Portsmouth vs Chelsea Preview
By Jim Bonner
Updated Tuesday, 23rd March 2010
Carlo Ancelotti returns to Fratton Park.Carlo Ancelotti broke the hearts of every Pompey fan after his AC Milan side snatched a last gasp draw at Fratton Park last season, but now there is a chance of revenge tomorrow night.
Aruna Dindane will play no part in this game because his participation in another match for Pompey will result in a £4 million transfer fee to be paid to Lens.
There could be a few changes from the side that snatched a win against Hull on Saturday with Michael Brown and Steve Finnan pushing for recalls but the match comes too soon for Kevin-Prince Boateng, Hassan Yebda and John Utaka.
Petr Cech has been passed fit to play his first game for Chelsea for a month but Branislav Ivanovic is out with a medial knee ligament tear. Jose Bosingwa and Ashley Cole are also out with long term injuries so Chelsea have something of a full back crisis.
John Terry will play though, so expect plenty of jeering for the serial cheater tomorrow evening.
On any usual day I'd expect Chelsea to win this at a canter, but with absolutely no pressure on Pompey and with the West Londoners in a relative bad patch of form, there is a chance that we could dent Ancelotti's title challenge further.
One thing that is going to bug me when we go down is the fact that we've never come close to beating Chelsea in the Premier League barring one occasion when we drew.
Our record against them since promotion (and Roman Abramovich's takeover) is drawn 1 and lost 13 (12 league, 1 cup) so this is our final chance to beat them before we're hosting the likes of Blackpool and Barnsley next year.
Of course, I don't think we'll get anything as Drogba and Anelka should ultimately prove too much for our leaky defence but I think we should enjoy this game for what it is, as this is going to be our last "glamour game" in a league fixture for what might be some time.
Predicted Starting Line-Ups
GK: David JAMES
RB: Steve FINNAN
CB: Ricardo ROCHA
CB: Hermann HREIDARSSON
LB: Nadir BELHADJ
CM: Marc WILSON
CM: Michael BROWN
CM: Jamie O'HARA
RWF: Tommy SMITH
LWF: Quincy OWUSU-ABEYIE
CF: Frederic PIQUIONNE
GK: Petr CECH
RB: Paulo FERREIRA
CB: John TERRY
LB: Yuri ZHIRKOV
CM: John OBI-MIKEL
CM: Michael BALLACK
CM: Frank LAMPARD
RWF: Nicolas ANELKA
LWF: Florent MALOUDA
CF: Didier DROGBA
Last Time: Portsmouth 0 Chelsea 1
Sean Davis came close to scoring but Cech somehow saved his stunning volley. More chances came for Pompey in the second half as Nugent shot straight at Cech whilst Kranjcar missed from close range.
Those missed opportunities were punished when Didier Drogba scored late on as Guus Hiddink's men held out for the three points.
My Prediction: Avram Grant may feel that there is a chance to get one over his former employers but in all honesty I think Chelsea will have too much for us.
Portsmouth 0 Chelsea 2