Portsmouth vs Aston Villa Preview

By Jim Bonner
Last updated : 30 November 2009
Pompey can book a place in the semi-finals of the Carling Cup for the first time in their history if they can overcome Aston Villa at Fratton Park tomorrow evening.

Team News

Mike Williamson, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Jamie O'Hara and Tommy Smith are all cup-tied for the match tomorrow whilst Steve Finnan and David James will be absent through injury.

Grant will likely stick with the same defence that conceded four to Manchester United as well as the same front two but the midfield is likely to contain Aaron Mokoena and Hayden Mullins.

Martin O'Neill is likely to name a weakened side for this game with last round's penalty hero Brad Guzan coming in for Brad Friedel. Emile Heskey should start whilst Stewart Downing could also make his debut for his new club.

The Match

I'll say this now. I would accept a defeat tomorrow if it meant beating Burnley on Saturday. That game is far more important than this one but that's not to say we should take this game lightly.

This is a winnable match if Grant plays his strongest side available and they play like they did against Stoke, with some free flowing football without any pressure. We don't really have anything to lose nor do Pompey fans expect to win the competition, yet for Villa this is a very good chance for their first piece of silverware since 1996 when they lifted this very trophy.

But for our own players this could serve as a timely opportunity to gain some much needed confidence ahead of the "must win" game on Saturday.

Piquionne and Dindane need a boost after three games of missed chances and mistakes whilst the defence need to regroup after United walked through them during the second half of last Saturday's game.

From a fan's point of view I'm just going to go to Fratton Park and enjoy the game without any stress or worry about the consequences of losing and going out. Even if we did go through we would face a very tough semi-final over two legs which would be even tougher than this game.

And with the likes of Gabriel Agbonlahor, Ashley Young and James Milner in the Villa team you can guarantee that this is going to be a very tough game.

But I have a good feeling about this one...

Predicted Starting Line-Ups

Pompey

GK: Jamie ASHDOWN

RB: Tal BEN-HAIM
CB: Younes KABOUL
CB: Marc WILSON
LB: Hermann HREIDARSSON

RM: Hayden MULLINS
CM: Aaron MOKOENA
CM: Michael BROWN
LM: Nadir BELHADJ

CF: Frederic PIQUIONNE
CF: Aruna DINDANE

Aston Villa

GK: Brad GUZAN

RB: Carlos CUELLAR
CB: Richard DUNNE
CB: James COLLINS
LB: Luke YOUNG

RM: Ashley YOUNG
CM: Steve SIDWELL
CM: Stilyan PETROV
LM: Stewart DOWNING

CF: Gabriel AGBONLAHOR
CF: Emile HESKEY

My Prediction: Hard one to call but with no pressure and the home fans behind us I think we can sneak a win under no easy circumstances.

Portsmouth 2 Aston Villa 1 (After Extra Time)

Portsmouth Match Reports


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