Wembley to host Euro 2020 Final
UEFA has announced that Wembley has been chosen to host the semi-final and final Euro 2020.
England’s national stadium won unanimously after the German FA (DFB) withdrew from the bid just before the UEFA vote to focus instead on bidding for the 2024 Euro competition.
England’s FA chairman Greg Dyke, 67, said: “This bidding process was open to more than 50 Uefa countries so for Wembley to be recognised in this way is testament to a lot of hard work behind the scenes.”
England manager Roy Hodgson said the opportunity to play a final at Wembley would be excellent motivation for his players.
“For the young team that is emerging, many of those players will be at their best football years in 2020,” the 67-year-old said.
“If the young players of today don’t use this to spur them on then they are making a mistake.
“By 2020 some of them will be playing their fifth tournament and that is the type of experience you can’t buy.”
The multi-country format was the idea of UEFA president Michele Platini who thought it would be a fitting way to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the confederation.
Platini said: “This is a historic moment because we’ll be able to bring this competition to all the countries of Europe and especially to countries that would never otherwise have the chance to host such a competition.”
The 13 cities that will host matches for the competition are London (England), Glasgow (Scotland), Dublin (Ireland), Copenhagen (Denmark), Bucharest (Romania), Amsterdam (Netherlands), Bilbao (Spain), Budapest (Hungary), Brussels (Belgium), Munich (Germany), Baku (Azerbaijan), Rome (Italy) and St Petersburg (Russia).
|QPR v Stoke||1-0|
|Aston Villa v Arsenal||1-2|
|Burnley v Sunderland||1-1|
|Newcastle v Hull||2-1|
|Swansea v Southampton||2-2|
|West Ham v Liverpool||1-2|
|Leicester v Man Utd||1-3|
|Tottenham v West Brom||2-0|
|Everton v Crystal Palace||3-0|
|Man City v Chelsea||1-2|
Aston Villa v Arsenal
Aston Villa continued their tremendous start to the season with a fine 0-1 victory away to Liverpool.
The Villains actually have a better away record under manager Paul Lambert—They have lost 18 out of 38 home league games under Lambert. That being said, they are still unbeaten at home this season and will be full of confidence after last weeks win.
Visitors Arsenal drew 2-2 at home to Man City last week, but will be a tad disappointed as City scored late on. However, they were brushed aside by Dortmund midweek in the Champions League and will want to bounce back with a good performance against Villa.
Aston Villa captain Ron Vlaar looks like he will continue to watch from the sidelines with a calf problem, though Joe Cole has recovered from a similar problem and could be involved.
Arsenal duo Mathieu Flamini and Calum Chambers are expected to return after missing out in midweek with a groin injury and tonsillitis respectively. While Jack Wilshere seems to have recovered from an ankle problem picked up midweek, though Nancho Monreal remains out.
Villa has been playing well and might fancy their chances against an Arsenal side recovering from their midweek beating. However, the Villains haven’t beaten Arsenal at home in 15 attempts since coming from two goals down to win 3-2 on 13 December 1998 (D7, L8), and I think they will just come up short on Saturday too.
West Ham v Liverpool
West Ham battled back twice last week to earn a good 2-2 draw away to Hull City. The draw marked an improvement on their previous performance, which saw them lose 3-1 to Southhampton. The Hammers took the game to the Tigers and their attacking intent will have pleased their fans, who have bemoaned manager Sam Allardyce’s defensive tactic since he took charge, However, the change in style resulted in West Ham looking leaky at the back and they will have to find a balance.
Liverpool lost 0-1 at home to Aston Villa last week and will want to bounce back with a win. The Reds passed the ball well enough, but struggled to create any clear-cut chances against a well-organized Villa team. They also struggled midweek in the champions league, scraping a 2-1 win courtesy to a last minute penalty and really look like they are missing the magic of Luis Suarez.
The Hammers are without Matt Jarvis, Andy Carroll, Kevin Nolan and Joey O’Brien because of injury, so will name the same side that drew to Hull last week.
Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel returns from a knee injury, striker Daniel Sturridge is still out with an ankle problem.
Neither of these teams are playing particularly well at present, but West Ham has only won two of their previous 22 league matches against Liverpool (W2, D4, L16), so I think I’ll go with history and back Liverpool.
Leicester City v Man Utd
Leicester City picked up their first win of the season with a 0-1 win away to Stoke City.
The Foxes already look like they have settled into life in the EPL and have now picked up 5-points from four tough games—They have drawn against Everton and Arsenal, beaten Stoke, and have only lost to EPL leaders Chelsea.
Striker Leonardo Ulloa has now scored three goals in the EPL and his goals could be the difference between the foxes staying up or going down from EPL.
Manchester United also got their first win of the season with a 4-0 thrashing of QPR. The Red Devils put in a fine attacking performance, though QPR were also woeful. Angel Di Maria was the game’s top performer and seems to have added the speed and directness down the wings that United haven’t had since the departure of Ronaldo.
Leicester City keeper Kasper Schmeichel and midfielder Matty James should be fit to face Manchester United after overcoming respective knee and shin injuries.
Former United player Tom Lawrence could make his debut against his former club, but Nick Powell is ineligible under the terms of his loan from Old Trafford.
Luke Shaw is fit again and could make his EPL debut for United, while Radamel Falcao could also make his first start for the Red Devils.
There is a feeling Manchester United might have finally arisen from their slumber and many would expect them to beat newly promoted Leicester, but the foxes have started the season well and look like they will give every team in the EPL a tough game.
United have a good record against Leicester—the Red Devils have won the last nine successive Premier League meetings and are unbeaten in 10 since Tony Cottee’s goal gave Leicester a 1-0 victory at Old Trafford in January 1998—and I expect them to continue that record on Sunday.
Man City v Chelsea
Week 5 draws to a close with perhaps the biggest game of the season thus far as last season top two teams battle it out for 3-points.
Man City drew away last week to Arsenal and were a bit upset they didn’t leave with more, after they were denied and penalty and missed a couple of glorious chances late on.
They lost midweek 1-0 to Bayern Munich courtesy to a late goal by former player Jerome Boateng, but could easily have lost by three or four goals if not for the performances of goalkeeper Joe Hart. Yaya Toure has been criticized for his performances this season and wasn’t at his best again midweek.
Chelsea continued their 100% record in the EPL with a 4-2 win over Swansea. Diego Costa scored his first hat-trick for the blues to give him 7 goals in his first four games, while Cesc Fabregas has now notched up 6 assists.
Former Chelsea player Frank Lampard is set to face the club for whom he made 648 appearances. City pair Stevan Jovetic and Fernando remain out with respective hamstring and groin injuries, but Pablo Zabaleta is available after serving a European ban in midweek.
Chelsea striker Diego Costa returns to the starting line-up after dropping to the bench midweek in the Champions League. The Blues have no other injury concerns meaning they could name the same side that faced Swansea last week.
Chelsea did the double over City last season and have a good record in Manchester—Chelsea have won 11 Premier League matches away at Manchester City, more than any other team. City have yet to set the EPL on light this season and still look like they are suffering a hangover from last year’s celebrations. Nevetheless, the will give Chelsea a serve test on Sunday and could easily win this game. However, I’m backing Jose Mourinho to continue his record against City boss Manuel Pellegrini who has yet to register a win over the Portuguese coach.