Opinion: Portsmouth were wrong to prioritise forthcoming Leasing.com Trophy final over FA Cup progress

As much as Pompey gave a decent account of themselves against the Gunners in the Cup last week, I couldn’t help coming away feeling a little disappointed.

Monday, 9th March 2020, 11:45 am
Updated Monday, 9th March 2020, 11:50 am

We’d not been outclassed, certainly not disgraced, and it seemed to me a lot of Pompey fans were content we'd gone out so we could concentrate on League One and Wembley.

My mind wandered to what might have happened had Tom Naylor, Ronan Curtis and perhaps even John Marquis started.

Given that we gave Arsenal as good as we got for much of the first half with a weakened side, might we still be in the FA Cup had we gone all out to win it?

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We’ll never know but it does feel like Pompey have prioritised the latter stages of the Leasing.com Trophy over the latter stages of the FA Cup.

And if that is their approach, it’s not one I can agree with.

Of course if we win at Wembley (and I’m sure I’m not alone among Pompey fans in fearing that if we have 50,000 fans there and Salford have 3,000, a 1-0 defeat is almost inevitable) and we win promotion or at least get to the play-offs, then the whys and where-fors of who we lost to in the FA Cup will be long forgotten.

But I just wish we’d stuck with the full-strength team – even if Sean Raggett's replacement by James Bolton didn’t weaken us.

Gareth Evans returned from the cold to captain Pompey against Arsenal in last week's FA Cup fifth round. Picture: Joe Pepler

Talking of Bolton, what about that tackle?

It gets better every time you see it. It’s magnificent in slow motion and I’d put it up there with Linvoy’s tackle on Wayne Rooney back in our PL days. Remember that?

The whole Arsenal squinnying over the tackle sums up the Premier League bubble for me.

Those in the top flight don’t seem keen on proper full-blooded tackles or insulting/amusing songs sung at their expense.

How dull football will be if such songs die out.