FA Cup: Arsenal – Aston Villa
Arsenal will be favourites to win their 12th FA Cup title, which would be a record, but will have to overcome Aston Villa at Wembley to do so. The Birmingham club have won 7 cup finals themselves but have not done so since 1957 when they defeated Manchester United. Villa lost the last time they were in the final in 2000 against Chelsea and although they finished 37 points and 14 places behind Arsenal in the Premier League this season many people are tipping them to cause an upset. The key man for Villa will be Belgian striker Christian Benteke who could cause the Arsenal back four lots of trouble though the Gunners have plenty of attacking options including Chilean star Alexis Sánchez, German World Cup winner Mesut Özil and England star Theo Walcott.
Prediction: Aston Villa
Copa del Rey: Athletic Bilbao – Barcelona
Barcelona have already won the Spanish league title and so they start as clear favourites to win their 27th Copa del Rey title. Their opponents Athletic Bilbao also have an impressive cup pedigree having won the Spanish Cup 23 times, though they last won the trophy in 1984. The Basque side will be underdogs: they will play the final at Barcelona’s home ground, they were defeated twice by Barcelona in the league this season and finished in 7th place behind the current champions but they will fancy their chances, especially as there are reports that nearly 50.000 Athletic fans will be in the stadium cheering them on. Key men for Bilbao include top scorer Aduriz but really the most important people will be the back four and the keeper as they try to keep Barca’s front three at bay.
German Pokal Final: Borussia Dortmund – Vfl Wolfsburg
Now, this one promises to be a cracker. Wolfsburg, who finished second behind Bayern Munich, take on Dortmund who knocked out Munich in the semi-finals. Dortmund ‘s manager Jürgen Klopp will leave the club after seven very successful years in charge and he will be hoping to add another cup title to the one he won in 2012. Dortmund have won the German Cup on two other occasions, while their opponents Wolfsburg have never won the title, losing their only previous appearance to Borussia Mönchengladbach way back in 1975. Wolfsburg have Belgian international Kevin De Bruyne and the dangerous Dutch striker Bas Dost in their side but Dortmund have hit form in recent weeks and with German World Cup winners Mats Hummels and Marco Reus in their team they could give Klopp the perfect send off.
Coupe de France Final: AJ Auxerre – Paris Saint-Germain
Paris Saint-Germain will be favourites to lift their 11th French Cup to go along with their recently won league title when they take on second-tier side Auxerre in Paris. Auxerre have won the French Cup on four previous occasions – the last being in 2005 – but they will have their work cut out to overcome a side with Javier Pastore, Thiago Silva, Edison Cavani and of course Zlatan Ibrahimovic in their line up. It would be a huge upset if Auxerre were to defeat PSG and become the first second division side to win the Cup since 2008.
Prediction: Paris Saint-Germain
Scottish Cup Final: Falkirk – Inverness Caledonian Thistle
Now, this weekend sees two sides that very few would have predicted at the start of the season to contest the Scottish Cup final at Hampden Park in Glasgow: Falkirk and Inverness Caledonian Thistle. The latter will be favourites as they finished third in this season’s Scottish Premier League, while Falkirk ended in fifth position in the second tier of Scottish football; that’s the Scottish Championship. Falkirk have won the trophy twice before but not since 1957, while if they win this year it would be Thistle’s first ever Scottish Cup victory.
Prediction: Inverness Caledonian Thistle
Taça de Portugal: Sporting Lisbon – Braga
Now, the Portuguese Cup final also takes place this weekend pitting favourites Sporting Lisbon against Braga in Lisbon. Sporting have won the trophy on 18 occasions, while Braga have only managed this feat once, way back in 1966 – though they have been in the final as recently as 1998. Sporting finished in third place in the Portuguese League with Braga in fourth and when they met in the league a couple of weeks ago Sporting thrashed them 4-1. Now, with Nani and Slimani up front they should have enough to win again this weekend but Braga may have other ideas.
to overcome: To win; to defeat
to cause an upset: To win when most people do not think they cannot
key man: Most important player
back four: The defence
the Gunners: The nickname of Arsenal
an impressive cup pedigree: They have a good tradition in the cup; they have won the trophy a lot of times
The Basque side: Athletic Bilbao come from the Basque region in the north of Spain
they will fancy their chances: They think they have a chance
keep Barca’s front three at bay: To repel the attacks; to defend
a cracker: A really exciting game
take on: Play against
the dangerous Dutch striker: A striker who scores a lot of goals
hit form: Are playing well
send off: Farewell
to lift: To win the trophy
they will have their work cut out: They will find it difficult
line up: Team
to contest: To play against
The latter: Here it refers to Inverness
pitting favourites Sporting Lisbon against: To match up
managed this feat: Done this (won the cup)
thrashed: Heavily defeated
up front: Forwards
- The FA’s official Website
- ESPN’s look ahead to the Copa del Rey final
- Wikipedia’s page on the German Cup Final
- Wikipedia’s page on the French Cup final
- The Guardian’s preview of the Scottish Cup final
- Wikipedia’s page on the 2015 Portuguese Cup final