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Weekend Live! (11-13 April)

Weekend Live! (11-13 April)

  • [recommend] Good morning and welcome to our live weekend blog. There are a host of crucial games coming up in the Premier League over the next couple of days and a potential title decider on Sunday, while it is also FA Cup semi-final weekend as Wigan Athletic meet Arsenal and Hull City face Sheffield United at Wembley. We'll have all the latest team news today, as well as the top stories coming out of the manager's press conferences, but this morning there is also the added treat of the UEFA Champions League semi-final draw.
    4/11/2014 7:36:06 AM
  • [championsleague] Everyone's gaze will turn to Nyon in Switzerland at 11am as UEFA's headquarters stages the draw for the semi-finals of the Champions League. Chelsea are the last English club standing after a dramatic 2-0 victory over Paris Saint-Germain in midweek, as Manchester United bowed out to holders Bayern Munich. Spanish rivals Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid complete the line-up and there are no restrictions in the draw so anything is possible. We'll have much more build-up shortly but, whatever unfolds in Nyon, there will be a couple of mouth-watering ties to look forward to.
    4/11/2014 7:45:36 AM
  • [championsleague] 

    4/11/2014 7:55:38 AM
  • [football] Back to domestic matters for now, and it will be a poignant weekend everywhere as football marks the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster. All games in the FA Cup, Premier League, Football League and Conference will begin seven minutes later than scheduled as a mark of respect to the 96 Liverpool supporters who died at the FA Cup semi-final on 15 April, 1989. Liverpool's game against Nottingham Forest that day was halted six minutes after kick-off as players became aware of the tragedy unfolding in Sheffield, and this weekend a minute's silence will be observed at all grounds.
    4/11/2014 8:03:39 AM
  • [fl72] The live football this weekend kicks off with League One action this evening, as Rotherham United meet Bradford City, live on Sky Sports 2HD. Tomorrow lunchtime there is a Championship clash between promotion-chasing Queens Park Rangers and Nottingham Forest, live on Sky Sports 1HD and kicking off at 12.22pm.
    4/11/2014 8:08:08 AM
  • [soccersaturday] Jeff Stelling and the Soccer Saturday gang will be on Sky Sports News HD to preside over all tomorrow afternoon's football and offer expert analysis. There will be goal updates from and debate from all six afternoon games in the Premier League, and it is a vital day in the battle to avoid relegation. Bottom club Sunderland tackle in-form Everton, Cardiff City travel to Southampton and, in a real 'six-pointer', Fulham host a Norwich City side starting life without Chris Hughton. Elsewhere, West Bromwich Albion take on Tottenham Hotspur, Stoke City meet Newcastle United and Crystal Palace play Aston Villa.
    4/11/2014 8:14:03 AM
  • [supersunday] There are two gigantic games in the title race on Super Sunday so make sure to park yourself in front of the TV by the time Liverpool take on Manchester City, kicking off at 1.37pm and live on Sky Sports 1HD. City are currently four points behind the table-topping Reds but have two games in hand and whoever wins will have their fate in their own hands for the rest of the season. Chelsea are sandwiched in between the two teams and, with at least one of their rivals guaranteed to drop points, will be determined to boost their own chances by winning away to Swansea City in the day's second game at 4.07pm.
    4/11/2014 8:19:27 AM
  • [arsenal] Arsenal are seeking to end a trophy drought stretching back to 2005 and take on Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup semi-finals tomorrow. Manager Arsene Wenger believes there is a special appeal about the FA Cup because more teams have a realistic chance of winning it.
    In basketball if you play against a team from Division Two, there is absolutely no chance unless you give them 30 points, only in our sport can create that excitement because it is uncertain.

