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Venue: Fratton Park, Portsmouth
Premier League
 Saturday 1 December 2007; 3:00pm
Portsmouth 
0-0
 EVERTON
Half Time: 0-0
  
Attendance: 20,102
Fixture 15
Referee: Peter Walton

Match Summary

Everton started unchanged after a minute's applause for Graham Paddon.  Everton started well but Portsmouth were pushing back after 10 minutes with Tim Howard making a couple of safe collections at the back. Matari broke free of his markers and weaved his way in shooting close to the goal but wide after some poor Everton defending for the first real chance of the game. Benjani was the next to give Everton a scare and fluff his final lines after a Yobo mistake. Everton living dangerously...

Everton were perhaps guilty of rushing things a little in trying to get the ball forward too quickly via the aerial route under the influence of a very strong wind, with too little controlled passing.  But James needed to be alert when a good Pienaar interception released Yakubu.

Pienaar was rather harshly booked for his first tackle, sliding in on Benjarni, and that seemed to liven things up a little after 25 minutes.  Everton needed better action being developed going forward, with Arteta virtually invisible.

Cahill was also booked for going in too strongly on Diop unnecessarily and, given the way he plays, it has to be a worry.  From the free-kick then Portsmouth missed a sitter from six yards Diop managing to head it wide from six yards... for a corner (go figure!).  Everton living even more dangerously! Pienaar then pulled a Benjarni's shirt and it looked almost certain he would get a second yellow card but fortunately he got a way with a lecture form Peter Watson. 

Kranjcar responded with a fine shot, the best of the half so far, and it was immediately followed up by a Banjarni shot that flew just over the bar.  Portsmouth were looking to play the better football and push Everton back, while the blues defence shuddered and creaked... And when they did get position and move forward, the final ball was invariably poor.

Utaka got booked for taking a free-kick quickly while Lescott was off the field getting a new shirt after getting a cut on his mouth.  The free-kick was flying in but for a palmed saved from Howard who pushed it onto the bar.  Phew!!!  The Blues were very, very relieved to go in at half-time without conceding.

No changes for the second half... and it was Pedro Mendez who gave Everton the next scare with a crisp volley that flew over Howard's head.  Johnson got a shot in next that flew just wide. 

Steven Pienaar finally got into a good position to put Everton ahead but firing wide before being hauled off in favour of Andrew Johnson short of the hour mark.  Would this work since Everton had been poor going forward?  Banjarni and Kranjcar continued to pepper the Everton goal, with more dangerous shots but were thankfully unable to score... was this one building for yet another late Everton rearguard attack?

Neville seemed intent to provide them with an own-goal after a mix-up with Howard but it went away for a corner.  Everton finally won a dangerous free-kick, 20 yards out when Arteta was pulled down.  Arteta's kick was good but not hard enough and James saved it comfortably.  On came Victor Anichebe in place of Yakubu. 

A lively Everton move between Johnson and Arteta led to a good Anichebe shot on the breakaway after yet another fearsome Portsmouth attack into the last 15 mins.  Mendez was the next to take a potshot at Howard's goal but Howard's positioning was good and it flew wide.  Anichebe did the same at the other end, in what was looking like a more even contest since the substitutions, giving the travelling horde of Blues some hope for that late surge.

It was handbags when Anichebe knocked into James, all very silly, with just 10 mins left, while Portsmouth continued relentlessly to knock on the door.  But Everton seemed determined not to yield. Osman's first-time effort with 6 mins left from a Lescott cross flew wide and high.

It got very hectic as Portsmouth looked for the late winner, Kanu coming close and Portsmouth winning a series of corners.  One final assault form Portsmouth was built on a late free-kick but it was blocked by Osman. 

0-0 in the end and a great result on the back of a battling performance under difficult circumstances. Yes, it would have been nice to play up better and get a goal but it was not to be today.

Michael Kenrick

Goalless Stalemate on the South Coast

Two of the Premier League's highest-scoring teams battled to a goalless stalemate in a wind-blown encounter on the South Coast this afternoon thereby extending Portsmouth and Everton's unbeaten runs to ten and eight games respectively.

Coming off a 7-1 victory over Sunderland and facing the only other top-flight team to have scored seven goals in one game so far this season, goals were supposed to be on the menu but in the end clear-cut chances were at a premium and neither side really looked convincing in their opponent's penalty area.

