Premier League Preview Number 20: Portsmouth

05 August 2009

Okay so I'm calling an audible. After starting on the team I thought would finish 20th in the Premier League, it was just better to do these team by team twice a day. So each team until next Friday will be covered as I count down 20-1. I'm sure by the title you can tell who I expect to finish dead last in the Premier League.

Portsmouth

Biggest Ins: Aaron Mokoena from Blackburn Rovers. Mokoena is a slight upgrade from Sean Davis in the holding midfield role. Steve Finnan coming in at right back will provide leadership and a competent replacement to Glen Johnson.

Biggest Outs: Glen Johnson to Liverpool. Johnson is slightly under rated at right back. Sean Davis was a key piece to the midfield; however, Portsmouth were able to find a better replacement.

Easiest Month: January. Fulham will have just come off the UEFA Europa League right into the month of doom. Home times to Birmingham City and West Ham United could yield four points before a trip to Manchester City. Sure the last game of the month isn’t easy, but if they have 5-7 points by then it will be considered a success. That is if they survive…

Toughest Month: December. A home tie to Burnley should see them have a good start. However Portsmouth then goes up the country to Sunderland, followed by a midweek trip to Chelsea. Then they have Liverpool at home before West Ham United away. Two days later, Arsenal will come a calling. They will be lucky to get 3 points out of this month.

Five Questions About Portsmouth This Season
1) How many more will be sold between now and the start of the season? This squad is already thin to begin with, and if players like David James, Niko Kranjcar and John Utaka are sold off, Portsmouth have no chance this season.
2) Will Portsmouth be sold in time for new ownership to make necessary moves to keep the club in the Premier League? The owners as it stands now don’t have the funds to purchase new players. With it getting as close to the start of league play beginning, it will be difficult to secure players on loan.
3) Who scores the goals up front? Frederic Piquionne is coming from League Un, but can his goal scoring form in France translate to England?
4) Can the midfield stay healthy? Ten different players played down the right side and the center of the park, while only six played on the left. There has to be more stability in the midfield this season if Portsmouth want to stay up.
5) Can Paul Hart pull another rabbit out of his hat? Paul Hart went 4-5-5 in his games in charge (17 out of a possible 42 points) and saw them finish fourteenth. However, up until the 3-1 win against Sunderland, Portsmouth were still hanging around the relegation zone. As long as Portsmouth keep a 1.08 points per game average they had under Hart, they should be safe.

My Ultimate Reality: This club is doomed. There is no depth, only one proven Premier League goal scorer in Kanu, and David James is advancing in age. If David James does end up going, this team could very well pull a Derby County. I don’t think it will be that bad, but I see Portsmouth finishing twentieth, just getting 13-18 points with the squad that is assembled as of now.

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Johnathan Starling, the self proclaimed 'most brutally honest man on the net, dishes out his own unique brand of opinions, and analysis on the Premier League, Bundesliga, and all things US Soccer.

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