Panic Stations

Last updated : 04 September 2007 By Jim Bonner
We are five games into the season and already there are grumblings that we won't improve on last season's finish despite the amount of money we have spent this summer. My message is simply: don't panic!

Barely a month has gone into the season and some Pompey fans are already going ballistic following Sunday's defeat at Arsenal and comparing this season's start to last season's.

Yes, the Arsenal defeat was terrible from our point of view but realistically, not many teams are going to get anything at the Emirates Stadium this season. The worse news is that inevitably there will be worse defeats than this as the season progresses and judging by the reaction to the Arsenal defeat, Portsmouth's prisons are going to be full to the brim full of murderers should we lose 3-0 away to a mid-table side!

And for those of you who like to pull out the comparisons to last season where we proudly sat top of the league with no goals conceded, let's have a look at the facts shall we?

Season 06/07 - First Five Games

Blackburn (H) - Won 3-0 (Blackburn could barely field a team due to injuries and suspensions, and were down to 9 men by the end of the game.)

Man City (A) - Drew 0-0 (City broke the all-time record for least goals scored at home in a season)

Middlesbrough (A) - Won 0-4 (We're Boro's bogey team and they hardly set the world alight last season did they?)

Wigan (H) - Won 1-0 (Finished 17th)

Charlton (A) - Won 0-1 (Finished 19th and got relegated)

Season 07/08 - First Five Games

Derby (A) - Drew 2-2 (A promoted side are always much more difficult to play on the opening day because of the "promotion buzz")

Man United (H) - Drew 1-1 (One of the "Big Four", should challenge for the title)

Bolton (H) - Won 3-1 (Bolton look like relegation fodder this season)

Chelsea (A) - Lost 1-0 ("Big Four" club that haven't suffered a home league defeat for nearly four seasons now, and we deserved a draw)

Arsenal (A) - Lost 3-1 ("Big Four" club who could well challenge for the title this season)

Now I know some of you will be reading this and thinking "so he's saying that the start this season was much tougher than last season, tell us something we don't know!" That is precisely my point; some people are acting like we're not going to meet the expectations set because of a "bad start".

But I ask you, did you really expect anything more?

If someone asked me "How would you feel with 5 points from your first 5 games?" at the start of the season, I'd have said "That would be fine." I'm sure many other level-headed Pompey fans would say the same thing.

However, I get the impression that because of the money we have spent, expectations of some fans have become too high and are using this bad start to the season to justify why we're not meeting those lofty expectations, which is just foolish.

Our next game is at home to Liverpool, who have shown early signs of being the real deal this season. Following that we have a trip to Ewood Park which is never easy, so there's a fair possibility that we will still be on 5 points after 7 games and so what will the fans with high expectations say then? "We're getting relegated!" perhaps?

There's no need to panic, and whilst the Arsenal defeat didn't exactly fill me with confidence there were still a few positives to take from the game such as how we never gave up even when 3-1 down and how we still managed to create chances.

Tony Adams needs to have a strong word with the defence because that's where we look weakest at the moment. Lauren needs to play at right back and Sol Campbell needs to get fit so we can have our strongest back four ready for the Liverpool game.

If we're still on 5 points come the end of October, then the alarm bells will start ringing!