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Premier League Era: The Top 25 (20-16)

08 Jun 2010 21:01:23

Premier League Era: The Top 25 (20-16)

The best matches, players and goals of Pompey's Premier League era. (20-16) Following the news that Pompey's future hangs in the balance after Griffins' offer of 65p to the pound is likely to scupper the CVA, it's time to look back on happier times for the club.Here are the next best five matches, players and goals:TOP 25 MATCHES (20-16)#20: West Ham United 2 Portsmouth 4 (18th March 2006)It seems strange that this match was over four years ago now, because I can still remember it as if it happened last season! Coming off the back of another game that appears higher up in this list, Lomana LuaLua put Pompey ahead on 19 minutes and then Sean Davis scored a rare goal six minutes after from close range.Then, having scored two belters in the previous game, Pedro Mendes thundered in a third in front of the disbelieving crowd as Pompey fans began to sing "What the fuck is going on!?"A certain Edward Sheringham pulled one back but the nerves were settled quickly as former Hammer Svetoslav Todorov tapped in LuaLua's cross to make it 4-1. Yossi Benayoun scored a nice stoppage time consolation for Alan Pardew's men, but this result meant that every Pompey fan believed that the Great Escape could be pulled off.#19: Portsmouth 4 Bolton Wanderers 0 (26th August 2003)Pompey had started life well in the top flight with a win against Villa and an unlucky last-gasp draw at Manchester City before taking on Bolton at Fratton Park. I remember Sam Allardyce saying something along the lines of "We'll show Portsmouth how tough this league really is."Cue an absolute thrashing of his side after a stunning second half showing from Pompey. Steve Stone got the ball rolling and then Teddy Sheringham bagged a hat-trick, with two goals coming late on. This result saw Pompey top the entire English league pyramid for the first time in over 50 years, and we made sure the world knew it!#18: Portsmouth 4 Fulham 3 (30th August 2004)For sheer entertainment and nerve shredding value in a way only Pompey know how, this game was is right up there. Eyal Berkovic volleyed in a beautiful first goal before Yakubu added two more as Pompey raced into a three goal lead.However, by half-time it was 3-2 as Andy Cole headed past Hislop before Boa Morte sprinted away from the Pompey defence and pulled another one back. Yakubu would complete his hat-trick on the 72nd minute but Carlos Bocanegra's header three minutes later would mean the nerves would start again.Moritz Volz fell into the crowd and got some undeserved stick but despite their pressure, Pompey held on for their first win of the season. Prior to the game, Harry Redknapp said the tactics were simply "to score more than them" - well, it worked!#17: Portsmouth 4 Charlton Athletic 2 (9th April 2005)This game is quite similar to the previous on this list, although there was much more riding on this one as Pompey were on the slide having won one of their last 13 league games, and this was also Alain Perrin's first match in charge after Velimir Zajec was sacked.Again, Pompey made a great start with Yakubu headed in Steve Stone's cross in the third minute and then Stone himself would glance home a goal for himself as the home side looked comfortable.However, just two minutes later Jonathan Fortune headed in Danny Murphy's free kick and then Murphy would curl in a direct free kick to equalise right before half-time.The second half was very open from what I remember as Pompey desperately needed to win and that came when Diomansy Kamara headed in LuaLua's cross and then the Congolese striker scored in the last minute to seal an all important victory.#16: Portsmouth 2 Vitoria Guimaraes 0 (UEFA Cup - 18th September 2008)This was a special occasion as it was Pompey's first ever competitive game in Europe, and the match lived up to the billing as it was an entertaining, incident filled game.Lassana Diarra opened the scoring after playing a neat one-two with Jermain Defoe but Sol Campbell gave away a soft penalty soon after. Thankfully, Joao Fajardo hit the crossbar with his spot kick but Defoe also had his penalty saved by Nilson after he was upended by Joao Moreno.Defoe did score after that by turning in Belhadj's cross and Nilson has to produce a couple of other fine saves to stop Pompey running riot.What I'll remember most about this match, though, is how welcoming Pompey fans were to