Saturday, September 15, 2007

Weekend Outlook (15 Sep 2007)

Everton vs Manchester United

"...My feel is that we have a good midfield, a good forward but a bad connection between the two departments. Perhaps the rapport is lacking?..."
- JayWalk, 15 Sep 2007

ManUtd is starting to look like a Chelsea outfit of late where millions were splashed to bring in top names only to etch a goal here and a goal there. Clean sheets if we are lucky.

Question is, is this the ManUtd that we have come to love? Personally for me, leaking goals is a lesser sin than not scoring. I will take a 4-3 win over a 1-0 one any day, any place.

The stats has been consistent over the past few games that I have been monitoring. We are very strong in midfield to the extend of dominating and controlling the game. Yet, the 3-point conversion, just doesn't flow in as smoothly as the numbers are pointing.

What are we not doing right here?

For some reason, we just couldn't get the goals. Look at the strikers and you would agree that we have some real quality players like Rooney and Ronaldo. Tevez come aboard with a lot of fanfare but I am not as impressed as I was with him when he was with West Ham. Tevez seems contented to fall a little behind and be the No.2 striker, preferring to play provider than poacher.

Then in midfield, we have the evergreen Giggs and Scholes. Carrick and Fletcher are turning out pretty well. Nani and Anderson are still unproven, but we only need 4 to fill in the midfield, right?

My feel is that we have a good midfield, a good forward but a bad connection between the two departments. Perhaps the rapport is lacking?

We need to get this sorted quickly.

JayWalk The Talk: The more a team have European internationals, the bigger the headache coming into this week's games. Especially if you are one of the smaller clubs with a lesser squad depth like Blackburn, ManCity or Bolton.

We have our usual injuries namely, Foster, Park, Giggs, Neville, Hargreaves (we should have bought him a season later when he is better recovered), Fletcher and O'Shea of whom the latter is definitely set to miss his 200th start for the Red Devils.

On a brighter note, we welcome the return of Ronaldo, having completed his 3-game suspension and Rooney back from foot fracture. Rumour has it that even though Rooney is available, Fergie may save him until the ECL opener away at Sport Lisbon in midweek. I disagree on the grounds that this coming week will be a very challenging one for us with Chelsea looming after Sporting Lisbon. Rooney need to get back to match fitness with every opportunity he can get from hereon now. So perhaps the dynamic R&R duo back in front with Tevez dropping slight behind?

Oh yah. I am also happy to announce Sir Alex Ferguson will also be available for the game as he appears to escape unscathed after having been allegedly kicked in the nuts. Sorry.... couldn't resist that one.

On the Everton side, Howard is doubtful with a fractured finger sustained during USA's friendly against Brazil. Stubbs, Vaughan, Cahill and Turner are also out of action but the biggest setback for Moyes would be that of Gravesen and Yobo who are at time of this article, still doubtful.

However, watch out for Andy Johnson and Yakubu to wreck havoc. We may need Phil Neville to bail us out again.

JayWalk The Walk:
Handicap odds is ManUtd to give between 0.50 and 0.75-ball. I have been monitoring ManUtd's decimal odds for the past 12 hours and it is inching towards 0.75-ball handicap at 2.000.

What that means is that too many people are buying ManUtd to win that the bookies have to adjust the odds down in the hope to get more people to punt on Everton.

So does that mean ManUtd are a sure winner? MatchPoll says 71.6% towards an away win but it is kinda hard to say. For one very good reason, ManUtd is not any ordinary team in the sense that whatever odds the bookie throw up, you will still have a shitload of people taking ManUtd, regardless.

Verdict? Having won 12 of the last 15 top flight games at Goodison Park, I am inclined to punt a ManUtd win. However with handicap at 0.75 and the ManUtd still yet to sort out the scoring glitch, it seems like a waste of time and unwanted risk to play ManUtd today.

Besides, with the two Euro2008 as well as U-21 qualifiers over midweek, we are not expecting many fresh legs on the 10 pitches. As such, I am staying away from all the EPL games this week.

However, Serie A is worth a look though.

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.


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