One to Watch – FA Cup Final

We’ve got the team news right here for the FA Cup final between Man City and Stoke City.  Plus some other news to up the word count…nothing’s changed since University.

So, Carlos Tevez has scored 22 goals this season for City and his return to action last week couldn’t have been timed better as he’s now set to play a part in today’s final at Wembley.  The Argentine controversially handed in a transfer request last December before withdrawing in January.  City manager, Roberto Mancini believes nobody should be at the club if they don’t believe in the ‘project’ the blue side of Manchester is carrying out.

This word ‘project’ gets battered about the City of Manchester Stadium (was well better when it was just Eastlands), all season and kind of makes the club sound like one of those AirFix models my Granddad pretends to build in the shed.  The principal is there though and there’s no denying that City have progressed this season – qualifying for the Champion’s League  is a milestone achievement in the club’s history and this FA Cup final is a big bonus.

Still, after such an investment from Sheikh Mansour, this ‘party’ is a little overdue and there still might not be any silverware by the end of today.  When Roman Abramovich injected his Roubles into Chelsea, the club went on to win the league and reach the Champion’s League semi-final, in the second season under his reign.  City, in comparison, haven’t won a bean yet and have spent over £1 billion of the Sheikh’s money.

This FA Cup is not just a traditional, domestic, honour for Man City – this FA Cup is the chance to make a statement and get the trophy ball rolling.  The only thing standing in their way is a Stoke side who sniped a tactical 3-1 victory over Arsenal last week.

Stoke qualified for the Europa League by default this season, courtesy of Man City finishing fourth and sending their rival FA Cup finalists into Europe’s second grade competition.  There will be no thank you from Tony Pulis’ side today though and Stoke will do everything to prove they would have qualified anyway!

The final itself has somehow become a bridesmaid to the bride that is Man U v Blackburn today, which finished 1-1, granting United a record 19th League title.  However, I’ve got a feeling it could turn out to be a Pippa Middleton and steal the show.  FA Cup final day is the only day (apart from World Cup final day) that has a magical effect on the most anti-footballing wives/mums of the country – who either step aside or actively pretend to be interested in what goes on:

“Who’s winning? Oh, I like that fella in the suit but why is he wearing a scarf?  Where’s David Beckham?”

The competition deserves more recognition these days and just in case you’re wondering why the FA have decided to host the game on such a busy weekend, here’s why…Because the Champion’s league final is being played at Wembley this year, UEFA don’t want anyone stepping on the pitch for at least two weeks before the game – just like my mum with the kitchen floor prior to a family birthday.

Make no doubt about it, this FA Cup final is the One to Watch and no other game in sport, let alone football, should be able to take that away from what is a fantastic tournament.

ITV 1 – KO 3.00pm.

Here’s the team news for everybody who read this article and for the people who just scrolled down and skipped it all:

City

GK: Hart
RB: Richards
CB: Kompany
CB: Lescott
LB: Kolarov
RM: Silva
CM: de Jong
AM: Yaya Toure
CM: Barry
LM: Balotelli
CF: Tevez

Subs:

Given
Milner
Dzeko
Vieira
Adam
Boyata
Zabaleta

Stoke

GK: Sorensen
RB: Wilson
CB: Shawcross
CB: Huth
LB: Wilkinson
RM: Etherington
CM: Delap
CM: Whelan
LM: Pennant
CF: Jones
CF: Walters

Subs:

Abdoulaye
Whitehead
Carew
Collins
Nash
Pugh
Diao

Muppet of the Week – David Luiz

David Luiz had a brain fart on Sunday when he allowed ‘Chicarito’ to give Man U the lead within just 30 seconds.  The Sideshow Bob lookalike was signed for 25 million euros – he was benched at half-time and replaced by Alex, who signed for $1 in 2007…

Ji Sung Park played in a delightful through ball to Hernandez, who wiggled about and got Luiz’s hair in a right tat before slipping the ball passed Petr Cech.  Luiz protested to his manager, Carlo Ancelotti, that he wasn’t responsible for the goal and the coach responded by urging One-dollar-Alex to warm up.

The goal flattened the Chelsea side and United took full advantage, with Vidic heading in another shortly after.  The result all but gives United their 19th league title and David Luiz should be rueing his mistake over the summer while working in Kamp Krusty.

On the other hand, One-dollar-Alex went on to have a stunning performance – the main highlight being his super block which denied Wayne Rooney from four yards out.  As it stands, 1 euro = 1.44 dollars, so when you work it out, Chelsea could have approximately 35 million baldy Brazilians who are consistent centre-backs, as opposed to one hairy Brazilian who can’t play a striker offside – is it just me or does ‘hairy Brazilian’ sound a little contradictory?

To be fair, David Luiz will probably go on to be one of the best defenders in the Premier League and this report has perhaps been a bit harsh.  The lad did only make one mistake against a fantastic young talent, so we might have to let him off…even if he does look like a worn-out toilet brush on legs.

He definitely gets Afro of the Year – Everton’s Marouane Fellaini is a close second and with rumours of the latter making a move to Chelsea in the summer, it’s looking more and more likely that Abramovich is trying to recreate the Jackson 5 for fellow footy club owner, Mohamed Al Fayed.

WAG of the Week – Shakira

Shakira has been dating Barcelona’s Gerard Pique for at least couple of months now and gives us the perfect excuse to drool over (discuss) the Colombian superstar…

Shakira doesn’t need much introduction but for the sake of the archives, here’s a bit of a bio:

She’s fit as hell.

Pique allegedly met Shakira while she was filming the video for Waka-waka – the official 2010 FIFA World Cup song.  The two were rumoured to be getting close for a while but both claimed they were just good friends.

The singer split with her boyfriend of 11 years, Antonio De La Rua, last year.  She’s 10 years older than her new boyfriend Pique but you’d never be able to tell.  The two went about their business as privately as they could until Shakira announced their relationship on Twitter.  She no doubt followed that up with a status change on Facebook, which as we all know makes it official!

The most recent display of public affection was a kiss during a Barcelona league game, it was no Royal wedding peck either, it was a full on Waka-waka with tongues. The pair look genuinely happy and we applaud that on The Sport Report…

…we were going to end the post there but thought it was too nice, so we dug up some dirt on Shakira – tabloid style:

Shakira was spotted having dinner with tennis star Fernando Verdasco in Madrid last summer. She was also a little bit cosy with tennis superstar Rafael Nadal after shooting a brilliant video with him for her song ‘Gypsy’.  So there you have it, Shakira’s a gyppo sleep-around!

Okay, my hips are lying – she’s just mates with the tennis lads and isn’t actually a gyppo.