    4/11/2014 8:27:32 AM
  • [arsenal] Arsenal will hand fitness tests to midfielders Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (groin) and Tomas Rosicky (thigh) as well as full-back Kieran Gibbs (ankle) ahead of the FA Cup semi-final against Wigan at Wembley. Midfielder Mathieu Flamini is suspended, so fit-again Wales midfielder Aaron Ramsey is expected to start and as in previous rounds Lukasz Fabianski will play in goal ahead of regular number one Wojciech Szczesny. Centre-half Laurent Koscielny (calf), midfielder Serge Gnabry (knee), Germany international Mesut Ozil (hamstring), England midfielder Jack Wilshere (foot) are all still recovering, as are Abou Diaby and Theo Walcott (both knee).
    Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: Fitness will be tested ahead of FA Cup tie 

    4/11/2014 8:34:07 AM
  • [wigan] Uwe Rosler faces a decision over who to select as his goalkeeper for Wigan's FA Cup semi-final. Scott Carson was recalled in the midweek loss to Millwall and started in the quarter-final win over Manchester City, but is not certain of getting the nod ahead of Rosler's usual first choice, Ali Al Habsi. The Latics manager remains without Ben Watson (broken leg), Chris McCann (knee) and Roger Espinoza (hernia), while Rob Kiernan and Martyn Waghorn are both cup-tied. However, loanees Nicky Maynard, Josh McEachran, Nick Powell and Jack Collison are all eligible for the holders. Rosler rested James Perch on Tuesday - another yellow card for him would have triggered a suspension, but he is expected to come back in along with the likes of Callum McManaman and Jordi Gomez.
    4/11/2014 8:38:55 AM
  • [audio] Former Chelsea assistant manager Ray Wilkins has been telling Sky Sports News Radio that Chelsea are the team to fear in this morning’s Champions League semi-final draw. But why does he think they could win this year’s competition?
    4/11/2014 8:41:20 AM
  • [southampton] The injury that has ruled Jay Rodriguez out for the rest of the season and World Cup has dealt a major blow to everyone at Southampton, but Mauricio Pochettino is determined to lift the mood with a win over Cardiff City tomorrow. 

    4/11/2014 8:49:13 AM
  • [astonvilla] Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert has a trio of key players available again for tomorrow’s Premier League clash at Crystal Palace. Striker Gabby Agbonlahor and midfielders Fabian Delph and Karim El Ahmadi missed last weekend's 2-1 defeat at home to Fulham either through illness or injury, but all have trained this week and should return to the starting line-up. Lambert remains without six long term-injured in Christian Benteke, Libor Kozak, Charles N'Zogbia, Jores Okore, Nicklas Helenius and Gary Gardner.
    4/11/2014 8:52:39 AM
  • [crystalpalace] Crystal Palace manager Tony Pulis hopes to have a fully fit squad to choose from when his side host Aston Villa. Dwight Gayle returned from an ankle injury to score five goals in an Under-21s fixture against Brentford on Wednesday night but the young striker is not considered ready to start. The Eagles have no other major injury concerns ahead of the contest at Selhurst Park as Pulis' side look to take another step closer to Premier League survival.
    4/11/2014 8:54:40 AM
  • [crystalpalace] Crystal Palace beat Cardiff 3-0 in a relegation six-pointer last weekend, but have now been accused of spying. The Bluebirds believe their team was leaked to Palace before the match and have contacted the Premier League, although Palace's sporting director Iain Moody insists they have done nothing wrong. 
    That's the whole point of what we do as scouts. To a certain extent you can guess to within one or two players what the team is going to be - everyone can.
    Crystal Palace celebrate Joe Ledley's goal against Cardiff 

    4/11/2014 9:02:07 AM
  • [cardiff] Cardiff City's loss to Crystal Palace dented their already slim chances of survival, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has since learnt that Craig Noone is set to miss the rest of the season.

    4/11/2014 9:08:03 AM
  • [liverpool] Liverpool have had a lot to celebrate in the last few weeks and their performances have now been recognised by the Barclays Premier League, with Brendan Rodgers named Manager of the Month for March and Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez sharing the player's prize.

