By Avenell Dave
There's a feeling amongst many pundits that Portsmouth are dead and buried and may as well start planning for the Championship.
Since winning the FA Cup two years ago, they ahve been in freefall, with most of their top players leaving, H*rry R*edCr*pp moving to the poorer side in North London and their owner asset stripping and selling to whoever would stump up the cash.
Plans for a new stadium have been scrapped and yet Fratton Park is one of those grounds the Emirates should aspire to be. Always noisy, always intimidating and with its own character, if only the architects had made our stadium closer to the pitch to help recreate the intensity we had at Highbury.
It's just their luck that they've found two Arabs who don't seem to ahve the cash to run the club and pay the wages - even at lunchtime today the club were served with a winding up order.
I have a soft spot for Pompey, having spent four years studying down there - and I have a feeling they're going to stay up, despite the problems they are encountering.
They've put in a hell of a lot of decent performances without getting the points they deserve and with better finishing, they could have found themselves a hell of a lot higher up the table than they presently find themselves.
While Pompey players have to deal with more financial uncertainty, the fact that Arsenal has refused to announce what the extent of Cesc Fabregas's injury is says it all about the need to protect the young players, I think.
He is a talisman and I fear he will be out until almost February now but if we win our games until then, it will be worth it.
In the meantime, playing Portsmouth on a dark wintery night is going to be no fun at all and Aaron Ramsey is going to have to step up and start showing what he can do as a starter.
He's usually great when he comes on but less impactful when he starts games and he's going to have to produce tonight.
I'm disappointed Arsene Wenger didn't play Manu Eboue against Villa given that he is now off for a month at the ACN, so the rest of the side picks itself.
Some people have suggested Jack Wilshere will be involved but I can't see him starting.
This could be Burnley all over again folks. Let's hope it's more like Molineux a few weeks ago...
Sagna Gallas Vermaelen Traore
Ramsey Song Diaby
Nasri Arshavin Eduardo
What do you think? Who would you field at Fratton Park this evening?