Sunday, December 11, 2005

Weekend Outlook (11 Dec 2005)

Manchester United vs Everton

"...Try to visualise what an angry drunk monkey would do to his plush toy bunny. Everton is the bunny unfortunately..."
- JayWalk 11 Dec 2005

Yes, yes, we have just about talk about ManUtd's demise in the ECL to death already. Vultures are now circling above Fergie's head and speculation over who would take over the manager's spot has just been turned up a notch.

Enough already!!!

What we should be doing instead is to focus on what's ahead right now. The Christmas and New Year's fixtures are just round the corner and we should instead be concentrating on jockeying for the best position to prepare for the final run-in and challenge Chelsea for the league title.

This game against Everton is very important for everyone. We are about to embark on a run of easy games all the way to the new year which means that we are expected to pick up all 3 points in each game.

ECL will be taking a break until next February which means that Chelsea won't be at a disadvantage of being distracted by their european campaign as they too, will be focusing on amassing maximum points domestically during this period.

Like I have said many times, the major ingredient to winning is the hunger to win. How desperately do you want to win that game? Unfortunately, that was missing from ManUtd when they found themselves booted out of the ECL. Hunger is when ManUtd came back from 0-2 down at Juventus in the semi-finals of ECL in 1999, to win it 3-2. Hunger is when Giggs ran down from midfield, beating 6 players single-handedly en route, to clinch the FA Cup in 1999. That is hunger.

This hunger must be back today against Everton because:

  1. We need to get back to second spot after Liverpool overtook us yesterday when they beat Middlesbrough.
  2. Arsenal and Wigan slipped up which means that a win would pull us further ahead of our rivals. Granted Spurs is one notch behind us, I wouldn't worry too much about them challenging us for the title. Don't get me wrong, there are starting to be a good and worthy challenger under the guidance of Martin Jol but right now, they still have quite a bit of ground to cover before being taken seriously. Next season perhaps.
  3. Chelsea were lucky to scrape a 1-0 victory over Wigan but as far as Mourihno is concerned, 3 points in the pocket is all that matters. So since ManUtd is playing a day later, it means that the league leaders have just pulled away with a 13-point gap. If we win today, we are half-way to closing it down to 7 points as we will be playing our game-in-hand this Wednesday. What better opponent then the decimated Wigan this coming Wednesday?
  4. Morale is on the fringe now and it could go either way from here. The ECL exit was painful but the silver lining is that it gives us the opportunity to devote all our energies to go full throttle on the EPL campaign. What better timing than now as we are rapidly returning to full squad strength. However, a loss here would mean the start of a uncontrollable spiral towards the abyss and it would also signify "Game Over" for Fergie.

While critics are all calling for Fergie's blood but seriously, the real problem here lies with the fact that we are unable to find a manager worthy of replacing Fergie. Had that been easy, Fergie would have retired a long time ago.

JayWalk The Talk: Coming back to the game. Taking Everton would be a relativelly easy task as the Toffees will be traveling to Old Trafford without No.1 goalie Nigel Martyn, goal scorer Mikael Arteta and Tim Cahill.

ManUtd, with home ground advantage, will have a relatively full squad to pick from with the exception of Quinton Fortune, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Gabriel Heinze. David Moyes must been lamenting his luck meeting ManUtd at Old Trafford right after the latter's elimination from ECL. Try to visualise what an angry drunk monkey would do to his plush toy bunny. Everton is the bunny unfortunately.

JayWalk The Walk: Bookies are offering 1-1/2 ball to Everton at 1.9 odds. In English, it means a win for ManUtd but probably by the odd goal. I'd stay away from this wager for now. Time is needed to lick the wounds and sit this one out. Will go wager on the subsequent game against Wigan instead but only if the bookies don't come up with ridiculous handicapping. Besides, this game would be a good chance to assess ManUtd ahead of the midweek game too.

Special Note: Watch out for Ruud van Nistelrooy who would be expected to be running around the pitch for the full 90-minutes. The striker is serving a match suspension (5th yellow card) this match and according to Sheena, suspended players cannot be rested. So bor bian lor, at the sidelines do personal PT for the 90 minutes lor.

Disclaimer: The above views are purely my own two-cents' worth. In other words, I cannot and will not guarantee that my predictions are accurate. If you want to bet on the game, do so at your own risk. Also, please bet responsibly and within your means regardless of how "sure thing" that game may appear to be. As the old saying goes, "The Ball Is Round". Good luck.


At 3:25 PM, December 11, 2005, Blogger Merenwen said...

I miss that hunger and drive to win that characterised the old Man Utd. The bunch of new players, with the exceptions of Smith and Rooney, have no spirit and no heart.

And I didn't mean that suspension = no rest! I meant if you're suspended it can be a rest at the same time but a suspension = suspension and cannot be brushed off as just a rest!

*kicks TPP very very hard in the balls with studs showing*

At 10:37 AM, December 12, 2005, Blogger kachuaz said...

why did he put richardson..why why why

At 6:15 PM, December 12, 2005, Blogger JayWalk said...

"...Try to visualise what an angry drunk monkey would do to his plush toy bunny. Everton is the bunny unfortunately..."
- JayWalk, 11 Dec 2005

"...Unfortunately, the drunk monkey couldn't get it up without his viagra..."
- JayWalk, 12 Dec 2005

At 12:03 AM, December 13, 2005, Blogger Merenwen said...

kachuaz: Press speculation was that he put Richardson instead of O'Shea because apparently O'Shea performed badly at Benfica. Big mistake to play Richardson. He never does well at left-back.

At 1:01 AM, December 14, 2005, Blogger kachuaz said...

correction. i dun think he has ever done well. they shouldnt have let djemba-djemba go. he could have made a more solid defensive player.

At 1:35 AM, December 14, 2005, Blogger Merenwen said...

No lah, not Djemba-Djemba. I don't think he could ever have made it. It's Phil Neville they shouldn't have let go; look at what a great job he did for Everton in the holding midfield role! And he's so versatile he could have been used across the back four! Argh.

At 10:56 AM, December 14, 2005, Blogger Edmund said...

What about Nicky Butt?

At 11:30 AM, December 14, 2005, Blogger Merenwen said...

edmund: Yeah he's one option, but Phil Neville has the advantage of age and versatility.


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