Hopes were raised prior to the game with the breaking news of Harry Redknapp’s departure from the Pompey hot seat to take on the poisoned chalice at Spurs. Surely if ever a club and a manager deserved each other it’s these two. It's impossible to tell how these sort of things can affect a team. They'd played poorly in Europe on Thursday, and I was hoping we could nick a point even before the management change was announced. In the end it probably all evened out.
My view of the game was limited to brief highlights on Match of the Day 2. It looked like we started brightly but were under the cosh for much of the game before a late revival. The goal conceded came after Jimmy Bullard attempted to dribble through the centre of the Pompey midfield. He ran straight into trouble, was easily dispossessed and remained sitting on the floor as the Blues counter attacked swiftly and scored. Not good. A quick ball had been played through to leave Defoe and Crouch in a face off with Hangeland and Hughes. Defoe dragged Hangeland right before playing a neat ball across the penalty area for Crouch to fire home. Hughes was helpless to react.
Hodgson reacted by first bringing on Dempsey for Gera (who had been playing on the right wing), then gambling on a three man defence by bringing Nevland on for Painstil. It was an uncharacteristic change in system but it paid off. A through ball was nodded down by Nevland (playing wide right) to Andy Johnson, AJ made a quick return pass for Nevland to chase. The
An important first away point and possibly signs that Roy is thinking about changes to the starting line-up. Since I waxed lyrical about Bullard’s chances in the England set-up he’s not been able to put a foot (or a pass) right. Reports suggest he had another poor game and was certainly at fault for the goal we conceded. Time to give him a break I think, even if just for one game, with Wigan on Wednesday night followed by Everton at the weekend, we need to use the squad. Dempsey seems the most likely candidate to fill the gap. I think he usually plays best when he's central, and his reaction to his goal on Sunday indicated a man ready to show his true worth.