Crunch time at the top and bottom while West Ham aims for Wembley glory in Alasdair Hooper’s Weekend Wanderings
This is crunch time – the moment football fans have either been looking forward to or dreading. This weekend, we will be getting final answers in terms of titles won and relegation battles lost. With everything at stake, Alasdair Hooper has the games you should be keeping an eye on.
1. Can West Ham upset the odds and win silverware in their first professional season?
West Ham United Women have had a truly terrific FA Cup run, reaching the showpiece final at Wembley in their first season as a professional club.
As anyone who has been watching the BBC Three documentary Britain’s Youngest Football Boss will know, it hasn’t always been a smooth ride for the Hammers in their first WSL season.
However, getting to the FA Cup final is a remarkable achievement this early on in their professional journey.
Of course, standing between them and glory are serial winners Manchester City, who have already won the Continental Cup this year.
Nick Cushing’s side is the overwhelming favourite for this game, but the occasion will surely bring the best out of Matt Beard’s West Ham.
Let’s also not forget that the Hammers boast some cup-winning know-how in the form of Gilly Flaherty and Claire Rafferty.
As has often been said, stranger things have happened in football.
2. Can Liverpool keep the pressure on Manchester City in the title race?
The Premier League title race goes on and on with neither Liverpool or Manchester City letting up.
This weekend it is again Liverpool’s turn to go first and overtake City at the top of the league.
The Reds travel to Newcastle hoping to seal another three points and up the ante on City, who face Leicester on Monday night.
If Liverpool slip up against former manager Rafael Benitez, then the title race could be settled.
With just two games to go, every point matters.
3. Who stays up and who drops out in League One?
The League One relegation battle has been captivating with nearly half the table under threat at one stage this season.
This Saturday is the final day of the campaign and of the four relegations spots only one has been filled by Bradford City.
That means there are six teams at risk of filling the remaining three places, with just four points separating them. Scunthorpe United, Walsall, Plymouth Argyle, Southend United, AFC Wimbledon and Wycombe Wanderers are all potentially in trouble.
It’s all very congested and to make things even more interesting Plymouth take on one of their relegation rivals Scunthorpe.
Time for League One fans to strap themselves in.
4. Will Celtic clinch their eighth title in a row and hand Neil Lennon a boost?
This Saturday, Celtic travel to Aberdeen, a team that has a habit of rolling over whenever the Bhoys come to play.
Celtic can clinch their eighth title in a row at Pittodrie and hand Neil Lennon a boost in his bid to remain manager permanently.
Despite the fact the Northern Irishman is unbeaten during his second stint in the hot seat, some unconvincing displays have created questions over whether he is the right man for the role.
Should he seal the title and a Scottish Cup then surely it is his job to lose? But if Celtic don’t bring it all home then the hierarchy might end up looking elsewhere.
5. Is this the beginning of the end for Bolton Wanderers?
The situation at Bolton is bleak, incredibly bleak.
After the players went on strike, meaning they were unable to play their game against Brentford last week, the club have finally announced they will fulfil their final fixture against Nottingham Forest.
The game is going ahead thanks to an emergency loan from the Professional Footballer’s Association.
No date has been set for the rearranged Brentford clash, but this Saturday could well mark the beginning of the end for Bolton.
With the club relegated to League One and suffering further financial turmoil, there have been vocal warnings the club could soon end up out of business altogether.
This is an incredibly sad demise for a club that no so long ago had stars like Jay Jay Okocha playing for it in the Premier League.
The current state of affairs only looks set to get worse, even with the prospective takeover by Laurence Bassini, who still has to prove to the EFL that he has sufficient funds.
Follow Alasdair on Twitter @adjhooper1992
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