Pompey vs Everton Preview

By Jim Bonner
Last updated : 30 November 2007
After the traumatic week that Harry Redknapp has had, it's time to get back to matters on the pitch as Pompey prepare for a key Premier League encounter with fellow UEFA Cup spot chasers Everton.

The events that took place during the week were shocking and bang out-of-order on Harry and his family as somehow the press got a tip off that the raid was going to take place. It's a shame that the police brought the whole issue into the public domain, but I do think that this might actually help the team on Saturday.

Let me take you back to last year when Panorama aired and we played Bolton at home. Harry may have had a small role in the programme but the main focus at the time was on Sam Allardyce as he was labelled as "corrupt" by the BBC.

At the time, Pompey were unbeaten in the league, hadn't conceded a goal and were favourites to beat Bolton at Fratton Park. Instead, Bolton won 1-0 and their players admitted afterwards that they had played with extra commitment for their under-fire boss. If there's any light at the end of the tunnel after this week, then hopefully the players will be extra fired up tomorrow.

Both teams come into the game in excellent form with Pompey unbeaten in nine and Everton unbeaten in six in the league respectively. However, we've failed to win at home since that 7-4 thrashing against Reading and with the Toffees only three points behind us we'll need to win to keep give us a cushion over the chasing pack.

Kanu is fit again and Harry must decide whether to stick with the same system used to beat Birmingham or revert back to the traditional 4-4-2 and go for a more attacking look that almost paid dividends against Man City.

I personally think that we should stick with the 4-3-3 as Everton are likely to arrive at Fratton Park with their 4-4-1-1 formation that works well when smothering a two pronged attack. I guess we will have to wait and see what happens but with both teams not tasting defeat in a long time, they could cancel each other out.

David Moyes' side are virtually at full strength with only Alan Stubbs absent. This means that Yakubu is likely to play and if Everton do get on the scoresheet, I don't think anyone will be surprised.

Tim Cahill has been a menace since his return to the side and Mikel Arteta is always dangerous when he gets the ball, so the visitors will be carrying plenty of threat that our sturdy defence will have to keep out.

This has all the makings of a great game but with us struggling to score at home, I feel this could be an anti-climax, though I won't care as long as we take the three points.

Predicted Starting Line-Ups

Pompey

GK: David JAMES

RB: Glen JOHNSON
CB: Sol CAMPBELL
CB: Sylvain DISTIN
LB: Noe PAMAROT

CM: Sean DAVIS
CM: Papa BOUBA DIOP
CM: Sulley MUNTARI

RWF: John UTAKA
LWF: Niko KRANJCAR
CF: BENJANI

Bench: Jamie ASHDOWN, Hermann HRIEDARSSON, Matthew TAYLOR, David NUGENT, KANU

Everton

GK: Tim HOWARD

RB: Phillip NEVILLE
CB: Joseph YOBO
CB: Joeleon LESCOTT
LB: Leighton BAINES

RM: Leon OSMAN
CM: Lee CARSLEY
CM: Mikel ARTETA
LM: Stephen PIENAAR

AM: Tim CAHILL

CF: YAKUBU

Bench: Stefan WESSELS, Nuno VALENTE, Thomas GRAVESEN, Phil JAGIELKA, Andy JOHNSON

Last Time: Pompey 2 Everton 0

Pompey finally managed to beat Everton at Fratton Park thanks to a superb wonder volley by Matthew Taylor from the halfway line that lobbed a bemused Tim Howard. Kanu then followed up with a volley of his own from outside the box to seal the points.

Pundit Watch

Lawro: Draw (1-1)
Sky Sports: Home Win (2-1)
Soccernet: Draw
Footy-Mad: Away Win

My Prediction: Draw (0-0)

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