London Soccer Shorts…

Brian Jeeves

Saturday, February 17

Premier League

Brentford v Liverpool – Gtech Community Stadium

Brentford boss Thomas is sweating over the fitness of Mathias Jensen ahead of the Bees clash with Liverpool at the Gtech.

Jensen went off midway through the second period as Brentford won 2-0 at Wolves. The West Londoners are already without Rico Henry, Bryan Mbeumo, Kevin Schade, Aaron Hickey and Josh Dasilva. However, Yoane Wissa and Frank Onyeka look likely to return following their participation at the African Cup of Nations.

Burnley v Arsenal – Turf Moor

Ruthless Arsenal head to East Lancashire off the back of a 6-0 thrashing of West Ham and will fancy their chances of dishing out another pummelling against relegation-threatened Burnley.

Oleksandr Zinchenko, Gabriel Jesus and Emile Smith Rowe are doubtful for the Gunners, while Jorginho could return after missing the London Stadium rout.

Jurrien Timber, Thomas Partey and Fabio Vieira remain sidelined for the North Londoners

Fulham v Aston Villa – Craven Cottage

Alex Iwobi and Calvin Bassey return for Fulham following their participation at the African Cup of Nations with Nigeria.

Raul Jimenez misses out through injury for the Cottagers, while Kenny Tete and Tosin Adarabioyo are touch and go for the Villa clash.

Nottingham Forest v West Ham United – The City Ground

Underfire Hammers boss David Moyes looks likely to be without Lucas Paquetá and Michail Antonio for the East Londoners trip to Nottingham Forest.

West Ham was beaten 6-0 at home by Arsenal last time out, ramping up the pressure and calls for Moyes to be replaced in the London Stadium hot seat.

Tottenham Hotspur v Wolverhampton Wanderers – Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

Ange Postecoglou is without Manor Solomon and Ryan Sessegnon for Tottenham’s clash with Wolves in N17.

Destiny Udogie should be available after picking up a knock during the Lilywhites’ dramatic victory over Brighton, while Giovani Lo Celso has recovered from a thigh issue.

Manchester City v Chelsea – Etihad Stadium

Mauricio Pochettino could be without Thiago Silva after the player picked up a groin injury during the Blues win at Crystal Palace.

Once again, Pochettino has a string of stars in casualty, including Benoit Badiashile, Wesley Fofana, Robert Sanchez, Marc Cucurella, Reece James, Romeo Lavia and Lesley Ugochukwu.

Sky Bet Championship

Bristol City v Queen’s Park Rangers – Ashton Gate

Relegation-threatened Rangers remain five points adrift and will find the going tough against a Bristol City side looking for their third successive victory.

The R’s were beaten by fellow strugglers Stoke during the week: “In the first half we got two good chances to take the lead and unfortunately the reality is that from a corner we shouldn’t concede, they score a goal that is definitive,” Head Coach Marti Cifuentes told BBC Radio London.

“In the first half, we got two good chances to take the lead and unfortunately the reality is that from a corner we shouldn’t concede, they score a goal that is definitive.

“In the second half, we adjusted a few things, the team really tried to create chances. We got much more dominance over the last 45 minutes, but still we missed that bit of quality in the last third.

“Today we definitely didn’t find the flow that we wanted. Stoke played much lower than they normally do, much more narrow and compact and was not easy for us to beat.

“I said before the game this will not be a season-changer. We need to keep on working, to try and get the points we need.”

Millwall v Sheffield Wednesday – The Den

A 4-0 home defeat has ramped up the pressure on Millwall boss Joe Edwards.

Ironically, Edwards won his first game in charge of the Lions against Saturday’s opponents, Sheffield Wednesday, by the same margin, but the south-east Londoners are likely to come up against a different animal in Wednesday who have battled gamely against the drop in recent weeks.

