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Manchester United vs Portsmouth: Preview

After a miserable midweek Champions League match against Besiktas, the Premier League is here to save the day as bottom club Portsmouth host the Champions at Fratton Park. However, Sir Alex begins his two-match ban, so Mike Phelan will be handing out the touchline instructions.

It is Avram Grant’s first game in charge of Pompey after the departure of Paul Hart on Tuesday, and he seems up for the challenge,

“The spirit of the team and atmosphere are good. The squad is good enough to take us from the bottom, but we need some players who can improve us.”

It is Grant’s second spell at the club as he left Fratton Park in July 2007 to take up a director of football role at Chelsea succeeding Jose Mourinho in September of that year, but he was sacked at the end of the season despite guiding his side to second in the Premier League and the Champions League final, where they lost on penalties to our good selves.

Many of you may also remember Avram Grant’s first game in charge of Chelsea, a 2-0 defeat against the mighty reds. Lets hope history repeats itself on Saturday. Omens look positive for us as Portsmouth have been stuck at the bottom of the Premier League table since August and have the least effective front line in the Premier League, scoring just 10 goals in their 13 games. Vidic may have to wait for his contract and also some defensive tasks on Saturday.

Goalkeeper David James looks likely to miss the match with a calf injury, and should be replaced by Jamie Ashdown.  Pompey could welcome back Papa Bouba Diop, who has recovered from a hamstring injury. John Utaka and Steve Finnan may also make it to the bench. One player to look out for is Aruna Dindane, Portsmouth’s top scorer with 4 so far this season (3 of which came against Wigan). Jamie O’Hara is another to look out for, he has been one of few bright lights at Fratton Park this season, providing the energy in the Pompey midfield and also an attacking threat we should be wary of.

Sir Alex Ferguson has been very gracious and respectful to his opposite number,

“He’s very experienced and I’m sure he will get the right reaction from his players. We’ve kept in touch quite a lot and he will be glad to get back into management. He has got a big challenge, but they have some good players and they might be in a false position.”

A much changed line up from Wednesday won’t include Rio Ferdinand and Owen Hargreaves who are definitely out, while Jonny Evans and John O’Shea have not made the trip south. This means Wesley Brown, “the best natural defender in the country” according to Ferguson, will continue his partnership with Vidic at the back. Evra should be recalled and Gary Neville will take up his usual position, as will Van der Sar.

With Portsmouth weak at left-back, Valencia will start to give the side a potent attacking threat down the right. After a rest in midweek, Carrick and Fletcher should form the midfield pairing, with Ryan Giggs battling it out with Gabriel Obertan for the left side position. Giggs should be given the nod as he searches for his 100th Premier League goal.

In the final third Dimitar Berbatov should be back after missing the last four matches and Wayne Rooney will commence service as well with Michael Owen dropping to the bench as has become the norm.

A word of caution: We have only managed two victories at Fratton Park in the Premier League out of six attempts, we have lost our last two away fixtures, not three in a row since 1996. Portsmouth haven’t scored in the last three matches between the sides. A comfortable victory and one that would be our 2,000th in the league, should ensue given the majority of the first team has in effect had a week off and should be fresh.

Portsmouth will have that air of confidence a new manager brings, but ultimately we should be too strong.

Prediction: 3-0

Probable Line Up: Van der Sar, Neville, Brown, Vidic, Evra, Valencia, Fletcher, Carrick, Giggs, Rooney, Berbatov

428 Comments

428 Comments

  1. Traverse

    1 December 2009 at 13:36

    @Grognard: I didn’t even read what he said, what I saw was you calling someone out for being personal, and then being personal. The hypocrisy drew me in and I ended up ranting. If the troll was being a dick, ignore him and he’ll go away.

  2. colver

    1 December 2009 at 13:42

    Sorry Onkar you are right in the final paragraph I meant Manchester City. And I agree with you. If anyone can shake City’s stars out of their complacency and get them to perform it is Mourinho. With his pulling power I am sure he can convince more world class players to join their revolution.

  3. Traverse

    1 December 2009 at 13:43

    Barcelona’s sporting director Txiki Begiristain isn’t signing a new contract, and wants to come to the premiership. Might be worth a punt?

  4. CraigMc

    1 December 2009 at 14:09

    @Redrich: Doing up late? – BABIES save their CRYING until during the nights – least my daughter does anyway? So good and contented during the daytime. Go figure 😆

  5. Will

    1 December 2009 at 15:19

    @Traverse: Is that not the same as a director of football.. the same thing which SAF has refused to ever work under?

  6. Will

    1 December 2009 at 15:22

    Is it just me, or is Eastern Europe the new Brazil… apart from Eduardo of course. But i mean it seems like every team in the Premier League is being linked to ..Ovic or Kich or Illic somebody or other every week.. why the sudden surge from the old communist bloc?

