Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Midweek Preview: 31st January 2007

Manchester United vs Watford

"Man Utd's only weak link is the last 10 minutes of a match..." - Sheena

I apologise for the recent lack of updates but Jay has been gallivanting around the world (as usual) and I myself have been quite overwhelmed with stuff even though I'm stuck in Singapore. So anyway, let's get down to the business of the Watford match happening tonight.

To be very honest I don't know too much about Watford, except 3 things: They're at the bottom of the table, they have Man Utd's up-and-coming goalie Ben Foster on loan (and he won't be able to play against us tonight due to the terms of his loan), and they just sold their best player, striker Ashley Young.

Taking all this into consideration, no one in their right minds would bet on a Watford win. Without their top goalkeeper and their top striker, this is a game which one would call a gilt-edged gift for Manchester United - the three points should be sewn up tight before Watford can even say "Look out".

Furthermore Wayne Rooney has thankfully rediscovered his scoring touch, and hopefully he can carry this form over into tonight's match. Cristiano Ronaldo is still sparkling even though his run of goals seems to have somewhat dried up, and the Watford defence will hate facing him. Judging by the previous game against Portsmouth on Saturday, where Manchester United had two perfectly legitimate goals disallowed, Man Utd obviously have no problems scoring and they definitely don't need to rely on just 2 or 3 people to do it too.

It's the defence that is becoming slightly worrisome. In two matches in a row, Man Utd has conceded goals after the 80th minute mark. These weren't the only times either; this season, Man Utd have tended to concede late goals and end up either on the losing end or set themselves up for some final very nerve-racking minutes. Against weaker teams like Watford where Man Utd have the ability to score 3 goals or more, one last-minute goal conceded would just be a consolation for the defeated team. But against the big clubs, this tendency could be potentially fatal, as witness both losses against Arsenal and the draw with Chelsea at Old Trafford, all of which had Arsenal and Chelsea scoring in the last 10 minutes.

Unlike what Arsene Wenger suggested, I don't think it's a lack of stamina. Watching the team play, it seems more like sheer complacency. Everyone believes that since the match is winding down to a close and they're still leading, they can afford to relax. But obviously at the top level, there's never a moment when you can let your guard down. But that's what Man Utd is doing.

The defence needs to sort themselves out, and fast, before a collection of more such blunders down the road costs the team the title.

Man to watch (Watford): Seriously, I have no idea.

Man to watch (Manchester United): Wayne Rooney edges out Cristiano Ronaldo for this one. The kid is on fire.

Jaywalk's Encyclopaedia of Bookies' Odds says: Man Utd are giving 2 balls with 1.975 odds to clear. Hmmm... the bookies seem scared of losing money. To win anything Man Utd have to win by 3 clear goals. Ordinarily I'd say that wouldn't be a problem against Watford, but after events of recent weeks... stay away.

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.


Post a Comment

<< Home