August 2018 – Building The Foundations
Here it was, after the long wait and much anticipation, the season was finally underway. With the opportunity to win some early silverware in the Community Shield against Manchester United
, and the big South Coast derby, it was an important month for Pompey despite just 3 games for the players to test themselves in. Two of these were league fixtures, and both we would be expected to win in, against Southampton
of course, as well as Cardiff City
Wembley Stadium was the venue for the Premier League curtain raiser for Portsmouth, against Manchester United
in the Community Shield. It was a sturdy display from Joshua Hull’s men and they took the lead just 13 minutes in through Aleksandar Mitrovic
, after some sustained early pressure. Adnan Januzaj was a real threat for United however, and in the second half Januzaj
bagged the leveler, with a clinical finish into the bottom corner. The Blues were not to be stopped though, following a neat passing move Jack Grealish
stuck the ball into the back of the net, with Pompey having enough about themselves in the last half hour to hold off their opponents and claim yet another trophy.
What a game to kick-off the Premier League season for Pompey, going head to head with fierce rivals Southampton.
It wasn’t the prettiest of encounters though, with challenges flying in and the tempo often broken down with the amount of fouls conceded by both sides. Thankfully for Portsmouth, they made the most of their limited chances, even if it took until the second half for the opening goal to go in. Aleksandar Mitrovic
was unsurprisingly the man to put his side in front with a cool finish, adding to that with a powerful header in the final 10 minutes. The Saints pulled one back via a penalty, but it was the visitors who picked up all three points.
The final game of the month, was also Portsmouth’s first home clash of the new campaign, up against newly promoted Cardiff City.
Ex-Pompey boss Michael Appleton was in charge of the away team adding a bit of an extra spice to the match, and it was his old side that taught him a lesson, in an unwelcoming return to the top tier of English football. Aleksandar Mitrovic
again made the most of his opportunities, hitting a first half brace, to put the hosts into a 2-0 advantage. But, this was to be reduced in the second half, with a deflection guiding the ball past Nicola Leali. The Bluebirds may have scored, but any hopes of a comeback were dashed when summer signing Manolo Gabiaddin
made it 3-1, and sealed the win for his new club.
With so little games played in the Premier League so far, the table is pretty irrelevant, but having picked up maximum points from their opening two games Pompey sit in 5th
Player of the Month
There was no decision for the Player of the Month award during August, with Aleksandar Mitrovic
the clear victor. The Serbian striker was in top form showing his clinical nature with 5 goals to his name over the course of just 3 games, including two consecutive braces against Southampton and then Cardiff City. He is born goalscorer, there is no doubt about that, and just as last year will be a hugely important player for the club this season.
The Month Ahead
Looking at the fixtures, there will certainly be some tougher tests in the forthcoming month. Liverpool at home is the standout match, but I will be expecting a strong performance from the team and the three points, with the rest of the games winnable too.