Saturday, 8 March 2014

Weekend preview: Arsenal and Manchester cubs should win,while Chelsea could draw

Just back from the international friendly games played in midweek,some club managers would be mulling over the timing of the FIFA window especially if their players come back with niggles that could sideline them for some weeks.

This is certainly Arsene Wenger's well known foe,he detests it is just like plague and I am sure he would even lend a few penny if it could be scrapped.

Ask him about his thoughts on Jack Wilshere who will miss the next six weeks,after copping an injury in England's 1-0 win over Denmark on Wednesday,and you would understand perfectly how he feels.

Flying long hours and distances in the week,with a game in the weekend could have a way of sapping these players,and their recovery is not something that could be done in just two days.

A bit of a dilemma,considering that it is a World Cup year,it would be grossly inadequate if international teams don't meet in the course of the season to play some friendlies before the tournament.

Gives national team managers an opportunity to sample new players they can draft into their core squads.

But the problem is how to reach a truce and make all parties happy. The thing is that it would boil down to luck for players not to get injured on international teams.

This weekend in the Premier League,Chelsea are guaranteed to still be at the top of the table,whatever the result of their game against Tottenham on Saturday.

Arsenal and Manchester City are the only top teams left in the last eight of the FA Cup competition,so they will not be in action in the league .

Both teams are the main favourites to go the whole haul in the FA Cup competition,but being a cup game,we could be in for some surprises.

Some top games to look out for this weekend:

Arsenal vs Everton (FA Cup)

Arguably the best chance for either team to win a trophy,they would both fancy their chances of winning the cup.

Arsenal should have enough strength in their armour to beat Everton on Saturday,so it seems. However the last time both teams clashed in the league it ended in a 1-1 draw.

Everton have shown flashes this season,and under Roberto Martinez they have had some resurgence of sorts.

The Spaniard led Wigan to win the trophy last year and would be so delighted to do the same with Everton,just a year after taking charge of the team.

Everton comfortably held their own against Arsenal when they clashed at the Emirates,and even enjoyed greater percentage of ball possession in the match,with Ross Barkeley the conductor of the orchestra.

Will they turn up like that again? Left to be seen which players Wenger decides to give the nod in the game.

Nigerian Bulletin prediction: Arsenal 2 - 1 Everton
BBC's Mark Lawrenson: 1-1

Chelsea vs Tottenham(Premier League)

It is a London derby against two teams with different ambitions. While Chelsea would be guaranteed a spot in next season's Champions League if they win the game,Spurs' hopes of qualifying for the Champions League will be hanging on a thread if they lose.

But forget about qualifying for the Champions League,Chelsea's focus is on winning the Premier League title.

Jose Mourinho's team will go seven points on the table if they win,and others won't have an opportunity to immediately close in,as the trailing teams are not in action in the league.

Chelsea have found a way to grind out results in difficult games,and it might continue that way against Spurs on Saturday.

However both teams will aim to play it safe and not lose,which could pave way for a stalemate. But expect some adventure from both sides,it is a derby and should live up to one.

The last time both teams met was at White Hart Land and it ended in a draw,which could equally be the outcome of tomorrow's tie.

NB's prediction: Chelsea 2-2 Tottenham
Lawro : 2-0

Other games to keep an eye on are the ones involving the Manchester clubs. While City should ride over Wigan,you don't really know what to expect from their counterparts Manchester United.

Man City will host Wigan in what is a repeat of last year's FA Cup final that they lost 1-0. Buoyed from last week's triumph in the Capital One Cup against Sunderland,City wouldn't want to fluff an opportunity to make a return to Wembley .

Meanwhile David Moyes and his side travel to the Hawthorns to face West Brom equally having a turbulent season just like them.

West Brom achieved a mean feat when they beat Man United in front of their own fans at Old Trafford back in September.

Also with reported wranglings that could be rocking United following their poor season,it could grow worse for Moyes if his team don't get all the needed points,thereby taking away belief in his ability to tinker this side.

Man City vs Wigan, West Brom vs Man United

NB prediction: 4-1 1-3
Lawro: 3-0 0-2

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