As expected, David Moyes named an unchanged team but the performance was in marked contrast to the free-flowing football that characterized their demolition of Roy Keane's Black Cats a week earlier.  Cold and blustery conditions combined with the narrow confines of the Fratton Park pitch to have their own effect on proceedings and both sides deploying lone strikers led to congestion in midfield and few genuine chances, particularly in a first half during which both sides seemed to be sizing each other up rather than grabbing the game by the scruff of the neck.

Everton actually started the brighter of the two sides and were knocking the ball about nicely in the opening stages, Steven Pienaar at the heart of almost everything they did going forward.  All those nice interchanges didn't result in much, however, with Yakubu often dropping deep to collect the ball and then struggling for support in the final third.  Moyes paying his higher-placed hosts too much respect by taking a cautious approach in the early going, perhaps?

If so, that respect seemed to be reciprocated by Portsmouth, who appeared hesitant to get the ball further than the 18-yard line before trying their luck on goal.  Sulley Muntari had three medium- to long-range efforts in the first 45 minutes, each one further away from Tim Howard's goal than the last.  Benjani looked the most likely for Pompey but he was for the most part well shackled by Joseph Yobo and Joleon Lescott, the latter turning in another incredible defensive display.

Perhaps the Blues' biggest problem was Mikel Arteta, or rather his near total anonymity in the first quarter of an hour and then frustration at the lack of space to work his magic.  Indeed, he switched flanks with Pienaar after 20 minutes and immediately saw more of the ball but there was a general frustration among the Everton ranks which manifested itself in some poor tackles.

First, Pienaar became the first player to go into the referee's notebook for chopping down Utaka, then Cahill got the same treatment from the referee for a mystifyingly late challenge on Papa Bouba Diop, the Australian going straight through the back of the Pompey midfielder with the ball long since despatched to another blue shirt.

From the resulting free kick, Muntari swept a dangerous ball into the Everton area where Diop somehow failed to make contact and Howard helped the ball past his post with his out-stretched foot.  Any contact by the big Senegalese and it would have been 1-0.

Phil Neville did his best to try and pick up a yellow when he scythed down Krancjar and Pienaar wasn't done, either, with two more ill-advised tackles earning him his final warning from referee Peter Walton, which left him walking a tightrope for the remainder of his involvement in the game.

0-0 at half time and just a left-footed Neville effort from 20 yards that was easily gathered by David James to show for the Blues' efforts thus far.

The home side came out of the interval the stronger but, while Pedro Mendes finally gave the Pompey faithful their wish by unloading from distance and Krancjar had nudged Glenn Johnson's cross inches wide of Howard's right-hand post, Everton's defence held firm.

And when Andy Johnson replaced Pienaar after the South African had fired wide when well placed from the angle, Moyes's side started to grow in stature and threat.  Indeed, they came within inches of breaking the deadlock themselves but when Leon Osman found himself in acres of space and just James to beat, Yakubu's ball across the box was just too far ahead of him and he couldn't bring it under control before the 'keeper rushed off his line to claim it.

Arteta was seeing more and more of the ball now and was even finding his range from set-pieces.  A direct free kick opportunity for him after Diop had taken him down on the edge of the "D" was well struck but was ultimately a simple catch for James under his crossbar.

Moyes withdrew Yakubu with 23 minutes left and his replacement, Victor Anichebe, had a couple of efforts of his own from distance but both went wide before Pompey stepped up a gear themselves in the closing stages, thanks largely to the introduction of Kanu for Utaka.  The Nigerian veteran was denied a decent scoring chance by Lescott's intervention and he was also heavily involved a succession of scrambles in the Everton goalmouth late on that, thankfully, came to nothing.

In the end, it was a point well earned from a contest that started promisingly but was often scrappy and bad tempered.  A point against a team that is unbeaten at home and now haven't lost for 10 matches should be regarded as a good result, while the limited performance owed much to the conditions and the small pitch.  Manager Moyes will no doubt be pleased to have avoided defeat and will look to next weekend's home game with Fulham to get back on the victory trail in the League.