the Guimaraes supporters and how friendly the atmosphere was between the two sets of fans. I really enjoyed the banter and made a couple of new friends despite the language barrier.TOP 25 PLAYERS (20-16)#20: Jermain DefoeYes, we all loathe him for how he treated us when Redknapp jumped ship but nobody can deny that he was a top quality striker for us when he was on form. He scored on his debut against Chelsea and went on to score eight times in the next seven league games.He was quick, had a natural goalscoring instinct and could produce an outstanding finish every now and again. He would go missing in other games though, even for his new (old) club at Wembley earlier this year!#19: Sulley MuntariDespite his knack for collecting cards, Sulley was an imposing physical presence in the centre of the Pompey midfield and knew how to score from long distance.Despite being a bit inconsistent, Muntari clearly had the skill to play at the highest level and he did just that by joining Inter Milan and winning the treble last season. He's with his national side now, hopefully showing Kevin-Prince Boateng how to take a penalty...#18: Niko KranjcarWas Niko better for us than Prosinecki? A lot of Pompey fans have debated that topic but it's difficult to come up with an answer. Robert was a mercurial talent that could inspire the team to win, however it was against lesser opposition than Kranjcar was up against, and he really shone at times.Both were luxury players, but I think we never saw the best of Niko often enough because he was played on the left constantly by Redknapp or bypassed by Paul Hart's horrible hoof tactics.I think it says it all when Spurs fans are claiming that he was the "bargain of last season" at a (reported) paltry £2 million. He is just one of our many ex-players that they'll see the best of.#17: Patrik BergerI deliberated for a while whether Kranjcar should be listed above Berger but in the end I opted for the Czech as he scored more goals and his free kicks were more accurate from my memory.I think he was one of Redknapp's best signings, coming on a free transfer from Liverpool. He was skilful, knew how to play a clever pass and could score some spectacular goals, and these are all qualities that guarantee that you'll be a hit with the Fratton faithful (unless you leave for Tottenham.)#16: Benjani MwaruwariIf there is one thing that most Pompey fans appreciate, it's a trier who turns around the boo boys. Ridiculed when he first joined for a record £4.1 million, Benjani put the glaring misses behind him and got the crowd singing his name for his constant work ethic.The goals would come eventually, as he hit 12 goals as a lone frontman in the 07/08 season before being unceremoniously sold to Man City. He has been released now, and I do wonder if he fancies coming back to the club he never wanted to leave (providing there is a club to come back to.)TOP 25 GOALS (20-16)#20: Yakubu vs Everton (A) (4th January 2005)The game may be remembered for Leon Osman's late, late winner but Pompey's goal was a great one. The future Evertonian lashed the ball into the top corner from a very acute angle. No goalkeeper in the world would have saved that one.#19: Eyal Berkovic vs Fulham (H) (30th August 2004)This goal has been mentioned earlier in the article but it was a real peach of a volley that powered straight past van der Sar. It took incredible technique to do that, but the goal was made even more memorable because of the bizzare "dance" celebration that followed it.#18: Lomana LuaLua (1st Goal) vs Southampton (24th April 2005)This was one of the best instinctive finishes I've seen. After his run had made a mockery of the Saints' defence, Antti Niemi decided to come miles off his line and present LuaLua with an open goal to aim at, which he duly found much to the delight of every Pompey fan around the globe.#17: Patrik Berger vs Aston Villa (16th August 2003)After some clever work between Steve Stone and Yakubu, the ball was passed to Berger who danced his way past two Villa defenders in the box before nutmegging Thomas Sorenson. After that goal, Sky's Andy Gray stated "Premiership class, Premiership quality." He wasn't wrong.#16: Peter Crouch vs Stoke City (5th October 2008)This was simply a brilliant overhead kick that you wouldn't have thought possible from such a lanky streak of you-know-what, but he somehow managed to adjust his huge frame to volley the ball in from Defoe's cross.


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