Saturday, April 29, 2006

Weekend Outlook (29 Apr 2006)

Chelsea vs Manchester United

" long as we win Middlesbrough, we don't really need the Charlton game..."
- JayWalk, 29 Apr 2006

What many people don't realised is that the subsequent match against Middlesbrough is more important than this one against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

I really don't understand what is with the hype against ManUtd trying to stop Chelsea from clinching the title? Like it or not, the Premiership title is already a done deal from a long time ago. The game today is merely a mathematical formality.

Focus, people! Focus!

The title race will be over as long as Chelsea keeps a clean sheet at the end of 90 minutes regardless of whether they score at the other end or not.

Looking below us and we have Liverpool snapping at our heels, 3 points behind with only 2 matches to go while we have 3 games. However, assuming the worst i.e. we lose the Chelsea match, this race for second spot will go down to the wire. On paper, ManUtd cannot afford to lose against Middlesbrough nor Charlton as Liverpool remaining fixtures are against relatively easier teams. Aston Villa (Home) today and Portsmouth at Fratton Park on the final day.

Looking ahead, ManUtd should be able to take the 3 point from Middlesbrough who should have very weak legs after coming out from their UEFA Cup miracle and subsequent game against Everton. A draw at Chelsea and a win at Middlebrough would give ManUtd 4 points to go to 83 points and hence effectively clinch 2nd Spot since Liverpool can only attain a maximum of 82 points with their remaining 2 games.

My gut feel says that we will lose the game at Chelsea, as the Blues would be very motivated to have their trophy presentation done on home soil in front of their fans. That means 82 points after winning Middlesbrough on Monday. Gut feel also says that as long as we win Middlesbrough, we don't really need the Charlton game to put us beyond 82 points.

The keyphrase is goal-difference. In the event, if Liverpool wins Aston Villa and Portsmouth, the 2 games need to combine to give a goal-difference boost of +9 or more, if they wish to beat ManUtd on goal difference.

Liverpool is expected to beat Aston Villa but bookies are predicting a 2-0 victory. If that is the case, then second spot is out of reach as soon as ManUtd beats Middlesbrough. Unless of course, Liverpool follows up by beating Portsmouth 8-0 or more in the final game. However, one must know that Portsmouth are fighting the relegation battle and has seen good results of late. A mega huge scoreline defeat is unlikely.

JayWalk The Talk: Coming back to this game. A relatively clean injury list for either side with Gudjohnsen out with injury on the home side. ManUtd only has Smith and Scholes out of action but it is unlikely to see Heinze back in the Starting XI. Fergie may rest him ahead for the Boro game instead.

Striker department wise, it will be the same tussle between van Nistelrooy and Saha for the starting spot but I think van Nistelrooy will have the slight edge today.

Again, paper-wise, ManUtd's goals have dried up a bit of late with only 7 goals in their last 5 games. While this may be good for some of the lower teams but certainly not convincing enough to take on Chelsea who has a more impressive record of 11 goals in 5 games.

JayWalk The Walk: Bookies give ManUtd a 1/4-ball handicap and a decimal odds of 2.05 to beat it. That would point towards a narrow victory for Chelsea.

However, my many sources have given me all sorts of forecast ranging from a Chelsea win, a draw and a ManUtd win. In other words, the results could be anything.

Since I bet to win, I would stay away from punting on this game given the significantly high level of uncertainty. I would rather look at Liverpool and Newcastle instead.

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 2:33 PM, April 30, 2006, Blogger Merenwen said...

Oh well, it's done and dusted. I'm totally gutted but at least Andy didn't gloat, so it made it SLIGHTLY better for me.

You're right, now we should focus on tying up second spot. It should not be a problem. I believe the team knows how important it is to secure automatic qualification.

Anyway, here's looking forward to the World Cup! I'm rooting for Italy!

At 5:03 PM, April 30, 2006, Blogger JayWalk said...

Aiyah. I say it's expected already lah. Where is there to be disappointed?

Brazil also kena 0-3 by France in the 1998 World Cup final right?

Anyway, watch this space as I carve out the preview against Middlesbrough later and I'll explain why I told you to monitor the earlier Middlesbrough vs Everton game.


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