London Soccer Shorts…

Friday, December 1

Sky Bet League One

Preston North End v Queens Park Rangers – Deepdale

Struggling Rangers head to Preston boosted by a 4-2 victory over Stoke City which ended their twelve-match winless Championship sequence.

The West Londoners came from behind, scoring three times in the final eleven minutes to lift spirits and move winin three points of the safety zone.

Speaking to www.qpr.co.uk, R’s boss Marti Cifuentes said: “We need to be very happy about the victory but we have to work very, very hard to keep achieving.

“Tonight we got three very important points but we need to keep getting a lot of victories if we want to achieve our target.

“The guys are working well and that is where my focus is.

“Now we need to recover because it has been a very intense game and we have got another one on Friday at Preston.

“We must keep humble, keep working and hopefully more victories will come.”

Saturday, December 2

Premier League

Arsenal v Wolverhampton Wanderers – Emirates Stadium

Arsenal v Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Emirates Stadium

Table-topping Arsenal will fancy their chances of enhancing their position when Wolverhampton Wanderers visit the Emirates Stadium.

The Gunners followed up a late victory at Brentford last weekend with a resounding six-goal Champions League triumph over Lens in midweek.

Mikel Arteta still has one or two injury concerns with playmaker Fabio Vieira, Thomas Partey, Emile Smith Rowe and Jurrien Timber all in the N5 treatment room. 

Brentford v Luton Town – Gtech Community Stadium

Back-to-back defeats have seen Brentford slip into the bottom half of the table and they will be keen to address the situation when Luton Town visit the Gtech on Saturday.

The Bees have tasted victory in five of their last six league meetings with the Hatters and their previous five against home Premier League fixtures against a newly promoted side.

Bees boss, Thomas Frank is still without Nathan Collins, Rico Henry, Aaron Hickey, Kevin Schade and Mikkel Damsgaard, as well as the suspended Ivan Toney.

Sky Bet Championship

Hull City v Watford – MKM Stadium

Watford head to Hull in good spirits after recovering a two-goal deficit to see off Norwich City by the odd goal in five at Vicarage Road during the week.

Delighted Hornets chief, Valerien Ismael told BBC Three Counties Radio: “After 2-0, we started our game. The players stayed calm, stuck to the game plan, and bit by bit came back into the game, scored the first goal and came back quickly with the second goal.

“After that, we knew we were back in the game and dominated and controlled Norwich completely.

“I am proud of the boys, the performance and attitude, the trust in each other to keep passing the ball and not blame anyone. For that it was a brilliant performance.”

Millwall v Sunderland – The Den

Millwall v Sunderland at The Den

Millwall continue to struggle for form but might fancy their chances against a Sunderland side that has slipped off the pace of late following back-to-back defeats at the hands of Plymouth and Huddersfield.

The Lions need to haul themselves off the canvas following losses to Coventry and Ipswich. Speaking to BBC Sport following the Portman Road setback, Millwall head coach Joe Edwards said: “We were beaten by a very good side. I can accept when you lose to a side that are in the form that they’re in at the moment that they can be as clinical as they are and continue to be around the goal.

“I can accept losing but the manner of it is the issue.

“We didn’t get going from the off, the basics of the game, we were second to everything. They have got pace in their team, we were well aware of that, everything that they have done to us tonight is not something we have not seen.

“We came with a plan, well prepared to do it but we simply didn’t execute it. We weren’t good with any of the real basics of the game, as well as showing high levels of quality which we really lacked.”

Emirates FA Cup Second Round 

Gillingham v Charlton Athletic – Priestfield Stadium

Charlton head to Gillingham for an eagerly anticipated second-round derby tie without the services of injured duo Miles Leaburn and Chuks Aneke.

Addicks boss, Michael Appleton is keen to see his side progress and potentially pick a plum third-round tie: “When you get an opportunity to play in the third round of the FA Cup against one of the top, top sides, you can’t take that lightly, and we’ll give it our best shot,” he told www.charltonafc.com.

Sutton United v Horsham – VBS Community Stadium

League Two basement boys, Sutton United have an opportunity to seek solace in the FA Cup when Horsham are the visitors to Gander Green Lane.

Despite losing 3-0 in a replay to Barnsley, Horsham was reinstated into the competition after it emerged that the Yorkshire side had fielded an ineligible player in the tie.