  7. Monkwahhdo

    1 December 2009 at 15:57

    Long time no speak peeps,
    I work for Aviva and we have just been given a handout informing us that AIG have now officially re-branded to Chartis Insurance Services.

    Does this mean we will have Chartis Insurance written across the front of our kit or are we just dropping the sponsor name untill the end of the season where we change to AON?

    help i’ve checked the official site but they don’t even mention AIG changing their name. Surely Our directors board are aware our sponsors are changing their name. they cannot be that inept can they?

  8. Monkwahhdo

    1 December 2009 at 16:06

    Sorry RR for posting the same thing 3 times each with a different email, just couldn’t remember which email address i used to post with. lol

    Not posted for ages, had a department move at work and well internet access is stictly work based but if the dogs away an all. : -)

    RR have you heard anything of AIG’s name change?

  9. gator

    1 December 2009 at 17:05

    @ROOOOONEY: hey nothing wrong with a mickey mouse competition. My 8yro niece is in a competition put on in Orlando Florida by Disney so i guess its a mickey mouse comp. :mrgreen:

  10. Monkwahhdo

    1 December 2009 at 17:40

    WHERE THE HELL IS EVERYONE???? 🙁

  11. Footy4Eddy

    1 December 2009 at 17:42

    @Monkwahhdo: We are wanking… Duuuh! 🙄

    I`m doing homwork. 🙁

  12. Traverse

    1 December 2009 at 18:35

    @Will: I see it as the way we are going after Fergie ups and goes.

  13. Grognard

    1 December 2009 at 18:53

    @Traverse: It’s not hypocrisy in any way mate. I live by the principle of first blood. The person who draws first blood is the guilty part and the one who got personal. What I did was retaliate like any human being with a heart and a soul would have done after being attacked. It’s never hypocrisy to defend yourself and often the only way to defend yourself against fire, is with fire. Before raking me over the coals and referring to me as a hypocrite, it would have been more suitable for you to read all the crap he wrote and asked yourself how you would have retaliated towards him had that been you.

  14. gator

    1 December 2009 at 18:54

    you have got to hand it to spurs we have poached them a few times now and they still find a way into the top 4 long season to go though.

  15. Red Ranter

    1 December 2009 at 19:02

    @Grognard: From my personal experience, the best option to handle such trolls is to not even dignify them with a response. That’s how I’d react. Why? Because in the internet that’s the best way to tackle them. In real life, I wouldn’t think twice before giving the person a piece of my mind. 🙂

  16. gator

    1 December 2009 at 19:09

    @Red Ranter: dont feed trolls 😎

  17. Grognard

    1 December 2009 at 20:08

    @Red Ranter: Had you been around RR, I would have done just that because I know you would have taken care of him asap, but you were away attempting to have a life (good for you by the way) and I was just getting hammered by this guy. If you noticed, I gave him one retaliatory reply which never stopped him. After that he continued and continued but I ignored him. I was actually more upset by two of our regulars who I have nothing against jumping on his bandwagon and encouraging him because they held pent up hostility or animosity towards me. Anyway, I could have been a lot worse but I shutup after my one reply and let him devour me. It was not easy as it’s just not in my nature to not fight back. The Internet is truly a cowardly invention that makes a lot of mice very brave. and although this may sound like boasting, I can guarantee you, he would not be so brave and callous towards me if he were in front of me. It’s so easy for these ass clowns to talk big when they are hiding behind a monitor thousands of miles away. To have a device that could transport them instantly into my living room would be fantastic. What a great concept for a Sci-Fi film. A blogger invents a device that can transport anyone on the other side into his living room for a good beating and then transport him back. Would work well for porn sites too. 😉 😀 😀

  18. [OPTI]Madschester United

    1 December 2009 at 21:18

    @Onkar: “ARAB money + …”
    Am I the only one who finds this a bit racist? Onkar, this is not meant to be a jab at you or calling you racist. I am just finding the comment and similar comments at least borderline racist. We don’t call United or Chelsea’s financial muscle JEW money or Liverpool’s WASP money…

  19. Lars

    1 December 2009 at 21:19

    I truly enjoy this Grade A soap opera going on here…It reminds me one time in the old school yard (in 2nd grade, I believe) when one kid called another kid, “poopyhead.” Then the other kid then replied with a fierce, “poopyheads.” (Now, this kid is winning because he used the plural form of ‘poopyhead’ implying that the initial offender is/has more than ONE poopyhead…clever stuff, really). Next, the kid with now multiple poopyheads, decided to keep crying about it over and over again and at every opportunity….Instead of just ignoring it and get one with his/her life.

