Premier League Preview: Portsmouth v Newcastle (By


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Dec 2, 2008
Premier League Preview: Portsmouth v Newcastle


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Richard Walker finds reasons to support the Geordies as Joe Kinnear takes the Toon to the south coast.
Both Joe Kinnear and Michael Owen have lamented the ongoing uncertainty about Newcastle United's future ownership and destination this week.
It looks like one of those press conferences where the otherwise wily old dog Kinnear got caught out talking about the likelihood of Owen staying beyond the summer. And Owen backed this up by making a list of players - himself included - who're out of contract in the summer.
This sort of loose-tongued chat would normally point to me suggesting a level of instability at a club but it's clear the pair respect each other greatly and it's kind of refreshing to hear such honesty.
I've sided against them often enough this term but not this time; take Newcastle to secure what many would consider an unlikely victory at Portsmouth this Sunday lunchtime. They're 3.95 to prevail, with the hosts at 2.18 and The Draw 3.4 to back. I was tempted to suggest The Draw but United have some key personnel fighting fit; winger Jonas Gutierrez and strikers Mark Viduka and Owen among them.
It's a game that deserves more than a draw, since that's what was served up at Fratton Park last term between these two. Indeed, five of their 10 Premier League meetings have also ended all-square but, as I've said before, trends hold only a passing interest for me. I simply have a hunch a near-full strength Newcastle might nick this one - a sort of smash-and-grab job with the home team pushing forward and leaving counter-attacking space to exploit.
Pompey will be without defender Younes Kaboul and the midfield pair of John Utaka and Armand Traore. Not massive issues but at least two of these have been fairly regular starters. That disruption will do the chances of Kinnear's men no harm.
I'm reckoning on a tight one here, though. Under 2.5 goals is the choice, at 1.86. Overs is 2.1 if you think it'll be a more open affair than I do. Draw/Newcastle lends itself nicely to the portfolio of stakes for this game. Priced at 10.0, a small Newcastle/Newcastle cover at 7.2 won't go amiss. If you're disagreeing with me totally, Pompey/Pompey is backable at 3.55 - too short for me in a match of little cast-iron certainty.
Since we've talked of him and he's talked of his future, it wouldn't surprise me to see Owen register first against international colleague David James. The pint-sized poacher is 7.2 for First Goalscorer, or 2.7 for the more conservative To Score choice. Even for him, that seems a little skinny so First Goalscorer it'll have to be.
Putting Draw/Newcastle with Under 2.5 goals leads me to suggest 1-0 to the visitors 12.5 in the Correct Score lists. Harder to beat these days, they've had two clean sheets (including Chelsea away) in their last three matches. I might be tempted to also play 0-0 at 11.5 to give a return if things don't pan out as I suspect.
It's the kind of game that's got potential to be exciting - but Kinnear's don't lose (rather than all-out for the win) philosophy away from home might make for a more sterile television offering. Let's hope not.

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