Five Must-See Football Matches This Weekend
The romance of the English FA Cup returns this weekend with a round of fixtures, while there’s plenty of excitement in leagues all around the continent.>
Sports Pundit’s Game of the Weekend
Last weekend Manchester United faced Arab-owned big-spenders Manchester City, while this Saturday they meet tiny non-leaguers Crawley Town at Old Trafford in the FA Cup.
Yes, the romance of the FA Cup is well and truly alive after Crawley were drawn to face the Red Devils at the Theatre of Dreams. The result seems a foregone conclusion but the event will be worth witnessing.
Crawley, who are also known as the Red Devils, are currently second in the Blue Square Bet Premier League and have knocked out second tier Derby County and fourth tier Torquay United to get this far.
English champions Chelsea will be looking to get their faltering campaign back on track as they try to defend the FA Cup. The Blues won both the cup and league last term, but Monday’s goalless draw with Fulham saw boss Carlo Ancelotti effectively concede they were out of the title race.
So the pressure is on the Londoners to win some silverware this term and the FA Cup represents a fine opportunity. Here they face Everton in a fourth round replay. New Chelsea signing Fernando Torres has misfired so far but is cup-tied so Didier Drogba is expected to start.
Surprise packets Mainz’s recent slide has taken a lot of the heat out of this contest, but Bayern’s recent resurgence deserves attention, so this game is worthy of a look this weekend.
With Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery back in the Bayern ranks there is still a glimmer of hope for the Bavarians despite sitting 13 points behind leaders Dortmund in the title race. Dortmund drawing three of their past four matches offers that optimism, but Bayern can afford few slip-ups. Fifth-placed Mainz, who started the season so well including a 2-1 win in Munich, could prove tricky opponents.
The Old Firm derby is here again, but unlike the fixture of a fortnight ago this one is in the league and it’s a tight race in Scotland at the moment.
Celtic are current leaders on 61 points from 25 games, while Rangers are five points behind on 56 from 23 games. Needless to say this will be an important clash towards deciding the destination of the title this term. New Rangers man El-Hadji Diouf will attract plenty of attention given his history against Celtic, when he allegedly spat at a fan in 2003 while playing for Liverpool. It’s sure to be heated and Diouf loves to play the pantomime villain.
Spanish champions Barcelona had their record-breaking run of La Liga wins broken last weekend when they drew at Sporting Gijon. They’ll try to return to winning ways at the Nou Camp on Sunday against plucky Bilbao.
In fact, Barca’s woes didn’t last just the weekend, after they suffered a midweek Champions League defeat to Arsenal in the Round of 16. Bilbao are currently fifth and had won their past four matches prior to last weekend’s defeat at Mallorca. In Fernando Llorente they’ve got a troublesome striker, but Barca, of course, boast Lionel Messi, Xavi and David Villa to mention a few.
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