Premier League Era: The Top 25 (25-21)
The best matches, players and goals of Pompey's Premier League era. (25-21) It has been a slow news period, even for Pompey. So, to pass the time I have decided to list the top 25 matches, players and goals since Pompey were promoted to the Premier League in 2003.The matches and goals aren't just limited to league matches, with the FA Cup and UEFA Cup included. This turned out to be more difficult than I thought it would be, with some tough decisions to make.I'm sure you won't agree with all of the choices, and on another day this list would be different but I've stuck with the decisions I have made.So, here are the first five in the top 25 matches, players and goals of Pompey's Premier League era.TOP 25 MATCHES (25-21)#25: Arsenal 2 Portsmouth 2 (16th December 2006)Pompey's first ever trip to the Emirates Stadium resulted in a corker of a match, I still have sympathy for the genuine fans who didn't get to this game because of a ticketing blunder.The Gunners came forward early on but Pompey held firm and even had a few attacks of their own. It looked like the game would be goalless at the end of the first half but Matt Taylor's free kick was headed onto the post by David Thompson and the rebound was nodded home by Noe Pamarot to send the Pompey fans mental!If that was hard to believe, things became surreal when Taylor's peach of a volley beat Jens Lehmann to put the visitors 2-0 up as Arsenal were in danger of being beaten for the first time in their new stadium.However, Arsene Wenger introduced Emmanuel Adebayor and everything changed. The Togo striker pulled one back and then instigated the second as Gilberto equalised. Pompey fans were stunned but we held on despite the following onslaught for a well deserved draw in this pulsating encounter.#24: Portsmouth 2 AC Milan 2 (27th November 2008)I can't imagine how much higher this game would have been up the list if it wasn't for Inzaghi's heartbreaking stoppage time equaliser.Fratton Park hosted its best atmosphere in years and after a first half where "Meelan" came extremely close to taking the lead, the famous old ground erupted when Younes Kaboul headed in Glen Johnson's cross.The fans were in dreamland when Kanu turned in a second following Johnson's run down the right once again. It looked like Pompey would claim a famous result against the Rossoneri, but with just six minutes remaining, Carlo Ancelotti's men were awarded a generous free kick 30-yards out.Ronaldinho curled it home and we all know what happened after that. As gutting as it was at the time, I still remember this match with great fondness, as well as losing my voice afterwards!#23: Middlesbrough 0 Portsmouth 4 (28th August 2006)This is Pompey's biggest away win in the Premier League as Boro were taken apart on their own patch. Kanu tapped in an early goal but the second goal didn't come until early in the second half when Benjani headed in Thompson's cross.The Pompey defence and David James dealt with everything Gareth Southgate's troops could throw at them and the game was sealed when, from a Boro corner, Kanu raced away from the home side's players from his own half before slotting past Schwarzer.Svetoslav Todorov rubbed salt into the wounds of the home fans with a clever finish in stoppage time to put the icing on a very sweet cake.#22: Everton 0 Portsmouth 3 (30th August 2008)After two defeats, many were dreading the trip to Goodison Park as it was a ground where Pompey were usually beaten, but that changed in emphatic fashion for one season.Jermain Defoe began the rout by turning in the box and firing past Howard before combining with Glen Johnson who added a second shortly after. David James was forced to make a top class save from Mikel Arteta and then stopped Yakubu's spot kick just after the break.Defoe chipped Howard for what should have been his second goal, but the linesman didn't give it. However, Peter Crouch nodded in from all of a yard to confirm what was a resounding win for Pompey.#21: Portsmouth 2 Manchester United 1 (7th April 2007)It took me a while to decide where to put this match, but the other victories against United were more significant than this one so this has to settle for 21st on the list.Benjani's long shot could only be parried by Edwin van der Sar and Matt Taylor was first to the rebound to give Pompey the lead. David James then had to make plenty of saves to keep us in it as United piled on the pressure.However, the win would (almost) be confirmed in hilarious fashion when van der Sar misjudged Rio Ferdinand's backpass and the ball trickled into the net. John O'Shea pulled one back immediately for the Red Devils and James had to make a last gasp save from Alan Smith to ensure Harry Redknapp got the better of Alex Ferguson once again.TOP 25 PLAYERS (25-21)#25: Teddy SheringhamOne of Harry Redknapp's first signings when Pompey were promoted, Sheringham added that extra touch of class and some vital experience to the forward line, and also scored our first ever Premier League goal.Injuries hampered his season but he signed off in style, scoring in his last game at Fratton Park against Middlesbrough.#24: Dejan StefanovicI realise I might get some stick for this one but Dejan was very good in his early days as a Pompey player. Under Harry Redknapp, he was a tough, committed defender and could even take a quality set-piece.Unfortunately he didn't perform so well under Alain Perrin, virtually admitting that he never gave his all under the Frenchman and he was always a weak link at left back.#23: Younes KaboulAs a midfielder, Younes was pretty useless but after a season of settling in, he matured into a top player and is now considered one of the best right backs in the division. Tottenham will reap the benefits of Kaboul's improvement, but he'll always be respected by the Pompey fans for his commitment on the pitch and his knack for scoring goals.#22: Sean DavisDavis seems to divide opinions but he was always a consistent performer for Pompey. He was the "steady Eddie" type of player, always there to pick out a pass and make a tackle. However, these passes would go astray and his tackles would result in bookings, whilst his record in front of goal was atrocious.#21: Jamie O'HaraAfter picking up every single award at half-time during the last home game against Wolves, it was clear to see that Pompey fans rate O'Hara highly. His passing is good, he has a good eye for goal, his work ethic is excellent and his teamwork is terrific.If I carry on I might end up sounding like Harry Redknapp, only I wouldn't really, because Redknapp doesn't really rate him and he's likely to be sold in the summer.TOP 25 GOALS (25-21)#25: Matthew Taylor vs Liverpool (A) (FA Cup - 15th February 2004)After trailing to an early Michael Owen goal, Pompey equalised in some fashion. Perhaps it's my selective memory, but how Taylor lashed the ball in the back of the net and celebrated by running the length of the pitch will always live long in the memory.#24: Lassana Diarra vs Vitoria Guimaraes (H) (UEFA Cup - 18th September 2008)I remember Diarra running this game and he capped his performance with a fine goal. After a great little run, he played a lovely one-two with Defoe and stroked the ball into the net to give Pompey the lead.#23: John Utaka vs Bolton (H) (18th August 2007)After a mix up in the Bolton midfield, Utaka robbed the ball from them and sped towards their goal at some speed, before taking the ball around Jaaskelainen and slotting into an empty net. I went on to say how big a hit Utaka would be after this super goal.... Oh, how wrong I was...#22: Nadir Belhadj vs Southampton (A) (13th February 2010)Southampton had piled forward, looking for an equaliser and ended up being hit with a devastating counter-attack. Jamie O'Hara's first time ball was met by the sprinting Algerian who ran the whole Southampton half of the pitch before fooling Kelvin Davis, feinting to shoot into the far corner before tucking it in at the near post.#21: Tony Popovic (Own Goal) vs Crystal Palace (H) (11th September 2004)If this was scored at the right end of the pitch, we'd be talking about one of the greatest goals in the history of the game. Instead, you can only break into hysterics as the hapless Popovic backheel's Steve Stone's cross beyond the despairing Speroni with such incredible skill.
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