Adebayor (39mins) 1-0, Kompany (45+1) 2-0
- Matchday centre
- Match reports
- 31 January 2010 15:28
- Posted by Chris Bailey
If City could have handpicked a game as a tonic for the midweek ejection from the Carling Cup then a visit from crisis club Portsmouth would surely have been top of the list.
Few but the foolhardy would have wagered against anything other than a home win and the Blues duly justified the bookmakers’ prohibitive pre-match odds of 3-10 to leap back above Villa into fifth spot.
These are worrying time for the south coast side that before the game sold their best defender Younes Kaboul to Tottenham and will use some of the money to settle the wage bill.
They face some tough fixtures as they battle for survival in the Premier League not least the winding up order that looms depressingly large in February, just days before they are due to meet fierce local rivals Southampton in a juicy FA Cup fifth round tie.
There were some signs of spirit on the pitch in the first half but ultimately the Chimes were but a distant echo of their once booming glory and two goals in five first half minutes from Emmanuel Adebayor, his first since the start of December, and Vincent Kompany, only his second since he joined the Blues, sealed the deal for the Champions League seeking home side before the half time team talks.
No one should really have been surprised at the result for Portsmouth had not won in their previous 15 league visits to Manchester City, dating back to August 1963. It is more than half a century ago that they tasted success against the Blues away from Fratton Park.
Not only that, Roberto Mancini’s side are now unbeaten in their last 14 home league matches since a 3-1 defeat by Fulham in April last year - it is the best run of its kind in 29 years.
What is more when Adebayor found the target in the 39th minute courtesy of a wonderful Stevie Ireland pass and as sweet as a volley as you could wish to see, it meant City have scored in their last 20 league matches at the City of Manchester Stadium and that is the longest such sequence since 1958! No wonder attendances are on the up and up.
After the emotional Carling Cup semi final exit Mancini, unsurprisingly, decided to freshen up his starting eleven so into the line up came Kolo Toure who took back the armband from Shay Given, Adebayor and Martin Petrov.
Out went Craig Bellamy, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Dedryck Boyata.
Predictably there was something of a post Carling Cup hangover in the air as the Blues failed to get out of second gear against the massed defence of their visitors.
Adebayor’s strike punctured the lethargy and five minutes later there was more joy as Kompany muscled his way past Tal Ben Haim onto the end of Petrov’s corner. David James, resplendent in pink, had no chance.
The second half was much of a muchness with the Blues doing as much as they needed to keep a hard working, but limited, Pompey at arm’s length and occasionally threatening a third, no more so than when Craig Bellamy came on to unpick the visitors with his pace and cunning down the left.
He conjured up a great opening for Tevez with ten minutes to go but for once the Argentine hit the side of the net instead of its back and Pompey survived.
The Blues’ main concern in the second half was the loss of Kompany with a groin strain. He has been heading for man of the match honours before his departure and will be missed should his strain prove to be of the more serious variety.
Still his enforced departure gave Dedryck Boyata, his countryman, the chance to shine for half an hour, an opportunity that he gratefully accepted and the teenager will have learned too from playing alongside Toure, the Ivorian was at the peak of his ball playing form on his return from the African Cup of Nations.