We played a well and didn't deserve to lose. This phrase could easily become Portsmouth's new motto. Five matches played, five matches lost. In four of those matches we played well, in all of them we have been unlucky.
In our season opener we lost 1-0 on a deflected Clint Dempsey shot that went off the back back of Bobby Zamora. In our next match away to Birmingham we were set to record a draw until there was a penalty call in injury time. The commentary that I have read is pretty evenly split but whether it was actually a penalty or not. Both the Fulham match & the Birmingham match were otherwise pretty even affairs.
We then travelled to Arsenal, this is the match that I would say we didn't play well. I wasn't able to watch all of this match (I was with the other four) and in the part that I watched we were giving Arsenal too much space and inviting them on to us. In other words a recipe for disaster. However this match wasn't without it's talking points as well. The main one being John Utaka either being brought down down by William Gallas or tripping over his own feet. If he was brought down by Gallas then Gallas should have been red carded. At the time the score was 2-1 for Arsenal, so a sending off would have changed the complexion of the match, especially since Gallas scored the 3rd goal. Unfortunately I haven't been able to see the incident so I can't offer my opinion, only to say form the parts of the match I was able to watch we didn't deserve anything from it.
The Premier League's first Abu Derby was our next match as we hosted Manchester City. Much like the first two matches this was quite an even contest. However we fell asleep on a corner and let Adebayor head home the winner. This one we can't have any complaints about, we played well and didn't deserve to lose, but the result didn't go our way.
After the International break we hosted Bolton in a match between the only teams with 0 points. This was quite an exciting match. Our defense looked shaky at times , allowing Bolton to get behind which resulted in their first goal. Pompey then came roaring back and equalised through Kaboul. Kaboul & Piquionne both missed great opportunities a few minutes later. It looked like it would go to the half 1-1, with Pompey regretting missed chances. Then Bolton got in behind and if not for a last ditch tackle from Ben Haim would have had a scoring opportunity. Oh wait referee Chris Foy somehow missed seeing the ball go sideways after Ben Haim's tackle and decided to award Bolton a penalty. Former Pompey player (and still fan favourite) clinically struck it to give Bolton an undeserved half time lead. Over the half time break I was telling myself if we want to get anything from this we are going to need to overcome bad calls like the penalty. So I was pleased to see us come out roaring again after the break. Debutant Kevin Prince Boateng netting the tieing goal in the 63rd minute. Pompey had a few more chances that we should have converted, but looked on course for the draw. That is until Bolton got a long throw that was headed on to Cahill who scored. Of course the linesman chose not to raise his flag even though Bolton players ran from offside positions to contest the header. So Pompey played well and didn't deserve to lose or even draw really.
The match this morning against Bolton was the match that I enjoyed watching the most and also the most crushing defeat. There is nothing we can do now except wait for the inevitable apology from Keith Hackett and smile when Chris Foy & his crew are demoted to the lower leagues. Oh and hope that Paul Hart doesn't get suspended for saying how poor the ref was.
Looking ahead to the upcoming matches we are away to Villa and home to Everton. Both are going to be tough matches, it would be great to nick a draw at Villa Park but I wouldn't be surprised if we came back from the Midlands with six played and six lost. We need to get something from the Everton match, hopefully we can continue last year's form as we did the double over the Toffees last season.
But you get the idea it is going to be a long season, we are going to be involved in the relegation battle. I don't think that we will take the drop, but we need to start getting some points before the media starts to get in the minds of the fans and the players. Play Up Pompey!