Lyndon Lloyd

Well be sure to bring ID next time

With Gaz doing the driving and not holding back in hammering it down the M53, M56, M6, M6 Toll, M42, M40, A34 and then eventually the A3, we were comfortably in Portsmouth for around 11am.  Not bad having set off at about 7:15am.  Once we arrived in Portsmouth, we had to find our hostel as, with coming that far, it made sense to stay for a night out as well.  As we got lost amidst all the various roundabouts in the Portsmouth town centre, we spotted about a dozen or so police cars so thought wed ask one of the coppers.  Was he helpful?  Was he ever!  Even telling us to get back in the car and follow him to the place.  This was very friendly of him and tended to be the theme throughout our stay, as all the locals were very sound.

Once wed parked our bags at the hostel we thought wed find a pub and have a few beers.  We asked the taxi driver to take us to a pub quite near the ground, which might not be too busy, and would be OK for us to get in.  Not the easiest request to deal with I wouldnt have thought but the lady taxi driver didnt disappoint, dropping us at Sammys Sports Bar, a small bar which would look more at home at a Spanish resort.  It was draped with football and rugby shirts with various articles on the walls and also a signed Sander Westerveld shirt on the wall.  As it was only about 11:50am, we were practically the first customers in the pub and so got the best seats in time for the 12:45pm early kick off of Chelsea vs West Ham Utd.  This game was drab but it didnt stop us from slinging a load of ales down our necks, and as this game finished at about 2:30pm, we thought we should make a move for the ground.  We stopped for a cheeseburger en route before queuing for quite a while in this traditional old ground.

We had a good view although this was somewhat compromised by our rather bladdered state.  Such was the game however, there was no other state to be in as neither team contributed a lot in what was a very drab affair in terrible weather conditions.  We kicked off towards the opposite end in the first half with the exact same side that trounced Sunderland 7-1 last week, with the only change being the introduction of Tony Hibbert on the substitutes bench in place of Thomas Gravesen.  As for Portsmouth, David James took goal with the impressive centre-back pairing of Sol Campbell and Sylvain Distin tasked with containing ex-Portsmouth front man Yakubu.

Not a lot happened at either end really all first half, with Portsmouth briefly threatening at times and Everton doing likewise on various occasions.  Nothing was very convincing from either team however as both sides struggled to get to grips with things.  The most entertaining thing for me was when Gaz disappeared for quite a while in search of a toilet, before returning with a pie each, a Kit-Kat Chunk each and a bag of Munchies to share.  The things you do when your drunk

Despite the best efforts of that loon John "Portsmouth FC" Westwood ringing his friggin bell, the second half took quite a while to click into gear with Portsmouth coming quite close on a few occasions but always seeming to drag their shots wide of the post with their opportunities.  Everton had a reasonably good chance with Pienaar, already walking a tightrope with a yellow card, smashing wide from inside the box with his last action of the game before being subbed for Andy Johnson as Everton went 4-4-2.

The introduction of Andy Johnson certainly aided Everton as we had a bit more pace and presence in attack now.  We nearly had such a great opportunity to score when Yakubu smartly headed the ball across the edge of the box for Osman who, such was the pace of the header, couldnt quite control the ball and David James was out quickly to smother.  I think this was pretty much Yalubus last action of the game also as he was then subbed for Victor Anichebe to add more height and hustle to Evertons attack.  Well he certainly added hustle, and in doing so winding up Campbell and Distin in what looked to me like tactics to unnerve our young striker as they pushed him about when he went in for a challenge with David James.  Thankfully, in what was possibly the only thing the referee did competently all game, this was all defused quite sensibly with no yellow cards and not even a stoppage in play.

With nobody seemingly able to get the ball over the white line, Phil Neville nearly did so into his own net when he slid in amidst some apparent uncertainty between Yobo and Howard.  Thankfully the contact he put on the ball got it the wrong side (or right side for us!) of the post and out for a Portsmouth corner . Back at the other end Arteta whipped a free kick harmlessly into James who was positioned well.

At this stage, Everton looked like they may snatch this as they went for the win, albeit without really creating anything as Portsmouth defended well.  As we got towards the end of stoppage time we got a throw in which was launched forward towards the box but deflected off a Portsmouth head and out for what should have been an Everton corner.  The referee,  Peter Walton, who really does define incompetence, instead blew for full time and that was that.  Whatever happened to not being able to blow up in attacking areas and the ball having to be on the pitch when you blow for full time?  It was hardly a surprise.  The referee was a joke all day long.

