Saturday, February 24, 2007

Weekend Outlook (24 Feb 2007)

Fulham vs Manchester United

"...As long as van der Sar can keep a clean sheet in the return leg (against Lille), we'd be through...."
- JayWalk, 24 Feb 2007

I would like to finally put the record straight that our Chinese import is Dong FangZhuo (董方卓) and not FangZhou or FangZou as many places in the media are misprinting.

Anyway, coming back to the midweek ECL review. We were lucky to come away with a win as well as a precious away goal.

While the French were protesting the legality of the goal, I have to say objectively that while it was not pretty, it was legit. It was a loophole in the rules. Still, it doesn't really matter if it was a win or otherwise, there weren't points to earn nor points to drop as we are in the knock-out phase. It all boils down to who score more goals over a stretch of 2 games, home and away. That's all. Away-goal rules will come into effect as a tie-breaker. So before, we starting jumping for joy in celebratory fashion, let me remind all that at this stage, we are merely 1 goal up. As long as van der Sar can keep a clean sheet in the return leg, we'd be through. Let's save the bubbly when we qualify in a fortnight's time.

I must say that the game was pretty tight and kudos to the French, sans all the crowd trouble and player whining, for putting up a good fight. Possession was even as were shots-on-goal, which if I may add, was severely limited.

JayWalk The Talk: Putting the past aside, as we look forward to the next game. ManUtd is about to enter a busy phase where we are going to get 2 games every week. Perhaps now, we are going to see more of Sheena right up to the end of the season.

Coming this Tuesday and we have a FA Cup replay away to Reading. A game, if I may add, was totally unnecessary, had we been able to seal up the game last Saturday.

As a result of this, I foresee us having to rotate players today. Tinkering managers like Ranieri and Houllier have taught us that messing with a winning combination would almost spell disaster and I really really hate to shuffle the team lineup unless absolutely necessary.

Get ready to see Park (Happy Birthday! 25 Feb) play in place of C.Ronaldo and Rooney switching places with Larsson at halftime. Solksjaer will be standing by for Saha but I doubt if Fergie will give the Babyface Assassin any time on the pitch today, barring any mishap.

Perhaps we have to thank our lucky stars that we are up against a relatively weaker opponent and their recent poor form is the proverbial cherry on top.

Coleman's sickbay isn't looking too good either with Queudrue, Elliot, Elrich, Bullard and Pembridge on the injured list while Montella is suspended for a Red Card for hitting out at Robbie Keane at the last game. Routledge is also doubtful pending his loan arrangement.

Head-to-head, and we have Fulham not won a single match against in the last 5. The only respectable scoreline was a 1-1 draw back in December 2004. Anyone still remember the 5-1 thumping as we open the season against them?

Fulham are draw specialists, tying Aston Villa for the most number of draws. A draw today would be Fergie's 200th draw as ManUtd gaffer.

JayWalk The Walk: The reward for a win today is more than just 3 points. It would allow us to pull 9 points ahead as Chelsea faces Arsenal in the Carling Cup final tomorrow. The 9-point cushion would aid us significantly from a psychological stand point as we will be traveling to Anfield to face Liverpool just before our ECL return leg against Lille at Old Trafford. It is going to be a tough and challenging period for us this coming few games and we are going to need all the help we can get.

Bookies give decimal odds of 1.85 for ManUtd to beat the 1-ball handicap. I don't see how ManUtd are going to be able to botch this. Even if we win by a single goal, we still won't lose the handicap bet.

ManUtd to give the 1-ball handicap.

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 2:15 PM, February 25, 2007, Blogger C.O.O.L said...

alex targeted these 6 away games whether can win the title.. so now is 1 down 5 to go..

the remaining will be..
- liverpool vs man u
- portsmouth vs man u
- chelsea vs man u
- everton vs man u
- man city vs man u


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