    4/11/2014 9:10:29 AM
  • [championsleague] Let’s turn our focus now to the draw for the Champions League semi-finals, which is only about 45 minutes away. You can listen to the draw live on Sky Sports News Radio, as Chelsea wait to find out whether they will face Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid or Manchester United’s conquerors Bayern Munich in the last four.
    4/11/2014 9:14:53 AM
  • [audio] Guillem Balague has told Sky Sports News Radio that Atletico Madrid want to draw either Chelsea or Bayern Munich in this morning’s draw. Find out why he thinks they want to avoid a Madrid derby.
    4/11/2014 9:19:29 AM
  • [betting]No matter who they draw, Sky Bet make Atletico odds-on to go out at the semi-final stage, while they can be backed at 9/2 to go all the way. Bet on the Champions League here.

    4/11/2014 9:26:54 AM
  • [chelsea] Chelsea booked their place in the semi-finals as a 2-0 win over Paris Saint-Germain at Stamford Bridge made it 3-3 on aggregate and clinched victory on away goals. They could now face Jose Mourinho’s former club Real Madrid or Bayern Munich, who they beat to win the 2012 title. Spanish league leaders Atletico Madrid are also potential opponents for Chelsea, and in this scenario they would not come up against on-loan goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.
    4/11/2014 9:28:40 AM
  • [championsleague] Who would be in your composite Champions League team from the latest round of matches? 

    4/11/2014 9:31:41 AM
  • [championsleague] It is safe to say at this stage of the competition there are no easy draws, and players from all the teams recognise they can't afford to tempt fate.

    4/11/2014 9:34:37 AM
  • [audio] Dale Tempest from Sky Bet can bring us the latest betting ahead of the draw which, just to remind you, can be followed live on Sky Sports News Radio.
    4/11/2014 9:43:37 AM
  • [chelsea] Jose Mourinho remains confident that Chelsea can negotiate their way to the final regardless of who they are drawn against in the last four.

    4/11/2014 9:44:49 AM
  • [championsleague] UEFA has just released a statement to make it clear that Thibaut Courtois would be eligible to play were Atletico Madrid to face Chelsea in the Champions League, following suggestions yesterday that he would miss out.
    Both the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations contain clear provisions which strictly forbid any club to exert, or attempt to exert, any influence whatsoever over the players that another club may (or may not) field in a match.

    4/11/2014 9:49:10 AM
  • [audio] The waiting’s almost over – four teams, but who’ll get who in the Champions League semi-finals? Sky Sports News Radio has the draw LIVE from Nyon at 11am – and they’re looking at who Chelsea might want to get and who they won’t! Listen here or via the Sky Sports apps.

    4/11/2014 9:51:21 AM
  • [betting]Here's how Sky Bet rate each team's chances of winning the competition ahead of the draw, with Chelsea considered to have the weakest chance of the four teams at 5/1. Bet on the Champions League here.

    4/11/2014 9:52:41 AM
  • [realmadrid] Gareth Bale is also anxiously waiting to discover who Real Madrid will be paired with in the semi-finals, with the draw now just a few minutes away.

    4/11/2014 9:55:03 AM
  • [chelsea] Chelsea will face a tough challenge to make it through but recent history suggests they are a good match for all three of their fellow semi-finalists.

    4/11/2014 10:01:00 AM
  • [realmadrid] Reports in Spain have suggested Cristiano Ronaldo could be out for around 15 days with a hamstring injury, putting his participation in the first leg of the semi-finals in doubt. Ronaldo sat out the second leg of Real Madrid's quarter-final against Borussia Dortmund, and after the match Carlo Ancelotti had claimed he was suffering only a minor problem.
    4/11/2014 10:05:59 AM
  • [alansmith] The draw is imminent and the assembled officials are just being told how the whole procedure will work. As the suspense builds, why not check out who Alan Smith thinks Chelsea would like to face in the semi-finals. Smith believes Chelsea's strong defence gives them a chance of lifting the trophy in Lisbon on May 24, but he believes Bayern Munich and Real Madrid are the outstanding contenders for the title.

