EPL week 35 preview

The prestigious Barclays English premier league enters week 35 this weekend. The first match if the weekend will be played between Tottenham Hotspur and Fulham at the White Hart Lane. The hosts are currently ranked 6th on the league table with 60 points. The London club have scored 48 goals in 34 matches and conceded the same number of goals.

Emmanuel Adebayor is expected to lead the attack of Tim Sherwood's men on Saturday afternoon. The club staged an unexpected comeback against West Bromwich Albion last weekend. The Baggies took a 3-0 lead at The Hawthorns before goals from Christian Eriksen and co got a point for the team.

The Upton Park in London is the venue of the encounter between West Ham United and high flying Crystal Palace. The visitors are on a four match winning streak. The team surprisingly recorded a 3-2 away win over Everton at the Goodison Park on Wednesday night. Tony Pulis' men are awaiting an investigation that will be conducted by the premier league board after a petition was submitted by Cardiff City for an illegal team list leak some few weeks ago.

Free falling Newcastle United and Swansea City are two teams that will fight for three points at he Saint James' park also on Saturday. The 'Toons' are placed 9th with 46 points.

In Wales, Cardiff City will host Stoke City at the Millennium stadium. The hosts are placed 19th on the league table.

In another fixture,Aston Villa will welcome Southampton to the Villa park in Birmingham.  Paul Lambert's team has been in the news for a potential takeover from American billionaires, but  that can only occur if the team escapes relegation.

Chelsea and Sunderland will clash at the Stamford Bridge on Saturday evening. The match is expected to kick off at 5.30pm local time. Jose Mourinho's men are two points behind Liverpool at the top of the English premier league table. The 2010 league winners must defeat relegation threatened Sunderland for them to climb to the summit of the table for a minimum of about 18 hours.

Demba Ba scored a late goal to give them a 1-0 win over Swansea City at the Liberty stadium last weekend.

On Sunday, Liverpool will be away to Norwich City at the Carrow Road on Sunday. The midday fixture is very significant to the visitors. A win for the Reds will guarantee them a place in next season's UEFA Champions League. The Merseyside giants are currently on top of the league table with 77 points from 34 matches. The team defeated Manchester City by 3-2 at Anfield Road last Sunday. Brendan Rodgers men are searching for the club's first league title in 24 years.

Luis Suarez is expected to add to his 29 goals tally. The Uruguayan has scored three hat tricks against the 'Canaries' in the last four matches. Victor Moses or Joe Allen would be expected to replace Daniel Sturridge and Jordan Henderson respectively. In case Allen doesn;t start the match, then Lucas Leiva will take his place.

In other games, Hull City and Arsenal will slug it out on Sunday afternoon.The two teams will also clash in the FA cup final next week.

Goodison Park will be filled to capacity when Everton welcome Manchester United. The hosts are seeking for a top  finish and are currently a point behind Arsenal while David Moyes' team are languishing in the 7th place with 57 points from 33 matches. The reigning champions will find it difficult to break down the Toffees on Sunday.

The last week 35 match will be played on Monday night at the Etihad stadium. Manchester City will host West Bromwich Albion.

Liverpool and the EPL title chase

Last week Sunday was a great day for the players and supporters of Liverpool. The most successful British club in Europe recorded a huge 3-2 win over Manchester City at Anfield. It was also a day set aside to remember the victims of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster when 96 fans lost their lives.

Brendan Rodgers' men started the day at the top of the table with 74 points. The Reds started very well and Raheem Sterling put the hosts in front after 6 minutes of action. The 19 year old player got to the end of a defense splitting pass that was delivered by Luis Suarez. He rounded the Manchester City keeper before slotting the ball into an empty net.

Liverpool doubled their lead in the 26th minute. A well taken corner kick by Stephen Gerrard was nodded into the top corner of Joe Hart's net by Martin Skrtel.

Daniel Sturridge also failed to convert some begging chances that came his way in that encounter.

Simon Mignolet prevented the Reds from conceding a goal towards the end of the first half.

City scored two quick goals after the restart, but it wasn't enough to prevent Liverpool from recording a 10th consecutive victory.

