Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Midweek Outlook (25 Oct 2006)

Crewe Alexandra vs Manchester United

"... putting a coffee cup in front of the annual team photo is just unthinkable..."
- JayWalk, 25 Oct 2006

It's time for us to defend the League Cup and it is ironic that the cup that we have so often overlooked as a Mickey Mouse Cup turned out to be so important to us last year. Can you imagine another season of the team photo without any silverware? Oh the horror!!

Traditionally, the cup (League Cup, Milk Cup, Worthington Cup, CocaCola Cup, GodKnowsWhatOtherName Cup) has been our opportunity to rest our key players as well as the blood the new ones. In a way, it would be a showcase of our youngsters who have risen through the ranks from academy apprenticeship to B team reserves and finally a first team debut. However, given that the FA Cup, ECL and EPL are no longer as easy as we have had during our heydays, the League Cup has somewhat become more important to us again. Call it an insurance policy if you would but putting a coffee cup in front of the annual team photo is just unthinkable. No?

Our opponent today is Crewe Alexandra, currenly floating aimlessly in midtable of Nationwide League 1. As remote and unknown this team is, I have been watching them closely since the late 70s when they were still in the old Division 4 alongside Wimbledon FC. I can't explain why this is so but every Monday when I flip the paper to read the league table standings, I'd be sure to check on how Crewe is doing.

Anyway, before anyone thinks that I am some kind of authority as far as accessing them, I am not. All I know is that they reached today's 3rd Round after scalping Wigan 2-0 last month. Period. Sorry.

JayWalk The Talk: Although I have said earlier that Fergie often uses the League Cup to blood new youngsters, I would however think that half of the places today, would be set aside for recently-recovered players. As such, I would expect Heinze, Neville, Smith, Solksjaer and Silvestre to feature today.

Youngsters-wise, David Jones would definitely be right at the top with Ritchie Jones, Lee, Shawcross, Burns and Gray, making up the rest of the list of newbies that maybe given a spot in the limelight.

JayWalk The Walk: Both Spurs and ManUtd are playing away and a 1.25-ball handicap deficit. Only difference is that the decimal odds points to ManUtd to beat it and Spurs to lose it at 1.825. While ordinarily, I would stay away from punts of this nature involving an untested team in a tournament that ManUtd don't take seriously, I would have to make exception today on account of the fact that there are too much fire power in the squad list as a result of the newly-recovered players using it to gain match-fitness.

Crewe will be coming into this game with a mindset that they are expected to lose. As bad as it sounds, the management at Crewe won't be too upset for today's gate receipts from a full capacity of 8,800 is already a victory for them.

Take ManUtd and give the 1.25-ball handicap.

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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