Saturday, February 25, 2006

Weekend Outlook (26 Feb 2006)

Manchester United vs Wigan Athletic

"... I think Benitez is a stupid idiot..." - JayWalk, 25 feb 2006

Oh how has the status of the Carling Cup has risen this year. This often discard and snubbed Cup tournament which has always been treated condescendingly to that of a Mickey Mouse status, has this year, risen from the ashes like a resurrected Phoenix.

ManUtd wants it this year and wants it really badly. It was a miscalculation on my part thinking that Liverpool will throw the FA Cup game. They, which I incidentally think that they are downright stupid, paid the price for not resting up and going down 0-1 to Benfica 3 days later.

Tell me this, was it worth it for the sake of the FA Cup to risk losing out on the more lucrative Champions League?

I ask for forgiveness from the Liverpool fans but I think Benitez is a stupid idiot.

Form-wise, it is a bleak picture for Wigan who has not won since Arsenal. That is a total of 6 consecutive games without a win. ManUtd, on the other hand, other than the recent hiccups last week and against Blackburn, has won all the other 6 games.

Total number of goals in the last 8 games is 21 for ManUtd and only 9 for Wigan which exposes the current weakness of the Wigan side. Still, a single goal may be enough to win the cup and as such, I will not write off Wigan based solely on this lone statistic.

I guess it all boils down to who is hungrier to win. Expectation is very much higher for ManUtd who cannot afford to finish yet another season empty handed while Wigan on the other, whom pundits were predicting earlier of relegation, just reach the 40-point safety mark with the draw against Tottenham Hotspur last week.

From past statistics, 40 points marks the point where a team is virtually guaranteed another season in the EPL. Wigan just reached that last week and I won't be surprised if they eased off the pedal a little bit at the cross road where they decide if they want to achieve more or start their holiday early.

This is a very unfair deal for ManUtd in this David-vs-Goliath episode. If ManUtd wins it, then everybody would say it's expected lah. The if Wigan wins it, then WHOA! What an upset! What a victory for the underdogs! blah blah blah.... Haiz.

JayWalk The Talk: Squad-wise, Wigan has got the clean sheet although their forwards have been pretty short of goals. ManUtd list of injured players just grew by one with the horrific broken leg suffered by Alan Smith. Just when we are already short of midfielders, we lose yet another one. If Wigan wants to win ManUtd, they would need to exploit ManUtd's midfield to the fullest. However, we need to remember that most of Wigan's players are Nationwide Championship League calibre only a season ago and one must be reminded that while they are in the EPL now, their difference in class, against the likes of ManUtd, is still pretty evident. You cannot ignore that just because they are currently 8th in the league with a shot for a space in Europe next season.

Just look at Ipswich a few seasons back and you will understand what I am talking about.

JayWalk The Walk: Other than the fact that ManUtd is the hungrier side, I think the main factor that will win the Cup is that of experience in big-match settings. I can't recall if Wigan has ever step foot into Millenium Stadium (or Wembly) for a cup final. This in contrast to ManUtd who has been there season in, season out.

At 1-ball handicap, I think it is safe to take ManUtd. I think a win for them is pretty certain and even if it is by a single goal, you get to get your stakes back. However, decimal odds is 2.00 for ManUtd and 1.90 for Wigan under the 1-ball handicap which means to proceed with caution.

Bet small.

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 8:31 AM, February 25, 2006, Blogger Acey Deucey said...

I'll be holding my breath for the whole weekend.

At 11:17 AM, February 26, 2006, Blogger Merenwen said...

LOL I voted for Man Utd on that Soccernet poll.

Anyway, on paper it looks as if Man Utd have the greater ability and desire to win, but we all know Wigan won't make it easy for them. They'll have to fight hard.

Honestly I have a little bit of a soft spot for Wigan because of their fairy tale rise, but IF (God forbid and touch wood!) they should win, I'll hate them for life.

At 9:33 AM, February 27, 2006, Blogger Acey Deucey said...

Giggs has now won eight Premier League championships, four FA Cups, TWO (HA HA HA!!!) English League Cups, a UEFA Champions League title, a European Supercup and a Intercontinental Cup.


(He's my favourite Man Utd player.)

At 10:16 AM, February 27, 2006, Blogger JayWalk said...

You forgot one winner's medal from the defunct Cup Winners' Cup tournament.

Well, at least we are assured of a place in the UEFA Cup. Let us hope that we won't have to use it.

Wigan would be overjoyed should ManUtd secure the ECL place for next year as it would mean a lucrative entry into Europe via the League Cup backdoor.

At 10:41 AM, March 05, 2006, Blogger Acey Deucey said...

Ah, yes, that's correct. Thanks for the reminder!


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