Portsmouth ‘v’ Man City - Review

Result:  Portsmouth 2 - 0  Man City

A typically lacklustre City away performance on Saturday saw the Blues miss out on a chance to climb to seventh against Paul Hart’s Portsmouth.  This was a real missed opportunity for the Blues who were up against distinctly average opposition, however goals from Glen Johnson and Hermann Hreidarsson proved good enough to take all three points for Pompey.

Team News

Sparkey opted for an attacking minded 4-3-3 formation at the start of the game, giving the youngster Shaleum Logan, a product of the City youth scheme, a first team opportunity at right back, and keeping Zabaleta in a midfield role.  The front three, Elano, Robinho and Bellamy, did not look on paper to be the most imposing strike force in the premiership, but Caicedo and Evans were waiting on the bench if strength was required.  Ex – City goalkeeper David James started for Pompey, making his record – breaking 536th start in the premiership.

City Line-up

                                        Given

Logan              Onuoha           Kompany            Bridge

        Zabaleta              De Jong          Ireland

             Elano                             Robinho

                                Bellamy

Subs: Hart, Garrido, Fer******, Caicedo, Evans, Glauber, Weiss

Report

City started slowly and never really picked up the pace.  Portsmouth, eager to prove a point to the rest of the premier league that they are not in turmoil after the termination of Adams’ managerial stint, had the better of the opening encounters without really looking dangerous.  This was thanks in no small part to the youngster Logan’s terrific and reading of play and confident tackles, cutting out more than one of the Portsmouth midfield’s through balls with precise sliding lunges.  Unfortunately, City weren’t as clinical in seeing to attacks down the Pompey right, and Pennant had a lot of joy early on in this position.  Indeed, the lack of tackles to stop the Portsmouth wide man prompted De Jong to take evasive action against him, targeting his thigh with an early tackle only to receive a well earned yellow card. 

After about twenty minutes the Blues developed a foothold in the game and started to pass the ball around nicely, one particular move, initiated by Ireland, spreading from the City right to the left patiently before Elano blasted an effort over the bar from 25 yards.  Sadly, this was the highlight of City’s match before a late Evans header forced a save from James.  The first half meandered on without great incident, although at times the sloppiness in possession shown by both sides was almost laughable – a clumsy one – two between Onuoha and Pompey midfielder Basinas being the prime example of this, both men equally pathetic throughout this episode.

The next goalmouth action came around the hour mark, when David Nugent, played onside by Logan (incidentally the only moment when the kid’s inexperience showed in the match) managed to miss a one on one with City goalie Given when he really should have at least hit the target, to use a time – honoured cliché. 

Hughes then made the brave, but in my opinion correct, decision to replace Robinho  with the bulkier Caicedo.  Robinho was obviously targeted by Portsmouth as a key player after the 6-0 rout at the City of Manchester Stadium earlier this year, and was squeezed out of the game, never allowed any space at all in the final third.  We can but wonder whether Hughes regretted this substitution, however, when within minutes Glen Johnson skinned the struggling Bridge with unacceptable ease, running from the right wing into the box, getting a powerful left footed shot in that could only be parried by Given and finishing the rebound into the top left hand corner of the City net.  A good goal, but Bridge was clearly at fault.

City didn’t really respond with much urgency to this setback, and the Pompey second goal, a towering Hreidarsson header from a corner, was predictable and, again, far too easy, this time with Kompany being the guilty party, displaying lame and uninterested marking of Hermann.  Now 2-0 down, it was impossible for City to see a way back, and Ireland showed his frustration after being unfairly booked for a mistimed but not cynical challenge in the last ten minutes by sporting a face a dazzling shade of hue (seriously, I thought he was going to pop).  A rare bright moment from City almost resulted in what would have been a consolation in the 84th minute, when a searching Elano ball found Logan in space on the right, whose pinpoint cross was met with fantastic power by Evans, beating Campbell and Distin with ease in the air, only to be denied by a simply unbelievable save from point blank range from James on his 536th appearance.  However, when the final whistle was blown, City fans experienced that now regular emotion after away games - desolation after being outplayed by a surely weaker outfit.

Key Battles

David James ‘v’ Shay Given 

Given wasn’t at fault for either goal, but occasionally looked a little edgy with his kicking.  James’ kicking was also dire, but the save late on from Evans wins him this battle.  Winner: James

Armand Traoré ‘v’ Pablo Zabaleta

Traore didn’t play.  To be honest, I had to double check that Zabaleta played – he had no impact on proceedings, but I guess I can’t have someone who didn’t play beating him.  Shame.  Winner: N/A

Peter ‘Daddy Long-Legs’ Crouch ‘v’ Vincent Kompany

Kompany was good all day other than for the Pompey second goal.  Crouch wasn’t - he lost out on every header against City’s very own ‘Terminator’, as the great Steven calls him.  Winner:  Kompany

             ‘I’ll be back’

Player Ratings

Given:  Decent, stopped shots well, not at fault for either goal, but looked nervous with the ball at his feet – 6

