Friday March 6 2015

Manchester United, Arsenal to share points in FA Cup clash

Alexis Sanchez (front) celebrates striker

Alexis Sanchez celebrates striker Olivier Giroud. AFP PHOTO 

By Mark Ssali


Man United vs Arsenal
Arsenal are the better team at the moment, sleeker, quicker, more dynamic and more prolific. They have also improved tremendously on two of their weak points, defending set pieces on one end and scoring from them on the other.

The law of averages also suggests that they are due a win over Man United one of these days, for they haven’t had any joy against their bitter rivals in some time now. After a topsy-turvy season, for any positives going into the game United will look to a superb home record this season, and the actuality that they always seem to save their best for the Gunners either in performance, results or both.

Used to controlling possession and building up slowly this season, United will find themselves defending deep and having to hit on the break, and they will certainly have to up their tempo this time. For the above, I envisage them cancelling each other out over 90 minutes and taking it to a replay at the Emirates. Draw

Liverpool vs Blackburn
Led by Man United product Joshua King and Rudy Gestede, Blackburn were impressive and rampant in embarrassing Stoke in the last round, and should be well rested as they seek another Premiership scalp.

On the other hand, the games have come thick and fast for Liverpool in a quite congested schedule, and fatigue should eventually count for something even if it hasn’t so far in their quite young and energetic squad. But it is hard to bet against a team with the kind of momentum Liverpool have gathered lately, and once the Anfield crowd stirs up that special Cup atmosphere … Home win


Hannover vs Bayern
No doubt Pep Guardiola will have midweek Champions League action playing on his mind as Shaktar have not been dispatched yet, but with arguably the deepest squad in Europe he should have enough ammunition to continue his Bundesliga domination, should he choose to juggle. Away win

Hamburg vs Dortmund
This winning streak of Dortmund’s inevitably has to come to an end sometime soon, and having been in Cup action in midweek this weekend would be a time as good as any. Yet somehow I believe they will march on. Away win

Augsburg vs Wolfsburg

Schalke vs Hoffenheim

Paderborn vs Leverkusen
Away win


Juventus vs Sassuolo
Juventus were angry with themselves for not beating 10-man Roma Monday night, and are likely to take it out on the next in line, back home in Turin. Home win

Chievo vs Roma
Roma themselves must have draw a lot of pride out of their second half display in that game against Juve, and Chievo will feel the heat from a newly confident attack. Away win

Napoli vs Inter
Thriller of the weekend pitting two talented, attacking sides is a must-watch. Home win


Bilbao vs Real Madrid
Real Madrid will be grateful that they did enough damage in Germany as to be relatively comfortable against Schalke at the Bernabeu on Tuesday night, or they would have had to rest some key players in the La Liga this weekend. It would have been ideal after they dropped points to Villarreal, and yet at Bilbao they will need to be at their very best to get something. Away win

Barcelona vs Rayo Vallecano
An opportunity to mount more pressure on Real Madrid at the top of the table will not be played around with for a team that does not have midweek Champions League chores to worry about. Home win & Over

Atletico vs Valencia
Game of the weekend should be a pretty tough and even contest decided by the more clinical side in front of goal. Home win


Montpellier vs Lyon

PSG vs Lens
Home win

Toulouse vs Marseille

Evian vs Monaco
Away win, @markssali on twitter