Weekend Wanderings: Carlos Carvalhal returns to Hillsborough as Swansea City face Sheffield Wednesday, can Ipswich end their winless run and a repeat of the 2017 Women’s FA Cup final
With Valentine’s Day now behind us (or as it was known to singletons – Wednesday) it’s time for the love affair to continue with the FA Cup.
The age-old competition returns on Friday but, this weekend, there are some exciting looking fixtures in that competition and elsewhere.
Alasdair Hooper brings you five things that you should be keeping an eye out on in this weekend’s football action.
1) Carlos Carvalhal returns to HillsboroughEmbed from Getty Images
On Christmas Eve – in the true spirit of the festive season – Sheffield Wednesday took the decision to remove Carlos Carvalhal as manager bringing an end to his two and a half year reign.
Meanwhile Premier League relegation certainties Swansea City were busy searching for a new boss after firing Paul Clement the week before.
Carvalhal was out of work for just four days when he was surprisingly appointed as boss of the Swans but the transformation the Portuguese boss has made has been incredible.
The rejuvenated Welsh club are now up to 16th in the Premier League and Carvalhal will take his players to Hillsborough to face his former players this Saturday in the FA Cup fifth road.
A barnstorming 8-1 win in a fourth round replay against Notts County saw Swansea through to this stage and the Premier League team will fancy their chances against Wednesday, and Carvalhal’s replacement, Jos Luhukay.
2) Will Manchester United bounce back into form?
On 21 October Manchester United travelled to the Kirklees Stadium to face a Huddersfield side they fully expected to beat.
Instead David Wagner’s Terriers claimed the club’s first victory over the Red Devils for 65 years.Embed from Getty Images
So off the back of another surprise defeat to Newcastle can Jose Mourinho’s side return to form as they go back to Huddersfield in the FA Cup this Saturday?
Everyone knows that United will remain favourites but, similarly, it is common knowledge just how tough a team Huddersfield can be to beat.
This could easily be a classic Saturday evening tie.
3) Can Ipswich end their winless run against derby rivals Norwich
April 2009 – that was the last time Ipswich Town defeated rivals Norwich City in a 3-2 victory.
This Sunday sees the latest edition of the East Anglian derby as the two go head to head once again in the Championship.
To add a little extra spice both sides are also locked together on 44 points, with Ipswich one place above the Canaries in 12th courtesy of goal difference.
Form often goes out of the window on times like this and games can be decided by the odd piece of magic.
In terms of match-winning candidates you’d be hard pushed to bet against Norwich star James Maddison who is fast become a star in the making.Embed from Getty Images
4) Who will come through the repeat of last year’s Women’s FA Cup final?
WSL1 leaders Manchester City make the trip this Sunday to Birmingham in the Women’s FA Cup fifth round – a repeat of last year’s final.
On that day at Wembley Stadium Manchester City ran-out convincing 4-1 winners against a Birmingham team that has a lot of promise but not too much experience.
This time around the story is very much the same, with Nick Cushing’s side riding high at the top of the WSL table and fighting on all fronts.
Marc Skinner’s team currently sits sixth in WSL1 but in a cup-tie – as has often been shown – anything is possible.Embed from Getty Images
5) Can Torino damage Juventus’ chances for Serie A glory in the Turin derby?
Everyone loves a derby and, though the two teams are at different levels, the Turin derby is always a favourite.
Despite their lackluster showing against an exciting Tottenham team in the Champions League, the Old Lady still have plenty to do domestically and have no room for error.
Massimiliano Allegri’s side sit second in Serie A, a point behind leaders Napoli, and city rivals Torino would love nothing more than to throw a spanner in the works.
With the likes of Andrea Belotti to call on Torino – who sit ninth – are no walkovers and with former Watford boss Walter Mazzarri now at the helm as boss you know they are very capable of setting up shop if needed.
We will see who comes out on top on Sunday afternoon.
You can follow Alasdair on Twitter @adjhooper
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