The Final Furlong

Last updated : 24 April 2007 By Jim Bonner
Harry Redknapp today put great faith in his Pompey side by claiming that Bolton, Everton and Reading would claim the three UEFA Cup places up for grabs. Now whether he really means this or is just saying that to play down Pompey's chances is up for debate, but with the stage set and only three games to go, it's a time where "accurate" predictions could be made as to who finishes where.

We are the rank outsiders to qualify now with Bolton and Everton 4 points clear of us, Reading a point clear and Spurs behind us on goal difference but with a game in hand. Fans are trying to do the maths in their head and using this predictor to see what the final outcome of the season is going to be.

I decided to take a look at each team's fixtures to try and determine how many points we would need to qualify for Europe. Here's what I got:


Manchester United (H)
Pompey (H)
Chelsea (A)

I think our UEFA Cup qualification could hinge on the game at Goodison Park and for the sake of staying neutral I'll predict that result as a draw. The Toffees still have to play the top two and whilst I think they'll be good enough to draw against an injury ravaged United at home, I fully expect them to lose at Chelsea.

Total: 56 Points


Chelsea (A)
West Ham (A)
Aston Villa (H)

Nobody seems to take anything from Stamford Bridge and I don't see Bolton going there and getting anything. West Ham are fighting for their lives at the bottom and if they've still got a chance of avoiding relegation then I think they can beat Wanderers on their day. Villa at home could go either way though as Villa have nothing to play for, I'd expect Big Sam's men to take all three points.

Total: 57 Points


Newcastle (H)
Watford (H)
Blackburn (A)

Out of all of the teams going for Europe, Reading have got it the easiest. They should be able to beat the inconsistent Geordies at home whilst Watford should also be a straightforward win. The Blackburn game could go either way but Rovers have a very strong home record and I think they will beat The Royals at Ewood Park.

Total: 57 Points


Middlesbrough (A)
Charlton (A)
Blackburn (H)
Manchester City (H)

Although Spurs haven't travelled well all season, I'd expect them to pick up a draw at The Riverside against Boro who are just playing out their season now. Charlton will be a different prospect though and as we all should know ourselves, going away to a team desperate to survive is always difficult and I think Pardew could do us a favour here. The plus points for Tottenham are the two home games against mid-table Blackburn and City who they should beat.

Total: 57 Points

So by my reckoning 58 points would be enough to get us into Europe but considering we can't mathematically get 58 and I've got us down for a draw at Everton, the maximum number of points we could get going by my predictions is 57. That would mean the situation coming down to goal difference and that shouldn't be a problem with Pompey on +5 and Spurs & Bolton both with negative goal differences.

To get to 57 points we'd have to beat Liverpool and Arsenal at home. Not to say it's impossible as we've been good at home almost all season, Liverpool will have one eye on their Champions League game with Chelsea and Arsenal will be without their "one-man-team" Thierry Henry. Whatever happens we cannot afford to lose to Everton, in fact realistically we can't afford to lose again for the rest of this season.

For some reason I'm quietly optimistic that things can go our way and we can do what is needed to finish in the top 7. I know, quite unlike me to be this positive isn't it? It's out of our own hands, but victory against Liverpool could really put the cat amongst the pidgeons.

In other news: There's a press conference in London tomorrow that is supposedly going to give Pompey fans the news we've been waiting for about the new stadium. Check Fratton Faithful tomorrow for the news.

And finally, it has been two years since the "4-1" and I still remember it as if it was yesterday! Great stuff!