Writer: Nick Simmonett
Date:Sunday September 2 2007
Arsenal face a stern test on Sunday when South coast club Portsmouth visit Ashburton Grove.
The Hampshire-based club will bring with them a trio of ex-Gooners in the form of Lauren, Campbell and Kanuuuuuuuuu.
It would seem that Arsenal are beginning to feel more at home at The Grove. So far this season The Gunners have played three home games and registered three wins, scoring six goals whilst conceding only one goal.
Portsmouth's away results have not reflected their away form so far. A superb fight back at Derby saw them earn a 2-2 draw. Then last weekend we saw them play Chelsea off the park only to be shot down by a Fat Frank goal.
Arsene Wenger believes that Arsenal are now settled at The Emirates, and will now win the games that they deserve to: 'We were a little bit surprised at the start of last season but after six or seven months I feel we feel at home now.
'We are now like any other Premiership team when we play at home. You win the game when you are at your best.
“Overall I am very happy with the spirit of the side at the moment. I have a strong belief in the quality of my team and that has been justified in what I have seen on the pitch.'
Former Arsenal player 'Ralph' Lauren says that although Arsenal will miss Henry, there is life after Titi: 'What I know is Arsenal have exceptional young players. They'll miss Thierry and in the big matches they will certainly miss the winning quality he offers.
'But what they possess is the philosophy, the mentality instilled in them by Arsene Wenger. It will drive them on.'
Arsenal will be missing several players when they line up to face 'arry Redknapp's side. Jens Lehmann has added to his injury problems after he injured his elbow. He's also still suffering from the Achillies injury that has kept him out of Arsenal's last two games.
Sanga (back), Gallas (Groin) and Eboue (ankle) are all defiantly missing, while Alex Hleb will face a late fitness test after falling ill.
Walcott could start again on the right after an impressive game against Prague in the week.
After an outstanding game midweek, I'm going to tip Walcott to get his first Premiership goal for The Arsenal.
He'll start wide, but I expect him to move into the middle later in the game, when his pace and energy will punish Portsmouth's ageing defence.
New boy Glen Johnson will start at right back for new club, meaning former Gooooooner Lauren will push forward to midfield.
Pedro Mendes and Nico Kranjcar could both return.
There is a slight concern over the fitness of Sol Campbell.
The former Udinese midfielder has been described by an Italian football magazine as 'showing himself to possess the touch of Kaká and the combativeness of Edgar Davids.'
That alone must surely make him one to watch.
Mark Halsey, the man in black for Sunday has issued fourteen cards in four games this season. An average of 3.5 cards per game.
I'm going to go with an Arsenal win. Arsene Wenger's men are yet to lose this season. Portsmouth will fight for every ball, but their efforts will tire the team while Arsenal's fitness levels and youthfulness will see them score two late goals to run out 2-0 winners. Adebayor and Walcott to get the goals. P.S sorry there was no preview before the Sparta Prague game.
Date:Sunday September 2 2007
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|7. Man Utd||8||4||2||2||+5||14|
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