The FA Cup final takes over the domestic stage this Saturday.
Arsenal return to Wembley attempting to turn around the fact they’ve gone almost a decade without a trophy. But they face Steve Bruce’s Hull City, who will not be easy to turn over, despite recent league form proving they should be.
The Gunners are 1/2 to win in 90 minutes with the Tigers 7/1 and the 90-minute draw at 7/2.
The biggest stage is usually the place in which the big players perform. Arsenal have a couple of them and they have both recently performed well since injury. First up is German international and £42million man Mesut Ozil. The curious case of Ozil is a strange one, starting the season as a Player of the Year candidate to finishing it as an expensive flop. The former Real Madrid man is 8/1 to open the scoring and Paddy Power are offering money-back on selected markets if he scores at any time.
Another Player of the Year contender would have been Aaron Ramsey had he not been hit with a lengthy spell on the side lines. Ramsey has started where he left off since his injury and the Welshman is 7/1 to strike first and 3/1 to score in an Arsenal win.
Hull have some key men themselves and from expensive flop to a relative bargain of the season, Curtis Davies has led Hull to an FA Cup final and Premier League survival – although the final league position may have something to do with taking their mind off the league since the semi-finals.
The Hull captain can take great advice from his manager, an FA Cup winning captain. Davies netted the opening goal in their fifth round replay against Brighton and Hove Albion and in the sixth round win against Sunderland. Davies is 20/1 to be named man of the match for his team and a best pried 40/1 to open the scoring again.
City will be without the cup-tied Shane Long and Nikica Jelavic but Matt Fryatt, Yannick Sagbo and Sone Aluko have all chipped in with goals on this cup run. Sagbo 12/1, Fryatt 14/1 and Aluko 16/1 could all be worth a shot to open the scoring at Wembley.
The Nou Camp Shoot-out
Battling for ratings with the FA Cup final this weekend is the final day of La Liga, a straight shoot-out between Atletico Madrid and Barcelona at the Nou Camp. If Atletico avoid defeat they are champions and if Barcelona win they will round off a remarkable Spanish season with the trophy in their possession.
Barcelona are 5/6 to win with Simeone’s Atletico 15/4. Lionel Messi is an impressive 3/1 to score first and as said earlier, the big stages should bring out the best of the big players. Neymar is 7/1 to net first with the supposedly Chelsea bound Diego Costa 13/2.
Cometh the Hour, Cometh the Ram
This past week saw Derby County and QPR set up a mouth-watering Championship Play-Off Final at Wembley next weekend for the biggest financial rewards either side can begin to dream of – along with Premier League promotion.
Derby are slight favourites at 28/17 to win in 90 minutes with Harry Redknapp’s Rangers 23/10.
Derby boss Steve McClaren started the season as a coach at Loftus Road but could now be the one sending the London club home in tears. They won 4-1 in their second leg against Brighton and looked in superb form.
England starlet Will Hughes opened the scoring and is 12/1 to do so at Wembley but Charlie Austin may have something to say about that.
The former Burnley man scored twice to send Rangers to Wembley and is 7/2 to open the scoring at the home of English football.
Best Bet: Aaron Ramsey to score anytime and Arsenal to win 3/1
Worth a Punt: Lionel Messi to score first 3/1
At a push: Curtis Davies to score first 40/1
Can Arsenal end a run of nearly nine years without a trophy? Will Atletico Madrid hold on to achieve their first La Liga title since 1996? Or will Barca end all hopes of a fairytale ending?
All prices from oddschecker.com correct of 14/5/14