London Soccer Shorts…

Friday, September 22

Sky Bet Championship

Birmingham City v Queens Park Rangers – St Andrews

Rangers head to St Andrew’s without the suspended Jack Colback following his dismissal during the 3-1 defeat against Sunderland at Loftus Road last weekend.

Speaking to BBC Sport, R’s boss, Gareth Ainsworth, said: “Jack’s a competitor and if you tackle hard in this day and age and miss your timing then the refs can come down with a red card. He’s been a victim of that.

“We had a plan put in place and looked very secure, but with 10 men it was always going to be difficult against a team that was one game away from the Premier League last year and have spent good money in the transfer window.

“It was hard with 10 men. I’m not saying we definitely would have won with 11, but we had a plan.

“To get to half-time 1-0 would have been great. It’s a different team talk at 1-0 up. After that I just wanted us to stay in the game.”

Saturday, September 23

Premier League

Crystal Palace v Fulham – Selhurst Park

Roy Hodgson will return to the Selhurst Park dugout after recovering from illness.

Hodgson’s side were beaten by three late goals at Villa Park last weekend and they will face another tough test from London rivals Fulham this time out.

Palace haven’t won any of their last three meetings with Fulham. Meanwhile, the Cottagers have only won one of their previous twenty top-flight London derbies – a 3-0 success at Palace last season.

Brentford v Everton – The Gtech Stadium

Brentford have been dealt a huge blow with the news that Rico Henry is out for the season after tumbling awkwardly during the Bees defeat at Newcastle United last time out.

The Bees will be looking to end a run of three league matches without a victory, although three draws and a victory during their opening five matches has them placed comfortably in mid-table.

Sky Bet Championship

West Bromwich Albion v Millwall – The Hawthorns

Millwall head to West Brom looking to bounce back from last Sunday’s 3-0 defeat at the hands of Leeds United at The Den.

The Lions were competitive but got picked off by a ruthless Leeds attack. Speaking to BBC Radio London, Millwall boss, Gary Rowett said: “I don’t ever like to soft-soap a 3-0 defeat or say That’s okay because we don’t want to be like that as a team and a club against Leeds, where there is a real healthy rivalry between the fanbases.

“As opposed to the Norwich game, where I didn’t think we were aggressive enough or competed like we need to compete, I thought we made it difficult for Leeds.

“We had lots of good moments and good pressure but couldn’t quite turn that into good chances or goals.”

Sky Bet League One

Charlton Athletic v Wycombe Wanderers – The Valley

Charlton Athletic v Wycombe Wanderers at The Valley

Michael Appleton saw a steady improvement from his Charlton side during their draw at Stevenage and will be looking for more of the same when in-form Wycombe Wanderers visit The Valley.

Speaking to www.charltonafc.com after the Lamex Stadium stalemate, the Addicks chief said: “We trained hard this week and I’ve really upped the intensity in training.

“All the sport science lads keep telling me the load is more than what they’re used to, but my answer back to that is if we want to win games and we want to compete at the top end of this table then we have to do that.

“We were the ones coming really, really strong towards the end of the game and I reckon we could have played for another ten, fifteen minutes.”

Leyton Orient v Shrewsbury Town – Brisbane Road

Yellow Sports Dave Bishop will be covering Leyton Orient versus Shrewsbury Town at Brisbane Road

Leyton Orient will be looking to build on their recent points haul when Shrewsbury Town visits E10.

Four points from six against Exeter and Peterborough has seen the O’s steadily move up the table: “If you’d offered me one win out of the two I probably would’ve took it so to get four points is really pleasing,” boss, Richie Wellens told www.leytonorient.com.

Wellens has no fresh injury concerns and will be looking for more of the same from frontman Ruel Sotiriou who has found the net on three occasions so far this campaign.

Sky Bet League Two

Sutton United v Milton Keynes Dons – VBS Community Stadium

Troubled Sutton United suffered their seventh successive league defeat at Accrington last weekend and already appear to be embroiled in a relegation battle.

Speaking to www.suttonunited.net, boss, Matt Gray said: “Simply facts are my team and the success we’ve had at Sutton United over the last four years have been based on being resilient, solid and hard to beat and not conceding goals. Certainly, soft goals.

But at the moment, I feel like we are making mistakes that straight away are getting punished.

Walsall v AFC Wimbledon – Poundland Bescot Stadium

Dons boss, Johnnie Jackson will demand better game management from his side when they head to the Poundland Bescot Stadium on Saturday.

Jackson’s side allowed a two-goal lead to slip against Crewe Alexandra at Plough Lane, leaving him frustrated with his charges.

“Five minutes at the start of the second half and five minutes at the end out of the 100-odd minutes have cost us,” Jackson told www.afcwimbledon.co.uk

“The other 90 we were the dominant team and we had a lot of chances to put it to bed. We should have been clear in the game. We should’ve been four up at half-time. We didn’t kill the game off, they threw bodies forward and in the randomness of football, the ball deflects into their path. You’ve got to see it out – whatever it is to see the game through you’ve got to do it.

“We will look back at where we could’ve done better. There was a lot of good stuff today. We’re not far from being a really good team but if we’re not going to score enough to put them out of sight we leave ourselves open to this. The lads understand that those moments of sloppiness have cost us.”

Sunday, September 24

Premier League

Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur – The Emirates Stadium

Yellow Sports Brian Jeeves will be reporting on Arsenal versus Tottenham Hotspur at the Emirates Stadium

Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur have identical Premier League records ahead of the first North London derby of the season.

The duo have each won four and drawn one of their opening five games. Spurs occupy second place and Arsenal fourth, the sides separated on goal difference.

Spurs, boosted by last week’s dramatic comeback win over Sheffield United, will be without Ivan Perisic, who picked up a devestating season-ending injury in training.

Arsenal will be confident after thrashing PSV in the Champions League on Thursday night. Mikel Arteta looks likely to stick with David Raya in goal ahead of Aaron Ramsdale. 

Speaking to www.arsenal.com about competing in the Premier and Champions League, Arteta said: “Winning always helps and when you see that dressing room and how happy they were today at the end, if tomorrow I tell them to train they will train, for sure. Now we have three days to prepare for a big game again, a really special game for us and we’ll try to do it in the best way.”

Chelsea v Aston Villa – Stamford Bridge

Chelsea v Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge

These are troubled times for Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino. His side is currently in the bottom half of the table having won just one of their opening five Premier League matches.

Ahead of Aston Villa’s visit to Stamford Bridge, the Argentine will be concerned that his side has recorded the joint-fewest wins and have the lowest goals-per-game ratio during 2023. 

Liverpool v West Ham United – Anfield

West Ham United’s James Ward-Prowse (Rob Newell CameraSport)

West Ham United head to Liverpool on Sunday in the knowledge that they have only one once in sixty-one years at Anfield.

Alphonse Areola will return in goal after Lukasz Fabiaski was handed the shirt for Thursday’s UEFA Europa League tie with FC TSC Backta Topola of Serbia.

The Hammers were beaten by Manchester City last time out in the Premier League. James Ward-Prowse continued his excellent early-season form with his second goal of the season during their defeat by the champions.

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Brian Jeeves

Email: sport@yellowad.co.uk