STAR PREVIEW: Portsmouth v Birmingham

The football season is quickly coming back into swing – there are now just three days until the return of the Premier League – and the EFL Trophy starts tonight as Portsmouth face Birmingham.

We’ve had a chance to look at both sides, with Portsmouth and Birmingham both starting their campaigns over the weekend. Pompey will be frustrated with their 1-0 defeat at Shrewsbury, when they had 63% possession and won the shot count 15-3, the corner count 10-1 but went down to a pile driver from Ryan Giles.

Birmingham were on the opposite end of the scale, having just 24% of the ball but still managing to beat Brentford thanks to Kristian Pedersen’s early header, with the woodwork saving them three times.

Portsmouth v Birmingham City
Carabao Cup 1st Round
19:45 Sky Sports Football / Sky Sports Main Event / Sky Sports Ultra HD

(Maximum 10 matches)
MAR 2012 CHAMPIONSHIP Portsmouth 4-1 Birmingham
FEB 2012 CHAMPIONSHIP Birmingham 1-0 Portsmouth
MAR 2010 PREMIER LEAGUE Portsmouth 1-2 Birmingham
MAR 2010 FA CUP Portsmouth 2-0 Birmingham
AUG 2009 PREMIER LEAGUE Birmingham 1-0 Portsmouth
MAR 2008 PREMIER LEAGUE Portsmouth 4-2 Birmingham
NOV 2007 PREMIER LEAGUE Birmingham 0-2 Portsmouth
JAN 2006 PREMIERSHIP Birmingham 5-0 Portsmouth
SEP 2005 PREMIERSHIP Portsmouth 1-1 Birmingham
APR 2005 PREMIERSHIP Birmingham 0-0 Portsmouth

Trying to evaluate the lineup for tonight is tough. Some changes may be in the offing, but we are also right at the start of the season too when players should be freshest in what is a winnable tie for both these sides. Recent cup form doesn’t give too much of a pointer either – last season both these sides also went out in the first round – Portsmouth lost 2-1 at home to Wimbledon and Birmingham were beaten 2-0 by Reading.

A price of 6/5 about Portsmouth doesn’t really make much appeal and this could be a low scoring game here (indeed 10 of Birmingham’s last 13 matches have featured under 2.5 goals) with Birmingham’s organisation off the ball playing a key part in their smash-and-grab victory against Brentford. The draw could be the value runner in a tricky heat.

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