Speaking to BBC Sport after their drubbing at the hands of Ipswich, Edwards said: “It is a bit of deja vu. We started well with a clear plan that the players were executing. Their goalkeeper had a few saves to make early on.

“When you play against a team like Ipswich’s level, they can score goals at any time but the manner of that (first) goal can’t happen.

“It is a combination of things that throws us, we were feeling in a good place, with momentum and then the wind is taken out of your sails with a poor goal, and from there until half-time it just unravelled.”

Rotherham United v Watford – The AESSEAL New York Stadium

Watford head to Yorkshire looking to end a run of three straight league defeats when they take on rock-bottom Rotherham.

The Hornets were beaten 4-2 by improving Norwich last time out: 

“The feeling was there, especially in the crowd, that something had happened and the momentum changed for us.” Boss Valerien Ismael told BBC Three Counties Radio.

“We came back well in the second half and scored an

 awesome goal. We’re back on track and everything is there.

“From nowhere, we lost control of the game. At 2-2, you need to be calm and keep control of the game.

“It’s frustrating because we were really on top. It’s unacceptable how it’s happened.”

Sky Bet League One

Bolton Wanderers v Charlton Athletic – Toughsheet Community Stadium

Troubled Charlton will find it difficult against title-chasing Bolton at the Toughsheet Stadium. However, new boss, Nathan Jones was encouraged by his side during their midweek draw with Lincoln City at The Valley.

“Second half I thought we were outstanding,” he explained during his post-match press conference.

“I want us to play front-footed, be aggressive, athletic, try to create chances, try to take the game to the opposition. And we did that in the second half.

“Lincoln are in really good form. They’re well-coached, well-drilled, aggressive, they’ve got threats. But look, we were better tonight.”

Nevertheless, Charlton are without a win in fourteen matches and sit just a point above the dropzone.

Leyton Orient v Burton Albion – Gaughan Group Stadium

Leyton Orient have lost just one of their last ten League One outings and will be looking to enhance that record against struggling Burton in E10.

The O’s won a hugely entertaining seven-goal thriller against Northampton Town on Tuesday evening thanks to Ruel Sotiriou’s winner in the ninth minute of stoppage time: “If we hadn’t won the game it would have been a travesty because we dominated the game,” boss, Richie Wellens explained during his post-match press conference. 

“They were a threat in the final third but we had nineteen shots and dominated possession. They had three shots on target and all three went in. 

“I’m disappointed with the goals we gave away but the crowd stayed with us and the front three ran them ragged. Our rotations were fantastic.”

Sky Bet League Two

AFC Wimbledon v Morecambe – Plough Lane

Johnnie Jackson’s Wimbledon will be looking to get their play-off aspirations back on track when a rugged Morecambe side visits Plough Lane on Saturday.

The Dons slipped to a 2-0 defeat at Accrington Stanley last time out: “I’ve reminded the lads of how important it is to respond again,” Jackson told 

“We’re a point outside the play-offs and we’re right in the mix. There’s everything to play for. Tonight is disappointing, it’s another punch on the nose but this team has shown it can respond this season.

“Given the form we’ve been in at home, we’ve now got a big opportunity. We’ve got a long trip back but next time in training they need to bounce through the door and know that we have a big game on Saturday.”

Bradford City v Sutton United – University of Bradford Stadium, Valley Parade 

Sutton United slipped back to the bottom of League Two following their defeat at the hands of Wrexham during the week, and they will find it difficult to end a run of nine without a win against a Bradford City side that has won their last two.

Monday, February 19

Premier League

Everton v Crystal Palace – Goodison Park 

Confusion reigned after underfire Palace boss, Roy Hodgson was taken ill during training on Thursday morning.

It had been reported that the 76-year-ols was to be replaced by former Eintracht Frankfurt boss Oliver Glasner. However, the clubs’ new conference was subsequently cancelled.

The South Londoners have struggled for form of late and face a must-win clash with fellow strugglers Everton at Goodison Park on Monday evening.

Brian Jeeves