Saturday, April 26, 2008

Weekend Outlook (26 Apr 2008)

Chelsea vs Manchester United

"...We are the mighty Red Devils, we don't play for draws...."

- JayWalk, 26 Apr 2008

While many says that we did well to get a draw at Camp Nou, I beg to differ. We are the mighty Red Devils, we don't play for draws.

We were lucky to get out with a draw despite being out-gunned 7 shots attempted (only 1 on-goal) against 20 (6 on-goal). The possession percentage also see us a paltry 27% against 73%. A bit lob-sided, no? It's almost like a school-boy team playing against a professional one.

What happened?

Anyway, some may say that all the indicators will be pointing in our favour once we head back to Old Trafford.

Again, I beg to differ.

Come the return-leg, all Barcelona needs to do is to just score 1 goal and they will be the ones heading for Moscow. Due to the away-goal rule, if they score 1, we need to score 2. If they score 2, we need to score 3. Get the drift? In other words, we cannot afford to even draw the next leg. A clean sheet is our only option here.

Looking ahead, we will facing Chelsea today, a game that may just be the Premiership decider which means we will be going all out today. Not exactly a good sign, considering that we will be facing Barcelona just a few days later. Fortunately, Barcelona will be playing away to Deportivo La Coruna, a game they too must win to avoid Villarreal pipping them to the La Liga runner-up spot which guarantees a proper ECL place next season instead of a CLQ one.

JayWalk The Talk: We have a relatively full squad to choose from with the exception of Saha and Vidic whom the latter had stomach flu that cost him his starting place at mid-week, which is likely to extend to today. However, I think Vidic should be ready to take on Barcelona come following mid-week.

Other than that, no injuries nor suspensions to worry about except the intangible factor of fatigue from mid-week exertion. Perhaps we would see Scholes starting today in place wone of the other midfielders.

It's the same for Chelsea, sans Cudicini, who played to a tough draw against Liverpool but get an extra day of rest as they played a day earlier than us. We won't see Lampard today as the midfielder will be spending the weekend grieving the loss of his mother who just recently passed away. Essien is expected to feature today after earning a suspension in mid-week which means no more involvement for him at the ECL semi-final stage.

JayWalk The Walk:
Despite obvious disadvantages, bookie are favouring ManUtd to beat the 0.25-ball handicap by placing a 1.80 decimal odds over it.

The punters are all responding well to the odds as the wagers are 69% in favour of ManUtd beating the handicap. Note, beating the handicap means a draw is good enough, not necessarily has to be a win, although the latter is most welcome.

Like ManUtd vs Barcelona in the second-leg, Chelsea also cannot afford to draw as it would be a point gain for ManUtd and 2 point loss for Chelsea.

Here's why.
  • If we draw, then ManUtd regardless of any subsequent Chelsea results would need only 3 points from the last 2 games to clinch the title. One of which is West Ham at home, which we let them beat us to stay in the Premiership. Perhaps Curbs will return the favour? Oh yes, Tevez is playing for us now too. Even if we don't wrap it up by then, we still have struggling Wigan to play away. Easy peasy.

  • If we win, the title race is effectively over with ManUtd at 84 points which is the maximum number of points Chelsea can get if they win their remaining 2 games. However, even if they do catch up with us at 84 points, our vastly superior goal difference (ManUtd +54 vs Chelsea +36) will still put us on top.
Verdict? Why I do hope to get a win here, I think I would be practical and shoot for a draw here.

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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