Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 6th 2015 Contents LONDON---The priority is returning to the
Champions League for Manchester United.
Winning the FA Cup, though, would provide
a bonus prize at the end of a first stuttering
season in England for coach Louis van Gaal.
Knock out Arsenal in the quarterfinals and
the path to Wembley Stadium would become
a lot smoother. Liverpool, which hosts Black-
burn on Sunday, is the only other Premier
League power still in the competition after a
string of upsets in earlier rounds.
And United, which is a point behind third-
place Arsenal in the league, overcame the Lon-
don club 2-1 in November.
Now comes the Old Trafford cup meeting
"If we beat them it is a big blow for them,
but if they beat us it is a big blow for us," Van
Gaal said. "It is very important game, not only
for the FA Cup, but also for the rat race."
United, despite producing few convincing
performances this season, has ground out wins
and is still far better placed domestically than
last season under David Moyes, when they
failed to qualify for the Champions League.
"People are always going to question the
biggest club in the world, but we just concen-
trate on ourselves," United winger Ashley Young
said. "We don t listen to anyone else. We just
listen to the manager and the staff at the club."
While Van Gaal is yet to complete a season
in England, Wenger has been at Arsenal for
19 years, despite winning only one trophy in
the last nine years---the 2014 FA Cup.
"It can only be in England, I believe, where
managers are so long committed with one
club," Van Gaal said.
Before United hosts Arsenal, the other three
quarterfinals will have taken place. Here is a
look at those games:
LIVERPOOL-BLACKBURN: Once Pre-
mier League rivals, Blackburn is spending its
third season in the second tier, and sitting far
from the promotion places in 10th place.
Liverpool, though, is back on the right track
to qualify for the Champions League for a sec-
ond successive season after going 12 games
unbeaten in the league to rise to fifth.
Like United, though, finishing in the top
four is a priority, but manager Brendan Rodgers
is yet to win his first trophy in management.
ASTON VILLA-WEST BROM: Now out
of the relegation zone, new Aston Villa manager
Tim Sherwood could book a trip to Wembley
by repeating Tuesday s 2-1 victory over West
Bromwich Albion when they meet again in
the FA Cup on Saturday.
"We want to get to Wembley," Sherwood
said. "West Brom will have to improve to stop
us getting there ... everyone can see we re
improving and the result (on Tuesday) is mas-
sive for us."
BRADFORD-READING: Reading of the
second tier is seeking its first FA Cup semifinal
since 1927. For Bradford, the wait has been
even longer, having last made the last four in
But third-tier Bradford has emerged as a
cup specialist, reaching the 2013 League Cup
final and advancing in the FA Cup this year
by ousting Premier League leader Chelsea and
"This is what being involved in football is
all about, and the big teams from the Premier
League will be casting very envious eyes on
ourselves and Reading playing in an FA Cup
quarterfinal on Saturday," Bradford manager
Phil Parkinson said.
"We are playing a team from a higher divi-
sion, who have been in the Premier League
twice in the last nine years, and we are enjoying
testing ourselves against these types of teams."
PREMER LEAGUE: There is just one
topflight match this weekend. Tottenham and
Queens Park Rangers are using early cup exits
as a chance to play the game that was post-
poned when Spurs lost the League Cup final
to Chelsea on Sunday. (AP)
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Friday, March 6, 2015
MADRID---Athletic Bilbao s challenge,
as usual, will be to stop Cristiano Ronal-
do.Only a few days after reaching the Copa
del Rey final, Athletic will host Real Madrid
and the winger in the Spanish league on
Ronaldo has 39 goals in 36 games this
season, including the team s lone goal in
a 1-1 draw against Villarreal last week-
Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti has said
that, barring unforeseen injuries, Ronaldo
will be accompanied up front by Gareth
Bale and Karim Benzema, making up
Madrid s most powerful attack.
Barcelona, which also reached the Copa
del Rey final, hosts Rayo Vallecano on
Sunday, while Atletico Madrid hosts
Here are some things to know about
this weekend s matches:
WITHOUT GRIEZMANN: Atletico
Madrid coach Diego Simeone has relied
heavily on France striker Antoine Griez-
mann, having played him in 38 out of the
team s 40 games.
However, Griezmann is suspended for
the match against Valencia at Vicente
Calderon Stadium because of yellow card
accumulation. Atletico has failed to win
either of the games that Griezmann didn t
It is third in the standings, one point
ahead of fourth-place Valencia.
BALE S DROUGHT: Bale arrived at
Real Madrid for a world-record fee of $132
million, but the Wales midfielder hasn t
found the back of the net in five matches.
The former Tottenham player has 14 goals
in 35 games this season.
BUSQUETS OUT: Barcelona midfield-
er Sergio Busquets was taken off the field
on a stretcher on Wednesday during the
3-1 win over Villarreal, ruling him out of
Sunday s match.
