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Read Jose's Mind Challenge (Man Utd 19/01/2014)

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Points of Interest Round 32

With round thirty-two of The Challenge now in the record books we have definitely passed the halfway mark in the competition. In reality, depending on the number of games our team eventually plays, we probably passed halfway a few rounds ago but, as of now, there are a maximum of thirty-one games remaining in season 2013-14 for CFC. Sixteen in the Premier League, eight maximum in the FA Cup (including replays) and seven maximum in the Champions' League.

The race for the medals is on. :)

"Ivanovic not one single training session with us (this week) ... today he will, but I don't believe he can play."

-Jose Mourinho Friday 17th December, 2014

Oh Jose, Jose, Jose. I suppose this is why we say the challenge is to read your mind, not your words. :)

David Moyes said after the game that he expected the match to be tight and that he thought it might be settled by set pieces. I wonder if JM thought that too and therefore decided to conceal the availability of a major set piece weapon? Who knows eh, but those words do seem to have had an impact on this round of the challenge. Maybe no one was planning to include Brana in their prediction anyway but certainly no one was going to after that. As a result, there were no 11/11s today.

Very good work then by Sleeping Dave & Zwickey to correctly predict all of the other ten starters. So close to a first maximum for Zwickey, and a first top too. As it was, Dave's ten-hitter appeared earlier and so the top, and the all important bonus, goes to our leader. That's Dave's sixth top of the season, two more than Zoowraa and twice as many as Richard Redmond.

Perhaps most tellingly however, Dave's six tops are three times as many as aussieblue53 has. As we begin the run for home, those additional bonus points are making a big contribution to the eleven point lead at the top. It's way too early to consider eleven points to be a decisive lead but Dave must be glad he has it, and the chasing pack must wish he didn't. :)

Another consequence of Jose's Ivanovic ruse was a jump in the miss-count for Ashley Cole. Ash was a unanimous miss today; everybody had him down to start but everybody was wrong. Ashley's total number of misses for the season is now up to 121 which takes him back above Torres into second place on that list. Nando has 120 misses but both are way behind the category leader, Andre Schurrle who has 167.

Speaking of misses, I left you with a couple of questions on the subject last time: -

1. What is the ironic coincidence between the two occasions on which Brana registered his two misses?

Brana was actually unavailable for selection in both of the games in which he collected those misses. He therefore could not have played even if Jose had wanted to pick him, and, to be fair, should not have featured in any predictions. He was suspended for the Capital One Cup game at Sunderland on 17th December and he was injured for the Premier League game at Hull last weekend. At least Jose said he was injured. :)

2. Brana is now one of two players with only two misses all season long. Who is the other?

Two people predicted that Nathan Ake would start the Capital One Cup game at Arsenal in October. He didn't.

In fact since I asked that question, another player has joined Nathan & Brana on two misses for the season. Any guesses who?

On the other hand Terry, Azpilicueta, Ramires, Willian & Hazard were unanimous hits today. Everybody had these five in their predicted line up and quite rightly so.

You may have noticed that I don't include Petr Cech in these hit count statistics. Naming Pete in the side has to come under the heading of so easy, even I could do it!

For the fourth round in row A Blue Essien remains atop the current form table and with a healthy lead over his nearest challenger as well. Could be worth pencilling his name as one to avoid in the soon to be announced Read Jose's Mind Champions' League.

There were only fifteen different players named in predictions for this round. This number has been equalled in the past but it has only been beaten once. (Fourteen players were named in predictions for the game with Newcastle on 2nd November.) A low number of different players in the predictions usually indicates a high average hits per entry for the round but actually this round's average of 8.40 is slightly below the over all figure for the season which is 8.53. Another consequence of the Ivanovic ruse maybe.

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Read Jose's mind Challenge Cup (Result)

RJMC Cup Quarter-final Replay

Richard Redmond 8(10) - 8(10) Gaurav_blue (AET)

Oscar started and was one of eight normal-time hits for Richard Redmond. David Luiz also started and was one of eight normal-time hits for Gaurav_blue. That took the tie into extra-time during which both members scored two more hits because they each had substitutes Mikel & Torres in their predictions.

The tie therefore goes to a second replay which will be decided using predictions ofr the game with stoke next Sunday, 26th January.

If necessary, the second replay will involve extra-time and penalties.

This is more exciting than the title race!!!

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