Date:Friday November 3 2006
There's a lot of thing to write about before this game though I believe you all know what's the most important. Of course it's the fantastic anniversary of the boss: Sir Alex Ferguson is celebrating his 20th year in charge of Manchester United with this game against 'Arry Redknapp's Portsmouth side - and we all hope the game will be a fitting tribute to Fergie's illustrious career and all the hard work he devoted to United.
As he was always friendly with Harry Redknapp - or so he claims! - the Portsmouth gaffer may be a good guest for this event. Redknapp's team is really good, after last season's pathetic achievements, they now sit in 4th place and they have a leading scorer in Nwankwo Kanu which just about confirmed to me that the world has gone mad.
We can expect a difficult game but as we always beat Portsmouth in the Premiership, it must be a victory again - particulary after Wednesday's shambles of a game in Denmark.
Sir Alex Ferguson insisted he has no intention to quit football and he's entitled to continue with his job at the club.
'I enjoy working and think that's the important thing,' insisted Sir Alex. 'I think it's scandalous that some people think I should retire - it's none of their business.
'I have every right to work; some people in this life don't want to work so I don't think you should decry anyone who does. It disgusts me that people think that way.
'I'm going to continue working,' he added. 'There has been criticism and calls for me to retire from journalists over the years, but I don't think they have a right to do that - I think you should be entitled to work.
Portsmouth skipper Dejan Stefanovic claimed they are well-equipped to end their 49-year losing run at Old Trafford.
'We are playing very well, we have excellent players, we are scoring goals,' said Stefanovic.
'Our midfield players are working hard and, as a team, we defend superbly.
'We definitely have the talent and are more confident than ever. This time I know we can get something from the game.
'It can be a hard place to go, especially when confidence is low. For example, last year, when we kept losing, we went there and lost 3-0. It was tough.
'Now is different. Look at our side now. We have tremendous players and a tremendous squad. At the moment, our confidence is so high and we are looking forward to the game.'
Gary Neville, Louis Saha and Ryan Giggs all missed Wednesday's Champions League encounter at Copenhagen but all three of them are available to face Portsmouth. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, though, is out: he picked up a hamstring injury in the closing stages of the game on Wednesday and he's expected to be out for three weeks. Sir Alex confirmed he wants to field the same team that defeated Bolton on their ground so Fletcher, Heinze and Brown will all get back to the bench.
Visitors' midfielder Sean Davis praised our French striker and I hope he can finally score again as he hasn't found the net since the 3-1 victory at Wigan.
Linvoy Primus and Glen Johnson are injured so they will be replaced by Andy O'Brien and Noe Pamarot. Sean Davis has recovered from flu and will be available but Harry Redknapp can sweat about the fitness of Gary O'Neill and Benjani Mwaruwari who will be assessed later whether they are in good enough shape to play against United.
He seemed to forget how to score while he was playing for West Bromwich but the former Arsenal man is now banging them in again as he's currently the leading goalscorer in the Premiership. United were never his favourite opponents but we must be careful about him.
United have the best attacking force in the Premiership and Portsmouth haven't even conceded in the first few games until Kevin Nolan finally found James' net - so there may be some interesting battles at the Pompey box.
3-1 to United - Portsmouth haven't even got a draw at Old Trafford since 1957 and I think it's not the moment for the trend to be bucked.
Southend United, away, in the League Cup. They are almost in League One and we all know it does not bode well... seems almost certain Fergie will field a weakened team so let's hope this time they will perform more impressively than they did at Crewe.
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Date:Friday November 3 2006
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|4. West Ham||17||9||4||4||+10||31|
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