Ahead of a big weekend in the sporting calendar, our man Ray Parlour has given his thoughts for the Grand National, the FA Cup Semi Finals and a crucial clash in the Premier League top four battle.
The Grand National is always a bit of a lottery but that’s all part of the appeal and why so many people will be putting a bet on the race. Plenty will be going with a name they like the sound of and why not. But for me I can’t look past Tiger Roll. So impressive at Cheltenham and obviously won over these Aintree fences last year. He’s the strong favourite but rightly so.
FA Cup Semi Final, Brighton vs. Manchester City
City’s strength in depth is incredible. They showed in the game against Cardiff on Wednesday that even without players like Aguero, Bernardo Silva and David Silva, they have real quality in the squad. Kevin De Bruyne looks to be coming back to full fitness at just the right time and I expect Pep’s side to keep their quadruple dream alive.
Brighton will have to be really switched on defensively and just try to stay in the game as long as possible and maybe look to nick a goal on the break. But I can’t see them containing City’s attack.
FA Cup Semi Final, Watford vs. Wolves
This could be a cracking game and looks a really tricky one to call. I’ve really enjoyed watching Wolves this season and they were terrific again when they beat Man United on Tuesday. They’ve shown they’ve got some real quality players.
Watford are doing brilliantly as well though and they’ll equally fancy their chances. They’re scoring a lot of goals from all areas of the pitch at the moment and with players like Deeney and Deulofeu they’ll be a big threat.
I can see this one going to extra time and Wolves just sneaking it.
Everton vs. Arsenal
This is a difficult game for Arsenal in their top four challenge. Everton were excellent in the second half of their win against Chelsea at Goodison the other week and then they followed that up with a really good display against West Ham. Marco Silva seems to have got them playing now.
Arsenal were strong against Newcastle and they’ve got players like Lacazette and Ozil in great form. It’s a game that could go a long way to deciding if the Gunners finish in the Top 4 or not and I think they’ll just do enough in this one.