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Michael Taylor 14th May 2010 - 11:26

Portsmouth's fairytale may end in disaster

If the FA Cup dealt in films then this year's final would probably have the ultimate Disney ending for Portsmouth, sadly though I can't see anything but harsh reality biting with Chelsea continuing their charge.

The disparity between the two combatants really is alarming with Pompey having finished rock bottom of the Premier League thanks to insurmountable debts totalling more than 100 million while the Blues, backed by their Russian billionaire, could not have ended the season any better.

They went into the final day needing to win to secure the title, what they handed out to Wigan though wasn't a celebration parade rather a sick bludgeoning that left Roberto Martinez's men praying for the summer to start early.

The 8-0 romp handed them their first league title since 2006 while also representing their largest margin of victory of the season which also lead to them breaking the 100 goals in a season barrier.

So to put it in simple terms it's the 100 goals a season side against the £100 million debt club - it's easy to see why Chelsea are massive 1/6 favourites to win in 90 minutes and 1/10 to lift the trophy (Portsmouth 12/1 to win in 90 minutes, 6/1 to lift the trophy).

The big news for the Blues is the clean bill of health given to their inspirational captain John Terry.

Everywhere in England people sighed when news broke of a foot injury to the national team mainstay, luckily though the scan showed nothing and Terry is able to do what he does best and marshal the Chelsea backline.

He'll need to be fully fit as well as Portsmouth do offer something going forward, or at least they can if the likes of Aruna Dindane, John Utaka and Frederic Piquionne get chance to use their pace on the massive Wembley pitch.

Avram Grant won't set his team out with the intention of all out attack but he will be asking his attacking players to make best use of what possession they do receive and it'll be up to Terry to snuff it out early or risk giving the underdogs a foothold.

Personally I find it hard to see Pompey mustering up a goal however I don't think I'd be willing to back it at a tiny 1/3 (Chelsea clean sheet) especially since they found the net in the Premier League fixture at Stamford Bridge.

More worryingly for Portsmouth fans though has to be the 5-0 drubbing they received just two months ago at Fratton Park when Didier Drogba and Florent Malouda both notched doubles before Frank Lampard put the icing on the cake in the final minute.

That day they had no answers and, if anything, Chelsea seem to have pushed on even more since that day.

For me, one man stands out above all others and that's Lampard.

His scoring rate at the tail end of the season was phenomenal scoring eleven goals in a remarkable nine game period and had he not started the season fairly slowly it could have been he who was claiming the Golden Boot instead of his sulking team-mate Drogba.

I do however think he'll take up the chance to shine at Wembley and at least grab another goal (evens to score anytime) while I wouldn't be surprised to see him walk away as man of the match (4/1).

For me Lampard is almost as important as Wayne Rooney for England's World Cup chances and I think he'll be desperate to show everyone how well he's playing (and what better place is there to shine then at the home of English football).

Looking at the match as a whole I fear for Portsmouth.

They're against a vastly superior team, one that's in unbelievable form as well and I can't see one man in the Pompey squad that has the ability to step up and make a real difference against Chelsea's array of attacking options.

Jamie O'Hara could have been that man but with his injury concerns it seems unlikely he'll be his usual self while a backline including Ricardo Rocha and Steve Finnan simply cannot inspire confidence in anyone.

If this was a league match I wouldn't be shy on predicting scorelines such as six or seven nil, however due to the nature of cup finals I have to be more reserved so I'd be looking at 2-0 at 9/2 as the most likely.

I know all the pre-match chat will be of the magic of the Cup and Pompey's fairytale ending, in reality though, and I hope I'm wrong, I think it's a mismatch of power that'll result in nothing but a Chelsea smile and a whole lot of pain for Pompey.



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