    4/11/2014 10:15:53 AM
  • [spanishfootball] The draw for the Europa League semi-finals will take place first, and Sevilla have been drawn against Valencia in an all-Spanish affair.
    4/11/2014 10:18:30 AM
  • [football] Benfica have been drawn at home for the first leg of their Europa League semi-final against Juventus. The semi-final matches will be played on April 24 and May 1, ahead of the final in Turin on May 14.
    4/11/2014 10:19:49 AM
  • [championsleague] Luis Figo, who will be UEFA's ambassador for the final at Benfica's Estadio da Luz stadium in Lisbon, takes his place on the stage ahead of the draw. Most people in the room are doing very well to stay looking patient, but there are a few nervously tugging at their ties as they wait to learn their fate.
    4/11/2014 10:30:33 AM
  • [championsleague] Luis Figo says 'anything can happen' now and is giving all four teams an equal chance of going on to lift the trophy.
    4/11/2014 10:31:44 AM
  • [championsleague] Here we go at last...Luis Figo gives the balls one final shuffle and Real Madrid are the first team to be picked out. And it will be a clash of the titans in the semi-finals as they are drawn to play reigning champions Bayern Munich.
    4/11/2014 10:35:49 AM
  • [championsleague] Chelsea will be away in the first leg of their semi-final as Luis Figo draws Atletico Madrid out first. It will be a difficult tie for Jose Mourinho's side against the current Spanish league leaders but it is probably the draw they wanted, having avoided holders Bayern Munich and the superstars of Real Madrid.
    4/11/2014 10:37:06 AM
  • [championsleague] The semi-finals will be played on April 22/23 and April 29/30, ahead of the final in Lisbon on 24 May. A draw has even been made for the final to determine, for administrative purposes, who will be the home team. For those of you who need to know such matters, the home side in the final will be the winners of the Real/Bayern tie.
    4/11/2014 10:43:31 AM
  • 4/11/2014 10:44:31 AM
  • [championsleague] Guillem Balague has been giving his reaction to the draw on Sky Sports News HD, saying it will be an awkward test for Chelsea and Atletico Madrid because they are similar teams. He also says it will be crucial whether Thibaut Courtois plays or not, after UEFA insisted earlier that an agreement between the clubs for the goalkeeper not to play went against the governing body's 'fundamental principles' and would result in sanctions.
    4/11/2014 10:53:08 AM
  • [audio] Chelsea will meet Atletico in the Champions League semi-finals and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink has told ">Sky Sports News Radio their on-loan keeper Thibaut Courtois will make it tough for them if he plays, as now looks likely.
    4/11/2014 10:58:34 AM
  • [westbrom] We’ll have lots more reaction to the Champions League draw throughout the afternoon, but for now let’s just witch back to some Premier League build-up. West Brom head coach Pepe Mel's hopes of fielding an unchanged side for the first time against Tottenham  tomorrow hinge on midfielder James Morrison's fitness. The Scot is a doubt for the clash with an ankle problem and may be replaced by fit-again captain Chris Brunt, who is back after ligament trouble. Claudio Yacob (hamstring) is fully fit again and Mel's only other injury is to Zoltan Gera, who will miss most of the remainder of the season with a hamstring problem.
    4/11/2014 10:59:56 AM
  • [cardiff] Cardiff will be without winger Craig Noone for tomorrow’s Premier League clash away to Southampton. Noone is set to miss the rest of this season due to an abdominal injury, and is due to see a specialist in the United States about the problem. Striker Kenwyne Jones could also miss out at St Mary's after taking a blow to the kidneys during last weekend's 3-0 home defeat against Crystal Palace. Cardiff manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, meanwhile, confirmed that Peter Whittingham would start this weekend as the Welsh club target crucial points in their fight against relegation.
    4/11/2014 11:02:05 AM
  • [cardiff] Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has refused to comment on claims Crystal Palace were leaked details of the Cardiff team ahead of last weekend's match.
    4/11/2014 11:04:01 AM
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