Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 10th 2013 Contents A54
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Friday, May 10, 2013
ping in Europe and messing up
the defense of its Premier
League title, Manchester City
can rescue its season by beating
Wigan in the FA Cup final
tomorrow and capturing sil-
verware for the third straight
Expectations have soared at
City and going a season without
a trophy would be unacceptable
to its Abu Dhabi owners, espe-
cially after crashing out of the
Champions League at the group
stage and relinquishing its league
crown to Manchester United a
month before the end of the
With Wigan struggling against
relegation in the league and hit
by injury as it approaches one
of the biggest matches in its 81-
year history, City couldn t ask
for a better chance to add to its
FA Cup win in 2011 and league
title from last year.
"We are bitterly disappointed
how the league went this year,"
City midfielder James Milner
said. "The main thing is that we
win a piece of silverware at the
weekend and take the momen-
tum of winning a trophy into
At the end of a momentous
week that saw Alex Ferguson
announce he d be retiring from
United, victory for City would
ensure the blue half of Man-
chester takes back some of the
limelight. It would also make a
statement of intent ahead of next
season, with United potentially
in a state of flux without its
manager of nearly 27 years.
"We concentrate on our busi-
ness over here---it s obviously
big news but all we are concen-
trating on us the FA Cup final,"
"(The Manchester rivalry) is
not going to be any more open
than it would have been if he
(Ferguson) was there next year.
"He s been an amazing man-
ager for them over the years, his
record is ridiculous. Unreal. But
all we are concerned with is our
In terms of squad depth,
budget and pure talent, City and
Wigan are worlds apart. City
has won the last seven matches
between the sides without con-
ceding a goal, scoring 13 goals
in the process.
While City sealed a third
straight season in the Champi-
ons League on Tuesday---and
almost certainly second place in
the Premier League---a defen-
sively inept Wigan was losing
3-2 to Swansea to lurch closer
to relegation. It s difficult to
judge whether the game is a help
or a distraction for the team
known as "The Latics," who are
playing in their first FA Cup
"Between that feeling of frus-
tration and feeling low, we need
to look forward to our unique
achievement which an FA Cup
final and get some momentum
from that point on," Wigan
manager Roberto Martinez said.
Martinez s position may also
have been affected by Ferguson s
decision to retire. With Everton
manager David Moyes widely
expected to take over at United,
Martinez has been tipped to
move to Goodison Park.
"At this moment in time, it
would be a waste of time," Mar-
tinez said of his future. "The
most important thing is to be
as ready as we can for Saturday
and then the two other finals
we have in the league after that.
"It is the peak time for us.
We want our fans to be proud
of us and that is what we are
fighting for. What goes around
on the outside doesn t affect us.
We won t lose any focus."
While Yaya Toure---the scorer
of City s winner in the 2011 cup
final against Stoke---confirmed
Thursday he will be fit for the
match after missing the 1-0 win
over West Bromwich Albion
with muscle fatigue, Wigan has
a heap of defensive problems
with Antolin Alcaraz, Ivan
Ramis, Maynor Figueroa and
Ronnie Stam all injured.
Under Martinez, however,
Wigan has sprung many sur-
prises and plays some of the
best football in the league.
"They are one of the more
difficult sides we have played
this season," City captain Vin-
cent Kompany said. "You can
see it s a team that doesn t fear
keeping possession. When it s
going well for them they are a
very difficult team to play
against. We have to be careful."
Wigan is already guaranteed
a spot in the Europa League next
season and can still escape rel-
egation with games remaining
against Arsenal and Aston Villa
next week. For now, though, it s
all about the FA Cup.
"The league has so much
pressure with it---now we can
switch off from that and really
get in the mood of the cup, really
enjoy the occasion and just go
and give our best and try to get
a result against a great side, the
team that won the league last
year, full of great players," Wigan
defender Gary Caldwell said.
MADRID---Real Madrid has done its best to delay
the inevitable, but Barcelona has another chance
to finally clinch the Spanish league title this
A win by Barcelona at Atletico Madrid on Sunday
will seal the Catalan club s 22nd league title and
fourth in five years---although the team may already
be champions by then if Madrid drops points at
Espanyol on Saturday.
Madrid s 6-2 rout of Malaga on Wednesday
kept Barcelona from dethroning it as league cham-
pions, but even that commanding victory at the
Santiago Bernabeu was drowned out by the jeers
coach Jose Mourinho received from the home fans
after his discrepancies with his players and club
intensified in recent days.
More titles, however, will have to wait until next
season. Barcelona was brushed aside by a humbling
7-0 aggregate score by Bayern Munich in the
Champions League semifinals, while Madrid won
their Copa del Rey semifinal and will play Atletico
in the May 17 final.
