Saturday, May 03, 2008

Weekend Outlook (03 May 2008)

Manchester United vs West Ham United

"...Get ready the KBE medal for Sir Alex Ferguson when we are done with Chelsea on 21 May 2008...."

- JayWalk, 03 May 2008

That's it! The whistle's gone and we are off to Moscow!

A dream final for me as I have always hoped for an all-English final. Certainly, this would boost England's seeding's coefficient for a more favourable draw in future tournaments.

I was sweating bullets when we couldn't score at Nou Camp. Fergie knew that a clean sheet at Old Trafford in the subsequent return-leg would be our ticket to the Final and that's just what we did.

As you can tell from the stats, we played defensively resulting in very low shots attempted and shots-on-goal. Even possession was a dismal 38%. Still, we whacked it where it hurts the most, at the back of the net with an amazing thunder goal from Paul Scholes who guaranteed his own starting place in the final with that match winner. A bit of a bitter sweet fairy tale where the red head midfielder missed out on the final back in 1999. Finally, a chance of redemption and we wonder if it would be happy ever after for Scholesy to ride off into the sunset with a ECL champion's medal? I certainly hope so.

Fergie has been criticised for his alleged error in judgment over his team selection which led to our defeat at Stamford Bridge. Our expensive signings like Carricks, Fletcher, Nani and Anderson all bombed during the game, while Scholes, Ronaldo and Tevez were all rested at a game where the stakes are really big. One may wonder what Fergie was thinking at that time? Still, in Fergie's defence, it did take a controversial penalty to finally allow Chelsea the 3 points. These 3 points if you ask me, were part of our "budget to lose". We can afford to "throw" the match in order to have a full strength squad to take on Barcelona. A gamble, if I may add consequently, that we won now that we are in the ECL finals and still on course to secure the league title.

Get ready the KBE medal for Sir Alex Ferguson when we are done with Chelsea on 21 May 2008.

Our opponent in Moscow will be Chelsea although I was rooting to meet Liverpool. Don't be mistaken that I chose Liverpool because they are the easier team to beat, which they are at the current moment, but it's really a coincidence. Liverpool will always be my favourite opponent as our rivalry goes way back longer than that of Chelsea and Arsenal. Call me a sentimental fool but there is more romance in a ManUtd-Liverpool final then any other match ups.

Perhaps that's why from time to time, I would be found rooting for Liverpool when they play other teams for nothing is more satisfy than to play head-to-head with a worthy opponent. Results will always be secondary even though beating them is an added bonus.

Coming back, Chelsea will be relatively easy for us when we meet in the ECL finals on the following counts.
  1. Chelsea does not have any experience as far as the grand match final is concerned. There will be no more home and away legs. It will be a one-match-takes-all which Chelsea has never experienced before.

  2. This is will be on neutral ground which means that Chelsea loses the advantage of the Stamford Bridge spirit. Once we are on equal footing, ManUtd is the stronger team. However, one wonders if there is any chance of Roman Ambramovich using his Russian connections to tilt the match in Chelsea's favour since the game is in Russia?

JayWalk The Talk: Other than Saha and Vidic who are confirmed to be out of selection. Rooney and Evra will need a late fitness test today to decide if they are good to go. Van dar sar is also a question mark for the starting sheet today but I think we will still see him appear between the sticks.

The injury sheet on West Ham looks really bad at this time. Do not hold your breath when I list out the casualties. Ready?


Spector, Ljungberg, Upson, Ferdinand, Gabbidon, Etherington, Davenport, Quashie, Bellamy, Bowyer, Collins and Dyer are all unavailable for selection.

.... and exhale.

JayWalk The Walk:
There is no secret that Fergie and Curbs are good friends dated to a long time ago. The conspiracy theory last year was that we let West Ham beat us on the final day of last season in order to allow them to survive relegation. Perhaps this time round, it is for Curbishley to return the favour? As far as the league title is concerned, we are in the driver's seat. We just need to win the remaining two games regardless of Chelsea's outcomes.

The way I see it, West Ham has nothing to play for already. A win here won't improve their league position as they are too far away from Manchester City (7 points ahead) nor a loss would allow Tottenham Hotspur to overtake either sitting 5 points above Spurs.

Perhaps I foresee a zhun zhun 2-0 victory for ManUtd. That way, Curbishley can return the favour and the bookies dun have to lose any money on a kelong match.

The bookies are making ManUtd give up a 2-ball handicap and a 2.075 decimal odds to beat it. The wager pot now stands at a fairly even balance with 48% of the punts on ManUtd to 52% in favour of West Ham.

Verdict: Stay away.

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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