The Province

Chelsea, Liverpool aim to win to forget

Teams have been poor in league


The FA Cup Final is Saturday, as Chelsea and Liverpool both look to acquire some silverware to help take the tarnish off their forgettabl­e Premier League campaigns.

It’s been an especially bad one for Liverpool, which could be on its way to its worst Premier League finish since 1948. Remarkably, Chelsea and Liverpool were originally scheduled to face each other in league play on Saturday, with that match now reschedule­d for Tuesday at Anfield.

Liverpool has already added this season’s Carling Cup to the trophy case, while Chelsea is also in the hunt for a double as it is in next weekend’s Champions League final.

The big question for Chelsea is whether go-to man Didier Drogba will get the start up front as one might expect, or if the recent hat-trick by Fernando Torres was enough to give him a chance to face his former club. Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo could even start both players, with Drogba in the middle and Torres operating on the right, as the Spaniard has pace and is a good crosser of the ball.

At the other end, Liverpool striker Luis Suarez is also coming off an impressive recent hat-trick performanc­e, and faces a Chelsea defence depleted by injuries to Gary Cahill and David Luiz.

Liverpool has an injury blow of its own though, as midfielder Charlie Adam is out with a knee problem.

City faces Newcastle

It’s shaping up to be a very dramatic finish to the Premier League season, with the two Manchester sides neck and neck in the race for the title, while only one point separates Arsenal, Tottenham and Newcastle in the battle for third.

Both those struggles intersect in a big way on Sunday, as Newcastle hosts Manchester City.

City is coming off a huge win over Manchester United, in which it managed to keep its famous rival from recording so much as a single shot on goal.

Whether it can enjoy similar success against a dangerous and explosive Newcastle side is another question.

Newcastle’s main threat is Senegalese striker Papiss Demba Cisse, who has been unstoppabl­e since joining the Magpies from German side Freiburg. Cisse has 13 goals in 12 games, including a late candidate for goal of the season in Newcastle’s 2-0 win at Chelsea on Wednesday.

Derby day in Milan

The Milan derby is Sunday, which is not the greatest timing for AC Milan, as it is trying to overtake Juventus in the race for the title.

It also puts Inter fans in a bit of a predicamen­t, because while they would love to beat their crosstown rivals, they also don’t want to be handing the championsh­ip to bitter enemies Juventus. The Turin giant leads Milan by a single point, with two rounds remaining.

Juve plays away to Cagliari on Sunday, and could clinch the title depending on the outcome in Milan.

Cagliari is usually a difficult opponent at home, but this match won’t be played there. Due to renovation problems at the Sardinian club’s stadium, Cagliari is having to play its final few home games 800 kilometres away in Trieste on the Italian mainland. In fact, it’s expected the majority of fans will be cheering for Juventus.

Caps from the past

On Saturday, Whitecaps FC will be celebratin­g the 38th anniversar­y of the club’s very first game which was played against San Jose Earthquake­s back on May 5, 1974. And as fate would have it, we’ll be doing it by playing the San Jose Earthquake­s exactly 38 years later.

Our alumni are an integral part of our history and we’ll have members of the original 1974 squad at B.C. Place to help us celebrate.

We plan to do a lot more with our newly launched alumni program in the future. Unfortunat­ely, there are some alumni that we don’t have current contact informatio­n for, so please get in touch with us if you have details of former players.

Bob Lenarduzzi is president of the Vancouver Whitecaps FC. For informatio­n on Whitecaps FC summer camps visit whitecapsf­ or call 778-330-1354.

 ?? — GETTY FILES ?? Chelsea forward Fernando Torres (left), pictured here in Premier League action against Arsenal, faces his former club Liverpool in the FA Cup final Saturday.
— GETTY FILES Chelsea forward Fernando Torres (left), pictured here in Premier League action against Arsenal, faces his former club Liverpool in the FA Cup final Saturday.
 ?? FREE KICKS ?? Bob Lenarduzzi
FREE KICKS Bob Lenarduzzi
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