Barcelona s first chance at clinching the league
rests with crosstown rival Espanyol getting a win
or a draw against Madrid at Cornella-El Prat sta-
In 11th place after back-to-back losses, Espanyol
needs a victory to remain in the hunt for a Europa
League spot come next season. It has only lost
one home game---its last one---in nine under
replacement coach Javier Aguirre.
Mourinho appears close to leaving the Spanish
capital and heading back to England. His name
was largely booed during pre-game introductions
on Wednesday a day after he publicly derided cap-
tain Iker Casillas and Pepe, who had said that
Mourinho had lacked respect for the Spain goal-
If Madrid wins at Espanyol, then Barcelona will
have to beat an Atletico side that locked up a third-
place finish and a direct classification to next sea-
son s Champions League---fourth place earns the
right to playoff for the Champions League---by
beating Celta Vigo on Wednesday.
The lingering doubt for Barcelona is if Lionel
Messi will finally return to its starting lineup for
the first time in league play since injuring his right
hamstring on April 2.
Messi leads the league with 46 goals and can
match or break his own record of 50 from last
With Barcelona, Madrid, and Atletico already
set to play in the Champions League next season,
the fourth and final spot is still up for grabs.
Real Sociedad is currently holding on to fourth
place, two points above Valencia after the Basque
side s 15-game unbeaten run was ended last round
Sociedad hosts Granada on Monday after Valen-
cia visits Rayo Vallecano on Sunday.
Valencia is winless in its last five away games
and is facing a Rayo side that has sputtered of late
and needs the three points if it hopes to finish an
excellent campaign with a Europa League berth.
With only four rounds left, the fight to avoid
relegation is also tight with only six points between
15th-ranked Granada and last-place Mallorca.
Real Zaragoza looks for a third consecutive win
on Friday at struggling Levante that would go a
long way to assuring it stays up next season.
Mallorca visits Athletic Bilbao on Saturday in
a must-win match four points from safety, while
relegation-threatened Deportivo La Coruna travels
Osasuna is also in danger after only one victory
in its last nine games and plays at Getafe also on
Saturday. Getafe, meanwhile, is still in the mix for
a Europa League spot. Second-to-last-place Celta
Vigo visits Real Betis on Sunday also.
already having won Serie A and
Napoli assured of finishing sec-
ond, AC Milan s battle with
Fiorentina for third is the last
key item to be determined in
the Italian league.
Milan will be hoping to secure
a place in the Champions League
playoff with a win against Roma
on Sunday, although the Gial-
lorossi are still attempting to
clinch a Europa League spot.
Fiorentina hosts Palermo,
which is on the verge of relega-
The top two finishers qualify
directly for the Champions
League, third place goes to the
playoffs and fourth and fifth
earn Europa League berths.
With two rounds remaining,
Milan has 68 points, with
Fiorentina on 64. Udinese, Lazio
and Roma are also vying for
The winner of the Italian Cup
final between Roma and Lazio
will also get a Europa League
Inter Milan, which is eighth
with 53 points, has already been
eliminated from Europe.
Lazio hosts Sampdoria and
Udinese, led by Italy forward
Antonio Di Natale, faces Ata-
Juventus will hold a victory
celebration after its match
against Cagliari on Sunday
Siena, which visits Napoli,
also appears set for relegation.
Three clubs will drop down
to Serie A. The bottom of the
standings currently reads: Torino
37, Genoa 36, Palermo 32, Siena
30, Pescara 22.
Pescara has already been rel-
egated after just one season in
the top flight.
Milan routed Pescara 4-0
Wednesday and has been cruis-
ing since Mario Balotelli returned
from a two-match suspension.
Balotelli, who transferred back
to Italy from Manchester City
in January, has scored 11 goals
in 11 matches with the Rossoneri,
including two against Pescara.
However, it s not all straight-
forward for Milan with local
media speculating that manager
Massimiliano Allegri will break
his contract with the club and
sign with Roma once the season
A front-page report in main-
stream daily Corriere della Sera
last weekend indicated that the
move is prompted by criticism
of Allegri from Milan president
and former Italian Premier Silvio
Allegri sought to smooth
things over after the win over
City looks to rescue
season by winning FA Cup
Manchester City's Sergio Aguero celebrates after scoring his
team's opening goal during their English Premier League soccer
match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester, England, Saturday April
27. Aguero will play a key part in his team's bid to win the FA title
tomorrow. AP PHOTO
AC Milan aiming to secure Champions League spot
Barca can clinch
title at Atletico
Links Archive May 9th 2013 May 11th 2013 Navigation Previous Page Next Page