Overall I guess we couldnt be too disappointed.  Its a good point away at Portsmouth and a clean sheet but I felt that with a bit more attacking impetus, we might well have come away with three points from this one.  Id also question Moyes decision to include Tony Hibbert amongst the substitutes when we already had Jagielka on there.  It was the sort of game when you felt the introduction of McFadden or Gravesen might have been able to offer something a bit different which just might have grabbed us a useful win.

After the game, we had to wait for a while, as the queue out of the ground was heavy.  This allowed some hilarious Portsmouth supporters to start taking the Mickey out of Scousers wearing tracksuits.  This wasnt greeted very well by many Everton fans of course with one retaliating with Whats it like to know your dad's shagging you sister? Nice!  We then made our way to a pub, The Shepherds Crook, which we were earlier warned to stay away from by our taxi driver.  We watched Aston Villa vs Arsenal in there before getting a taxi back to our hostel to get changed and then going out. 

As it got to about 9pm in town, bouncers came onto all the doors of the bars, and as it turns out, you need ID to get in to pretty much all the bars in Portsmouth regardless of how old you are, as they literally ask everybody for ID at every door.  Being 25 and 26 years old respectively we tend not to really get asked for ID much these days so Gaz didnt have any with him, resulting in us not getting into many bars.  When we finally got to a good bar without ID checks Gaz was practically falling asleep on me so we had to call it a night.  Kudos to Gaz though for driving home today in very precarious conditions.

Well be sure to bring ID next time!

Player Ratings:

  • Howard: Generally untroubled and not a lot to do for most of the game. Kicking was poor however in dreadful conditions. 6
  • Valente: Never really got into the rhythm of the game and, although his support play was decent, his crossing wasnt. Possibly a return for Baines over the next few games? 5
  • Yobo: My man of the match. In the first half in particular he was solid as a rock. 8
  • Lescott: Coped quite well. 6
  • Neville: Fine. 6
  • Carsley: Put in his usual shift. 6
  • Arteta: Didnt get into the game really. 5
  • Osman: Has had better games but was reasonably creative. Will be rueing that ms-control at the edge of the box I reckon. 6
  • Pienaar: Once he got booked he was walking a tightrope so was rightly subbed on around 55 minutes. 5
  • Cahill: The pick of the bunch in midfield. 7
  • Yakubu: Did alright. 6
     
  • Johnson (for Pienaar): Changed the game a bit with his pace and willingness. Can probably expect to start a game soon, whether that be on Wednesday against Zenit St Petersburg, or next Saturday against Fulham. 7
  • Anichebe (for Yakubu): Didnt really get into the game. 6

Paul Traill

Match Preview

Two of the Premier League's form teams — indeed, the only two thus far to have scored seven goals in one game — go head to head at Fratton Park this weekend as Everton go in search of an eighth game without defeat in all competitions against Portsmouth.

The Blues are, of course, coming off their 7-1 hammering of Sunderland last weekend, their biggest victory in 11 years and are buzzing from a recent record of having won six of their last seven matches.

And David Moyes will be buoyed further by the fact that apart from Alan Stubbs, who injured a calf in training this week and looks set to miss the remaining fixtures of 2007, he will have a full-strength squad from which to choose as he plots Pompey's downfall.

It's likely that he will go for an unchanged line-up and, if so, that would mean Yakubu leading the line against his old club. The Nigerian scored twice against the Black Cats, taking his tally to six in all competitions and making him Everton's top goalscorer for the season so far.

match photo
Yakubu: likely to start against his old club

Last season, an abysmal first half was the Blues' undoing in this fixture but their form in the first 45 minutes this season — only Fulham have a better record — stands them in good stead to rectify that and, hopefully, notch another win on the way to edging closer back to the top six.

Portsmouth may be reeling from Harry Redknapp's arrest in the latest football corruption probe but remain a dangerous attacking outfit. They move the ball about quickly, efficiently and to impressive effect — as Reading found out to their cost in a 7-4 defeat earlier this season — but, as that result suggests, they're also not impregnable at the back.

Benjani, once the butt of opposition fans' jokes for this inability to find the net, has really found his shooting boots this season and has the unpredictable Muntari for competition in Pompey's scoring charts, but the suggestions are that Kanu will be recalled to partner Benjani this weekend.

