French Cup Final, FA Cup Semifinals, and another title for Juve?

  1. Paris Saint-Germain vs. Lille ~ Coupe de la Ligue Final ~ Stade de France, Paris

Saturday, April 23rd at 2:45 pm EST on beIN Sports

This weekend is the Coupe de la Ligue Cup final.  This is competition was founded in 1994.  It will be played in the Stade de France in Paris and features PSG and Lille.  PSG is the heavy favorites to win this title, as they have dominated French football for the last 3 years.  They have won this competition 5 times, including the last two years in a row.  This is Lille’s first trip to the final as they will hope to pull the upset and take a trophy away from the French giants.  Laurent Blanc will be able to call upon David Luiz and Marco Verratti for the final. However, Verratti is unlikely to start. Javier Pastore, Lucas Moura, and Layvin Kurzawa could all come into the side following the team’s win in the semifinals of the Coupe de France this week.  Thiago Motta is the only player out injured.  For Lille, Marvin Martin and Eric Bautheac are out injured.  Manager Frederic Antonetti will also be without Renato Civelli who is suspended.  Marko Basa is a doubt for the game.  PSG are out of the Champions League and already champions of France.  They will now look to make their first of two trips to the Stade de France a success and repeat their domestic treble.  One trophy is already clinched; will it be two this weekend?

Betting Odds

Match Result – PSG 1/3, Lille 17/2, Draw 15/4

Predictions

My Pick – PSG 3, Lille 1: Goals by Ibrahimovic, Maria, Cavani, and Amalfitano

James’ Pick – PSG , Lille : Goals by

  1. Everton vs. Manchester United ~ FA Cup Semifinal ~ Wembley Stadium, London

Saturday, April 23rd at 12:00 pm EST on Fox Sports 2

The world’s oldest football competition in the world resumes this weekend with the FA Cup Semifinals.  The two games will be played this weekend with the first on Saturday featuring Everton vs. Manchester United.  The semifinals take place in Wembley Stadium in the London.  The first semifinal features two teams that have a rich history in the FA Cup.  Manchester United is looking to win the cup for the 12th time, which would pull them level with Arsenal for the most ever.  It could be their 19th final appearance.  Their last FA Cup trophy came in 2004.  Everton has won the title 5 times, most recently in 1995, but they have finished runners-up more than any other team for a total of 13 final appearances.  Both of these sets of fans would love a trophy, but that might mean their manager stays on for next season.  A loss for either manager is probably the final straw.  Everton are without Tyias Browning and Seamus Coleman due to injury.  Ramiro Funes Mori was sent off for an awful challenge on Divock Origi in the Merseyside Derby, so Mori is suspended.  Gareth Barry came off injured in the game midweek and might not be available.  Phil Jagielka might be rushed back to fill in for Mori or Stones if he is not able to place.   United is without Keane, Schweinsteiger, and Januzaj.  Rooney is back and in the lineup but Rashford has maintained his spot up front with Martial out on the left wing.  This should be a great watch this weekend and will feature two teams really hoping to get another trip to Wembley.

Betting Odds

Match Results – Everton 3/1, United 1/1, Draw 13/5

Predictions

My Pick – Everton 1, United 1, Everton 5-4 on Penalties: Goals by Lukaku and Rashford

James’ Pick – Everton , United : Goals by

  1. Crystal Palace vs. Watford ~ FA Cup Semifinal ~ Wembley Stadium, London

Sunday, April 24th at 11:00 am EST on Fox Sports 2

The second semifinal this weekend will feature Crystal Palace and Watford.  These two teams have both never won the competition but have finished as runners up.  Crystal Palace was runners up in 1990.  Watford, meanwhile, was runners up in 1984.  Both of these teams have had disappointing 2016s after starting very well this season.  They should both stay up in the Premier League, but a trip to the final of the FA Cup and a trophy would mean the world to both sets of fans.  Alan Pardew rested the majority of his big names this week when his side faced Manchester United.  Scott Dann should recover in time for the game.  Connor Wickham should also start up front ahead of Emmanuel Adebayor, but I would be surprised if we do not see Adebayor.  Quique Sanchez Flores is under some pressure after his team’s poor stretch run.  He made seven changes this week against West Ham with both eyes on this game at Wembley.  Nordin Amrabat is suspended for the game otherwise; Watford should be at full strength.