Logan:  The only bright thing to come out of the day.  Looked accomplished and dealt with Hreidarsson well – 8

Kompany:  Decent game, calm on the ball, strong in the tackle, but at fault for the second goal – 6

Onuoha:  Like Vincent, strong in the tackle and won lots of headers, but less calm when in possession – 6

Bridge:  Poor game.  Wasn’t helped with the absence of a right midfielder, but skinned far too easily on more than one occasion, caught out of position at times too, the weak point of thecity back four – 4

Zabaleta:  Nothing to report – 4

De Jong: A decent game in the Kompany role, could have helped the defence a little more but at least he wasn’t afraid to tackle – 6

Ireland:  City’s best player by a long way.  Creative yet careful on the ball, always finding space or a pass, passionate about the match and prepared to challenge for the ball – 9

Elano:  Not a great day again for the little Brazilian.  Wasn’t afraid to shoot, but was far too weak and lethargic on the ball.  Needs to be stronger – 5

Bellamy:  No good service all day.  Worked quite hard but only got a yellow card for his trouble – 4

Robinho:  Tried to be creative but marked out of the game.  Like Elano, needs to build strength – 4

Subs: Caicedo:  Minimal impact, although to be fair he had minimal service – 4

            Evans: Took his chance well, unlucky not to score, again had no service – 5

Man of the Match:  Steven Ireland

12 Responses to “Portsmouth ‘v’ Man City - Review”

  1. I*T*P*L Says:

    Plattsy, it is with great delight that I point out your errors.

    1) At several times you refer to ”the premiership”. Firstly, this should be written with a capital ”P” and your use of the lower case version subtracts integrity from your writing. Seconsly, since 2007, the English top flight has been known as the Premier League in Britain, as it has always been abroad. I trust that in the future you will make this change as it makes your article up to date and also avoids any confusion/offence being caused amongst your international readership.

    2) It is gramatically erroneous to leave spaced either side of the hyphon in a hyphonated word or phrase, as you have done when describing David James as ”record - breaking”

    3) When making reference to both Tony Adams and David James in the possessive sense, you said their names followed by an apostrophe, EG ” Adams’ or James’ ” As the people in question are singular, the correct usage of the apostrophe would be in the form Adams’s, despite the name ending with an ’s’. The ‘ s’ ‘ form should only be used when the plural form ends in ’s’, for example, the mens’ toilets.

    4) You make reference to a ‘’shade of hue”. I find this expression laughable as the two words are almost synonyms; it is as if you were saying a ”dazzling colour of colour.”

    Seriously, well done, you’ve done Steven proud.

  2. Plattsy Says:

    Cheers VJ, appreciate your constructive remarks! Apologies to all readers, I believed ‘hue’ to be a deep shade of red/puce colour.

    And thanks Patrick, but I must say that I endeavoured to write this in the style of Steven so I think most credit should go to him!

  3. Steven in Madrid Says:

    Just read the blog Plattsy and I must say ‘WELL DONE’

    As VJ said, you have made me proud. I’m not too impressed at all with Patrick’s comment, although ‘each to their own’

    Patrick - thanks for your comment, although I’m sure you can understand why I am not too happy. Can I just ask why you think the layout is better than usual?

    I will make a couple of changes when I get back, but overall, I’m very pleased!!!

    Steven

  4. I*T*P*L Says:

    Steven, football this Sunday 2 o’ clock if you’re interested. It’ll be £4. Let Baldeep know if you’re coming or just comment here and I’ll tell him.

    Also, Patrick is me, gotcha!

  5. Big Bob Says:

    For a poor effort from the blues, a great blog plattsy (dare i say better than steve’s? No i’d better not)
    Heads up for a win on thursday.

  6. Big Bob Says:

    And what was up with zabaleta, twas like he wasnt on the pitch

  7. Plattsy Says:

    I know it was ridiculous.. he’s normally one of my favourite players as well

  8. CHED EVANS IS MY HERO :) Along with Craig Bellamy! Says:

    PLATTSY!

    Just back from Madrid, great effort here, super stuff, although my man Ched no doubt deserves a higher score for his efforts

    Well Done, it’s great, take over from Steven

  9. Steven, back from Madrid Says:

    VJ - had a strong feeling that Patrick Matthews wasn’t a real person. Thought it was someone who knew me and Plattsy, but didn’t think it was you. Can’t do football this Sunday - sorry - got way too much work and parents are away!

    Big Bob and Matt - should I give up and let Plattsy do it permanently???

  10. Big Bob Says:

    Normally, i would say yes but today, im in a rather good mood, so i will say no

  11. I’m Better than Robinho Says:

    Hi Ricky,

    Just logged onto the site, so could check for emails, and just realised that ‘Big Bob’ was the one and only Curtis. Good to see you finally checked out this site

  12. rish.aggarwal Says:

    Just checked out the site, have to say this is a well crafted review and Plattsy should have Steven’s job

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