Portsmouth host Cheltenham Town at Fratton Park this weekend, where they will look to extend their brilliant start to the season. Pompey won both games last season, scoring six and conceding none, therefore the Robins will be desperate to win on Saturday.
Portsmouth sit in fourth place currently after three games, accumulating a total of 7 points. John Mousinho’s side started the campaign with a 1-1 draw against Bristol Rovers despite dominating for the majority of the tie. The next game versus Leyton Orient displayed their clinical edge and defensive solidity, comfortably winning 4-0 whilst only having 11 shots in the game. Their most recent game was a 1-0 win over Exeter City who were unlucky to walk away with nothing, after missing multiple big chances.
Nevertheless, the Pompey faithful will be pleased with their teams start and they should be confident of picking up three points against Cheltenham. Mousinho should set his side out in the same 4-3-3/ 4-2-3-1 hybrid and he will expect them to dominate the ball, whilst taking the game to the opposition. The priority will be to create chances for their number nine, Colby Bishop, who has scored in consecutive League One games.
The Robins have struggled this season and it seems that Wade Elliot has a lot of work to do ahead of this weekend’s game, mainly in the attacking third. They are the only side in the entire league to have not got on the scoreboard yet and it seems that confidence amongst the squad is at an all time low. The loss of Alfie May has had a detrimental effect on Cheltenham and his 20 goals from last season compared to Aidan Keena’s 6, highlights the gap in quality.
Elliot will have to change his approach or attempt to use different personal if the Robins are to get any sort of result away to Portsmouth, but in the grand scheme of things, the performance this weekend may end up being more important. Cheltenham are the underdogs and they are aware of their position, but Elliot has a difficult decision to make ahead of the game. Whether he decides to take a more attacking approach due to their lack of goals will be a risk, so sitting in a low block, silencing the crowd, and hitting Portsmouth on the break may be the best way of attacking the fixture.
The game will see two teams go head to head who are in a completely different position, mentally and in the table. Portsmouth should have too much quality for the Robins and with the recent performances, it is difficult to see the visitors provide much threat to the Pompey back line.
The final prediction is Portsmouth 2-0 Cheltenham Town.