Saturday, December 09, 2006

Weekend Outlook (09 Dec 2006)

Manchester United vs Manchester City

"...Rooney has faded back in to oblivion of late?..."
- JayWalk, 09 Dec 2006

The game against Middlesbrough was terrible. It was a classic example of how psychology can affect an entire team. The distraction from the subsequent do-or-die match against Benfica took its toll on the team and we ended up playing like a mid-table team.

I am not going to defend C.Ronaldo just because he dons the ManUtd shirt. I say he cheated when he went down in the penalty box. No second thoughts about that. This is not the way to win games.

Saha is also another worrying factory. As he was lining up the spot kick, we all guessed that he was going for the bottom left corner. The sad thing was that we were right, even though we were fortunate enough to get a goal out of it. Do we not have a better penalty taker?

Next, we look at the stats. For the first time in a long while, we were out-paced in the Shot-On-Goal numbers. Mind you, this is Middlesbrough we are talking about and not one of the top teams like Chelsea or Arsenal. Heck, even Arsenal these days are no match of us anymore.

It's a real pity that players as talented as C.Ronaldo has no integrity. Kinda reminds me of Rivaldo during the 2002 World Cup against Turkey in the first round. These are players that are exciting to watch but they will never earn a special place in my heart.

Talking about special place in the heart. There is Paolo Di Canio. Granted that I am not a West Ham fan but his big hearted fairness display during the game against Everton in December 2000 won me over.

Click Here to watch the video clip of the incident. Now this is what I call a top class player.

Next, we turn our attention to midweek's game against Benfica. We mauled them. Shot numbers were 21 (8 on-goal) against 7 (2 on-goal).

They didn't stand a chance.

Problem is that we had to leak a goal first before everyone woke up their bloody ideas and turned on the turbo. It is most worrying that we often shoot ourselves in the foot only to have to struggle to redeem ourselves. Most times fortunately we do, but why the heart attack?

Here's the consolation, if you can even call it that: Weren't we in the same situation when we won the treble in 1999? Remember the semi final ECL game against Juventus where we were down 0-2 as early as the 11th minute, only to comeback 3-2 winners?

JayWalk The Talk: It's the Manchester derby this weekend and regardless of how far apart in the league table both teams are, the outcome is more often than not, difficult to grasp. Let me draw up the archives to illustrate this. ManUtd has not won ManCity at Old Trafford for the past 2 seasons. Both games ended with a draw and thus causing ManUtd to drop 2 points each. On paper, it seemed like 3-points were already in the bag as soon as the team sheets were released. Yet the unthinkable draw happened. Twice! (Actually, it was 3 draws in the last 4 seasons).

Solksjaer is still out but Park managed to complete the first 45 minutes of the reserves game, which coincidentally was also a United-City derby. Smith is also making great progress by scoring a goal, marking his first ever since his horrific injury. Looks like we'll be seeing them back in contention for first time selection very soon.

On the blue side, Matthew Mills and Sun are both out due to injury but I doubt if that is going to be a headache for Pearce.

In the same weekend, we have psychology at play here where Chelsea will be hosting Arsenal in the other derby of the week. The London derby should prove to be a cracker on any given day. However, I doubt if the Gunners would offer any resistance given the Henry is out injured. Still, like I said, there is something magical about derbies and perhaps this would be the opportunity for ManUtd to pull further away from Chelsea? We can only hope the Wenger do us the favour.

JayWalk The Walk: Bookies are set to make ManUtd give a 1.5 ball handicap and a unfavourable decimal odds of 2.10 to beat it. Without a doubt, ManUtd should win this and collect the 3 points but past records has shown the ManUtd has failed the overcome the handicap in 3 of the last 4 Manchester Derbies. As such, my guess is that it should have been a 2-0 stroll for us but as usual, we would probably paint ourselves into a corner (again!) by leaking a goal first, before huffing and puffing from behind to take the game at 2-1.

As a parting point to ponder, anyone noticed how Rooney has faded back in to oblivion of late? Not a good sign at all.

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 7:47 PM, December 08, 2006, Blogger C.O.O.L said...

solksjaer did play in the mid week game against benfica.. so he is not out..

At 9:59 PM, December 08, 2006, Blogger Merenwen said...

Now THIS is one of the big matches of the season.

At 10:23 PM, December 08, 2006, Blogger JayWalk said...

Oh yeah, you're right on that one. He did get a 10 min run-about after we have sealed the game with the 3rd goal in the 75th.

That's even better news!

Larsson and Rossi join us in Jan, Solksjaer, Smith and Park are out on the field already.


At 10:25 PM, December 08, 2006, Blogger JayWalk said...

Sheena: I say BRING IT ON!

At 8:04 AM, December 09, 2006, Blogger C.O.O.L said...

jay.. everyone is coming back from injuries.. it doesnt come at a better time where in these 2 months, the fixtures are in a congested period.. and add in FA cup on the start of jan..

let take one game at a time..

At 8:06 AM, December 09, 2006, Blogger C.O.O.L said...

ronney doesnt mind that he is not scoring goals.. the least he did is creating them.. and he also admit that he wish everyone to score and win..

At 8:45 AM, December 09, 2006, Blogger limyengchuan said...

Just having Solksjaer back is enough reward for me this season. He is the the best substitute ever. While on the bench, he concentrates on the game, the gaps in the opposition, the weakness in the defensive players and when he comes in....POW! he scores. If only he gets half as many goals next season as he did in his first where he was the EPL top scorer.

Will Larsson be the talisman the way Sheringham was? The veteran striker extraordinaire? What the first team is lacking is composure and maturity - not as badly as Arsenal, but shown by the way we played after taking the lead against Chelsea, or the way we played before Middlesborough scored. The steadiness of Beckam, Sheringdam, Keane, Gary has been replaced by flair. So, no triple yet, this year. Not yet.

At 9:07 AM, December 09, 2006, Blogger JayWalk said...

c.o.o.l: I was not refering to Rooney scoring goals but more of the fact that he is making less of an impact on the pitch these days.

Remember the days where he played like a Joan of Arc possessed to single handedly lift the entire team?

Then again, this may not be a bad piece of news for after all, a whole team relying on just one person is also a dangerous affair.

limyengchuan: Larsson and Solksjaer may no longer have the stamina but since they are happy to start from the subs bench, then all is good.

I do hope that while they may not have the pace to out run the defenders but these guys have the experience to make up for that shortfall by positioning themselves to be at the right place at the right time to put the ball pass the goal line.

At 10:47 PM, December 09, 2006, Blogger Merenwen said...


So much for Rooney "fading into oblivion" huh, TPP? *winks*

At 11:50 PM, December 09, 2006, Blogger JayWalk said...

Well, I stand corrected.

Gladly so, if I may add.


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