Saturday, January 21, 2006

Weekend Outlook (22 Jan 2006)

Manchester United vs Liverpool

"The deliverance of ManUtd's 3 points, this weekend, lies on one man's shoulders. Alan Smith." - JayWalk, 22 Jan 2006

I think this blog is quite unique in the sense that while we are discussing football, I am also giving a little brief introduction to the World of Art. We had Van Gogh in the last weekend outlook and this time round, if I may humbly introduce to you Edvard Munch. The artist who painted The Scream (which incidently was stolen two years ago.). Yup, that was my expression when we went down 1-3 to the Citizens. NB.....

Whoever says that this is the game that would decide the Runner-Up spot is still in denial. The Runner-Up spot is signed, sealed and delivered to Anfield already. Well, 99% anyway. Liverpool with 2 games-in-hand, has got enough to overtake ManUtd with a 2-point buffer, even after they were to lose this game.

Right now, Liverpool is on an unstoppable momentum. They are riding the groove of the rhythmn. This spiral concept can go both ways. It can push you through an unbeaten streak or it can drag you down towards the relegation zone with consecutive losses. With 9 wins out of the last 10, this momentum concept is clearly in play. Perhaps it is day-dream on our part to bet on that 1% of hope that we are able to start that domino effect of Liverpool dropping points. What better timing then now, ahead of Liverpool's games against Chelsea and Arsenal, followed by the crazy schedules of the Champions League second round against Benfica, all in the month of February. Let us also not forget the 2 game-in-hand to add to Liverpool's already jam-packed schedule. If Liverpool depth of squad cannot handle the volume traffic, then we are looking at a spectacular collapse of an worthy adversary. The death of a supernova (evolving into a neutron star or a black hole) would be the perfect analogy.

JayWalk The Talk: Alonso says that as long as they are able to lock down Rooney and Van Nistelrooy, they will win ManUtd. Tsk, tsk, such naivety! Can anybody lock down Rooney, if at all? Rooney has not equal as far as opponents are concerned. Rooney's biggest enemy is perhaps himself. Liverpool can only hope that Rooney has an off-day today for there is nothing Liverpool can throw at the boy-wonder to beat him. They can only wish for a self-implosion.

ManUtd is probably going through what Arsenal has been, adjusting to the absence of Viera. An empty midfield, straining the defence and failing the forward. Clearly Liverpool has the upper hand here with Steven Gerrard playing the Joan of Arc role. To make matters worse, Ronaldo, Scholes and Fortune are out of action to contribute to the depletion of ManUtd's midfield. Who can step up to the plate and assuming the Command-In-Chief role? Fletcher and Giggs are wingers so that rules them out. Park is not 100% match fit. Richardson is too inexperienced. That leaves us with Smith who was Keane's understudy when Fergie converted the young lad's role from attack to midfield.

The deliverance of ManUtd's 3 points, this weekend, lies on one man's shoulders. Alan Smith. It won't be an easy task against Gerrard and Kewell in the middle and Crouch and Morientes up front.

JayWalk The Walk: It's a bleak and gloomy picture ahead but I would like to bring your attention back the the hard numbers. ManUtd only lost once at Old Trafford this season against Blackburn and it must be said that Blackburn is a attacking team in contrast to the defence-centric Liverpool. ManUtd never had a problem with defensive teams and that is the one factor that would count in favour of ManUtd who also, if I may add, has home ground advantage.

Bookies are giving 1/4 ball to Liverpool and decimal odds are against ManUtd beating that 1/4 ball handicap. Here's the deal, ManUtd needs to win in order to keep that 1% of hope that they can finish as Runner-Up. Liverpool only needs a draw to bury that 1% hope. Draw comes easier to defensive teams.

I am inclined to take Liverpool and accept the 1/4 ball handicap as both teams looked headed to do a Picasso. Now who says there is no culture in football?

p.s. I think bringing Diarra from Lyon is a bad idea. The Mali midfielder is a defensive midfielder which does nothing for an attacking outfit. Besides, there is also the headache of the African Nations' Cup which means losing him at critical time on a regular basis.

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 2:20 PM, January 21, 2006, Blogger Merenwen said...

"Alonso says that as long as they are able to lock down Rooney and Van Nistelrooy, they will win ManUtd. Tsk, tsk, such naivety! Can anybody lock down Rooney, if at all?"

Hear, hear!

You're definitely right there about Smith being the pivotal part of our midfield and of play in general. Let's hope he performs the way he did against Chelsea.

And I would rather see Gennaro Gattuso than Diarra at Old Trafford. There's the African Nations Cup thing to think about, plus the fact that Gattuso is truly world-class, has experienced one of the world's toughest leagues (Serie A), and is more or less acclimatised to the UK from his time at Rangers.

At 3:16 PM, January 21, 2006, Blogger JayWalk said...

Don't mean to sound racist but as long as the African Nations' Cup were to hold the tournament during football season, I would never favour African players if I were the gaffer.


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