Pompey are going into their match against Wycombe at Fratton park on a good run of form, having beaten Colchester, Exeter, and Crawley in their last three league games. Putting together a run of wins is something that Pompey failed to do last season, and Paul Cook admitted that it was the main reason the team missed out on promotion. The Blues need to continue their winning run against the Chairboys in order to ensure that they remain in contention at the top of the league.
The Chairboys have been disappointing in the league so far, having picked up five points from their first six matches. They currently sit one place above the relegation zone but, at this early stage in the season, the league positions don’t yet give a reliable view to how good teams are. They have lost to Crawley, Colchester, and Luton; drawn to Blackpool and Accrington; and beaten Grimsby. Their most recent league outing was a 4-1 defeat to Luton Town at Kenilworth Road.
One to watch:
Matt Bloomfield was a key figure in Wycombe’s play-off push last season, and he is regarded as the most talented player in their squad. The midfielder is one of the sole creative outlets owned by Wycombe, and his indifferent form has been a big reason for their slow start. One thing which can’t be disputed is that he is a very talented player, and Pompey will need to be wary of attacking prowess.
Wycombe have a reputation of being a very industrious side, and their games are rarely the best to watch from a fan’s perspective. They have a host of tough-tackling players, and prefer to play a direct style of football which sees a physical striker play more often than not. A fine example of one of these forwards is new signing, Adebayo Akinfenwa, who is known as “the Beast”. In terms of formations, Wanderers are likely to play either a 4-4-2 or a 4-5-1 system and Pompey will need to be prepared for the Chairboys to sit very deep in defence.
We’ve seen you before…:
Marcus Bean is still playing at Adams Park. The Jamaican international midfielder is an example of one of the Chairboys’ battling players, and he became embroiled in a clash with Michael Doyle when the sides met at Fratton Park last time out, and can consider himself lucky to have stayed on the pitch. Bean spent a couple of months on loan at Pompey from Colchester United in 2015. However, in January 2015 he rejected a permanent move to Pompey in favour of joining Wycombe.
Pompey have kept four clean sheets in six league games and have won all three of their last three matches. These statistics bode well for the weekend and Blues fans seem to have swallowed their reservations over whether Paul Cook is the right man to manage the team. Having said that, Pompey are known for being somewhat inconsistent and it would not take anything more than a loss on Saturday for the fans’ doubts to resurface.
I can’t see Pompey making too many changes from the team which beat Crawley last week, considering how brilliant the performance was. In fact, I think Cook will name an unchanged team. This will probably see Gareth Evans keep his place at right back due to the injury of Drew Talbot and Adam Buxton not yet having returned to fitness. Dominic Hyam is also available, but I don’t think he will be able to make the matchday 18.
I reckon Pompey will be in for a very tough game against Wycombe, as their side can always be relied upon to battle and make things difficult for the hosts. It is unlikely that the home side will be afforded many chances by Gareth Ainsworth’s side, due to their defensive resilience and the fact that they are often happy to waste time and commit fouls in order to keep out opponents, so it is vital that Pompey take any chances they get. I will go for a 2-1 win for Pompey.
Man of the Match prediction:
The man of the match award is often very difficult to predict for Pompey due to the number of quality players they have at their disposal. This week I think Curtis Main could put in a great performance, as his first two league goals last week could give him the confidence to become a real threat to opposition defences.
First goalscorer prediction:
Last week’s man of the match, Milan Lalkovic, is my pick for first goalscorer. He is one of the few modern wingers who is constantly looking to take defenders on, and played a key part in two goals last week. I fancy him to be the one on the end of the chances against Wycombe on Saturday.
Last week’s predictions went quite well, as I got my score prediction exactly right! Hopefully the same can happen against and Pompey can get a 2-1 win. Either that or another 3-0 win would be very nice indeed! Well – or an undeserved 1-0 win. You get the idea.