Tomas Pina twisted Busquets ankle
badly when he accidentally landed on it
in while making a pass.
On Thursday, the team said medical
tests confirmed that the Spain midfielder
sustained a high ankle sprain, and would
miss the match against Rayo.
Barcelona has a busy month ahead in
which Busquets will be a key player, with
La Liga games against Rayo and Eibar,
then hosting Manchester City in a last-
16 Champions League return leg, and
Madrid in the season s last clasico on
MADRID EMPTIES SICKBAY:
Madrid s once-crowded sickbay is about
Germany midfielder Sami Khedira, who
injured left leg muscles during the 4-0
loss to Atletico, is fully fit and training.
Other players who joined him on the
field at Madrid s Valdebebas training
ground are defender Sergio Ramos, striker
Karim Benzema and midfielder James
Man U looks for FA Cup bonus
Manchester United's manager Louis van
Gaal, left, speaks with Angel Di Maria during
the English FA Cup Fifth Round soccer match
between Preston and Manchester United at
Deepdale Stadium in Preston last month.
LONDON---When two English Premier
League opponents spat at each other, the
television evidence seemed clear.
Newcastle striker Papiss Cisse apologised
yesterday for spitting at Jonny Evans, but the
Manchester United defender denied any
wrongdoing in the incident.
Television replays showed the pair spitting
at each other on Wednesday during United s
2-0 win after Cisse reacted angrily to a tackle
After the incident was missed by the ref-
eree, a three-man panel of former officials
decided yesterday that both players should
be charged. They have until today to respond
to the English Football Association, and FIFA
rules mandate a minimum six-match ban for
Before being informed of the charge, Cisse
said he had "apologies to make to a lot of
people"---his teammates, Evans, and the sup-
"I reacted to something I found very
unpleasant," Cisse said in a statement. "Some-
times it is hard not to react, particularly in
the heat of the moment. I have always tried
hard to be a positive role model, especially
for our young fans, and yesterday I let you
"I hope children out there playing football
for their clubs and schools this weekend
will know better than to retaliate when they
Evans is trying to avoid a suspension despite
the video evidence.
"I did not spit at Papiss Cisse," Evans said
in a statement. "I was totally unaware of any
spitting incident and had assumed that the
issue at the time was with the challenge and
his attempted retaliation to the tackle from
"During the game, Papiss Cisse and I spoke
about the incident and it is clear by my reac-
tion in the television footage that I was totally
surprised by any suggestion of spitting. It is
not in my character or in my nature to spit
at anybody, nor is it something I have ever
done or would ever do." (AP)
Evans denies, Cisse apologises after spitting incident
SAO PAULO---Robinho and Marcelo are back
in Brazil s squad for upcoming friendlies against
France and Chile.
Brazil will play France at Stade de France on
March 26 and Chile at Emirates Stadium in London
on March 29. The games will serve as preparation
for the Copa America in June, which will be Brazil s
first official competition since its elimination in
the semifinals of the World Cup.
Brazil hasn t played since beating Turkey 4-0
and Austria 2-1 in friendlies in November, when
Robinho and Marcelo didn t play.
Marcelo hadn t been called up by Brazil coach
Dunga since Brazil s first friendlies after the World
Cup. The 31-year-old Robinho, who was a starter
when Dunga coached Brazil in the 2010 World
Cup, has been thriving with Brazilian club San-
"Robinho has been playing well and is a ref-
erence to other players," Dunga said Thursday.
"That is very important."
Dunga also picked Neymar, David Luiz, Thiago
Silva, Oscar, Willian and Philippe Coutinho. Striker
Diego Tardelli became the first national team
player to be selected from a Chinese team.
Among the players left out were Ramires, Luiz
Adriano, Alex Sandro and Kaka, who is now play-
ing in the United States.
Brazil will debut in the Copa America against
Peru on June 14. World Cup qualifying will begin
later in the year, when Brazil will play four matches
in the South American qualifying group. (AP)
Robinho, Marcelo back in Brazil squad :Goalkeepers: Jefferson (Botafogo),
Marcelo Grohe (Gremio) Diego Alves
Defenders: David Luiz (Paris Saint-
Germain), Marquinhos (Paris Saint-
Germain), Thiago Silva (Paris Saint-
Germain), Miranda (Atletico Madrid),
Fabinho (Monaco), Marcelo (Real
Madrid), Filipe Luis (Chelsea), Danilo
Midfielders: Luiz Gustavo (Wolfsburg),
Fernandinho (Manchester City), Elias
(Corinthians), Souza (Sao Paulo), Oscar
(Chelsea), Roberto Firmino
(Hoffenheim), Willian (Chelsea)
Forwards: Neymar (Barcelona), Philippe
Coutinho (Liverpool), Diego Tardelli
(Shandong), Robinho (Santos), Douglas
Costa (Shakhtar Donetsk)
Links Archive March 5th 2015 March 7th 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page