Saturday, January 19, 2008

Weekend Outlook (19 Jan 2008)

Reading vs Manchester United

"...It was a good thing we got the Newcastle game out of the way before the arrival of Keegan...."
- JayWalk, 19 Jan 2008

It was a good thing we got the Newcastle game out of the way before the arrival of Keegan. Not that with the presence of Keegan, they will beat us, but why take the difficult path when the easy one is available?

Keegan has proved to be a pretty good manager and had he come in a week earlier, the scoreline would have been less flattering for us.

With Allardyce gone under such bad terms, you can tell that the morale in the changing room was at an all time low. Newcastle's squad is quite talented with Butt, Smith, Owen, Viduka and Given, just to name a few, then how is it even possible to lose by a 0-6 margin?

The answer is heart or rather the lack of it. 31 goals attempted (21 on goal) vs 7 goals attempted (5 on goal) and you would have thought we were playing a team from the lower divisions.

But no.

This was the Mighty Toon Army we are talking about here and this must be a really low point in the history of the Tyneside club.

Anyway, I welcome the return of Kevin Keegan whom I think would be able to turn things around and bring exciting football back to Newcastle. Overall, it is good for the game. Go Kev!

On a lighter note, read "The Gospel according to St James" - Robbo Robson, 17 January 2008. Great read! Highly recommended!*

* Thanks to winz for the link.

JayWalk The Talk: Scholes and Neville are back to fitness although not quite enough to be contenders for the Starting XI yet (perhaps the FA Cup 4th Round against Totteham Hotspur?). Silvestre and Foster are in the sickbay for the long term and joining them would be Saha for a fresh new injury albeit minor. Looks like Fergie may not play him much for the rest of the season in order to keep him healthy. That way, Saha could be offloaded for a higher price in the summer.

Big headache for Coppell over at Reading side as Bikey, Sonko and Fae are playing in the Africa Nations Cup while Oster, Duberry and Little are injured. Coppell may have thrown the FA Cup replay game at midweek in order to conserve whatever first team players he has left ahead of this game but I am afraid, it may just be a case of too little too late.

However, the most fatal of all in the Reading changing room would be that of morale which is pretty non-existent at the moment. Already short of players, Coppell also have to deal with Shorey and Lita whom both have submitted their transfer request and expressed their desires to be out of the door at the end of this month.

JayWalk The Walk:
ManUtd has to give up a 1.50-ball handicap with a decimal odds of 2.05 to clear it. At the moment, the distribution of punter's money is 80-20 in favour of the Red Devils.

Pundits are all focusing on the goals stats where ManUtd have the most goals scored while Reading is the team with the most goals conceded (tied with Derby).

The 47 goals leaked translates to a goal conceded every 42 minutes and so perhaps 1 goal lost in each half at the very least?

Problem with Reading right now is a shortage of central defenders and I would expect Tevez, Rooney, Giggs and Ronaldo to be running circles all around them. ManUtd on the other hand, has the best defensive record at a rate of 1 goal leaked every 180 minutes. With Wes Brown back from suspension to regain his place from O'Shea, I seriously can't see how Reading is even going to get a goal in.

In all, I believe that the Reading has already lost the game mentally, even before the kick-off whistle is blown. As I have said that Reading is currently leaking 2 goals on average every game and coupled with the fact the ManUtd is scoring 2 goals on average every game, I say a 4-0 result would be a higher probability than a 1-0 or 2-0 victory.

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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