FA Cup 4th Round Preview

By Jim Bonner
Last updated : 26 January 2007
Pompey travel to Old Trafford for the second time this season to ultimately get beaten and knocked out of the cup. At least that's what the pessimistic fans will tell you anyway...

Yup, I'd expect everyone has this game marked down as a "home win" on their Pools coupons or Prediciton Leagues, but there is a strange sense of optimism in the Pompey camp that we might be able to get a result at the Theatre Of Dreams. I certainly don't expect this match to be the write off so many are claiming it to be.

United are likely to rest, or at least bench some of their "superstars" such as Edwin Van Der Sar, Christiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney. This means that the likes of Tomasz Kuszczak, Park Ji-Sung, Darren Fletcher and Dong Fangzhuo could all be involved in the tie. Either way, the task in front of us is pretty daunting but by no means impossible, especially if we do face a weakened side.

Harry is very likely to go 4-5-1 in attempt to stifle United's high tempo style with Glen Johnson and Lauren down the right and with the (hopefully) returning Noe Pamarot and Matt Taylor down the left. Djimi Traore can't play because he's cup-tied. Harry than faces the dilemma of who to pick up front. Benjani, Kanu or Andy Cole? I personally wouldn't pick Benjani, he doesn't seem to suit a 4-5-1 formation from what I've seen of him this season. Kanu holds the ball up very well and has aerial threat, so I would pick him ahead of Cole.

If we play to our full capacity then we could well take a draw, or even more from this game if the system works perfectly. We have absolutely nothing to lose as everyone expects us to be beaten so I hope we just go for it and see what happens.

Unfortunately, there will not be as many Pompey fans going to this tie as the one four years ago when we were still going for the Division One Championship. Ruud Van Nistelrooy scored two penalties with a Beckham free kick and a stoppage time strike from Paul Scholes wrapping up the victory for United after Steve Stone had got one back for us when we were 2-0 down.

I, like many other Pompey fans have decided against making this trip personally and I'll be watching the game on the tele. I can sympathise for the other fans who just can't afford to fork out £65 for a cup game on TV, especially considering we have already been there once this season and our next two away games are expensive trips to Wigan and Blackburn.

Realistically, we will probably get beaten but a draw is not impossible and would mean a replay back at Fratton Park where we can beat anybody. An unlikely win will banish all memories of last Saturday's dismal defeat to Charlton from the memories completely.

Play Up Pompey!

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