A 78th minute strike by Phillipe Coutinho was enough to send the Anfield faithfuls into frenzy.  The Reds will face Norwich City on Sunday in one of their last four matches of the season.

The injury that was sustained by Daniel Sturridge doesn't appear to deter the players who have set their minds on ending their 24 year wait for a league title.

Nigeria and Brazil 2014 World cup

The reigning African champions-Nigeria have been grouped with Argentina, Bosnia and Iran ahead of this year's FIFA world cup in the Samba nation.

Brazil remains the most successful team in World football. The South American country have won five World cups and appeared at every edition of the mundial since 1930.

Nigeria will lead four other countries to Brazil 2014 as African champions. This is the second time the West African country of about 170 million will be doing so after they emerged as champions of the continent in 1994.

Nigeria got to the summit of African football by winning the African cup of nations in 2013. The Super Eagles also became the first African team to book a place in Brazil after a 4-1 aggregate win over Ethiopia.

The supporters club of the country has given Stephen Keshi's men the mandate of playing in the semi final.
The football federation has also hinted that the team must go beyond the second round of the tournament.

Nigeria had disastrous outings in 2002 and 2010 when the team failed to scale through the preliminary rounds. 

The top players of the squad are currently finding it difficult to feature regularly for their clubs.

Mikel Obi has been warming the bench since December while Victor Moses has almost become a ball boy at Liverpool. Players like Shola Amoebi, Elderson Echiejile and Godfrey Oboabona are also bench warmers in their respective clubs.

One wonders how Stephen Keshi will be able to get a killer squad that can beat a Bosnian team inspired by Edin Dzeko or a star studded Argentine team.

The 'Albaceleste' of Argentina are currently enjoying scintillating performances from their players in Europe. Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain, Javier Pastore, Ezekiel Lavezzi, Zabaleta and others are doing well.
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Stephen Keshi should recall Peter Odemwingie and try to replace Ahmed Musa with Ejike Uzoenyi. These two players combined with Ogenyi Onazi(Lazio), Kelechi Iheanacho, Emmanuel Emenike, Kenneth Omeruo(Middlesbrough), Chinedu Obasi (Schalke 04) and Vincent Enyeama (Lille) should form the backbone of the final 23 man list that will be in Brazil.

Keshi has made the team one of the best squads to look out for in June.

Will Arsenal end their title drought?

When Arsenal recorded a 1-0 win over Southampton to lift the FA cup trophy in May 2005, many would have expected the London club to win more trophies in the coming years.

Arsene Wenger's men had won the English premier league title the previous year before they recorded their 10th FA cup victory.

The 'Gunners' went on to play in the 2006 UEFA champions league final against Barcelona and lost by a narrow margin.

Arsenal also lost the 2007 FA cup final against Chelsea at the Millennium stadium. The Gunners were always losing out of  EPL race every January.

Birmingham City were Arsenal's opponent in the 2011 league cup final. Many soccer pundits and enthusiasts predicted an easy win for Wenger's men, but the trophy-less season was far from over.
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Nigeria's Obafemi Martins scored a brace to give Birmingham City a 2-0 success in the final.

Arsenal were on top of the 2013-2014 league season from week 5-18 before losing it to Liverpool shortly before Christmas.

The London club had a brief spell at the top of the table in January 2014, but that is now history. They are now fighting Everton to secure a 4th place finish.
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If they fail to beat Hull City in the May 2014 FA cup final, then Arsenal fans will have to endure an entire decade without a trophy.

The team struggled to beat Wigan Athletic of the lower division via penalties in the semi final.

Will Arsenal win the FA cup this year?
We will get an answer when they meet Hull City at the Wembley stadium in London next month.

The EPL title race continues

The Barclays English premiership title race continues on Wednesday at the Etihad stadium in Manchester city. The 2012 champions were beaten by Liverpool on a top of the table clash. Manchester City have two outstanding matches to catch up with Brendan Rodgers men at the top of the EPL table.

The injury that was sustained by Yaya Toure is not expected to prevent City from recording a win over Sunderland in Wednesday's fixture. The blue side of Manchester are currently placed third on the log standings with 70 points. A win in today's match will move them to within 2 points of second placed Chelsea.

