On paper and form this is a victory but that ignores the personalities and scores that go into this match. On a good day the crowd is worth a man to most teams but today expect it to be 2 men in Portsmouth’s favour so we need to quieten them down quickly. Then there is Kevin Prince Boateng. At Spurs a failure, only able to win a yellow card for clumsy challenges but who claimed he was out of position and justified his arguments in his first appearances for Portsmouth. He’ll be keen to show us all the error of our ways in not playing him and then letting him go.
What about Kaboul. A raw talent, now maturing and never tested outside the back four before release; he’ll come back to haunt us for sure – let’s hope its not today!
And Harry (and our management team). He’ll get some stick but will take it like he does at West Ham by staying seated and quiet during the game. Joe Jordan the player would cope and act as the “minder” HR doesn’t want but the Coach Joe looks too nice and possibly a bit vulnerable….
Then there are our Portsmouth imports, Defoe, Crouch and Kranjcar. Expect JD to get abuse but there again he knows all about that from his West Ham departure so that may not upset too much and Crouchy has had more then his fair share of clubs.
Then our ball winner is impounded in Honduras by the military Junta so that he can attend a national celebration. This might be the most telling factor come 5 o’clock. Certainly it allows Harry to avoid a selection dilemma that should see Jenas and Huddlestone sharing central midfield duties rather than fighting for the spare spot. They need to be strong in mind and tackle otherwise we could be in difficulties.
Harry has a dilemma with his keeper. Should Carlo continue or Gomes get the start. I want to see Gomes but I’m not 100% sure about his travelling arrangements during the international break and what time he arrived back after the Brazil games.
Will Ledley be fit to return after injury? We certainly need him but I think he may miss out. Woodgate – despite returning to training and lifting our hopes – does so will Dawson be promoted from the bench in a game that calls out for aerial control. I want to see him back in the side.
I expect to see no changes at full back and for Bassong to be the central defensive partner if Ledley cannot play.
Lennon on the right and Kranjcar on the left will make up my midfield and I would play Keane and Defoe to start with Crouchy dropping to the bench to come on after the hour.
Therefore my perfect start for the game:
Corluka Dawson King Assou-Ekotto
Lennon Jenas Huddlestone Kranjcar
Bench: Carlo, Hutton, Bale, Crouch, Bassong, Naughton and Palacios (if back)
Predicted result: A Spurs win but not an easy one.