Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Midweek Preview: 1st November 2006

Manchester United vs FC Copenhagen (Champions League Group Stages, 2nd leg)

So I'm back blogging again for the first time in about 6 months; many many thanks to Jaywalk for upkeeping and maintaining this blog for me, AND increasing readership as well. For those of you unfamiliar with me, I am the other contributor that's supposed to be regularly contributing, but due to circumstances beyond my control (reeeeally!) I had to, erm, sort of let go of this blog for a while (and my own personal blog too). Hey, don't sweat it; I'm back - though I guess you could say it's a try-to-prevent-Jaywalk-from killing-me kind of back. So, without further ado, on to the midweek preview.

"Oh, Copenhagen? You mean that team we flattened 3 - 0 and which are currently lying last in the Group F table on ONE point compared to Man Utd lying top with NINE points and totally unbeaten with one foot in the knockout stages already?" - Sheena, 5 minutes after the 4 - 0 drubbing of Bolton

I made that above statement while I was still on a high from Man Utd's very comprehensive win at the Reebok Stadium, in response to my boyfriend asking me what I thought of the coming European match. After taking some time to recover from the arrogance oozing out of every word in that sentence, he shook his head and sighed as he frantically sms-ed his bookie, no doubt to try to recoup some losses (dong-dong had wagered on a draw with Bolton).

3 days later, now that I'm down from my high, if you ask me the same question, my response would still be the same.

Yes, Manchester United need only a draw to secure their place in the knockout stage. Yes, to that end, they will rest some major players for the tricky weekend match against Portsmouth. Yes, they're playing away in Denmark. Yes, Copenhagen, who are level on points with Benfica, will want to clinch a win in order to try for a place in the UEFA Cup. But I do foresee a win anyway - though not by such a large margin as their last meeting.

[Just discovered - Sir Alex says he will field a full-strength side against Copenhagen. Read the article here if you like.]

Ryan Giggs will probably be rested, after his 31-year-old legs did such marvellous jobs for us against Liverpool and Bolton. Gabriel Heinze might be drafted in in place of Patrice Evra. Darren Fletcher, after performing marvellously against Liverpool but unceremoniously dumped to the bench for Bolton, will probably be restored to the starting lineup. Other than that, I don't see any more major changes made. Furthermore, Manchester United have no injury problems except for Park Ji-Sung.

Of course, boy wonder Wayne Rooney will have to stay in the squad; removing him just as he's found his scoring boots again will be a huge mistake. But Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Alan Smith might be given 20 minutes or so of a runout.

Copenhagen will have no chance against a resurgent Wayne Rooney, Twinkletoes Cristiano Ronaldo, Purple Patch Paul Scholes, Passmaster Michael Carrick, Latest Goal Machine Rio Ferdinand, and Big Bad Golem Nemanja Vidic.

The great thing about Manchester United now (but not so great for their harried opponents) is that you never know who's going to score. Marking Saha? Rooney will score. Marking Rooney? Scholes will score. Marking Scholes? Cristiano Ronaldo will score. Marking all 4 of them? Rio Ferdinand, lurking in the box for a corner, will trap the ball down with his right foot, turn, and smash it into the top corner of the net with his left.

In their previous meeting, though, I have to say that I developed a newfound respect for Copenhagen, watching them come to Old Trafford and start off on an attacking foot instead of just sitting back and closing up shop. Their goalie, Christiansen, impressed me as well with a string of fine saves. If truth be told, the 3 - 0 scoreline was quite flattering to Man Utd, no matter how arrogant I might sound. And at home, Copenhagen will be harder to break down. This match will depend on who gets the first goal. If Man Utd does, the floodgates will open; if it's Copenhagen, they will close up tight at the back.

Stuff which I still don't understand: Apparently, bookies are giving Man Utd a one ball handicap. I say grab it with both hands and run. Copenhagen might be playing at home, Man Utd has too much class for them to be able to cause an upset. Furthermore, every area of Man Utd's team from the defence down to the strikeforce are scoring goals for fun. I suspect Man Utd to win by a comfortable 2-goal margin.

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.


At 9:40 PM, November 03, 2006, Blogger Acey Deucey said...

Welcome er... back, though when I started reading this blog, it had been Jaywalk all the way. *Grin*

And too bad about the loss. But, having said that, if there had to be a loss, this was the "correct" one to happen. Not too consequential and a good jolt to the system.

At 10:37 PM, November 03, 2006, Anonymous JayWalk said...

Sheena, Sheena, Sheena.... you are making me look too good when you buang this prediction!!

It may be a loss but we are still on track to finishing top of the group eventhough I would have prefer to have this wrapped up sooner than later.

At 4:25 AM, November 05, 2006, Blogger Merenwen said...

acey: Don't let Jay fool you! This blog is my baby! I only 'lent' it to him for a while. =p Anyway thanks for reading!

TPP: Hey gimme a break! I haven't football-blogged for 6 months, I've kinda lost my touch. A month more, and I'll regain my POWER! *flips hair snootily*

At 8:21 AM, November 05, 2006, Blogger JayWalk said...

Basket!..... That's it!

Lim peh go on strike liao!!!



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