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Preview – Portsmouth ‘v’ Man City

An away trip to the South Coast to face a Portsmouth side lacking in confidence offers City a perfect opportunity to cement their place in top echelons of the Premier League. The Citizens come into this game on the back of a hard-fought victory against Middlesborough, while Portsmouth have been in free-fall recently, with a horrendous run of results culminating in the sacking of manager Tony Adams. At the time of writing, they have yet to appoint Adams’ successor, although if they do, then surely there will be a backlash; a move which could work against City.

Team News:

Blues boss Mark Hughes faces a number of selection dilemmas as he prepares to name the side for this crucial game. Shaun Wright-Phillips is out of the match after the FA unbelievably decided to hand him a three-match ban for his kick-out at Rory Delap. In itself, this is possibly a just move, but it comes on the back of Chelsea defender José Bosingwa escaping scot-free following his disgraceful ‘tackle’ against Liverpool. Brazilian superstar Elano is expected to replace SWP on the right-wing, although Hughes also has the option of changing his formation and playing two men up-front. Richard Dunne is still suspended for the game, the final match of his four-game ban, so Nedum Onuoha and Vincent Kompany will again form the bedrock of the blues’ defence.

Captured by Sky Sports cameras, Bosingwa lunges in at Benayoun, raking his studs down the Israeli’s back

My team:

                                       Given

Richards       Onuoha                  Kompany         Bridge

                    Zabaleta                  de Jong    

Bellamy                         Ireland                         Robinho 

                                    Caicedo

Subs: Hart, Garrido, Sturridge, Evans, Vassell, Berti, Weiss

Key Battles:

David James ‘v’ Shay Given

Given was utterly outstanding on his debut against ‘Boro last week, and will be looking to carry his form into this game, when he comes up against arguably the best English goalie in the Premiership. James, although poor on decision making, is an excellent shot-stopper and he will hopefully have many chances to display his skills. 

James has never been one to conform to normailty

Sean Davis ‘v’ Pablo Zabaleta

Possibly the bargain of the season, and now situated in his new midfield role,  has been one of City’s best players this season. Davis has just been rewarded for some outstanding form with a new, long-term contract. This battle in the engine room could decide the outcome of the match.

Peter ‘Daddy Long-Legs’ Crouch ‘v’ Vincent Kompany

Crouch moved from Liverpool to the South Coast in the summer, but has failed to light up Pompey. His strike-partner Jermain Defoe has left the club to rejoin Tottenham, so there will be an extra burden placed upon the giraffe-like shoulders of Crouch. Kompany has taken on the captain’s armband in the absence of Richard Dunne and has looked secure at the back, so will hope to snuff out any danger.

Verdict: Portsmouth 12 Man City

A rare away victory for City, with goals to be scored by Bellamy, Ireland and Crouch

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