Monday, January 3, 2011

Man Utd beware: Stoke are no push-overs

Real Madrid won as they edged a tight game against Getafe. The fact that I had that as draw-no-bet meant it was never a concern even should Getafe had managed to pull level at any point in the match. I really like that kind of unfolding.

Back to the Premier League on Tuesday, and I might be in the minority saying this, but I think that it won't be 3 easy points for Man Utd against Stoke. My concern with this Utd team is their lack of cover of wingers, after the unavailabilities of Park and Nani. Valencia is out for long, Giggs can't take on half-backs at his age, and Obertan doesn't inspire confidence after a horrible game against West Brom. This should be a worry for a team whose mainstay has been relying on the pace of wide men to open up defences. On the road, they can afford to play with 3 centre midfielders, but they aren't as efficient using that scheme at Old Trafford because the other team is just packing their midfield in front of their defence. On the other hand, Stoke are no push-overs by any means, and have some good late form behind them. Kenwyne Jones is bound to be a handful for Utd's defence as he's been in the past. Unless the hosts score early, I can see this game going goal-less for a long while until either team scores the decisive winner. As I write this, Rooney, Evra and Nani are doubtful, so that's another negative for Fergie's men. Utd could still edge this at the end of 90 minutes because they still have lots of quality, but I reckon one or two plays could decide this match. No recommendation from me on this one, but I just wanted to caution those that are freely laying Stoke in this encounter, that they could be in for a nail-biting afternoon, in my opinion.

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