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FA Cup

Liverpool vs Bayern Munich: Three key battles you must focus

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Liverpool vs Bayern Munich will see two European heavyweights lock horns and the following are the battles you should focus on.

Mohamed Salah vs David Alaba

This could be an area where the game is won or lost for Bayern Munich.

We’ve seen many defenders fall victim to the Egyptian’s lightning pace and tricky dribbling in recent years and Alaba will have to be at the top of his game to keep Salah quiet.

Liverpool Bayern

The Austrian was branded as the best left-back in world football under Pep Guardiola but he appears to have lost some of his credibility in recent years.

He has to resist the temptation of getting forward as much as possible, because Salah will be waiting to pounce on any space that could see him bare down on goal.

If Alaba does go forward, the winger will have to do his defensive duties and help out his right-back whenever needed.

Joel Matip vs Robert Lewandowski

Matip will have to step up in the absence of the suspended Virgil van Dijk.

And what better way to test himself against one of the best strikers in world football, Robert Lewandowski.

Matip Lewandowski

In November, the Polish international became the seventh player to hit 50 Champions League goals.

Lewandowski is comfortable playing with his back to goal meaning Matip may need to stand his ground
The defender is 10cm taller than his opponent meaning he should have the beating of him in the air.

The duo have already faced off before in the Bundesliga and with Matip not being the most orthodox in possession, he can’t afford to play around with the ball at the back.

Roberto Firmino vs Mats Hummels

Marking Firmino can prove a real nuisance.

Not only does he pose an obvious threat in front of goal but his selfless movement can pull defences out of joint for Salah and Sadio Mane to profit.

Hummels will have to be wary of that, making sure his partner Niklas Sule is on the cover.

Firmino Hummels

The German is a top defender with plenty of experience and he has previously come up against Firmino in his Borussia Dortmund days in the 2015/16 Europa League and against Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga.

Admittedly, the Brazilian has matured a lot since then, taking his game to the next level and his class could be essential in helping Liverpool decide this tie.

Firmino was exceptional during last year’s road to the final in Kiev and seems to thrive under the lights on European nights.

FA Cup

FA Cup semi-final draw: All you need to know

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Manchester City will be the only big club in the pot for the FA Cup semi-final on Sunday.

Pep Guardiola’s men fought back from two goals down to beat Swansea City 3-2 on Saturday.

However, their city rivals, Manchester United were shocked 2-1 by Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Indeed, the semi-final draw will have a far less familiar feel to it from recent seasons, with at least one from Wolves, Brighton, Millwall and Watford guaranteed a place in the Wembley final in May.

The draw for the last four will take place immediately following Brighton’s quarter-final tie against Millwall.

It will be aired live and exclusively on BBC 1.

The games will take place over the weekend of April 6.

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Chelsea

Sarri mocks Arsenal’s season, defends his Chelsea record

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Chelsea manager, Maurizio Sarri, has taken a swipe at Arsenal while defending his record in charge of the Blues, and believes he is being unfairly criticised compared to Unai Emery.

Sarri watched on as Chelsea beat Malmo 3-0 in the Europa League last 32 to progress to the next round.

His team have however struggled on the domestic front, knocked out of the FA Cup and hammered 6-0 at the Etihad.

Sarri faces mounting pressure at Stamford Bridge amid speculation he could be sacked, but he is bewildered by why he faces so much more scrutiny than his Arsenal counterpart.

Asked by Sky Sport Italia if he was one defeat away from sack, Sarri responded: “I am not interested, to be honest.

“I have to think of my work as a big picture issue, otherwise I’d do my work badly. So I continue along my path and nothing has changed, as far as I am concerned.

“I keep hearing people praise Arsenal’s season, but they are not in the Cup Final, they have fewer points than us in the Premier League and reached the last 16 of the Europa League just like us.

“I don’t understand why people act as if our season is so negative and Arsenal’s is impressive.

“It’s true there have been many peaks and troughs, including some very deep troughs, but considering it’s my first season in a new league and environment, I think that’s acceptable.

“I did take over a team that finished fifth with 70 points.”

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Chelsea

Why Manchester United defeated Blues – Sarri

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Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri says his men played “confusing football” as they crashed out of the FA Cup to Manchester United.

Chelsea were beaten 2-0 by Manchester United at Stamford Bridge in another disappointing display.

Manager Sarri came under attack from Chelsea fans in the second half with calls from him to be sacked.

At the final whistle, the Chelsea players were booed off the pitch by the home fans.

And Sarri now faces a battle to raise spirits before Thursday’s Europa League clash with Malmo.
Speaking to the BBC after the match, Sarri claimed Chelsea were unfortunate to lose but needed to be more aggressive.

“Tonight we were unlucky because we played a very good first half and at the end of the half the score was 2-0,” he said.

“We gave them a few opportunities. We played confusing football in the second half.

“After the first half it wasn’t easy to play with that score. We played very good first half.
“I feel the pressure for results of course, not about something else.

“We have to work, we have to speak, we have to find more aggression and determination in both boxes.”

Pedro started the match but failed to impose himself on the Manchester United defence.

But he has called on people to remain calm despite their “difficult situation”.
He said: “It was a big opportunity for us to stay with the supporters but now it is a difficult situation. A difficult day for us.

“In the second half it was so difficult for us. Now the most important thing is to stay calm and prepare for the final on Sunday and the Europa League.

“We have to believe in ourselves and this team, we have great players.”

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