Saturday Live Game Cafe!

Welcome, friends, to another one of FOAR’s Live Game Cafes!

It’s Saturday again (well there’s something you didn’t know), and I don’t know about the weather conditions where you all live, but in my town it’s cold and windy outside – a perfect day for some shouting at the TV while watching football.

But first I’d like to share a piece of wisdom I’ve come across while browsing this morning, one that I found very illuminating and helpful in dealing with the lack of understanding in the surrounding world. It’s (supposedly) a quote from Friedrich Nietzsche.

“Those who were seen dancing were perceived as insane by those who could not hear the music.”

Let it sink in for a minute and always do your best to hear the music.

Now let’s get to the football matters at hand.

It’s an FA Cup weekend again, but since the competition has reached the semi-final stage, the Premier League is also being played for those whose participation in the cup has ended earlier. Not that any of the league games played today matter to Liverpool at the moment, but some of them could prove crucial in the relegation battle.

15:00 BST (16:00 CET)

Bournemouth vs Middlesbrough

Bournemouth currently sit in 16th place, seven points above the relegation zone. They will therefore see this game as the perfect opportunity to extend their ride in the Premier League to the next season beyond doubt.

On the other hand, Boro will have to try and get something from the encounter if they wish even to think about the possibility of doing the same.

TEAM NEWS

Bournemouth will assess the fitness of midfielder Dan Gosling, who has missed three games with a calf problem.

Jack Wilshere is out for the season with a fractured leg, so there could be a recall for Lewis Cook.

Middlesbrough defender Calum Chambers might be involved after a nine-week absence because of a foot injury.

Fabio and Rudy Gestede are fit after minor injuries but Victor Valdes and Grant Leadbitter remain out with respective rib and hamstring problems.

 

Hull City vs Watford

Perhaps not so much for Watford, but for Hull in 17th points are vital now as they look to avoid being overtaken in the race for survival.

TEAM NEWS

Hull have no new injury problems, with Dieumerci Mbokani pushing to start after returning from a six-week injury lay-off as a substitute last weekend.

Omar Elabdellaoui remains out with a back injury so Ahmed Elmomahady or Harry Maguire could play at right-back.

Watford defender Miguel Britos is available again after missing the win over Swansea because of suspension.

Craig Cathcart had hoped to return after a knee injury but the central defender is not yet ready for action.

 

Swansea City vs Stoke City

Although in the relegation zone, Swansea’s chances of survival don’t seem as hopeless as those of Middlesbrough and Sunderand, and they will be aiming to get ahead of Hull this week, or at least keep up the pressure on the Tigers.

But Stoke will certainly have something to say about it.

TEAM NEWS

Swansea captain Jack Cork is ruled out for a second game because of an ankle injury sustained at West Ham.

Wayne Routledge may need surgery on a hernia complaint and Fernando Llorente is a doubt, but Leon Britton could feature for the first time this year.

Jon Walters is in contention to start for Stoke despite not training this week due to fluid on his knee.

Joe Allen and Glenn Whelan are set to return from respective hamstring and back injuries.

 

West Ham vs Everton

These teams have experienced contrasting fortunes this season, as West Ham thoroughly failed to build on the success of 2015/16, while our neighbours still remain very much in the race for Europe.

TEAM NEWS

Andy Carroll is a doubt for West Ham because of the recurrence of a groin injury, meaning Diafra Sakho could make his first start since November.

Winston Reid returns following five weeks out with a groin problem but Sam Byram and Mark Noble are both suspended.

Everton’s on-loan forward Enner Valencia is ineligible to face his parent club.

James McCarthy may not play again this season because of a hamstring injury.

Muhamed Besic is nearing a return after missing the entire campaign with a knee injury.

 

17:15 BST (18:15 CET)

Chelsea vs Tottenham Hotspur

With all due respect to the teams meeting in the Premier League today, as well as the competition whose importance is much greater than that of the FA Cup, the most interesting game by a long way has to be the clash between the two top teams in the league, though their game belongs to the cup.

A trophy is a trophy and the team that wins today will stand a very good chance of winning it.

TEAM NEWS

Chelsea defender Gary Cahill is very doubtful after being treated for gastroenteritis but Thibaut Courtois has overcome the ankle problem that ruled him out at Man Utd last week.

Marcos Alonso missed that defeat with a stomach bug but is likely to return.

Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris should play in his first FA Cup tie since 2014 because Michel Vorm, who was earmarked to start, is out with a knee injury.

Danny Rose is back in training after a knee injury but will not be involved.

 

And that’s it for today.

The team news from above as always come from BBC.

A piece of sad news…

R.I.P. Ugo Ehiogu

 Photograph: Ben Hoskins/Getty Images

On a completely different note, Spurs coach and former England international Ugo Ehiogu has suddenly passed away this week at the age of just 44, after reportedly collapsing in training due to a heart-attack. We are deeply saddened by the news and acknowledge a great loss to the game, and offer our condolences to his family and anyone connected with him in any way.

 

We wish you all a pleasant day, and invite you to share your views on the games with us and each other in the comment section below.

Your health, friends!

 

Veselin Trajkovic

A sports enthusiast, Liverpool FC fan, writing for several blogs, likes to focus on football for what it is, rather than stats or bias. Writing for FOAR since its inception.

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