In the race for fourth, Everton will host Crystal Palace at the Goodison Park in the city of Liverpool. Everton are currently 5th with 66 points from 33 matches. A draw or a win will be enough to send them back to the 4th position ahead of Arsenal that are on 67 points after recording a win against West Ham United.

The week 35 round of matches will be played between 19th and 21st April,2014.

UEFA Europa League 2014 semi final preview

The 2014 UEFA Europa League preview has been made on April 11th ,2014.

The first tie between Sevilla and Valencia will be an all-Spanish affair. Sevilla defeated FC Porto by 4-2 on aggregate to get to this stage. The 2006 and 2007 UEFA Cup champions were beaten 1-0 in Portugal before the recorded a convincing 4-1 win on Thursday 10th April,2014.

Valencia produced a fantastic performance to deny FC Basle a place in the last four. The 2004 UEFA cup winners defeated the Swiss side by 5-0 in at the Mestalla stadium. Paco Alcacer scored a hat trick in that match and Sevilla defenders will have to be wary of him if they are to progress to the final.

Benfica won the second leg of their tie against AZ Alkmaar by 2-0 on April 10th. The Portuguese team progressed on a 3-0 aggregate scoreline. They are used to recording success in the second tier of European club competition.

Juventus remains the only Italian team left in any European club competition. The old ladies of Italian football overcame Olympic Lyon by 3-2 on aggregate. Players like Carlos Tevez and Fernando Llorente have inspired the team to a successful campaign so far.
The final of the Europa League will be played in Turin,Italy.

2014 UEFA Champions League semi final preview

The prestigious UEFA Champions League has reached its semi final stage with four teams left in the race for the world's most glamorous club competition.

Chelsea,Real Madrid,Atletico Madrid and Bayern Munich are the remaining teams in the competition. UEFA made draws for the last four on Friday 11th April,2014 in Nyon. Let's preview the fixtures...

Real Madrid will host Bayern Munich at the Santiago Bernebeu on April 22nd. The nine time European champions scaled through the quarter final stage after recording a 3-2 aggregate win over Borussia Dortmund of Germany. Real won the first leg by 3-0 in Madrid with the unforgettable performance that was put up by Cristiano Ronaldo,Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale.

Dortmund won the second leg by 2-0 in the absence of Ronaldo.

Meanwhile, Carlo Ancelotti's men overcame Schalke 04  by 8-2 aggregate in the round of 16. With the tie against Bayern, the Spanish giants will be facing a third German team this season.

Bayern Munich 
The reigning World and European champions have a superb record against Real Madrid in the semi final of the competition. The Bavarians have won four of their previous five meetings over the years with the most recent victory in 2012.
Bayern Munich overcame Arsenal and Manchester United in the knockout stages before getting to the last four. The Bundesliga champions are seeking to become the first defending champion to win the UCL back to back since the competition was renamed over two decades ago.


Atletico Madrid
Atletico Madrid will host Chelsea in their first semi final match of the competition since 1974. The 2012 Europa League champions defeated Chelsea by 4-1 in a UEFA super cup match in August 2012. Atletico Madrid overcame fellow Spanish rivals-FC Barcelona in the last 8. The Madrid club were 2-1 aggregate winners after two matches. Atletico Madrid lost all their six meetings with Real Madrid when Jose Mourinho was at the helm of affairs.

Players like Diego Costa,David Villa and Diego have transformed this side into a dangerous foe to meet.

Chelsea
The Blues won their first UCL title in 2012 after beating Barcelona in the semi final. Fernando Torres could face his former team on April 23rd at the Vincente Calderon. Torres was the hitman for Atletico Madrid before he joined Liverpool in 2007 where he spent three and  a half years before moving to Chelsea in a record breaking 50 million pounds deal in 2011.
Chelsea overcame Galatasaray of Turkey and PSG in the round of 16 and 8 respectively. Chelsea suffered a 3-1 loss in Paris on April 1st before they got a 2-0 win in London a week later. The experience of players like Samuel Eto'o,John Terry,Fernendo Torres,Franc Lampard and others could give them an edge over the surprise team of the season.

The UEFA champions league semi finals will be played on April 23rd and 24th, while the final takes place on May 24th in Lisbon.