Saturday, April 14, 2007

Weekend Preview: 14th April 2007

Manchester United vs Watford - FA Cup Semi-Final

"Don't get carried away by the Roma thrashing, breathtaking as it was. That is an aberration rather than a normality..." - Sheena

First of all, a huge thank-you goes out to Jay and Gary who have been valiantly keeping this blog going in my (ahem) absence.

Now that thanks have been distributed, back to my quote of the day. Now don't get me wrong, I love Manchester United to bits, but truthfully - did anyone expect Man Utd to beat Roma, second in the Serie A, by such a scoreline? Didn't Man Utd fans around the world watch with disbelief as the goals just kept coming? And - be honest now - didn't the words "Roma kelong" ever cross your mind? It sure crossed mine.

It was a great performance from the team no doubt, and one that will be cherished in my memory for years to come, but let's keep this in perspective. It won't happen often, maybe never again. So we can forget about hammering Watford tonight. Another AOS (ah, see, I also know some betting lingo ok) is NOT gonna happen.

Watford may be bottom of the Premiership and definitely dropping down, and they may have lost 4 of their last 5 fixtures, and they may have beaten Portsmouth when Man Utd couldn't last week, but still, that doesn't mean this is going to be an easy task. This is the time of the season when the squad is thinning out, everyone's getting tired, and the psychological stress of being in 2 cup semi-finals while maintaining their position as Premiership leaders is getting to the players.

However, the squad is still high on morale and adrenaline, and everyone will have been given a welcome boost by the nice news that Cristiano Ronaldo has signed a new five-year contract extension, so I don't foresee anything other than a Man Utd win for this match. Just remember: NO AOS.

Man to watch (Manchester United): Michael Carrick. Ronaldo may be most people's first choice and while his contribution is rightly applauded, Carrick's tireless string-pulling and engine-greasing in the middle of the park is what makes the team's attacks flow so smooth and allow players like Ronaldo to work magic. I said before that he is the team's unsung hero this season and in the Roma match, he truly proved it.

Man to watch (Watford): I would have said Ben Foster, but he can't play against Man Utd because of his loan terms, and I don't really know enough about the other Watford players to make a judgement.

Jaywalk's Encyclopaedia of Bookies' Odds says: Apparently Man Utd are giving a 1.75 handicap to Watford and 1.975 decimal odds to beat it. I believe Man Utd should be able to win by 2 goals quite comfortably, possibly 3, so these odds look good. But NO AOS!

(Jeez, if Man Utd decide to be perverse and administer an AOS thrashing to Watford I think I might just dig a hole in the ground and die of embarrassment.)

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 4:52 PM, April 14, 2007, Blogger JayWalk said...

IMHO, I think it would be foolish for Watford to commit more resources into this tournament.

They still have a mathematical chance of getting out of relegation and they need every last breath to fight, rather than wasting it here in the FA Cup.


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