Saturday, October 21, 2006

Weekend Outlook (22 Oct 2006)

Manchester United vs Liverpool

"...Liverpool won't be able to get their first away win here at Old Trafford..."
- JayWalk, 21 Oct 2006

Despite the fact that this is a once a week gig with the occasional midweek preview to squeeze in, the load however is still pretty hectic, especially when I am traveling on business.

Anyway, coming back to the team, we have been on form of late with dominating football. A pre-requisite for a title contender. Looking at the last EPL game against Wigan, we started off slowly with a goal down early and a possession of 19% vs 81% at the 20-minute mark. We were glad to finally see Rooney return to form as we reverse the pitch control and finish the game with an impressive 68% possession reversal and a 3-goal reply to win 3-1 and take the 3-points.

Midweek form was just as impressive as we dominated the field again on home soil with a 58% possession. The real numbers however, lies on the shots attempted (20 with 10 on goal) against FC Copenhagen's meek 10 (with only 3 on goal). We were all over them and they didn't stand a chance against us. In fact, the 3-0 win was a flattering scoreline for FC Copenhangen had their keeper not pulled some impressive saves.

On the horizon, we have the Carling Cup in midweek with ManUtd having the better luck of the draw playing away to Nationwide League 1 minnows Crewe Alexandra while Liverpool have the tougher of the 2 fixtures against Steve Coppell's Reading.

JayWalk The Talk: Rooney's return to form is most welcome to the Red Devils but it's a shame not to have him on the score sheet. This game will be Rooney's 100th appearance but only a mere shadow of Scholes 500th this Sunday as well.

Neville and Heinze are expected to get back on the starting sheet to relief an exhausted back 4 while Giggs will be challenging for a spot for the left flank. Park remained on the injured list while Silvestre is back in training, albeit not ready for first-team action yet.

Form, statistic-wise, is an impressive 3 wins in the last 3 games, chalking up 8 goals and conceding only 1. Liverpool, on the other hand, has an awful away form as they are still in search for their first away win of the season. Liverpool is 1-1-1 in their last 3 games scoring 2 and conceding 3 goals.

On the Liverpool side, Gerrard has made a remarkable recovery to be in time for his 350th appearance against the Red Devils. The front would be further boosted with the availability of Kuyt and Bellamy. Fowler and Kewell, however, are still on the injured list without a foreseeable date of return yet.

Dudek may be charged for the melee during a reserve game against Everton. Fortunately for him, a punishment as high as a 5-game suspension will only take place after November. However, it would still be Reina ahead of the Pole in between the sticks on Sunday.

JayWalk The Walk: Bookies are placing a 1/2-ball handicap in favour of Liverpool and a decimal odds of 2.025 for ManUtd to beat it. What that means in English is perhaps while Liverppol won't be able to get their first away win here at Old Trafford, it looked pretty much, from the bookies' research department, that a draw is a most probably outcome.

While my sentiments choose to disagree with the bookies, it must be said that it is my own analysis against the bookies' formidable team of sports mathematicians, of which I was once offered a position with one of the bookmakers in Australia.

Perhaps, we should, for once, just watch the game as it is without the silhouette of money clouding over the beautiful game.

Hands off this game.

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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