  20. Grognard

    2 December 2009 at 02:29

    @[OPTI]Madschester United: It’s the way of the world mate. Same thing as inheriting your wealth. That’s called “OLD MONEY” Is that not age discrimination then? It’s not meant to be racist, it’s just easier to remember. The money is coming from rich Arab nations, therefore, what is wrong with calling it ARAB? Since when is Arab considered a racist term? It is a four letter world however. 😉 😀

  21. Grognard

    2 December 2009 at 02:32

    @Lars: Nobody likes to be called a poopyhead. 😉 And if I laid into you for three or four long paragraphs calling you everything under the book, I seriously doubt you would just move on. And if you could, then i’d seriously see a doctor to check for a pulse, if I was you. Please tell me, why I should be made to feel like a dickhead for standing up for myself?

  22. Onkar

    2 December 2009 at 04:29

    @[OPTI]Madschester United: I am extremely SORRY my mat from the bottom of heart if it sounded out that way. I should rephrase it by saying that OIL MONEY or SAY NON FOOTBALLING MONEY from the sheiks of ABU DHABI + JOSE = TROPHIES….
    I never meant to be RACIST matey.. You people know me now I am regular here and I am not a racist….

  23. Lars

    2 December 2009 at 06:10

    @Grognard:

    Grogsy,

    Half of the people who are on here are probably just childish and just can’t contain their love for themselves…If it makes them feel good to make fun of people on a BLOG, then who is to stop them? It’s probably the only thing they got going for them, so let them win this one…If a child in the street walked by you and said, “You smell like a fishes vagina” then you would not lecture them for hours about how rude and disrespectful it is to call someone a “fishes vagina”, you would look at him and then keep walking; there is no need to keep poking back because then he will just keep up his work and might even add in some, “you look like a horses penis” and the like, so just drop it and keep discussing United as this blog is meant to do. Arguing on here is annoying in that only every 10th post is actually football related whereas the other nine posts revolve around crying to RR, making childish accusations, and lecturing people.

    Now, you may be saying to yourselves, “He is a hypocrite; he just wrote one of those non-football posts!!” And the cycle continues…Someone has to break it; it might as well be you.

  24. Red Ranter

    2 December 2009 at 07:25

    @Grognard: To be honest I would have ignored it and moved on. I almost always laugh away internet insults. Why? Because it is the internet. Internet insults don’t count for me because I know they come from behind a computer screen and is not said to me face to face. Standing up for oneself on the internet is not heroic, if you ask me. It’s a lost cause that gives you more grief in the end. I have to do all this enforcement because I’m the moderator here and have to take things into account for having a civil discussion. But trust me, if everyone shrugged off insults that came their way, my job would be far easier.

    This non-confrontationalism doesn’t have to be a generational thing: just ask Redrich. He’ll tell it to you better than me.

  25. [OPTI]Madschester United

    2 December 2009 at 07:45

    @Grognard: In the context of money, Arab Money has negative connotation. First, it is an enormous generalization to claim that money from oil/trade by rich sheiks is “Arab” money since a vast majority of Arabs live under the poverty line and in 3rd world countries with über-affluent dictators/kings. These rulers steal vast amount of riches from the countries and its people (via oil-trades) to embellish themselves with Rolls-Royces, Palaces, etc… while their people fight over bread (read: Egypt) and live in poverty. Second, Arab countries are very poor if you remove the ruling class/kings. In British football circles, racism is far from eradicated (but improved!) and using the term “Arab Money” as loosely as some in the media and on this blog, is a slippery slope/borderline racism.

    Call it ‘oil money”, because that is what it really is and average Arabs get very little (if anything) of the large oil-covered pie.

  26. Onkar

    2 December 2009 at 08:07

    @[OPTI]Madschester United: I think bro.. That’s precisely what I have called it in my post asking for apology after your objection… I totally understand what you are saying but sometimes you read so many things and they get stuck in your head it just come out. But I totally agree with your point and I reiterate that I never had any history nor in this case I wanted to indulge into racist comment. And that’s why I immediately resurrected it by calling it precisely what you have mentioned that OIL MONEY or NON FOOTBALLING MONEY…
    The only reason I jumped into it again is I would like it if we can stop discussion because RACISM in itself is such a SENSITIVE subject any discussion if boils over can go to some bad levels. All I am trying to say is something which has been started of because of me should stop (in ideal situation) with my OWN APOLOGY.
    I hope my point is clear…
    Cheers Matey.. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  27. Red Ranter

    2 December 2009 at 08:32

    @[OPTI]Madschester United: You are making too much out of an innocent label.

  28. Onkar

    2 December 2009 at 09:05

    @Red Ranter: Precisely…..

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