THIS WEEKEND (11/04/14)

_71963556_020445085-1It’s another weekend of exciting matches to look forward to seeing across the globe and as it has become a norm from us, we give you a comprehensive preview of “Must-See” games. FA cup semi final games will hold in England, battle for the Spanish league title continues in Spain and there’s a title deciding clash in the English Premier League. All matches this weekend will kick off seven minutes later than usual.

WIGAN-ATHLETIC-VS-ARSENAL-12-april-2014-prediction

WIGAN ATHLETIC VS ARSENAL
We start from England where Arsenal are so close to ending their trophy drought, and are huge favourites to win the FA Cup this year with only Wigan and one of Hull or Sheffield United standing in their way. Wigan are, however, renowned giant killers, having won the competition last season and knocked out Manchester City to reach the semi-final. Arsenal’s recent form suggests they might be at risk of crashing out but they should just have too much quality for the Championship side. Wigan do have a chance, and that will be enough to inspire them, but Arsenal simply can’t afford to fail to win this competition. Wigan have won 9 of their last 11 matches in FA Cup, Arsenal on their on part have won 6 of their last7 matches in FA cup.

TEAM NEWS:
article-2601436-1CDAB7D600000578-688_634x429WIGAN
Last season’s FA Cup hero Ben Watson misses out through injury. Another major blow for Wigan is that
Chris McCann will also be absent. Manager Uwe Rosler will likely field a 5-4-1 lineup as he did in the win at the Etihad in the previous round.

article-2601436-1CE22A4B00000578-948_634x422ARSENAL
Arsenal have a lengthy list of injury absentees, but should still have a strong squad for the FA Cup semi final against Wigan. They will have been boosted by the return of Aaron Ramsey last week, and he could be in line for a first start since December. Mathieu Flamini will miss out through suspension after picking up his tenth yellow card of the season. Yaya Sanogo could be handed a start up front as well.

5996302-largeThe other game will see Hull City tackle Sheffield United.

Halftimeng’s Prediction: Anything outside an Arsenal win will be a huge upset, Advantage Arsenal.

Still in England, Chelsea has a tough one against Swansea away from home but they should do enough to get the maximum three points. Everton will look to compound the woes of Sunderland over the weekend at the Stadium of Light but all eyes will be at Anfield when table-toppers Liverpool welcome title challengers, Manchester City.

epl-2012-liverpool-manchester-city-356Looks like whoever wins this match will win the Premier League but with all the hype around this game, it might just end in a draw. “Can’t wait to watch it”. There’s not a lot between these teams at all, but the return of Sergio Aguero will make a lot of difference to City.

Liverpool are the in-form team in the Premier League at the moment and will look to make it 10 wins from their last 10. The Reds have won all 4 of their home league meetings with the rest of the top 7 this season and know victory here will go a long way to securing their first top-flight title since 1990.

City are unbeaten in their last 10 games away from home, winning 7, and a win at Anfield will move them to within a point of Liverpool, albeit with 2 games in hand. They’ll be keen to replicate the 2-1 win they inflicted over the Reds at the Etihad Stadium on Boxing Day. Five of the last six meetings between the two sides in all competitions at Anfield have ended in a draw, though home advantage could swing this tie in Liverpool’s favour.

TEAM NEWS:
article-0-1CFF382800000578-119_634x507LIVERPOOL
The Reds have almost a fully fit squad available, with only José Enrique certain to miss out, while Daniel Agger is a doubt. Should the Dane fail to recover in time, Mamadou Sakho should partner Martin Skrtel at centre-back again. Lucas may come in for Philippe Coutinho in midfield to provide greater defensive protection to the defence.

article-2602389-1D07148A00000578-557_634x507MANCHESTER CITY
Matija Nastasic and Micah Richards are closing in on a return to fitness, while Yaya Touré is a doubt having picked up a knock in the 4-1 win over Southampton. Sergio Agüero missed the victory over Saints, but should return to the squad for the trip to Anfield. Manuel Pellegrini could start Gaël Clichy in place of Aleksandar Kolarov in what may be his only change to the starting XI from the weekend win.

Prediction: A draw.

Adeyemi Adesanya
Sports Business Consultant and Football Intermediary; Risk Management & Due Diligence Consultant; Freelance Football writer & Pundit on Radio & TV and Man.Utd Fan
http://www.halftimeng.com

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