Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Dream final

Man Utd just finished drawing with Newcastle for a voided recommendation. The Red Devils are now 7 points clear of Arsenal with an extra game played. Can the Gunners cut the gap to 4 on Wednesday? I doubt it. Going to Tottenham is never easy, and I reckon Harry Redknapp's men will be up for the battle against their arch-enemies tomorrow. I suspect there will be lots of goals with Spurs prevailing at the end. A draw-no-bet on Tottenham is recommended.

In the other Premier League game, Chelsea should win at home against Birmingham. Chelsea are playing for automatic qualification for next season's Champions League and will be keen to bag the 3 points against their lowly opponents. Will Torres score? May be. I just cannot see Birmingham snatching the win here with the absences of main strikers Zigic and Martins. Chelsea are recommended as draw-no-bet.

Finally, the Copa del Rey final between Barcelona and Real Madrid. Final between the 2 giants of Spanish football, arguably the 2 best sides in the world right now, both with managers having never lost a Cup final. Only their upcoming semi-final Champions League matches can trump this match between the arch rivals. In my opinion, the 1-1 draw at the Bernabeu gave very little away into how things are going to unfold for this match. The objective is different, the teams will be somewhat altered, and more importantly tactics will be different.

One thing for certain is that Mourinho will come up with tactics so as not to lose in 90 minutes or extra time. After all, he's not just a football manager, and as Johann Cryuff would have it, he's a manager of winning titles. To beat a Barcelona team that is superior on all accounts, going to the lottery of penalties with Casillas in goal should seem a decent proposition to the Los Blancos, I believe. So there'll be no surprise if Madrid start with more than 7 defensively minded players as they did over the week-end. They will also rely on dead ball situations where Ronaldo's free-kicks can be decisive. If they get an early goal, then think of it as not 1, but 2 buses will be parked in front of goal!

Barcelona showed on Saturday that they are still one notch above Madrid. Over 70% possession, for a game that they led for a good, is just staggering. It's true they played with an extra man, and were stretched at times by Madrid, but they were still the visiting team at the Bernabeu. They were actually unlucky not to win the match with the bad decision on Marcelo's penalty (the small Brazilian is actually proving to be quite an annoyingly good actor on the pitch, after his theatrics against Crouch in the Champions League).

I think this game will end in a draw and Madrid will nick it on penalties. But no recommendation on that one, it can really go either way.

Draw-no-bet: Tottenham, Chelsea


  1. With the potential that Arsenal have gotten 'inside their own heads' the draw-no-bet wager on Spurs looks solid.

    Best of Luck

    Ben (NTF)

  2. Agree Ben. Arsenal have a mental block, and what a match that was. It was a always the case that at home, Tottenham could score a few against them. 3-3 sounds fair at the end although Spurs could have nicked it at the end. But I found they were way overpriced for the match, being the home team. Only few teams can go beat Spurs at White Hart Lane, and it was certainly not going to be an Arsenal team lacking confidence and conviction, and with big defensive holes.