Monday, May 01, 2006

Weekend Outlook (01 May 2006)

Manchester United vs Middlesbrough

"A simple clean sheet today will do the job..." - JayWalk, 01 May 2006

What many people won't expect is that I was actually glad that ManUtd lost the game to Chelsea. For once, we can finally banish the thought of a fairy tale EPL victory and lay it to rest once and for all. Seriously, it was doing us more harm then good.

With a freak draw at Sunderland and an injured Rooney, tell me if that was not too much of a price to be making for an inconsquential outcome?

Chelsea is EPL champions. Fine. I concede that and congratulate them on a season well carved out. Now it's time to get our heads down to business. The runner-up spot which will bring us the other automatic ECL qualifying berth.

Today's game against Middlesbrough shall be that vital game-in-hand that would play the role as the final nail in Liverpool's 3rd spot coffin.

A simple clean sheet today will do the job.

Our goal difference between ManUtd and Liverpool is +4 in our favour. It was a tad unfortunate to be losing to Chelsea by such a large margin. Otherwise, I would have to asked for a simple 1-0 victory to seal the second spot. Looks like there is still work to be done tonight. A big win tonight will restore the goal difference gap beyond the reach of Liverpool. I say, we need a 3-goal victory as 5-goal victories in the hands of Liverpool was not unheard off and would be enough to overtake ManUtd.

Originally, I thought that Portsmouth will deny them a big victory as Harry's boys are fighting for survival. However, now that Portsmouth are already out of the water and guaranteed survival, I am no longer sure if Portsmouth are still going to be bother to play the last game properly.


Granted, we still have Curbishley's team Charlton at final day as an insurance, I think I would sleep better at night if the boys can just get it right the first time. Charlton should now be easy pickings now that Curbishley has official announced his intended departure. Then again, perhaps the Addicks will play their best on the final day as a send-off gift to the gaffer who spend the last 15-years building Charlton into a premiership outfit.

In any case, Middlesbrough seemed like the better option for us to capture the 2nd spot.

Boro is reeling from the UEFA Cup semi-finals hangover losing to Everton right away and coming into this game barely 48 hours later.

While everybody was focusing on the Chelsea-ManUtd game, I was quietly monitoring the Middlesbrough-Everton outcome which I deemed as the more important game. A Boro home defeat confirmed my suspicious that the Boro resources has been overstretched and it is not the crunch time to make the ultimate decision which child to sacrifice. The EPL or the UEFA Cup?

Currently, sitting 15th in the league with survival assured and no chance of a space in Europe, Middlesbrough best bet for a spot in the lucrative Euro spot is the UEFA Cup which they are merely 90 minutes away. Even if Middlebrough were to lose all their remaining matches, they won't fall any further then where they already are. Rather, they may miss the opportunity of climbing as far up as 8th spot and a prize money of an extra 3.5 million sterling. Still, 3.5 million is peanuts compared to what they stand to gain not only with a tournament victory but also the revenue that next year will bring in having secured a space in next year's tournament.

If you ask me? I think McLaren's is going to ditch the EPL and make the final burst for the UEFA Cup against Spainish Liga side, Sevilla.

JayWalk The Talk: With the super crazy schedule, Middlesbrough is pretty depleted. Hasselbaink, Southgate, Schwarzer, Mendieta are all out and Viduka would probably not be risked as well. I think Boro are going to throw this game.

JayWalk The Walk: Bookies is making ManUtd give up 1-1/2 balls and an astonishing decimal odds of 1.875 to beat it. Looks like ManUtd will be shooting for a big victory this game. Get ready for a bloodbath.

On a normal day, I would say go for ManUtd but I am going to advise against it this time round but remember what I said about ManUtd always screw up their last 4 games?

I think we can forget about ManUtd for this season liao. Really no point taking unneccessary risk.

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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