Premier League next season thanks to Paul Hart and Brian Kidd.
PGL: Do you think Tony Adams was given enough time or did he have to go?
JIM: He had enough time but unfortunately we kept conceding late goals under his management and most Pompey fans feel we would have been relegated if he stayed in charge. In his defence he was forced to sell our best players and had no funds to replace them.
PGL: How do fans feel about the club being up for sale? How would you feel going into next season without fresh investment?
JIM: We desperately need a cash injection in the summer and if we don’t and we’re forced to sell even more players then I’d be very fearful next season. We’re thankful for all that Gaydamak has done for us but at the same time we’re worried that his refusal to bankroll the club will get us relegated next season.
PGL: A lot of Arsenal fans resented Diarra for leaving us when he did. Was he liked by Pompey fans?
JIM: He was loved by Pompey fans for being honest with us from the start and giving 100% in every game. He was one of the best players I’ve seen in a royal blue shirt and we all wish him the best at Real Madrid.
PGL: What do you make of the two tier Premier League proposals?
JIM: They’re utterly ridiculous and would devalue the game even more. Not only that but it would be a nightmare logistically. Pompey fans already have the longest trips in a season so could you imagine us having to go to Glasgow twice added to all our trips up north?
PGL: Who has been your player of the season?
JIM: Glen Johnson has been outstanding this season. He is a driving force going forward and very good defensively. I’d say he is the best right back in the league and it seems the PFA agree.
PGL: We may field a weakened side because of our Champions League game Tuesday but Arshavin is a banker to start. How will you stop him influencing the game?
JIM: Get Richard “chooper” Hughes to take him out!
PGL: Where do you see the key battles being?
JIM: Your left side vs our right side. It looks like Pennant will start the game and he combines well with Johnson so whoever Arsene Wenger selects to play on the left could have a lot to do. I also expect us to bombard your box with Crouch in there causing some problems, but at the other end our defence will have to be at their best to contain Adebayor and Arshavin.
PGL: And finally, what’s your prediction for the game?
JIM: We’ve been strong at home since Paul Hart took over and with Arsenal having bigger fish to fry I think we can get a draw or maybe even that elusive win.
PGL: So that’s the word from Pompey. I think Vela will start and Eboue, Ramsey and JD may join him. It will be interesting to see who starts up front. If Ade start on the bench we can take it as read that he will line up against United. I’m going to go for a score draw today, guessing 1-1. Enjoy the game.
PS from PGL: Why not come onto the Insider Chat during the game so we can debate the action as it happens. I’ll be on there from about 2.45!