“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”.
The above quote is attributed to George Santayana in his 1906 publication “The Life of Reason”. Despite being written over a century ago, you could be forgiven for thinking it was penned specifically for the beleaguered patrons of Portsmouth FC in 2011.
For poor Pompey have been experiencing their very own version of groundhog day since the start of the 2010 season – well, groundhog 45 minutes at the very least. Astonishingly, they have failed to score even a solitary first-half goal this term and delving a little deeper shows that the omens for the visit of a strong Cardiff side this weekend look bleak.
If all matches lasted just 45 minutes, (and mercifully for Pompey fans that is only likely to happen if Sepp Blatter ever gets another one of his ‘bright ideas’ – four quarters instead of two halves anyone?), the previous Championship campaign would have seen the south-coast dwellers sink into the watery depths of League One, thanks to just 15 of their 53 total goals being notched in the first half.
Worryingly for the hosts, if the same criterion was applied to all of Cardiff’s matches, the Welsh side would have topped the table and be sipping on Premier League champagne, with a league-leading 75 points.
With that in mind, it seems foolish to discount yet another slow start from Portsmouth, with the visitors at 11/10 to score first. And as the seasiders stumble out of the gate, the Bluebirds can take full advantage by making it to the break with their beaks in front, priced at 5/2.
The Welsh outfit’s cause will be greatly helped by the off-season acquisitions of Scotland international Kenny Miller and Wales frontman Rob Earnshaw. Both have registered in the league this term and look set to fill in ably for former incumbent top scorer Jay Bothroyd.
To make matters worse (or better depending on your allegiance), since slipping out of the top flight after the 2009/10 season, Steve Cotterill’s men have had a tumultuous time against Saturday’s visitors. After two meetings at this level the Bluebirds have a 100% record, and unsurprisingly they have held the lead at the interval on both occasions, as well as outscoring their opponents by five to none.
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