Sutton’s recent league form is good, with a win and four draws from their last five. They will look to take that into the cup and avoid a potential upset at the hands of the non-leaguers.

Sunday, December 3

Premier League

Chelsea v Brighton & Hove Albion – Stamford Bridge

Malo Gusto could return for Chelsae against Brighton following a tendon problem. However, Mauricio Pochettino still has a clutch of absentees, with Ben Chilwell, Christopher Nkunku, Wesley Fofana, Trevoh Chalobah, Carney Chukwuemeka, Romeo Lavia and goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli due to injury. Meanwhile, skipper Reece James and Marc Cucurella miss the match through suspension.

Liverpool v Fulham – Anfield

Fulham face a stiff test against title contenders Liverpool at Anfield but will boosted by memories of a single-goal success on Merseyside back in March 2021.

Mario Lemina came up with the all-important strike on the stroke of half-time that day and became the first Fulham player to score at Anfield since Collins Johns found the net during a 5-1 defeat in the Premier League in March 2006.

Cottagers boss, Marco Silva has no further injury concerns and will have Joao Palhinha available following a one-match ban.

West Ham United v Crystal Palace – London Stadium

Jarrod Bowen remains an injury doubt for West Ham United (Rob Newell CameraSport)

Jarrod Bowen and Michail Antonio remain a doubt for David Moyes ahead of West Ham’s clash with Palace at teh London Stadium.

The pair returned injured from international duty and missed the Hammers’ subsequent games against Burnley and Backa Topola.

Divin Mubama could be thrown into the action against the South Londoners. Palace are unbeaten in their previous four visits to the London Stadium. However, they will be without the influential Eberechi Eze who has been ruled out for several weeks due to an ankle ligament injury picked up during their defeat at Luton last weekend.

Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur -Etihad Stadium

Injury-hit Tottenham faces a huge task despite facing a Manchester City side that themselves have had a minor wobble of late.

The Lilywhites have lost three on the bounce, a sequence that has seen them slip out of the top four, while champions City have drawn their last two and trail leaders Arsenal by a point.

Although City has only lost two of their last thirteen home Premier League encounters with Spurs, the North Londoners have won five of the last seven league meetings across the board.

Ange Postecoglou will be without Rodrigo Bentancur, injured during the 2-1 defeat against Aston Villa last weekend, joining Ashley Phillips, Richarlison, Micky van de Ven, James Maddison, Ivan Perisic, Manor Solomon, Ryan Sessegnon and Alfie Whiteman in the N17 treatment room.

Cristian Romero is still out through suspension, although Yves Bissouma is available as could be Pape Sarr.

Emirates FA Cup Second Round 

Chesterfield v Leyton Orient – SMH Group Stadium

Leyton Orient face a huge task in reaching the third round when they head to runaway Vanarama National League leaders Chesterfield on Sunday afternoon.

The O’s are without a win in seven league matches, while the Spireites have lost just one of their last sixteen in the league, a 2-1 defeat at teh hands of Southend.

Dan Agyei has returned to Richie Wellens’ matchday squad following a lengthy injury concern and featured in the O’s draws with Wigan and Bristol Rovers. However, Wellens is still without Jordan Graham, Adam Thompson and Omar Beckles and might be tempted to shuffle the pack for the trip to Derbyshire.

Monday, December 4

Emirates FA Cup Second Round 

AFC Wimbledon v Ramsgate – Plough Lane

Wimbledon are expecting a bumper audience for their televised FA Cup tie against Ramsgate at Plough Lane with over 5,000 tickets already sold.

Alex Pearce reached the FA Cup semi-final with Reading back in 2015, skippering the Royals in a 2-1 defeat at Wembley Stadium. The 35-year-old central defender also reached the quarter-final with Millwall in 2019.

He’s hoping to bring his sizable cup experiences to the fore when his current employers take on their Isthmian League opposition.

“It’s a cliché, but you really need to take each game at a time,” he told www.afcwimbledon.co.uk. 

“You don’t over-think the occasion, you make sure that you turn up individually and tick each game off. 

“That was the mentality we had at Reading and Millwall in those years – we ticked each game off and before we knew it we were in the quarter and semi-finals. That is how you should approach it.”

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Brian Jeeves

Email: sport@yellowad.co.uk