London Soccer Shorts…

Friday, January 24

Emirates FA Cup fourth-round

Queen’s Park Rangers v Sheffield Wednesday – Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium

Queen’s Park Rangers head into Friday’s FA Cup tie with Sheffield Wednesday in a good place after their Championship victory over Leeds United last time out.

Nahki Wells bagged the only goal of the game. However, manager, Mark Warburton, was overall happy with the ridged performance, sentiments which were echoed by his Rangers’ side

“So much pleasure was taken by the players from today’s performance because that type of game, defensively, you do have to stand up,” Warburton explained.

“Sometimes you do have to win ugly. Today you saw a QPR team that have won nice games but this time won in ugly fashion. That’s heartening for all of us.”

The R’s will fancy their chances of making cup progress against a Wednesday side who were thrashed by five unanswered goals by Blackburn Rovers at Hillsborough last time out.

Saturday, January 25

Emirates FA Cup fourth-round

Brentford v Leicester City – Griffin Park

Brentford turns their attention to the FA Cup, but will perhaps sit be concerned that they passed up an opportunity to close the gap on the Championship’s top two following a goalless draw at Huddersfield Town last time out.

Bees boss, Thomas Frank, remained philosophical following the stalemate, explaining: “We will find out at the end of the season whether that’s a valuable point or not.

“Danny [Cowley] and his coaching staff have done a really good job since they’ve come into the club. It’s not surprising that they were well-prepared for us and that they wanted to do everything they could to close us down.

“I think Huddersfield created absolutely nothing except for one really big chance, which was for me a clear misunderstanding from my centre-back.”

Saturday’s match could be the last FA Cup tie to be staged at Griffin Park, with the club due to move into their new stadium next season. They face a Leicester City side who returned to form in the Premier League during the week, thrashing West Ham United by four goals to one at the King Power Stadium.

Millwall v Sheffield United – The Den

Millwall will be keen to cause an FA Cup upset when Premier League Sheffield United visit The Den on Saturday.

The Lions head into the tie in a good place after goals from Matt Smith and Jon Dadi Bodvarsson sealed a notable 2-0 Championship success over in-form Reading last weekend. Boss, Gary Rowett, told BBC London: “I thought it was a very hard-fought, difficult game. It was always going to be that way against a Reading side with excellent individuals.

“But I thought from the start to the end of the game, we were brilliant with our energy, our running and our aggression. It kind of just wore them down a little.

“We thoroughly deserved the win, I think we had eight shots on target to their none. That’s a compliment to the way we defended.”

Southampton v Tottenham Hotspur – St Mary’s Stadium

Jose Mourinho takes his Spurs side back to St Mary’s for the second time this month, keen to avoid a similar disaster to the one which betroth his side on New Year’s Day.

The Saints won that particular encounter thanks to a single Danny Ings. Meanwhile, the day darkened further when Harry Kane limped out of the action for Mourinho’s men with a serious hamstring injury. 

Nevertheless, speaking after the Lilywhites midweek Premier League victory over Norwich, the Spurs chief spoke positively as his side continue to evolve under his guidance.

“The team fought because the team wants to do well,” the Portuguese explained.

“The team know the situation is not easy. The team knows that in this moment every point is a point that helps you in the table. 

“Every victory makes you close some gaps, every defeat makes you go away from your objectives.”

But Spurs will face a Saints side off the back of a 2-0 success at Crystal Palace – their third win in four matches, a run which has carried them into the top half of the Premier League

West Ham United v West Bromwich Albion – London Stadium

Troubled West Ham United face former boss, Slaven Bili, and his West Bromwich Albion side desperate for some solace from the FA Cup as they continue to struggle in the Premier League.

A midweek walloping at Leicester City has left the east Londoners separated from the relegation place only by goal difference. And with injuries continuing to hinder David Moyes, the Hammers chief might have a decision to make, whether to priorities the league over the cup

Michail Antonio returned at Leicester following hamstring issues. However, Robert Snodgrass was replaced a the break, joining Felipe Anderson, Andriy Yarmolenko, Ryan Fredericks, Lukasz Fabianski and Jack Wilshere in the treatment room.

Hull City v Chelsea – KCOM Stadium

Frank Lampard is once again likely to shuffle the pack as when he takes his Chelsea charges to Humberside.

The Blues made nine changes ahead of their 2-0 third-round victory over Nottingham Forest at Stamford Bridge – Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ross Barkley with the all-important goals.

Hudson-Odoi spoke to after last weeks 2-2 Premier League draw with ten-man Arsenal, explaining, “We’re working hard in training every day so we just need to make sure that when we come into the games, we’re ruthless in both boxes going forward and coming back.”

Sky Bet League Two

Leyton Orient v Newport County – Breyer Group Stadium

Ross Embleton witnessed improvement from his struggling Leyton Orient side, but subsequently, the east Londoners winless sequence continued as Northampton Town left E10 with a share of the spoils on Tuesday evening.

Speaking after the game, Embleton admitted: “It was a game of two halves and, ideally, we would have liked to have won this evening – we did come here trying to win. We know what Northampton’s aspirations are. We have to respect that. To come off that match with a point is satisfactory.”

“I’m just a little bit disappointed in the way we applied ourselves in the second half. And, then we never did it in the first half, which led to us not taking all three points.”

The O’s now face another tough task in the shape of Newport. Meanwhile, Embleton concluded: “We’ve got to start games better to give ourselves a chance. Sometimes, playing against a team like this evening, you’ve got to take a point.”

Emirates FA Cup fourth-round

Manchester City v Fulham – Etihad Stadium 

Scott Parker takes his Fulham side to free-scoring Manchester City, slightly frustrated that the Cottagers were unable to bolster their Championship promotion credentials following a goalless derby draw at Charlton during the week.

“It was always going to be down to that one big chance that you needed to take, and then it’s a 1-0 win, dust yourselves down and get out,” he told BBC London.

“We probably had two big chances that we didn’t take, and from there it’s probably fair to say if you can’t win it, you don’t lose it.

“Overall I’m a little disappointed but I think when all is said and done this will be a decent point on the board.”

Host’s and FA Cup holders, City, are likely to shuffle the pack for Saturday’s fourth-round tie. Meanwhile, in the Premier League, a Sergio Aguero goal was enough to glean the points from a hard-fought clash with Sheffield United at Bramall Lane on Sunday.

Monday, January 27

Emirates FA Cup fourth-round

AFC Bournemouth v Arsenal – Vitality Stadium

With Arsenal currently floundering in the Premier League, Mikel Arteta will target the FA Cup as an opportunity for success as he continues his attempts to turn the Gunners inconsistent campaign around.

Arteta takes his side to AFC Bournemouth on Monday evening and would have been buoyed by his sides display at Chelsea last time out.

Despite playing over an hour with ten men following the dismissal of David Luiz, The Gunners twice came from behind with the impressive Gabriel Martinelli and Hector Bellerin on target. 

And that please the Arsenal chief, who told BBC Sport: “To do that against this kind of opponent in this stadium, I really value,” 

“The way they have done it, with the spirit they have done it, that’s great.

“I wasn’t here a few weeks ago but what I am demanding every day they are trying their best to do it. The togetherness and leadership they showed today, this is what I wanted to see.

“We are going in the right direction but I think tonight is a special night for everybody.”


Brian Jeeves

Email: [email protected]