Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Midweek Outlook (03 Jan 2006)

Arsenal vs Manchester United

"...If ManUtd were to take them lightly, it will be their own funeral..."
- JayWalk, 03 Jan 2006

Finally the big game is ON! This will be the last game between the two giants at Highbury, afterwhich will be at the new ground of Ashburton Grove.

The smell of bookie trap is strong in the air today. Arsenal stumbled to a 0-0 draw at Villa Park earlier while ManUtd romped to a 4-1 victory over the Trotters, stretching their unbeaten record to 10 straight games. Doesn't that give you the impression that this game will be a bit lopsided? You think?

Sure, they are leaking news that Ljungberg and van Persie are injured leaving only Henry up front with Gilberto having a faint chance of making the starting sheet. Sure they are blaring about ManUtd strikers in top form with Solksjaer and Saha available but only good enough for the bench. Scholes is doubtful along with Smith while Fortune and Heinze are long term pai kar pai choo candidates.

As dismal as Arsenal may appear, I can assure you that they won't be pushovers tonight. If ManUtd were to take them lightly, it will be their own funeral.

Seriously, the title race is effectively over with Liverpool screwing up over Bolton yesterday. This Arsenal vs ManUtd game is particularly important not because it may decide who gets to be runner-up but more rather, how the League and FA Cups were to be decided should both meet. Trust me, the answer would be damn bladdy likely. As it is right now, Arsenal looked destined to fight ManUtd for the League Cup while it's either semi-final or final for the FA Cup depending on Chelsea's performance in the tournament.

This time round, I don't think the game will be as fiery as before since both Viera and Keane have since departed. Last time, it was a case of who have the better midfield while now is more of a case of who have the less empty midfield liao. As it is, I think ManUtd have a slight edge. Should Park plays, it will be a very enriching experience for him. Arsenal will have trouble here since they have not encountered this prolific Korean yet.

JayWalk The Talk: Squad-wise, ManUtd have the edge. Form-wise, ManUtd again. Past-Encounter-wise, still ManUtd. However, Highbury-wise, it's Arsenal. I think scoring form, ManUtd would be able to put at least 2 goals past any team. Problem is that they have trouble keeping a clean sheet. Van der Saar is a good goalie but can still kena sabo-ed if the defenders are idiots. Sadly, ManUtd have quite a number of these clowns now.

JayWalk The Walk: Bookies have no choice but to offer Even-ball here as a skew to either side would mean scaring away punters. However, at Even-ball, the Arsenal gets the nod at 1.85 while ManUtd, being the away team, gets 2.05. In English, it means the bookies are looking to a draw with a slight tilt towards Arsenal. Like I said, probable bookie trap here. I am staying away as I have said earlier. Besides, watching the game itself is entertaining enough.

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.


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