Two games, two defeats for new Pompey boss Avram Grant. Man Utd and Villa at home are tough fixtures though, so we’ll let him off, even if we miss Paul Hart’s sad Pingu face.
This game was all about the return of Stewart Downing, who scored at Fratton Park last night on his first start for Villa and looked remarkably rust-free. He also lasted the full 90 minutes, a very encouraging sign for Martin O’Neill, who rightly praised the Englishman afterwards:
“I was really pleased with him. What pleased me most was his ability on the ball.
“He can manoeuvre it, he can play and he’s got a turn of pace when he’s fully wound up. Properly fit, he’ll be a proper player for us.”
Emile Heskey also made the most of his rare start, scoring Villa’s first goal with a classy chipped finish; a lightly played, highly motivated Heskey could yet turn out to be an ace in the pack for England next summer.
Photos of the game below: