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Portsmouth 2 City 1, and the end of European hopes.

Another away day, and another pointless return. In fairness, recent away games have seen us either well beaten or turn in a poor performance (or even both on occasion) which didn't really seem to be the case at Fratton Park.

I caught a re-run of the game early evening in The Griffin, and whilst hardly an inspiring performance from City I don't think it could be argued that we were good value for a point. In fact, I believe that our points return from games in which we have been behind is second only to Chelsea in The Premier League this season.

Maybe I jinxed matters when mentioning this fact after Richard Dunne had seemingly rescued a point late in the game, only to see Pedro Mendes smash home the winner with an unstoppable shot at what was fast approaching 5pm (I thought Mark Halsey was supposed to be a Blue?).

A more in-depth Pompey perspective here can be found here.

So again, hopes of European qualification via a high enough league position is put on the back burner until our next home game. But is time running out to put together a consistent enough run in the league to garner the necessary points?

Our league run in is as follows:

Home - Wigan, Middlesbrough, Arsenal and Fulham.
Away - Chelsea, Tottenham, West Ham, Villa and Blackburn.

Not the easiest run in all honesty with no games you could safely classify as 'bankers'.
The current Premier League table concerning the clubs I believe are fighting for the sixth and seventh positions which should ensure UEFA Cup qualification are:

Blackburn 9 46
Bolton 11 45
Wigan 9 43
West Ham 10 42
City 9 40
Everton 9 40
Charlton 9 39
Newcastle 9 39

Personally, I think that despite the efforts of teams below them Tottenham and Arsenal are realistically battling for the fourth and final Champions League place, with the side missing out obviously taking fifth spot, whilst Villa and Middlesbrough on 34 points have too much ground to make up.

Last season we missed out on seventh spot to Middlesbrough who totalled 55 points. Looking at the table currently, Bolton are in seventh place with 45 points and realistically could take a further 20 points from their remaining eleven games, and even just five wins from their remaining nine games (and current form is far more impressive than that) will see Blackburn finish on 61 points. In addition both Wigan, West Ham and Everton are also showing far more consistent form over the past ten games than ourselves as well.

Over the past ten seasons in the The Premier League, interestingly only once has it taken 60 points or more to finish seventh, with either 57 or 58 usually being enough. Looking at the current league table, my belief is that it will take as much as 62 or 63 points to qualify for the UEFA Cup via the league this season (which would have yielded Champions League qualification in some seasons).

All of which means, we will likely have to win seven or eight of our remaining games to reach this total - a feat which is clearly beyond us.

The mark of 62/63 points is something I might keep my eye on and update how close teams are as we approach the final stage of the league campaign.