Pompey vs Newcastle Preview

Last updated : 13 April 2007 By Jim Bonner
Pompey hope to end a Premiership jinx on Saturday by finally beating Newcastle United and put the memories of the shoddy 4-2 defeat to Watford behind us.

Newcastle are lying 10th in the Premiership and that's surely now the minimum target we should be aiming for in the league. Despite our chances of Europe seemingly gone, wins for Manchester United and Chelsea in their cup semi-finals against Watford and Blackburn would open up 7th place for UEFA Cup qualification, and we're only 2 points off 7th. This game represents the last chance saloon for any slim hopes of playing in Europe next season.

Newcastle have been hit and miss all season and don't really travel well. Pompey fans will be happy with the news that Shay Given looks certain to miss the game after his heroics at Fratton Park last season, though the bad news from our perspective is that Michael Owen could return to the side as a substitute after scoring for Newcastle reserves.

Unfortunately Pompey still have their own injury problems as Benjani and Toddy are still doubts, meaning Monday's woeful Lomana LuaLua could have a chance to redeem himself against his former club. The better news is that both Sol Campbell and Lauren should feature, giving us a massive defensive boost after conceding 4 to Watford.

With players like Emre and Obafemi Martins and defenders like Celestine Babayaro and Titus Bramble, I'd imagine Newcastle will come out to attack us which could play into our hands as we only seem to get beaten by teams that stifle our own game at home. We've never beaten Newcastle in the Premiership but they have never beaten us at Fratton Park, even so I have a nasty feeling that Michael Owen will come off the bench and snatch an equaliser in a frustrating 1-1 draw where we have all the possession, but then what do I know?

We've probably screwed up our European bid for this season, so I'm just going to enjoy what I believe will be a very good match. If I'm entertained I'm not bothered what the result will be, as long as we win!

Premiership Past: Pompey vs Newcastle United

03/04: Pompey 1 Newcastle United 1

Craig Bellamy scored in the first half and it looked like we would be heading for another defeat but Bobby Robson made the huge mistake of letting Lomana LuaLua play against his parent club. The DR Congo international scored in the 89th minute to frustrate the Geordies as Pompey took a well earned point in their fight against the drop.

04/05: Pompey 1 Newcastle United 1

Keiron Dyer made the most of a defensive mix up to give the Geordies the lead after 43 minutes but two minutes later Steve Stone; a Geordie himself, equalised right on the stroke of half-time as Fratton Park was covered in mist. This result denied Newcastle a record breaking 9th straight win to frustrate the away fans once again.

05/06: Pompey 0 Newcastle 0

It was Pompey fans who were left frustrated after this game because of a heroic performance by Shay Given. Anything that Given didn't save either hit the crossbar or the post as the Irishman was not to be denied in a match Pompey dominated, but ended up settling for a draw.

Pundit Watch

Lawro: Home Win (2-0)
Sky Sports: Home Win (1-0)
Soccernet: Home Win