Site Network: Cycling | Golf | Tennis | NHL | NBA | NFL | MLB | Futsal | Handball | Boxing | Rugby | Snooker | Cricket |

Arsenal will look to take advantage of Premier League leader Manchester United’s defensive problems and the sudden relaxing of the team’s schedule when it travels to West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.

A disastrous fortnight has seen Arsenal lose the League Cup final to Birmingham before being eliminated from the FA Cup and the Champions League.

The chances of the Gunners ending their six-year trophy drought have been quickly reduced but the positive is they can now focus entirely on the title race, with just three points separating them from United—which has played a game more.

Arsenal visits relegation-threatened West Bromwich Albion while United has mounting injury problems in defense going into its home match against in-form Bolton on Saturday.

“There are 10 games left until the end of the season—there is no longer any room for failure. We have run out of excuses as we are out of all three cups,” Arsenal striker Marouane Chamakh said. “We are frustrated but we can win this title this season. It’s the right time. This is the last stretch of a long road to the title and we need to work hard.”

Arsenal may be without key players in Theo Walcott, Cesc Fabregas, Thomas Vermaelen and Wojciech Szczesny—and center back Johan Djourou joined the injury list when he dislocated his shoulder last weekend—but United’s problems are more serious.

The defense is severely depleted, with Rio Ferdinand, captain Nemanja Vidic, Rafael da Silva, Jonny Evans and John O’Shea all injured, while midfielders Darren Fletcher and Anderson are also missing.

United has lost three of its last five league matches, giving Manchester City and reigning champion Chelsea renewed hope of figuring in the title run-in, but the silver lining in a difficult past month has been the encouraging form of Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez.

The strike pairing have scored eight goals between them in United’s last five games in all competitions, meaning Dimitar Berbatov—the league top scorer with 19 goals—has been forced to settle for a place on the bench for the most part.

Bolton, which qualified like United for the semifinals of the FA Cup last weekend, is unbeaten since Feb. 5 and has climbed to seventh in the table.

A rejuvenated Chelsea could move above City and into third place with a victory over Roberto Mancini’s side at Stamford Bridge, in one of two matches on Sunday.

Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti used record signing Fernando Torres, Michael Essien and Florent Malouda as substitutes for Wednesday’s 0-0 draw with FC Copenhagen in the Champions League, keeping three of his important players fresh for City.

“The atmosphere now is really good … the injured players are coming back in good condition,” Ancelotti said. “Maybe on Friday, we’ll have all the squad training. This is important for us to do 100 percent of our possibilities.

“Sunday will be very important for us, for City—a very difficult game for both teams. We have to be ready to try to win.”

Fifth-place Tottenham, which is three points behind Chelsea and five adrift of City, will attempt to keep the pressure on the two sides above it when West Ham visits White Hart Lane on Saturday.

Also, last-place Wigan hosts Birmingham in a crucial game in the relegation fight, Fulham travels to Everton, Aston Villa is at home to second-bottom Wolverhampton Wanderers, Blackburn hosts Blackpool and Newcastle visits Stoke.

Sixth-place Liverpool is at Sunderland on Sunday.

0 comentarios:

Publicar un comentario en la entrada