Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Road To Athens - QF Preview Part 3

AS Roma

By far, a more formidable Italian representation in this season's ECL than AC Milan but I think this is going to be a miserable year for the Italians, regardless. Currently 2nd in the Serie A with a good Win Percentage of 62.96% (4th) and an impressive Goal Ratio of 2.04 per game (3rd). If AS Roma wishes to go far in this tournament, they will need Captain Totti to single-handedly carry the entire team through, just like what Roy Keane did for ManUtd in 1999. Totti, at 31 years old, may no longer be as fresh and quick as he used to be but he is one heck of an inspirational talisman when the time calls for him to go above and beyond. Totti also has the dubious honour of being fouled the most (30) in the ECL tournament. It is a wonder he is still on the pitch uninjured!

Roma's recent home form is starting to wane a little bit with a 5-4-1 in the last 10 domestic games. Still, it looks like things have started to stabilised a bit with a win after 2 consecutive draws. And this is together with the crushing of Lyon in the previous ECL round.

Anyway, from here to the next ECL game, we have a little over 2 weeks and we will have to wait to see how AS Roma continues to perform over the next few games before we have a clearer picture how they are to fare against ManUtd.

JayWalk's Seeding: 3rd

Manchester United

I would have seeded ManUtd first, if not for the fact that they have been under-performing of late and all the scrappy wins were more of a matter of luck than anything. ManUtd come into this round with impressive stats. Win Percentage is 79.31% (1st) with 66 goals scored (1st) and only 19 (1st) conceded. As for Goal Ratio, they are second to PSV Einhoven at 2.28 (2nd) on account of the fact that ManUtd played a game more than PSV Einhoven in their respective domestic leagues.

It is no secret that Sir Alex Ferguson is chasing for a second treble and their FA Cup hopes where kept alive with a hard-earned draw at Middlesbrough. With the draw for the semi-finals already revealed, it looks like a place in the FA Cup final is a shoo-in as long as ManUtd can win the quarter-final replay this coming Monday.

With a 9-point leading presently, there should be no distraction from the EPL derailing ManUtd's ECL campaign. However, I feel that it would be exceptionally hard with the FA Cup still in the running. It was destiny back in 1999 that we captured the treble but what are the chances lightning will strike a second time?

I hate to be a pessimistic wet blanket but I feel that the present-day team fares below the team of 1999. Hence my seeding to cast them as a slight underdog.

JayWalk's Seeding: 2nd

JayWalk Thoughts - AS Roma vs Manchester United?

It is a real pity that one of my top 4 seeds will be eliminated in this round. Technically speaking, ManUtd has the slight edge but with their scrappy form, I can't really give my vote with much confidence. ManUtd will have a hectic next week for fortunately, there is enough time for rest before traveling to Roma for the first leg of the quarter-final.

Speaking of quarter-final, ManUtd has the advantage of starting this round playing away first. With neither team having played each other this season so far, there is the element of unknown and as such would be a plus for ManUtd to take them with a pinch of surprise. I foresee the importance of the away goal in this round and it may just be the ticket to decide which team goes through.

If I were to pick a team for this round, I would go for ManUtd to scrape through. Probably a scoring draw at Roma and then a narrow win or another draw at Old Trafford. In the case of the latter, ManUtd would advance, as I have mentioned earlier, on the back of the away-goal rule.

Given my high seeding for these two teams, who ever wins this round will have a place in the finals as I foresee them having no problem winning the subsequent semi-final round.


Post a Comment

<< Home