My hot tip for Pompey against Arsenal? Keep your eyes on Eduardo

It’s bottom-of-the-table Portsmouth in the league tonight in another important game. With Chelsea winning last night to end their little blip it’s vital that we bring three points back from Fratton Park to keep up our chase at the top.

Cesc Fabregas will of course be absent after tweaking his hamstring against Aston Villa, although there’s still no word from the club as to just how long he will be out. Some football news sites and blogs seemed to have jumped on the bandwagon that he will be out for three weeks but I assure you there’s been no official news from Arsene Wenger and the medical staff yet.

Denilson will join him in the stands after injuring his back again while in more positive team news Tomas Rosicky looks a decent chance to return to the squad. Meanwhile Emmanuel Eboue has left the squad to join the Ivory Coast camp for the African Cup of Nations while Alex Song will be available for the next two matches after being granted permission to stay by Cameroon.

The team news means Manuel Almunia will captain a side that will feature the same back four that played against Villa, Song, Aaron Ramsey and Abou Diaby in the middle of the park and probably Andrey Arshavin, Eduardo and Samir Nasri up front. Theo Walcott’s decent cameo on Sunday may seem him force his way into the starting line-up while Carlos Vela and Rosicky remain outside chances to start.

I am particularly keen to follow the performances of Diaby and Eduardo in this game.

Diaby was, aside from Fabregas, the player of the game against Villa on the weekend and is in arguably the best form of his Arsenal career. He is dribbling well with the ball at his feet, using his characteristic unpredictability to good effect and perhaps most importantly making the right decisions at the right times. I feel he’s on the brink of becoming a very important player for this team and another good performance against Pompey will only increase his confidence.

Meanwhile I feel Eduardo is on the brink of a little scoring streak. He may have missed a guilt-edge chance early on against Villa but he got his first goal in a long while two games ago against Hull and has looked far sharper in the last couple of games. Diaby is living proof of what player’s can do when they get a few games under their belt and I just get the feeling that Eduardo’ss going to score tomorrow and might just grab two or three in his next few games.

If our defence plays as well as they did against Aston Villa then I can’t really see Portsmouth troubling us. It was the most cohesive performance our back five have put in this season and with Song in untouchable form at the moment things are looking good in that department. Indeed, despite the media consistently knocking our defence for not being up to scratch I found it interesting to note that we’ve conceded just 20 goals in 18 games, just two more than Manchester United and four more than Chelsea. Not bad, really.

Usually an away trip to the bottom side in the division is an expected three points and tonight is no different. Let’s hope the boys can get the job done without the services of the captain.

Have your say on Arsenal’s trip to Pompey by leaving a comment.



  1. I can sense the same feelings with yours. EDUARDO is gradually picking up. I wish him good luck as he embark on his way to greatness… Arsenal 2 pompey0. Ramsey and Edu to score

  2. Double brace – Shava and Eduardo. I know we’re missing some key pieces to the side, but I have a feeling a goal frenzy could occur.

  3. Nice one Andy. . .
    The feeling is in the air i can smell victory. I think it’s pertinent we win to confound doubts been harboured by our detractors whose biggest sponsor is Alex Ferguson. Who claimed the race was between Man Utd and Chelsea, which means we are just pretenders. I agree we sometimes are consistently inconsisent dropping points were we ought to garner them. Bu tonight we’ll see who laughs louder this year. Chelsea fans are doing what they know how to do best. . . ,BRAG after Chris Smalling handed them a christmas present by ensuring they grabbed the last available points io 2009. Mark my words its gonna be Portmouth 0-well you know the rest.

  4. Eduardo has lost his confidence, I am not sure that he will ever be the same player that he was.
    One hard tackle and Walcott will be gone.
    I am still not sure about Diaby.
    The boys played well against Aston Villa but I am not sure you can say the defence was solid.

  5. @ terry – I think Eduardo certainly lost some confidence from his injury, but I think Diaby’s recent performances are proof that given time, he can recover. I think he can be even better than he was before he was injured – and I think he’s on the brink of a bit of a scoring run.

  6. I predict: A Diaby double!
    Ballsy I know… but with Cesc out, it paves way for the big man to step up and he must be confident after the week he’s had… lets not forget he scored a double the last time they played Pompey… oh and Arsh will probably get one too.

  7. Really hope you are right about Eduardo. he is playing like a broken man at the moment. He missed 4 relatively easy chances against villa. Everyone focusses on the most glaring one but he had 2 free headers and one other very straight forward chance on his left foot. He has no power in his shooting and looks totally lost to me. Yes he has done some neat turns but the lack of power and technique is very worrying, we really need him back.

    A half in-form Eduardo would have got at least two against villa but possibly a hat trick. It is very sad to see what has happened to him and it seems to be as much after the diving incident than the injury, he was really starting to look good up to the celtic game.

  8. Eboue- Gallas-Verma-Traore

    Pompey will fall down with this.

  9. I d love to see Dudu given more chance as a front striker,I must admit that Ive lost a bit of my confidence in him since his injury but I changed my mind after the Villa game, I saw him very powerful and fast, he just lacks the end finish and I know he can do it if he s given more time to get his self confidence back.Cmon Dudu lets crash the Pompeys!!!
    BTW, I hate this guy Stephen Hunt of Hull, Have you guys seen his comment on about Arsenal???
    i also hate his style of play, I wonder if Sir Alex would even give him a penny for his compliment on Giggs and Manu, I used to call him the Gattuso of the PL.

  10. Edurado will find his best.Though he is poor on his finish now which he was inch perfect before injury may take him a while .But as far as his play concerned he never lacked the pace or agility so far.

