Let’s be up front about Pompey’s problemsBy: Mark | September 5th, 2010
The main issue with having a micro-sized squad like Pompey have right now is that each area of the team is under the microscope as people ask ‘where do we most need to strengthen?’
The answer is obviously everywhere, but in particular up front. Long has goalscoring been Pompey’s problem, with the Peter Harris’ and Guy Whittinghams of today nowhere to be found – or even the Yakubus and Sletoslav Todorov’s, who were prolific at this level for the Blues as they scored 97 goals in the promotion season of 2002/03.
Being hard to beat is all well and good but will guarantee you a bottom-half finish. Take the current Championship table for example. If Portsmouth had failed to concede a goal in their four league games so far but also failed to score, they could hope for 15th place at best. And in last year’s Championship table, drawing every game would have left you in 22nd position and seen you relegated to League One.
Drawing games are not enough at any level – and it is goals that win games. Between them the current strikeforce have three goals between them in all competitive competitions this season, and that’s if you include Nadir Ciftci as a striker, an 18-year-old usually deployed as a winger.
Dave Kitson has arrived as part of the Marc Wilson deal. This is a man who scored 22 goals for Reading in the Championship in 05/06, then scored 24 goals across his last four campaigns, including a goalless loan spell at Middlesbrough last season. Then again maybe it’s because he’s been listening to his iPod too much.
Kitson has been brought in because the current line-up is clearly lacking forward intent. The player in the whole squad who has recorded the most efforts on goal? The man just sold with Kitson as a makeweight – Marc Wilson. David Nugent, the closest thing to an established striker currently at the club, has only got a third of his shots on target so far this season let alone the fact he has scored just one goal.
This is by no means a personal attack on our strikers by the way (And if it was it would probably just lead to me conceding a point at the other end anyway). The whole team must take responsibility. Maybe it’s a matter of discipline – they might not be able to score but they’ve had no problems clocking up 63 fouls and eight yellow cards.
There are actually nine other Championship teams who have conceded just as many goals if not more than Pompey, but only Nottingham Forrest have had less shots on target in the league this season – and even they’ve scored twice.
So the problem clearly lies at the other end. Remember the days where we could concede four goals and still win? (If not watch the vid below!) When we had a striker who could bang in a hat-trick? (And you’ll never guess who was on Reading’s score sheet that day…)
This has been a great start to the season to make sure everyone at the club, fans included, knew what we were in for this year. Survival. And to survive, you need to win, and to win you need to score, and to score – you need to shoot. Elementary my dear Wilson…