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Interview: BT Sport's football expert Michael Owen

30th April 2017

As the end of the football season hoves into view, Sports4Bars.com talks to BT Sport's football expert, Michael Owen, about the many exciting games to come, not least the semi-finals and final of the UEFA Champions League and the FA Cup Final between Arsenal and Chelsea

It's shaping up to be a thrilling end to the football season with mouthwatering fixtures coming up in the Premier League, FA Cup and UEFA Champions League and BT Sport's football expert, Michael Owen, can't wait to see how things unfold in the business end of the season.

While Chelsea look to have all but wrapped up the Premier League title with their rousing win over Everton at the weekend, there is plenty going on at both the top and bottom of the table with the battle for a top-four place concentrating the minds of several big teams.

Owen, a much decorated player for several clubs, including Liverpool, Real Madrid and Manchester United, expects Liverpool and Manchester City to grab those final two places behind Chelsea and Tottenham.

“I think – and I hope – that Liverpool and Man City will come third and fourth and Manchester United will win the Europa League," says Owen. "From BT Sport's point of view, if that came about, having five English teams in the Champions League next year would be absolutely brilliant.

“There's still loads to play for this season. Yes, the teams have to prepare for next season by getting into the competitions that they want to be in but it could be an amazing season for Manchester United if they can win the Europa League and get into the Champions League either through that pathway or through the Premier League.

"All of a sudden it could be seen as a positive season for them after looking pretty disastrous at the halfway stage of the season.

“We've had an average time in the Champions League in terms of English clubs in recent years so to have five real big hitters in there next season would be amazing.”

As for this season, there may be no English teams still involved, but Owen is looking forward to the business end of the competition with Real Madrid battling Atletico Madrid and Monaco facing Juventus for a place in the Cardiff Final.

“Cardiff is a brilliant stadium and everyone that has been there will say the same thing. It has a great atmosphere with a big capacity. It is one of the best stadiums around at the moment,” says Owen.

“Real Madrid have got an amazing resilience about them nowadays. You used to watch them and think that they'd concede loads but score loads and if anyone defended well against them it would be a tough game. But now they have so much resilience as well as some incredibly talented players.

“I think Bayern Munich actually had the best squad in the competition and Barcelona had some of the best individuals but Real are like a mixture of them both and I'm tipping them to grind it out and win it.

“In the other semi-final, Monaco have been a real surprise package and scored lots of goals but many pundits have been tipping Juventus. They're as good, if not better than they were last season, even having lost Pogba.”

But, of course, before the UEFA Champions Final there's the small matter of the FA Cup Final at Wembley, an occasion which holds many dear memories for Owen.

Who can forget Owen's stunning contribution to the magnificent 2001 Final in Cardiff when, with Liverpool trailing by 1-0 to Arsenal with just eight minutes to go, he first scored the equaliser and then the stunning winner three minutes from the end?

“If I could live one day again it would be that day in Cardiff when Liverpool beat Arsenal in the FA Cup Final,” he says.

“That was just an immense day all round from the game, to lifting a trophy to enjoying the after-match party.”

And, of course, this year's FA Cup Final will take place on in front of the BT Sport cameras and Owen is expecting another great showpiece event.

“The FA Cup is a brilliant competition,” says Owen. “We've had some real fairytales – Lincoln in particular – with a couple of non-league teams going far in the competition and then at the tailend of the competition we've had some fantastic semi-finals featuring big-hitters. And we're going to get a great Final too.

“I think it's been a great FA Cup, especially in view of the fact that some people have been knocking it recently, saying that teams don't take it seriously. Well, just looking at the games we've had will dispell that myth.

“Chelsea have been brilliant this season and I think they'll do the double in the League and FA Cup.”

 

Live fixtures on BT Sport


Tuesday, May 2, 7.45pm
BT Sport 2 HD
UEFA Champions League, Semi-Final, 1st Leg - Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid


Wednesday, May 3, 7.45pm
BT Sport 2 HD
UEFA Champions League, Semi-Final, 1st Leg - Monaco v Juventus


Thursday, May 4, 8.05pm
BT Sport 2 HD
UEFA Europa League, Semi-Final, 1st Leg – Celta Vigo v Manchester United


Saturday, May 6, 5.30pm
BT Sport 1 HD
Premier League: Swansea City v Everton


Tuesday, May 9, 7.45pm
BT Sport 2 HD
UEFA Champions League, Semi-Final, 2nd Leg – Juventus v Monaco


Wednesday, May 10, 7.45pm
BT Sport 2 HD
UEFA Champions League, Semi-Final, 2nd Leg – Atletico Madrid v Real Madrid


Thursday, May 11, 8.05pm
BT Sport 2
HD UEFA Europa League, Semi-Final, 2nd Leg – Manchester United v Celta Vigo


Wednesday, May 24, 7.45pm
BT Sport HD
UEFA Europa League Final


Saturday, May 27, 5.30pm
BT Sport 2 HD
FA Cup Final: Arsenal v Chelsea


Saturday, June 3, 7.45pm
BT Sport HD
UEFA Champions League Final

 

BT Sport is your home of unmissable live football from the Premier League, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League & FA Cup. For more information visit btsportbusiness.com  

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