    Come back Rosicky we desperately need you to be in the squad for the title challenge.We lost the title one season before when we lost Edurado and Rosicky.Now its time they show us what they two are capable of.

    It would be quite interesting to see when Song leaves.

  11. My prayer is that Dudu n Arsh grant Grant the opportunity to stay at the number one spot from below.. I also hope Diaby keeps his form!!

  12. everyone seems to be taking portsmouth lightly,i dunno why seeing how wel theyv played lately with a win against pool and they wer unlucky vs chelsea and west ham,we hav struggled to win there in recent seasons,so heres hopin for a professional performance
    hope the prediction of eduardo is right,his confidence has been rock bottom since the inept chelsea display and his efforts lack any real conviction…we really need him to regain his belief becos he is such an important player for us
    welcome back rosicky!!!!
    chamakh has ruled out any move away in january

  13. I expect Arsenal to win 4-0. One from Diaby, one from Eduardo and two for hotshot Arshavin! Go Gunners!

  14. We should give him more chance but i would also like him to pass the ball to whoever has more confidence when he open up defence with His natural ability. Against Aston Villa he managed to position himself in great places but his finishing at moment is not very good. Torres to is going through same thing except last night he scored with only chance he got.

    I guess sometimes supporters want win at all cost after 5 years of empty trophy cabinet that we players Like Vela are not going to fulfil the potential as sometimes it like pressure cooker situations. We need to let them find their own feet in long run or end up like Chelsea forever shooting themselves in foot despite all that money.

  15. The three weird players of Arsenal fc
    Arshavin – He sometimes can be totally awesome, but he sometimes can be totally lame.
    Walcott – His loosing his confidence,skill and is easily injured.
    Eduardo – He has no confidence, and always misses golden oppurtunities.

  16. its been quite sometime that the eduardo has no balls to the nets as per performance of the team i agree with the comments below Grant’s men are going to face some problems with the strike from arshavin and nasri.. go gunners 09/10 champs..

  17. all the best gunners. Hopefully 5:0 in favor of arsenal. Edu, Arsha, Diaby n Walcot with goals a piece or more.

  18. gd article. arsenal will come out top even without fabre today. if we play our normal game with rosicky available and ashavin fully involved then a harvest of goaaaaaaaaaals.

  19. Those who have written off the likes of Song (which I include myself a few years back), Diaby, Van Persie (as a central striker), Eboue, Bendtner, Traore, Walcott and now Eduardo. Would you kindly consider the following points before choosing to verbally send them packaged to the scrap heap.

    1. A young player needs to finish developing and will suffer from inconsistency and errors.

    Alex Song is the perfect example of this point, he was a young kid with raw talent, he gave the ball away needlessly in certain matches and looked far from coordinated at times. Today he is gliding through games, setting the tone for his team mates.

    2. Players need self confidence.

    The Arsenal faithful are not always the most supportive of ‘supporters’ in the country and when you are young and trying to impress it is not always easy when you are worried about the next wrong pass or bad decision.

    3. Players cannot perform at their best whilst suffering from niggling injuries.

    Abou Diaby, Eduardo and Tomas Rosicky have more than suffered enough niggles to last a life time, it is no coincidence that these players have suffered from inconsistency in the last season or so when they have been out on the pitch. Footballers need momentum, they need rhythm you cannot reach the same level as your team mates when you are constantly playing catch up.

    4. Players have roles and instructions from the management.

    This is one that frustrates me enormously. It is not just from supporters but from pundits and media journalists. As I explained above, Abou Diaby has had to play a role that benefits his team and not necessarily his own game. Denilson was last years scapegoat and the criticism most attached to him was that he plays backwards and sideways, which is pretty difficult when he ended up with roughly seven assists by the end of the season, unless he was standing off the pitch behind the opposition goal.

    Denilson’s role last season was to intercept and break up the opposition, that was his primary role, his next job in the team was to keep the ball moving. To keep his side in possession of the football. His role in the team was not to play the Hollywood 40 yard pass with the outside of his weaker left foot. Andrey Arshavin’s role in the side was not to win defensive headers inside his own penalty area on set pieces.

    I am sure Carrick, Essien, Mikel and Macherano have played just as many backward passes as Denilson.

    I guess my point is to think about the players position and role in the formation, set up before criticising him for not doing a,b or c.

    I have probably missed out on some more criteria but for arguments sake I will pick out some Arsenal players who haven’t been doing very well and number them with my above points. Theo Walcott (1,2 & 3), Manuel Almunia (2), and Eduardo (2,3, & 4)

    Flip it around and pick players who are doing very well, i.e. Alex Song, Cesc Fabregas and Thomas Vermaelen you will struggle to find any categories for them. Let us learn from the many success stories at Arsenal and have patience

  20. so then in two hours more… , of course I wish Edu some finishing success too, the not has to be untied……., but sometimes such periods are lasting, hopefully not, important is that someone has the finishing success, whoever ever… 😎

  21. Hey guys,
    I agree Andy. I have the same feeling. Eduardo to score. I would also like to see Ramsey in Cesc’s place. I think that it is time that Arsene give hime a proper start.

  22. So did Eboue leave for the african cup o nations? I wonder who’ll be our back up right back…worries me a bit, Sagna has played alot of games. The comment box fonts are big, I guess this is how my grandma use to feel when learning words for the first time. 😛

  23. @ Andy, please predict an Arshavin goal n win for the gunners in the FA Cup(yesterday’s voodoo worked!!). Arsh must be feeling quite down right now.

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