The world is watching. A huge weekend for…
Two Italians, One Scotsman and an Englishman I hate
The Italian is a dead man walking. The media know it, the fans know it, and the players probably know it.
Football becomes more fickle by the day. Ancelotti was a double winner at Chelsea less than a year ago. A crucial factor in his demise is the performances of a striker he may not have even wanted to sign.
This weekend they take on West Brom, unbeaten under Roy Hodgson. It is crazy to think that Ancelotti could win every game remaining this season and Ancelotti still not be in charge at the start of next season.
And Ancelotti is not the only Italian looking uncomfortable in his hotseat. Manchester City came remarkably unstuck against Liverpool on Monday. Balotelli is inadequate, Dzeko is inadequate, Barry is inadequate, Lescott is inadequate. The possibility of playing without Tevez is a frightening prospect, which is a scandalous situation given the money that they have spent.
If City qualify for the Champions League, the owners may be satisfied. But Spurs are only three points behind with a game in hand.
This weekend the FA Cup provides a further test. Man United invite and their noisy neighbours journey down to Wembley. Mancini now has the task of ruining United’s treble chance. Good luck Robbie.
After the 3-0 win over Stoke on 5th March, there was a thought that West Ham had turned the corner. There was an expectation that they would progress and pull clear of the relegation zone.
Since then they have taken a single point from three Premier League games, and been knocked out of the FA Cup. Defeats against Bolton (a), Man United (h) and Spurs (a) are not fatal, but the Hammers do need to arrest the slight decline.
With two of their next three games being at Stamford Bridge and Eastlands, Saturday’s home game against Aston Villa becomes critical.
The incredible lack of logic surrounding the sacking of Sam Allardyce increases after each inept display, an last weekend’s draw at home to Birmingham was two points dropped.
Perhaps the most alarming thing for Blackburn fans it the team has Championship performers with a Championship manager, and Steve Kean looks remarkably out of his depth.
Blackburn have now not won in nine games, a run which has included matches against four of the bottom seven in the Premier League.
A game away at Everton looks a lot more difficult than it did two months ago, but Blackburn have to start taking points: Blackburn still have to play both Manchester City and Manchester United.
Ian Holloway is a ‘character’ a self-styled outspoken manager of the people. And that is all very well while his side are riding the crest of a wave, Holloway taking the pressure off his players by demanding the media attention.
But Blackpool’s bubble has seemingly burst. They have conceded two or more goals in 65% of their games this season, and have won one of their last 12 games. The aggregate score in their last five games is 15-4.
If Blackpool are to survive, Wigan will have to go down. Therefore a home game against the bottom side in the Premier League (who they beat 4-0 away from home) can be labelled in the category ‘must win’.
Bolton and Stoke
The domestic cups may have lost some of their verve, but try telling that to Birmingham City.
This weekend, Bolton aim to reach their first FA Cup final since 1958. Stoke City have never reached one.
Try telling fans at Wembley on Sunday that the beauty of the Cup is dead. One of them will qualify for Europe.
Four years after being relegated in disturbing circumstances, Neil Warnock may be about to get his shot at redemption.
If results go their way, QPR could go into their home game against Derby County on Monday night with the chance to seal promotion to the Premier League.