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At least 6th...

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I've been looking at the table and doing a bit of maths.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but all we need from the Spurs game is a draw. This would put us 6 points ahead of West Ham and 7 above City, Fulham & Spurs (presuming they all win).

With only two games left after that, we'd only have West ham to worry about. However a win at Spurs would rule them out to.

I may be doing my maths completly wrong. But if not, this is great news as we can afford to 'rest' players just like we did at Sunderland.

Here's to no banana skins!
Peter Dancer, United Kingdom     Posted 04/05/2009 at 03:46:42

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Gavin Ramejkis
1   Posted 04/05/2009 at 08:23:40

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At a million quid a place in the EPL I think it’s worth fighting to keep fifth but as many posted in another thread it’s the balance between players with one eye on the FA Cup final and securing a regular slot in the first team. If you look at our run in:

Tottenham Home - at least a draw
West Ham Home - a win
Fulham Away - a draw

We should claim fifth with that and then it’s off to Wembley to win the FA Cup
Chris James
2   Posted 04/05/2009 at 08:28:34

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Your maths are right Peter, although to be honest 6th and Europe are both nailed on already and the question now is whether we compete hard for 5th or take the foot off the peddle and focus on the Cup Final (let?s face it, we know Moyes is going to keep fighting for the former!)

Whilst the secured slot could indeed afford us the opportunity to ?rest? players, I think we have to be careful with this. Whilst we obviously don?t want to pick up any more injuries or suspensions (we?re already without the spine of the team in Jags-Arteta-Yak) neither do we want to be too ?rested? and out of the fighting/winning spirit before the final. Although unfit (Osman) or injury-prone (Saha) players should deffo be rested, for most when it comes to being match-fit, match-sharp and match-hungry there?s no substitute for playing matches!

I actually think that Moyes current approach is spot on, resting a couple of players (Hibbert and Osman last match, Cahill before that) and giving one or two squad players their chance to prove themselves and fight for a cup-final birth (Gosling, Castillo, Jacobsen, Rodwell) but otherwise maintain our best line-up and formation trying to win matches and keep confidence and continuity up.

Whilst I?d also like to see a few more youth players blooded in (definitely Baxter, maybe also Kissock and Wallace) for the final three games, the only other rotation that I think is essential would be giving Vaughan a run-out up front. I completely understand the reason for giving Jo a couple more matches (i.e. to see if we really do want him and to help ensure we get points to challenge for 5th and keep winning) and I totally believe that we play better, more passing/flowing football with him in the side, but given that he?s ineligible for Wembley and Saha?s fitness is so mercurial, we need to know if Vaughan?s physically and mentally up to playing a part, even starting against Chelsea (although ideally it?d be Saha from the start and Vaughan as an impact sub when Chelsea?s legs tire).

All in all then, I think we need to keep up the fight for the last 3 matches, with a little resting/rotation to try out the squad and rest the most tired but generally try to go into the final on a winning streak.
Joeynkoo Ludden
3   Posted 04/05/2009 at 08:36:53

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We are 9 points clear of 8th and 8 points clear of 7th place with 9 points to be played for. Therefore one point guarantees at least 7th place and 2 points guarantees 6th spot, but it’s 5th place we want to aim for.

If we win our 2 remaining home games, that gives us 7 points over Villa who have 12 points left for grabs. They have to visit Fulham and M’boro who both have somet to play for (hopefully Boro not relegated at that point so they will give Villa a tough game), and if they lose those 2, 5th is ours to throw away. Lots of if’s and why’s though.

I don’t think resting players is an option - we need to keep the side gelled and match fitness up in preparation for the Chelski final.
Dave Wilson
4   Posted 04/05/2009 at 09:12:23

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Yep only four games, full steam ahead.

Joey, towards the end of last year I said 20/1 represented good odds for 4th place, you said you thought the 25/1 on offer for the cup was a much better bet... Good call, hope you got on ? I did, that's how I remember (although I only got 20s)!
Rory Slingo
5   Posted 04/05/2009 at 09:49:16

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If I am not wrong, the difference between finishing 6th and 5th in the league is a couple of extra rounds in the Europa League next year, so there is that to take into consideration as well. If we rest players now and come 6th coz we took our foot off the pedal, it means a few more games for us next year.

We?ll lose a few players to AFCON as well, so if we get hit with injuries anything like we did this year, it might really take it?s toll on the players this time.

I?d like to see us push on and fight hard to finish 5th, secure another £1M, save us a few extra games next year, and keep everybody firing on all cylinders for the Cup Final!!
Alan Clarke
6   Posted 04/05/2009 at 10:01:28

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And like you said Peter, that?s assuming the teams below us win all their remaining games, which is unlikely.

The most important thing is that we maintain momentum going into the cup final. I don?t want us to be playing Chelsea having lost our last 4 games. Our remaining games should be winnable and that should see us finish 5th.
Phil Guyers
7   Posted 04/05/2009 at 11:20:56

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We would have to finish below 6th and lose the Cup Final to have to play that extra round.

I’m usually quite cautious about these things but surely 6th place is in the bag. However, I agree that we should be aiming for 5th place, keeping confidence high and earning more prize money.
John Martin
8   Posted 04/05/2009 at 12:48:18

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I?m confident we will win both our remaining home games and that will hopefuly be enough for 5th, 6th is all but guarenteed already. I am not too bothered about the Fulham game as I would rest almost all the 1st team and play a team like Nash, Jacobsen, Yobo, Rodwell, Baines, Neville, Castillo, Gosling, VDM, Vaughan, Jo and have a bench of kids. No point in risking keys players Cahill, Howard, Lescott & Fellaini before the final.
Chris Jones
9   Posted 04/05/2009 at 17:42:40

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I fancy it?s going to come down to goal difference, with us just shaving it, finishing 5th above the Villans in 6th.

Putting this into perspective... it means the only teams above us are the Sky 4. When you consider three of those are semi-finalists in this year?s Champions? League, the other being a recent winner and two-time recent finalist, I think you can begin to appreciate the achievement of our manager AND his team. After all, the only thing keeping us out of the CL are four clubs who are undoubtedly among the finest (and richest) in Europe.

No cavils, no moans, no damning with faint praise, the lads and their mentor deserve massive respect from the fans and everyone else. They have done us proud.

And let?s not forget, we?re going to win the Cup this year as well. COYBB
Jason Broome
10   Posted 04/05/2009 at 19:20:52

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Hoping for a Hull victory tonight. Would love to see Villa come 6th and Newcastle relegated.

One less big team in the Premier League makes it easier for us to pick up 6 points and less competition in signing big game players come summertime.

COYB... Keep moving forward!

Nick Wall
11   Posted 05/05/2009 at 15:06:27

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Moyes is not going to be resting or protecting very many players, and I think he?s right. His comments after the game on Sunday that we could have played better give a clue to his thinking.

He is not interested in going to Wembley to make up the numbers, he is thinking night and day what it will take to lift the cup, and the key to this is getting the whole team performing at a level where they can compete with Chelsea. So Moyes will use the 3 remaining games to focus on strengthening the performance of the whole team and especially our core players.

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