Global Sports : Weekend Questions

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With the FA Cup quarter-finals and one Premier League match to look forward to this weekend, we take a look at the talking points…
Can Reading burst Bradford’s bubble?After upsetting Premier League opponents in Chelsea and Sunderland, Bradford will be in the unusual position of being favourites for their FA Cup quarter-final with Reading this weekend.
But Bantams boss Phil Parkinson – a Royals legend having played more than 400 matches for the club – believes they are in for their toughest test of the competition so far.
Reading have slipped through to the last eight almost unnoticed but have certainly proved their credentials on the road in this year’s FA Cup.
They have already won at Huddersfield, Cardiff and Derby County, and will be keen to book their place at Wembley with a fourth away victory at Valley Parade.
Bradford have not reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup since they won the tournament in 1911 but can they cope with the added pressure this weekend?
Will Villa do double over Baggies? While Premier League survival is Aston Villa’s priority this season, a trip to Wembley would go a long way to lifting some of the season-long gloom over Villa Park.
Villa gave their hopes of avoiding the drop a boost with a vital 2-1 victory over West Brom in midweek.
Another win over the Baggies this weekend would not only send Tim Sherwood’s pulse through the roof, but would also build some much-needed momentum.
Villa have only won back-to-back matches twice this season, though, and the Baggies will be out for revenge after the league reverse.
Ben Foster, in particular, may have a point to prove after his costly error in injury-time.
Can Rovers rule without King? Like Bradford, Blackburn Rovers have already knocked two Premier League teams out of this year’s FA Cup, but, unlike the Bantams, they will need to make it a hat-trick this weekend to progress to the last four.
Unfortunately for Gary Bowyer’s men they will be without their cup star of this season: Joshua King.
The Norwegian netted a hat-trick against Stoke in the last round, drew the early foul that saw Swansea reduced to 10 men and would have fancied his chances of troubling Liverpool’s backline.
A hamstring injury has ruled him out of the trip to Anfield, though, and Rovers are also without Shane Duffy, Jason Lowe and Alex Baptiste.
Hardly ideal for a meeting with the Premier League’s form side, who have won six of their last seven in all competitions and have lost just once since mid-December.
Can Arsenal conquer Theatre of Dreams? To say Old Trafford has not been a happy hunting ground for Arsenal in recent years would be something of an understatement.
The Gunners have lost nine of their last 10 matches at Manchester United and have failed to score more than one goal in 14 of their last 15 visits to the Theatre of Dreams – the only exception being their 8-2 hammering in 2011.
Another defeat on Monday night could be damaging for Arsene Wenger and his side, particularly on the back of their Champions League disappointment against Monaco.
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal, who won silverware in his first seasons at Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich, has ramped up the pressure by saying the match is “like a final”.
There is no doubt that whoever wins will be favourites to lift the trophy on May 30.
Will tiredness take its toll on busy Tottenham at QPR? This will be Tottenham’s 47th game of the season and their sixth match in the last 17 days following their Europa League and Capital One Cup exploits.
They have only won one of their last six games and QPR, who have lost the last four at home and are in danger of becoming detached from the teams above them, may fancy their chances of taking advantage of any potential Spurs lethargy.
Victory for the north London side, though, would be a huge boost for their top-four ambitions and would help build some momentum after a rocky spell.
Spurs might be tired, but they will be well aware of the significance of this fixture.

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