5️⃣ spicy fixtures you must watch this weekend 🌶 | OneFootball

5️⃣ spicy fixtures you must watch this weekend 🌶 | OneFootball

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Padraig Whelan·19 April 2024

5️⃣ spicy fixtures you must watch this weekend 🌶

Article image:5️⃣ spicy fixtures you must watch this weekend 🌶

Cup clashes and sizzling domestic derbies light up the calendar for the coming weekend.

Here are the five games (sort of!) you cannot miss.

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Scottish Cup semi-finals

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After some big twists and turns at both ends of the Scottish Premiership table last weekend, top flight action pauses before the split for Scottish Cup semi-final action from Hampden.

First up, holders Celtic take on Aberdeen on Saturday with the Dons finally announcing a new permanent manager with the exciting addition of Jimmy Thelin from Elfsborg, although he will play no part and does not arrive at Pittodrie until June.

The Hoops have had the better of the frequent Mount Florida fixtures between the sides lately as they look to potentially set up a mouthwatering Scottish Cup final against Rangers, who take on Hearts the following day aiming to get back to winning ways after a poor recent run which has cost them top spot in the table.

That is likely to be a tougher task than their city rivals may face on paper but no semi-final is won on paper – which is why there hasn’t been a derby meeting between the Glasgow giants in the biggest domestic cup competition’s final for 22 years.

Spice rating: Mild 🌶️

Red Star Belgrade v Partizan

Article image:5️⃣ spicy fixtures you must watch this weekend 🌶

When a fixture earns the moniker the Eternal derby, then you know it is something special.

That is certainly the case in Serbia’s marquee fixture between Red Star and Partizan, the capital Belgrade’s hated city rivals.

Seven points separate them at the top of the table ahead of this post-split meeting, with Red Star leading the way as they close in on a seventh straight championship – helped by fighting back from a goal down at home in their last meeting to rescue a 2-2 draw and prevent Partizan going four points clear.

Since then, they haven’t looked back and have capitalised on Partizan’s stuttering form to open up a sizeable gap at the summit and with seven games left to play, nothing less than a win will do to prevent the title from remaining at the Marakana.

Spice rating: Medium 🌶️ 🌶️

FA Cup semi-finals

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As is the case north of the border, it is also domestic cup semi-final weekend in England too as Wembley welcomes three Premier League big hitters and a Championship underdog to the capital.

On Saturday, Manchester City take on Chelsea and with their academy product Cole Palmer in the form of his life with the Blues, he will be vital to any hopes of an upset against Pep Guardiola’s men.

City come into it off the back off of relinquishing their Champions League crown against Real Madrid after a tense penalty shoot-out. Will there be a hangover from that loss or will the wounded animals take their anger out on Chelsea?

Both semi-finals feature hot favourites, with City and United heavily fancied to make it a repeat of last year’s final, where Erik ten Hag will be out for revenge – but only if they can avoid slipping on a Coventry City banana skin.

After losing both the play-off final and key men Viktor Gyökeres and Gustavo Hamer a year ago, the Sky Blues have not been content to lick their wounds and responded very impressively. Star men Callum O’Hare, Haji Wright and Ellis Simms will be key to any hopes of springing a surprise.

It is a chance to paint the competition in a much-needed positive light again after the anger caused in recent days.

Spice rating: Hot 🌶️ 🌶️ 🌶️

UWCL semi-finals

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Heading the bill of semi-final action we have in store comes Saturday’s double-bill from the Women’s Champions League – although nothing will be decided given the second legs will not follow until the following weekend.

First up, we’re in Barcelona as the holders and favourites aim to prevent Emma Hayes from bowing out on her time at Chelsea by adding the one trophy that has eluded her throughout her time there.

Hayes came close when reaching the final in 2021 but Barça blew them away 4-0 that night before going on to deny them again last season at the semi-final stage so revenge will be on the Blues’ minds, while the Catalan giants will be well aware of the edge they have when these sides face off.

Later that day, all eyes will be on the all-French affair as Lyon welcome PSG for their seventh European meeting from the last decade and dauntingly, Lyon have won on all but one occasion, ranging from a nervy penalty shootout win in the final to an 8-0 thrashing, and even the Parisians sole victory came via the now defunct away goals rule.

Spice rating: Fire 🌶️ 🌶️ 🌶️ 🌶️

Real Madrid v Barcelona

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El Clásico. Enough said, right?

Spain’s old rivals come into Sunday’s games on the back of differing midweeks in the Champions League.

Barcelona threw away a two-goal advantage against PSG following a Ronald Araújo red card to crash out of the competition and all does not appear to be well in the camp – with some barbed Ilkay Gündoğan comments in particular appearing to have again divided the squad.

But while Barça’s players appear to be angering each other, there is no such division at Real Madrid, who come in after booking their Champions League semi-final spot with a dramatic penalty shootout win over holders Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.

There are seven games to go in LaLiga and it is Los Blancos who hold the big advantage. A win here would move them 11 points in front with just 15 more to play for – meaning victory would all but assure them of snaring their rivals’ crown.

But will they get it? Let us know your predictions in the comments below!

Spice rating: Insane 🌶️ 🌶️ 🌶️ 🌶️ 🌶️