Saturday, January 13, 2007

Weekend Outlook (13 Jan 2007)

Manchester United vs Aston Villa

"...Don't let last week's 2-1 scoreline against Aston Villa in 3rd Round FA Cup fool you. ...It was never a close game...."
- JayWalk, 13 Jan 2007

Don't let last week's 2-1 scoreline against Aston Villa in 3rd Round FA Cup fool you. Despite needing Solksjaer to score the match winner in the dying seconds of injury time, it was never a close game. We were merely unlucky when it comes to conversion.

With 31 shots (9 on goal) versus a mere 9 (5 on goal), Aston Villa were no where near with their meagre 29% possession against 71%. All these while with key players rested.

Anyway, the headlines in recent weeks have been on the managers, starting off with Benitez bitching about his management board after a 3-6 thrashing by Arsenal. Funny seeing a manager blaming the whole world but himself when things goes awry. Mourihno isn't getting much sympathies from football fans with his bitching about the lack of money in the current January transfer window, contributing to Chelsea's current loss of form. Again, funny coming from a team who had splashed over a million pound sterling in the last couple of years.

Recently, there has been talks about unhappy Mourihno leaving Chelsea but I would absolutely rubbish that. Could this news be "leaked" on purpose to unsettle the team? Talk about dropping rocks after one has fallen into the well.

Oh well, as far as psychological warfare amongst the managers is concerned, we really need not go this path. A simple win against Aston Villa will be enough to exert the pressure on Chelsea as they fall 9-points behind. Granted that it may be just for the next 24 hours, no one in the Chelsea camp right now, would have the confidence to say that they would redeem the additional 3 points deficit for sure. As long as Wigan can hold Chelsea to a draw at half-time, expect Chelsea to start panicking.

So here's what we should do. Just grab the win against Aston Villa and let Chelsea do the worrying. If they win, we are still 6 points ahead. In other words, there is no downside to this for us as long as we stick to our game plan.

Afternote: As it turned out, I made the mistake of thinking that the Chelsea-Wigan game is on Sunday. Instead, it is played at the same time as the ManUtd-AstonVilla game. Nevertheless, I am sure the Chelsea camp would have had their radios tuned in to the ManUtd's game.

JayWalk The Talk: For the first time this season, we actually have a surplus in the team selection. Larsson good form will earn himself on the pitch again ahead of Saha who, although is back to fitness, should be rested for an additional week. Expect Solksjaer to replace Larsson somewhere in the second half.

Vidic, van der Sar and Scholes are expected to reappear on the starting sheet after getting their deserving rest last week. If Carrick starts, it will be his 250th start of his career while Silvestre will be relishing to complete his 350th game for ManUtd, if selected today while Brown is nursing a flu.

On the Villian side, Kiraly has been released back to Crystal Palace ahead of schedule as both Taylor and Sorensen are available for selection. However, I think it may be a bit premature since neither goalie is going to be match sharp but then again, it is not like Kiraly can improve the situation any better than it is right now. Aston Villa has a long list of injuries which includes Laursen, Garner, Sutton, Delaney, Petrov and Moore. Bardsley (on loan from ManUtd) cannot play this week against his parent club but Mellberg is back from suspension. Ex-Red Devil Djemba Djemba will not feature in this reunion as the midfielder has been shipped out to Burnley on loan until the end of this season.

JayWalk The Walk: Odds for ManUtd remained the same as per last week with a 1.975 decimal odds to beat the handicap of -1.5 balls. As for 1X2, the odds has been further lowered to 1.23 from last week's 1.28.

There are a few records waiting to be set this week.

A ManUtd win today will set the record (in the present EPL) for the highest return in 23 games. The current record was 56 points in 23 games back in the 1993-94 season.

A goal for ManUtd today will mark the 50th league goal of the season and I am punting for Larsson to receive this honour.

A ManUtd win today will stretch our unbeaten record against Aston Villa (both home and away) to 23. An all-time record for ManUtd against a single club. We won the last 8, by the way.

Verdict? I think we would easily beat Aston Villa by 2 goals of more.

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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