Saturday, February 17, 2007

Weekend Outlook (17 Feb 2007)

Manchester United vs Reading

"...would this the day that we finally see Dong FangZhou?..."
- JayWalk, 17 Feb 2007

We may have won our last game against Charlton comfortably, it was however, a game that I felt unsatisfied. Granted it was our 3rd clean sheet in a row and 4th victory on the trot since the Arsenal defeat. It was hardly convincing what we have on our hands is a team capable of greatness.

Granted all indicators point towards the league title but given our last performance, another ECL title may just be out of our reach.

Perhaps, our greatest enemy is complacency. No?

The old guards knew what it was like to be hungry but I am not sure if the next generations are as tough as the Squad of 1999.

C.Ronaldo is a tad too self-centered, Carrick has yet to prove the worth of his price tag. Park is just happy to run all over the place while Larsson doesn't really care if he gets another medal or not.

OK, OK, before I go overboard with the doom-saying, all is not lost. We have one person who can get everything to work together. Like a Swiss watch craftsman, Sir Alex Ferguson is one person who can piece every single gear (of all shapes and sizes) and assemble them in to a smooth running machinery of precision and mastery. If only some of these stupid gears would listen and do what they are told to do without acting all prima donna.

Anyway, the fact that this round of the FA Cup is held on a weekend in place of the regular EPL fixtures comes to show the importance of this round. However, with the second round of the ECL just a few days from now, the significance of the FA Cup has been severely undermined.

I won't be surprised if Fergie were to deploy fringe players for this round as well in order to rest key players ahead of our game against Lille (away).

JayWalk The Talk: Kuszczak will continue to man the goal posts today, with Heaton continue to enjoy his spell on the bench. van der Sar is expected to be ready for the Lille game on Tuesday but so far there hasn't been any positive news in the interim.

As mentioned earlier, Fergie should continue to play a second-string team today. Rooney is out on suspension but we should see C.Ronaldo getting some work-out on the field having just recovered from a viral flu.

Now the question that has been on my mind for the longest time, would this the day that we finally see Dong FangZhou (or FangZhuo?)?

Speaking of deploying fringe players, Steve Coppell has made it known that he too, intend to play a second string team today. What I don't get is that with no mid-week commitment, why would Reading need to rest key players?

Anyway, we should see Kevin Doyle back from injury while Duberry and Halford are cup tied. Goalie Federici will be making his debut for Reading and how unfortunate considering the fact that he will be facing Saha and Larsson up front.

JayWalk The Walk: Many have known that I have been a long time admirer of Curbishley, Redknapp and Allardyce. Now add Coppell to the list. What Coppell has done with Reading is remarkable. On a shoestring budget, he has managed to take the newly promoted club to a lofty height of 6th and a credible shot at the UEFA Cup next season. All these without breaking the bank and what Coppell has done is good for English football as most of his players are mostly British.

On any given day with regards to the FA Cup, I would have sided with Reading given that ManUtd have always use this tournament as an opportunity to bleed new players. However, now that Coppell has also indicated that he intends to do the same, I am not so confident anymore about the boys in the blue-and-white stripes. They were very spirited in their last 2 EPL clash against ManUtd but let us not forget that Reading played with the first team on those 2 occasions. I am not so sure if their second team is anywhere nearly as good.

Bookies has a decimal odds of 2.05 for ManUtd to beat the 1.5-ball deficit. What many folks don't know is that Reading has won all their last 10 handicaps and it seems like the trend may continue for quite a while unless ManUtd is able to break the jinx today.

Granted this may be a game between second teams, it doesn't mean that ManUtd will be all over Reading. While I think we should be able to advance to the next round comfortably, but there is not guarantee of a goal-fest which -1.5 balls seems to suggest.

Still, I think ManUtd can beat the 1.5-ball deficit, but only just.

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 2:20 PM, February 20, 2007, Blogger Jiahao said...

Hmm. I thought the greatest enemy was complacency actually, with many in the squad starting to feel, already felt that they are already the Champions. Indeed, was a unsatisfied match. I look forward to the Champion's League tie with Lille.

Glory glory Man United!

At 7:15 PM, February 20, 2007, Blogger JayWalk said...

While I agree with you on the complacency part, there are also other factors to take into consideration.

1) They look FA Cup no up.
2) They saving up for tonight's ECL game against Lille.

Read my next entry for the Lille's game preview.


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