Aston Villa’s opening day home defeat to Wigan seems like a distant memory as Martin O’Neill’s side has recaptured the form they showed early last season with three straight league wins. Confidence will be high after beating Liverpool and Birmingham away plus Fulham at home which suggests rock-bottom Portsmouth are in for a very tough afternoon.
Martin has strengthened the Villa backline with defenders Richard Dunne, James Collins and Stephen Warnock which culminated in debut wins in their Second City derby victory at Birmingham. The Villa new boys now face a Portsmouth team packed with new signings and sitting rock-bottom of the Premier League. In fact, no fewer than five players made their Pompey debuts in the 3-2 home defeat to Bolton at the weekend. These sort of wholesale changes are one of the main reasons for Portsmouth’s worst ever start to a league season.
ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW
I’m afraid I can’t see things getting any better for Pompey now Villa are full of confidence. After all, Pompey have lost all five matches, conceded 10 goals and scored just three themselves. What will be worrying manager Paul Hart is the fact they’ve yet to win a point despite matches against newly-promoted Birmingham away plus Fulham and Bolton at home. These are the sort of teams that Pompey need to win points against but as the wait for a victory goes on, the confidence of the team will continue to erode.
The stats make frightening reading for Portsmouth fans ahead of this match. Pompey have failed to win any of their last 15 away league trips, they’ve only scored once in their last 7 on the road and have now lost 9 of their last 11 league games home and away. That’s not the ideal situation when you’re facing a team like Villa who are improving week on week.
I don’t see Portsmouth troubling Villa too much in attacking areas as despite the new recruits; the side looks short on Premier League quality strikers. This is backed up by the team registering just 24% shots on target this season, the worst record for accuracy in the Premier League.
Aston Villa aren’t suffering from that problem now main man Gabriel Agbonlahor has rediscovered his shooting boots. The young England striker has now scored in successive games which can only be bad news for Portsmouth. For me, this is one of the weekend’s Premier 10 ‘home bankers’ as Villa have bounced back from their opening day defeat with a vengeance while I’m afraid Portsmouth look set for defeat number six of the 2009/10 season.