Saturday, September 30, 2006

Weekend Outlook (01 Oct 2006)

Manchester United vs Newcastle United

- JayWalk, 30 Sep 2006

So we managed to exact sweet revenge against Benfica during midweek. However, as with our recent past victories, there is a word to describe them.


We did open the season with impressive results but thereafter, we've only managed to just scrape through. A 2-1 win over Watford, a 1-0 win over Spurs and a 3-2 win over Celtic hardly appease the fans' worry. Lucky seems to be the word to surmise the sentiment for all of us. Certainly not a good sign for a club of title contending stature.

Well, as far as the ECL is concerned, the worst part of the Round 1 fixtures is over as we not only completed the away Benfica fixture, we completed it with 3 points in the bag. A win and a draw to follow, would easily get us to the top of the table and I would expect nothing less than a win at Old Trafford over FC Copenhagen in 2 weeks' time. As soon as the 3 points gets in the bag, we can ease up on the throttle as a subsequent single point from any of the remaining 3 ECL matches would see us top of the group and a favourable seeding in the second round.

With one distraction out of the way, we can finally, shift our attention and focus fully on the EPL. Hopefully, if the rest of the English ECL teams are still struggling to ensure qualification in the ECL, we would then have an advantage over them, should we meet domestically. However, since all 4 English clubs are doing very well so far, I don't see this type of advantage coming to fruition. Still, it is better than to be the only club to have to struggle to ensure advancement to the second round while everybody else is cruising comfortably.

JayWalk The Talk: The bad news is that we have Silvestre out for 6 weeks, to join Park and Giggs in the sickbay. The good news is that Newcastle are in worse shape than us. Their list of casualties runs from Owen, Given, Solano to the recent Babayaro and Bramble.

Newcastle could not have picked a worse time to meet ManUnited this weekend. The Geordies have quite a number of factors counting against them.

  • Old Trafford. Home court advantage in favour of ManUtd.
  • Heavy casulty list.
  • ManUtd has 2 more days of rest as Newcastle only just returned from the UEFA Cup victory on Thursday.
  • ManUtd has not lost to Newcastle since the days of Keegan. Remember Keane getting a red card for throwing the ball at Shearer during the dying seconds of that fateful match?
JayWalk The Walk: In their last 5 head-to-heads, it's 5-0 in favour of the Red Devils and ManUtd has scored no less than 2 goals in each game. I would expect the same for this game but a big headache if ManUtd would be able to keep a clean sheet, considering the fact that our defenders have been bumbling of late.

Bookies has set ManUtd to give a 1.25-ball handicap and a strong mandate of 1.85 decimal odds to beat it. However, being the sceptic that I have been recently, I have this gut feeling that Newcastle may just sneak in a goal. A victory is without doubt in the kitty for ManUtd but I am just not confident enough to wager on it.

Same goes for the 5 matches on Saturday. Hands off as the midweek Euro exertion may just be the glitch to throw everybody off tangent.

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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