Portsmouth have shown enough over the past two seasons that they mean business and are a genuine threat to Everton's hopes of securing another top-six finish. If the Blues could come away with a win from this game it would be another fantastic shot in the arm for a side already beginning to flex its muscles. By that token, a draw would also be a creditable result.

Lyndon Lloyd

Matchday Stats

Everton play Portsmouth for the 56th time on Saturday, as David Moyes’ men look to keep their current 7 match unbeaten run going.

Everton's record against Portsmouth:

 

P

W

D

L

F

A

Premier League

8

6

0

2

10

5

Division One

44

16

8

20

71

89

FA Cup

1

1

0

0

5

0

League Cup

2

0

1

1

3

4

TOTALS:

55

23

9

23

89

98

Our record at Portsmouth:

 

P

W

D

L

F

A

Premier League

4

3

0

1

4

3

Division One

22

6

3

13

29

55

League Cup

1

0

1

0

1

1

TOTALS:

27

9

4

14

34

59

The last match between the sides was on 5 May last season when goals from Mikel Arteta, Joseph Yobo and Gary Naysmith secured a 3:0 victory.

Out last match at Portsmouth was on 9 December last season when Everton suffered a 0:2 defeat at Fratton Park.

This will be Everton’s 17th match on 1 December:

 

P

W

D

L

F

A

Premier League

1

0

0

1

1

2

Division One

13

3

3

7

14

18

Division Two

1

1

0

0

1

0

League Cup

1

1

0

0

3

0

TOTALS:

16

5

3

8

19

20

The last match on this date was in 2002, when Everton lost 1:2 at Newcastle United, with Everton’s goal coming from Kevin Campbell.

Milestones that can be reached this game:

  • If he starts, Mikel Arteta will be making his 100th start for Everton in all competitions.
  • If he plays, Phil Neville will be making his 100th appearance for Everton in all competitions.
  • If he starts, Joleon Lescott will be making his 50th start for Everton in the League.
  • If he plays, Nuno Valente will be making his 50th appearance for Everton in all competitions.
If Everton win, then this will be the club’s 200th victory in the Premier League.

Steve Flanagan

* Unfortunately, we cannot control other sites' content policies and therefore cannot guarantee that links to external reports will remain active.

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PORTSMOUTH (4-4-2)
  James
  Johnson
  Campbell (c)
  Distin
  Pamarot
  Utaka (65' Kanu)
  Bouba Diop
  Pedro Mendes
  Muntari :45'  
  Kranjcar
  Benjani
  Subs not used
  Ashdown
  Hreidarsson
  Taylor
  Nugent
 
EVERTON (4-5-1)
  Howard
  Neville (c)
  Yobo
  Lescott
  Valente
  Arteta
  Osman
  Carsley
  Cahill
  Pienaar :25' (52' Johnson)
  Yakubu (67' Anichebe)
  Subs not used
  Wessels
  Hibbert
  Jagielka
  Unavailable
  Stubbs (injured)
  Baines (injured)
  Anderson (On Loan)
  Spencer (On Trial)
 
Premier League Scores
Saturday 1 December 2007
Chelsea 1 - 0 West Ham
Aston Villa  1-2 Arsenal
Blackburn   3-1 Newcastle
Portsmouth  0-0 Everton
Reading  1-1 Middlesbro
Sunderland 1-0 Derby
Wigan  1-1 Man City
Sunday 2 December 2007
Liverpool 4-0 Bolton
Tottenham 2-3 Birmingham
Monday 3 December 2007
Man Utd 2-0 Fulham
Wednesday 5 December 2007
Newcastle 1-1 Arsenal

Premier League Table
Pos Team Pts
1 Arsenal 37
2 Man Utd 33
3 Chelsea 31
4 Liverpool 30
5 Man City 30
6 Portsmouth 27
7 Aston Villa 27
8 Blackburn 26
9 Everton 24
10 West Ham 19
11 Newcastle 19
12 Birmingham 14
13 Reading 14
14 Fulham 13
15 Sunderland 13
16 Tottenham 12
17 Bolton 11
18 Middlesbro 11
19 Wigan 9
20 Derby 6
After 5 Dec 2007


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