Saturday, August 19, 2006

Weekend Outlook (20 Aug 2006)

Manchester United vs Fulham

"...the fact that Van Basten also dropped the striker from the world cup is validation of Fergie's foresight..."
- JayWalk, 19 Aug 2006

Welcome back to another season of the EPL!

It wasn't a good world cup for the ManUtd player during the World Cup but it seems that the team has bounced back with a good showing during the pre-season friendlies. Bad news however is the fact that we have picked up quite a number of injuries along the way.

We will be missing Ruud van Nistelrooy starting this season but I doubt if it would be a great loss to us as the fact that Van Basten also dropped the striker from the world cup is validation of Fergie's foresight that the Dutch striker is over the hill is right on the money. The Spanish raved about van Nistelrooy during his pre-season games but I think it would just be a flash-in-the-pan.

On the opposite side of the token, ManUtd is seeing some second wind from the senior players in the squad. Paul Double-Vision Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Ole Gunnar Solksjaer are putting in some fine performances pre-season and hopefully they would be about to pull off a winning start to the season.

Towards the end of last season, Chelsea started to show signs of weakness which may suggest that the honeymoon period for Mourihno may be over. However, looking at the strength of the current ManUtd squad, I doubt if this would be the year for the Red Devils. While I am not totally writing Fergie's army off, I remained cautious and a slight thinge of pessimism.

JayWalk The Talk: We have quite a long list of injured players with Vidic, Heinze, Smith and Carrick expecting to miss the season opener. This may means a chance for Liam Miller to start his 100th appearance for the Red Devils. Good news is that Rooney is passed fit to start with Saha up front and we would all be looking out to see if Ronaldo and Rooney are able to gel back together again after the World Cup fiasco.

Fulham on the other hand has a relatively healthy squad with only Jensen and Elliot injured. Player to note is Malbranque who had been cold-storaged by Coleman for his defiance. Malbranque's career at Craven Cottage is officially over.

Despite the fact that ManUtd has more players missing, I believe the remainder of the squad head-to-head will still be too strong for Fulham

JayWalk The Walk: ManUtd has always been sluggish at the start and at times, this is the very thing that would cost them the title at the end of the season. Granted that Coleman's team is weaker and ManUtd has a fantastic showing during pre-season, one must still be cautious with ManUtd's inconsistency at the beginning. Bookies placed the odds for ManUtd to give 1-1/2 ball to Fulham and a decimal odds of a mere 1.85 for Fulham to fulfill it.

The way I see it, I think ManUtd will win their season opener in front of 69,000 fans but with just that one goal more than Fulham to clinch their first 3 points and lose the handicap. Still, I won't be confident enough to place my wager on Fulham as a extra goal from ManUtd will easily overturn the punt.

Seeing that I was lucky enough to avoid betting on Liverpool as they were held to a draw, I say that I sit this one out and start my wagering season proper from the next weekend.

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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