Fulham vs Portsmouth Preview
By Jim Bonner
Updated Tuesday, 2nd February 2010
Two teams in dire form meet at Craven Cottage.Pompey travel to West London tomorrow evening knowing that defeat may end all hope of Premier League survival.
Quincy Owusu-Abeyie could make hist first start for Pompey whilst Aruna Dindane, Nadir Belhadj, Kanu and Hassan Yebda could all feature now that the African Cup of Nations has finished.
Hermann Hreidarsson is out with a hamstring injury whilst Michael Brown and Papa Bouba Diop are rated doubtful. Steve Finnan should play against his former club.
Roy Hodgson could hand debuts to deadline day signings Nicky Shorey and Stefano Okaka. Clint Dempsey, Andrew Johnson and John Paintsil are out with injuries but Bobby Zamora will start after being injured when this match was originally scheduled to be played.
This game looks really difficult on paper because Fulham's home form has been exceptional this season. However, they have lost their last five games and even though we have been in poor league form ourselves, there may not be a better time to play the Cottagers.
This is an opportunity to make up some ground on those above us. The teams immediately hovering above Pompey in the league are five points clear but have played a game more.
Our problem is that if we lose tomorrow, then by the end of the weekend it could be eight points behind with equal games played in the likelihood that Manchester United beat us at Old Trafford. So we desperately need a result tomorrow.
Whether we get it will depend a lot on if our weak defence can cope with Fulham's attack and if our misfiring strikers can find the back of the net. We didn't play badly at Man City on Sunday and if we can repeat that performance and iron out the costly mistakes then we might get a result against a team that are low on confidence and have been shipping goals.
I'm not expecting anything though. This season has taught me never to be optimistic otherwise you'll only be disappointed with the end result, and then just when you think it can't get any worse, there's more bad news around the corner.
I sometimes ask myself why I even bother. Perhaps victory tomorrow night will help restore the faith, if only temporarily.
Predicted Starting Line-Ups
GK: Mark SCHWARZER
RB: Aaron HUGHES
CB: Chris SMALLING
CB: Brede HANGELAND
LB: Nicky SHOREY
RM: Damien DUFF
CM: Danny MURPHY
CM: Dickson ETUHU
LM: Zoltan GERA
CF: Stefano OKAKA
CF: Bobby ZAMORA
GK: David JAMES
RB: Anthony VANDEN BORRE
CB: Marc WILSON
CB: Tal BEN-HAIM
LB: Steve FINNAN
RM: Quincy OWUSU-ABEYIE
CM: Kevin-Prince BOATENG
CM: Jamie O'HARA
LM: Nadir BELHADJ
CF: Frederic PIQUIONNE
CF: John UTAKA
Last Time: Fulham 3 Portsmouth 1
Andy Johnson slotted past David James to give Fulham an early lead and Erik Nevland sealed another defeat for Tony Adams with two goals in the second half. David Nugent headed in a consolation goal late on after being denied a blatant penalty early in the second half.
My Prediction: I expect to get beaten, this season rarely brings good news and this could be the result that ends all hope.
Fulham 2 Portsmouth 1