SuperSport viewers on DStv and GOtv can look forward to action from the 2020-21 FA Cup, La Liga and Serie A this weekend, with matches scheduled for 22-25 January 2021.
The pick of Fourth Round matches in the FA Cup is definitely the meeting of Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford on Sunday, 24th January at 6:30pm on SuperSport Premier League (DStv Channel 203). The traditional rivals met recently in a key Premier League clash and a renewal of hostilities so soon is a real treat for fans.
The Red Devils and the Merseysiders last met in the FA Cup back in January 2012, with Pool claiming a 2-1 home win thanks to goals from Daniel Agger and Dirk Kuyt.
This time around, United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is hoping midfielder Scott McTominay can continue the fine form he has shown in recent weeks: “We’ve always trusted our young men coming through and Scott’s one of them that we really believe has got the DNA of Man United in him, and he knows what it is to be a Man United player.
“Should he be scoring more goals? We’ve said that to him so many times! He’s strong, he’s quick, he can leap, [he has] good timing, so he should get more goals.”
Elsewhere, one of the most ‘romantic’ ties sees League Two’s Cheltenham Town host Premier League heavyweights Manchester City on Saturday, 23rd January at 6:30pm on SuperSport Premier League. Not only is it a ‘David v Goliath’ clash, but City fans even helped raise funds for Cheltenham by buying ‘virtual tickets’ for what is arguably the most high profile game ever at (an empty) Jonny-Rocks Stadium.
“There is a real sense of togetherness from both sets of supporters and Man City fans have been amazing as they were in a similar situation a few years back,” said campaign organiser James Robinson.
Other notable clashes include non-league Chorley hosting Wolverhampton Wanderers on Friday, 22nd January at 8:45pm on SuperSport Premier League, Tottenham Hotspur visiting Wycombe Wanderers and looking to repeat their ruthless dispatching of Marine from the previous round on Monday, 25th January at 8:45pm on SuperSport Premier League, as well as an intriguing clash between Brentford and Leicester City on Sunday, 24th January at 3:30pm on SuperSport Premier League – with the former team looking likely to find themselves in the Premier League come the start of next season.
“Our attitude, hard work and togetherness has been bang-on,” said Bees manager Thomas Frank. “We have shown a lot of character – we are confident, but humble.”
SuperSport is the only place to get English commentary from the legendary La Liga, where the pick of matches for this round sees Atletico Madrid host Valencia at Estadio Wanda Metropolitano on Sunday, 24th January at 9pm on SuperSport La Liga (DStv Channel 204) and SuperSport GOtv La Liga (Channel 32). The Rojiblancos defeated Los Che 1-0 at Estadio de Mestalla in the teams’ most recent clash, in November last year, with a late own goal from Toni Lobato deciding the clash.
Manager Diego Simeone has urged his team to remain focused as they continue to be the favourites for the La Liga title.
“Nothing is decided yet,” said the Atletico manager. “We have done well but the season is long and unpredictable. We will also have the difficulty of catching up games. We need to keep our goals in our mind and remain calm. Hard work will be the foundation, as always.”
Valencia manager Javi Gracia remains a man under pressure heading into this clash, though he insists that he is still supported by the board: “What I have received from the club is that it has shown me support, which is appreciated, especially in times of difficulty and weakness,” said the former Watford tactician. “Personally, I’m happy, but not for me, but for the work of the players and for being able to give joy to the fans and make the atmosphere more positive.”
Atletico’s fellow heavyweights and title contenders, Real Madrid and Barcelona, face tricky away games, as they tackle Deportivo Alaves and Elche respectively on Saturday, 23rd January at 9pm on SuperSport La Liga and SuperSport GOtv La Liga and Sunday, 24th January at 4:14pm on SuperSport La Liga and SuperSport GOtv La Liga. Barca manager Ronald Koeman has been a man under fire through most of the season, but is hoping to win more favour with fans.
“We want to continue with the level of performance we’ve given lately. We’re growing in all aspects and this is a good opportunity to show we’re on the right track,” said the Dutch coach.
The top match from the Italian top flight this weekend sees Milan host Atalanta at the San Siro on Saturday, 23rd January at 6pm on SuperSport Football (DStv Channel 205) and SuperSport GOtv Select 1 (Channel 33). The Rossoneri have firmly established themselves as title contenders with their excellent form in 2020-21, but La Dea will be a true threat after their recent upsurge in results – which has ironically come after freezing out their formerly talismanic playmaker Papu Gomez, though the sublime form of Josip Ilicic goes some way towards explaining this.
“Ilicic is the player who if we get him back to his best, he gives us a big step up in quality. Everyone knows that,” Atalanta manager Gian Piero Gasperini explained. “He’s a bit inconsistent, both in training and during the game, and tended to lose his confidence when things went wrong. However, he’s been training so well this week, hitting the ball so hard and with precision, I knew he’d put in this kind of performance.”
Elsewhere in Serie A, champions Juventus will look to continue their growth under manager Andrea Pirlo when they welcome Bologna to the Allianz Stadium on Sunday, 24th January at 12:30pm on SuperSport Football and SuperSport GOtv Select 1 with the cultivation of “mental strength” now a key aspect.
“What I do want is for us to improve our mental strength. Too many times, we score a goal and then have a few minutes after that where our heads are in the clouds,” said Pirlo of his team. “I ask for more concentration because those are important minutes to give a sense of consistency.”
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