Connect with us

Soccer

EURO WRAP: Liverpool bag FA Cup, City wobble, Serie A scrap goes to final day and more!

Damien Kayat looks back at the weekend’s football action as Liverpool bagged the FA Cup, West Ham held City and the Serie A race

Liverpool Celebrate FA Cup

Damien Kayat looks back at the weekend’s football action as Liverpool bagged the FA Cup, West Ham held City and the Serie A race.

Liverpool bag FA Cup

Liverpool win second leg of unprecedented quadruple

Liverpool’s thirst for silverware just shows no sign of abating. On Saturday they showed that they don’t have to win matches playing swashbuckling football. The FA Cup was less a spectacle than a cagey chess match.

Chelsea started pretty poorly but gradually grew into the match. Marcus Alonso was probably the most influential player on the pitch, taking advantage of Trent’s buccaneering runs.

But neither side could really capitalize on their half-chances and the dreaded penalty shootout seemed a fitting way to split the difference. I just couldn’t see Liverpool losing from the moment the penalties started.

There’s just this insane, almost cultish self-belief that they are currently exuding. Klopp- the charismatic leader of said cult- has some interesting selection issues over the next few games.

Obviously, any side he chooses will have a good chance of beating Southampton and Wolves. But can he afford to go after City all-guns-blazing? Real Madrid loom like the great European leviathan that they are and he has to be mindful of that.

He may need to keep Salah on ice and hope that the likes of Luiz and Jota can get the job done. Not the worst position to be in.

City show character of champions

West Ham played their part in this year’s dramatic title race, brushing aside their recent European heartbreak to give Pep Guardiola’s men a real going-over on Sunday.

I think it’s easy to overlook Moyes’ achievements this season. Sure, he wasn’t able to truly sustain a top four push. But to pursue their European odyssey and still cling to possible Europa League football should not be underestimated.

City showed real character to come back from a 2-0 halftime deficit. It was almost certainly their most important point of their season (I have the feeling that Liverpool are going to absolutely punish the notoriously porous Southampton this week).

But it does leave things rather deliciously poised going into the final game. Stevie G’s notorious slip will fade into obscurity if he is able to do a number on City come final day. Just how much will City rue that late missed penalty?

The relegation scrap will go down to the wire regardless of the midweek results. But Arsenal’s diabolical performance at Newcastle has pretty much ended the top-four race.

Honestly, you would have thought that Arteta’s men were on the beach and Newcastle were frantically pushing for top four. I don’t think Arsenal won three 50/50 challenges in the whole match.

Spurs just need a point to qualify at Norwich. But wouldn’t it be quintessential Spurs to go ahead and flop on Sunday?

Scudetto race goes to final day

This year’s exceptional Scudetto race has defied my expectations by going to the final day. I was convinced that Inter would pull away and win the league comfortably.

I just felt that Milan’s youngsters would struggle to match this experienced Inter outfit. But I think Inter became the victim of their own success and perhaps never had the squad to successfully juggle a multitude of competitions.

They went out to Liverpool in a dispiriting European Round of 16 tie. They also won last week’s Coppa Italia final in emphatic style against Juventus. By the way, that victory resigned Juventus to their first trophyless season since 2010/2011.

In any event, it just feels like Inter were spread a bit thin with so many matches in quick succession. And despite the relative age of their squad, AC Milan haven’t batted an eyelid in recent weeks.

The likes of Rafael Leao and Tomori have turned into giants and I fully expect them to seal the deal next weekend at Sassuluo. And we can’t underestimate what a magnificent achievement this will be for Stefano Pioli and his team.

Sevilla seal Champions League position and send Lampard hilarious shade

Outside of the relegation battle, everything is settled in LaLiga going into the final game of the season. And everything seems to have a rather familiar feel to it. Real Madrid are champions while FC Barcelona have secured second.

Atletico and Sevilla played out to a 1-1 draw that will see them both qualify in either third or fourth. Luiz Suarez waved goodbye to the Atletico faithful after playing his final game for Simeone’s pugilists.

But it was Sevilla’s post-match meme that really captured the imagination. I almost can’t believe that the Sevilla PR-machine greenlit it. But I’m glad that they did. They posted a meme that made fun of the so-called ‘Lampardian’ transitions.

Frank Lampard- the embattled coach of relegation-threatened Everton- has a tendency to speak in weird cadences that veer dramatically from humour to utter seriousness. If you know, you know.

Alongside a photo of Lampard they tweeted: “I was hoping we’d be in the Europa League because we’re Europa League merchants *chuckles* but no seriously we’re very happy to be in the Champions League”.

Wow. That is insane shade for a club to throw (especially given Lampard’s current predicament. I wonder if it’s in any way connected to Chelsea’s 4-0 demolition of Sevilla in the 2020 Champions’ League group stage.

That was arguably Frank Lampard’s finest hour as Chelsea number one and probably one of Sevilla’s more embarrassing nights in Europe. This would be some rather petty- but hilarious- revenge.

Player of the Week- Lionel Messi

It seems as if Lionel Messi could be on the brink of a shock Barcelona reunion, with the little maestro’s own father admitting he would love to see his son return to the Catalan giants.

He has underwhelmed in Paris this year, scoring just 6 goals and making 13 assists in 25 appearances. But he gave Ligue 1 a snapshot of his best this weekend, scoring his first brace for the club and absolutely dominating proceedings in PSG’s 4-0 rout of Montpellier.

His nifty footwork and brilliant link-up play was reminiscent of his Barcelona prime and here’s to hoping that he could use this as a springboard to return to his best. Because Messi at his best is football at its best. Sorry Ronaldo fans. Ronaldo at his best is just football at it’s most effective.

Register Now with Hollywoodbets Mobile

More in Soccer

Official Partners

HOLLYWOOD SPORTSBOOK IS A LICENSED BETTING OPERATOR. HOLLYWOODBETS SUPPORTS RESPONSIBLE GAMBLING. NO PERSONS UNDER THE AGE OF 18 YEARS ARE PERMITTED TO GAMBLE. WINNERS KNOW WHEN TO STOP.SOUTH AFRICAN RESPONSIBLE GAMBLING FOUNDATION TOLL FREE COUNSELLING LINE 0800 006 008 OR WHATSAPP HELP TO 076 675 0710.