Betting Odds

Match Result – Palace 6/4, Watford 21/10, Draw 23/10

Predictions

My Pick – Palace 2, Watford 3: Goals by Pucheon, Wickham, Ighalo, and Deeney (2)

James’ Pick – Palace , Watford : Goals by

  1. Fiorentina vs. Juventus ~ Stadio Artemio Franchi, Florence

Sunday, April 24th at 2:45 pm EST on beIN Sports

Two of the top 5 teams in Italy face off this weekend when Juventus travels to Fiorentina.  Juventus is four points away from clinching the title and could this weekend with a win and any dropped points by Napoli.  They are in the midst of a 24 game unbeaten run having taken the Serie A by storm.  Fiorentina is in the final Europa League spot and should be able to hold on.  This should be a tough clash and is a potential loss for Juventus.  Fiorentina is unbeaten in their last 7 home games.  Paul Pogba has been phenomenal this season and will to continue his great form.  Paulo Dybala has scored 16 games this season and looks to be a fantastic signing.  For Fiorentina, Milan Badeli has been the playmaker in the center of midfield with Josip Ilicic and Nikola Kalinic scoring the goals.  Fiorentina once had dreams of winning the title this season but look resigned to the fact that they will play in Europe.

Betting Odds

Match Result – Fiorentina 5/2, Juventus 23/20, Draw 23/10

Predictions

My Pick – Fiorentina 0, Juventus 2: Goals by Dybala and Pogba

James’ Pick – Fiorentina , Juventus : Goals by

  1. Sevilla vs. Real Betis ~ Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, Sevilla

Sunday, April 24th at 10:00 am EST on beIN Sports

This game is one that is very close to my heart as I have attended this derby before and witnessed firsthand the passion and the pride that is at stake when the two teams from Sevilla meet.  Sevilla has become one of the best teams in Europe, having won the last two Europa League titles and they are in the semifinals this season.  Sevilla is sitting just outside of the Europa League spots right now in 7th place.  Real Betis is currently in 12th place right now.  They look to stay up this season after gaining promotion last season.  Sevilla is without Vitolo, Andreolli, and Tremoulinas due to injury.  Adil Rami is a doubt and this could lead to Kolodziejczak and Carrico partnering in the center of the back four.  Real Betis is without Piccini and Digard due to injury.  Martin Montoya, N’Diaye, and Dani Ceballos are all doubts for the game.  Sevilla has dominated this derby lately winning 4 of the last 6.  They could get their first win this weekend after going four without a win.

Betting Odds

Match Result – Sevilla 1/2, Betis 11/2, Draw 10/3

Predictions

My Pick – Sevilla 2, Betis 1: Goals by Gameiro, Reyes, and Castro

James’ Pick – Sevilla , Betis : Goals by

Other Games on TV This Weekend

England – Premier League

Manchester City vs. Stoke City – Saturday at 7:45 am EST on NBCSN

AFC Bournemouth vs. Chelsea – Saturday at 10:00 am EST on USA

Liverpool vs. Newcastle United – Saturday at 10:00 am EST on NBCSN

Sunderland vs. Arsenal – Sunday at 9:05 am EST on NBCSN

Leicester City vs. Swansea City – Sunday at 11:15 am EST on NBCSN

Tottenham Hotspur vs. West Bromwich Albion – Monday at 3:00 pm EST on NBCSN

Spain – La Liga

Rayo Vallecano vs. Real Madrid – Saturday at 10:00 am EST on beIN Sports

Atletico Madrid vs. Malaga – Saturday at 12:15 pm EST on beIN Sports

Getafe vs. Valencia – Sunday at 12:15 pm EST on beIN Sports

Italy – Serie A

Sampdoria vs. Lazio – Sunday at 9:00 am EST on beIN Sports

Germany – Bundesliga

Stuttgart vs. Borussia Dortmund – Saturday at 9:30 am EST on Fox Soccer Plus

Hertha Berlin vs. Bayern Munchen – Saturday at 9:30 am EST on Fox Sports 2

Schalke 04 vs. Bayer Leverkusen – Saturday at 12:30 am EST on Fox Soccer Plus

Borussia Monchengladbach vs. Hoffenheim – Sunday at 9:30 am EST on Fox Soccer Plus

Eintracht Frankfurt vs. Mainz 05 – Sunday at 11:30 am EST on Fox Soccer Plus

 

 

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