Manchester City preview

Last updated : 18 November 2004 By Keith Allman
It's been a funny three weeks since we last stepped onto the hallowed home turf. Back then, after ninety fantastic minutes, Manchester United had been seen off convincingly. The bravest of us were even mentioning the magic word "Europe", whilst it certainly seemed as though a relegation dogfight was the last of our woes. And yet, as so often has become the Pompey way, fantastic home form has given way to dismal away days. Villa romped to victory, Southampton upset the form book, and now suddenly things are looking a bit edgy again.

Manchester City are always interesting opposition because, despite the fact that Keegan does seem a bit tactically inept, he does like attacking football. Last season a cracking game with chances at both ends finished 4-2 to us, although I'd be slightly surprised if the score was that high this time - especially given the amount of strike options we've got out injured. Yakubu, Kamara, Pericard, Todorov and Burchill are all ruled out, whilst Vine and Keene are out on loan. LuaLua picked up a groin knock last weekend, whilst Fuller played for Jamaica in midweek and so the travel may have kicked it out of him a bit. Damnation!

Luckily for us, Manchester City's defence is looking knackered. Thatcher and Jihai are both ruled out, whilst Danny Mills got sent off last weekend and serves a one match ban. A bit of a disappointment that one, seeing as he's rubbish - remember how he kindly let Yakubu score four against him when playing for Boro last season, even giving away a penalty. Hopefully our stand-in strike force can take advantage of the visitor's defensive frailities, especially given how City - like most Keegan teams - aren't usually the most stable at the back.

It's far too early to start saying games are "must win". But against one of the sides who we'll be battling against for mid-table places come the end of the season, I reckon it's fair to call this a "mustn't lose". Getting beaten in away games is one thing, god knows it happened enough last season and we still survived then, but if we start dropping points at home too then we're going to be in trouble. I'm hoping for a win - got to be optimistic!