Saturday, August 25, 2007

Weekend Outlook (26 Aug 2007)

Manchester United vs Tottenham Hotspur

"...Fergie doesn't need a striker - we need the players we have, to do what they're paid for..."
- Gav, Member of BBC 606 Forum, 23 Aug 2007

Both managers are facing some kind of a crisis as they are both staring down their worst possible starts in the barrel, since the inauguration of the EPL. Strangely, despite being in the same boat, the fate awaits each of them is vastly different.

We all know that Fergie is going to be fine, except grumbles and grouses, should we failed to score a victory again. While Jol is going through a Fergie deja-vu moment.

A throw back to the November of 1989 where the banner "Three
years of excuses and it's still crap. Ta ra Fergie" was unfurled at Old Trafford after being sent into a spiral with a 1-5 defeat at the hands of ManCity, two months before. Perhaps the banner has since handed over to Spurs and replaced Fergie's name with that of Jol?

By the way, as a trivia, Fergie went on a 8-game winless streak thereafter and was 1 FA Cup away from being sacked. Fortunately, we won the FA Cup against Crystal Palace albeit via a replay and subsequently embarked on what it is now known as the ManUtd Dynasty of the Modern Era.

The way I see it, to sack a manager after a mere 4 to 5 games is just plain stupid. Bringing a team to success takes time to nurture before one can shape the team into a formidable force. Martin Jol, in my opinion, has done a great job for Spurs, securing back-to-back 5th spots over the past 2 seasons.

Shouldn't that count for something? I must say I am very impressed with what Jol has done for the club in the summer but surely a spate of just 4 bad games cannot be grounds for the sack, right?

From good buy to good bye. It is a tad short. No?

Now, we don't see this happening to Fergie, do we? Why is that? Simply because we have over the years learned to put our faith in Fergie to deliver us to the promise land. In all of his 21 years with us, how many times have we doubted him and only to have him proved us wrong? Does McGrath, Whiteside, Ince, Kanchelskis, Stam, van Nistelrooy and Beckham ring a bell? You can add Heinze to the list next week as well.

Problem for Spurs is this. How do you keep faith with one manager if you keep changing them all the time? From the time the EPL was inaugurated, 13 nametags has since graced the manager's door. If there is anyone who ought to be sacked, it should to be the idiot who couldn't land a suitable manager the first 12 times.

Ok. Enough of that and let's talk about the previous game. One thing is for sure, we are able to create all the chances that we need but somehow, we just can't put the ball into the net. We doubled ManCity in both shots-attempted and shots-on-goal and yet we are at the losing end of a 1-0 scoreline. Someone please throw an elephant off a cliff with a rope tying the free-falling animal on one end and my balls on the other.

Granted, we did not have the services of the dynamic duo Rooney and Ronaldo but surely the club is more that just the two of them? And now there is the rumour that Fergie is out doing some last minute shopping for an emergency striker or two. Gav from the BBC 606 Forum was absolute spot-on when he said "...Fergie doesn't need a striker - we need the players we have, to do what they're paid for..."

Perhaps we forgot that last season, we were the club with the most number of different players getting on the scoresheet? We do not necessarily need strikers to get us the goals as we have proven to be able to score from anywhere.

We just need to score. Somebody! Anybody! Just put the damn bladdy ball in! Dammit!

JayWalk The Talk: The list of players unavailable looks pretty extensive on both ends. On our side, Neville continues to be absent with Brown covering his position. I am not sure about Hargreaves though some say that he is good enough to join up with Fletcher, Carrick and Scholes in the middle. Up front, we don't have a choice as Rooney has a broken foot, Solksjaer has a broken knee and Ronaldo is still on suspension. Saha may have recovered but I doubt if Fergie would give him the full 90 minutes right away. Perhaps Giggs to play slightly behind Tevez? South American import Anderson should start from the sub's bench while Nani may get a start depending on how Fergie wants to deploy Hargreaves.

On the Spurs side, Berbatov is out leaving Keane to partner Bent. However, given the latter is still 50-50, expect Jol to put Defoe on standby alert. Jenas should be delighted to get a start today at the expense of Lennon and Tainio. On the back 4, big trouble is brewing as King, Kaboul, Dawson, Assou-Ekotto, Lee and Bale are all unavailable. Lonely Robinson is definitely going to be the goalie but after the howler against Germany, I wonder if that has any psychological repercussion? Don't be surprised if ManUtd starts looping crossing on Sunday.

JayWalk The Walk:
Here's the situation and it is not going to be good news for the Lilywhites.

We have history on our side given that Spurs has not only never won at Old Trafford since EPL, they have lost the last 3 consecutive visits.

Midfield-to-midfield, we certainly hold the upper hand here but things are pretty equal up front (for us) on account of the fact that we don't have strikers to take advantage of their lack of defenders.

Bookies give ManUtd a 2.10 decimal odds to clear the 1-ball handicap. What the speculation means is that when the goal tap opens for ManUtd, will it gush or will it merely trickle?

Verdict? I think we should continue to sit out this game until ManUtd has proven to be able to deliver the goals. While I think that we should be able to take our first victory here, it should be by a 1-goal margin which essentially means that you get nothing out of this bet, after risking the wager. Still, one can see this from another angle in the sense that we won't lose this handicap as winning by one goal is more or less in the cards. Glass half empty or half full? Take your pick.

On another note: There may be a possibility that Jol may just be able to finish 4th at the end of the season. With the probe of Liverpool breaching EPL rules, pertaining to the approach of Heinze, punishment may be meted out by the FA if Liverpool were to found guilty of wrong doing. Other than a fine, points deduction may be a possibility as well. Even if Spurs do not win enough points on their own, they may just end up to be the biggest beneficiary should a point-deduction punishment be handed out to Liverpool.

Whatever it may be, que sera sera. The threat to boot Jol if Spurs don't climb to 4th spot within the next 6 games has certainly soured everything for the gaffer. Expect Jol to quit the club at the end of the season, even if Spurs managed to clinch 4th position or better.

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 4:01 PM, August 25, 2007, Blogger C.O.O.L said...

actually in the first season under Jol in charge, Spurs could actually got into the final 4th position, but everyone knows the infamous final game of the season where half of the first team is down with food poisoning. Those affected still play, but lose the game to let Arsenal pip to the the final spot of the Champions League.

Tough luck been a manager that is judged by the recent results. Jol's achievement is not to be deny, the past results in UEFA Cup speaks volume of itself.

At 4:16 PM, August 25, 2007, Blogger JayWalk said...

That incident happened in the 2005/2006 season, which technically was Jol's second season in charge albeit his first season was not a full season when Jacques Santini quitted halfway through the 2004/2005 season.

At 9:51 PM, August 25, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

(Bedokian): Anywayz, C'MON YOU SPURS!!!!!!


Post a Comment

<< Home