London Soccer Shorts…

Saturday, February 1

Premier League

Leicester City v Chelsea – King Power Stadium

Chelsea will be looking to close the gap on third-placed Leicester to five points when the pair go head-to-head at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

Frank Lampard could be without Tammy Abraham – Michy Batshuayi the man likely to deputise with the England frontman still struggling with an ankle issue.

Christian Pulisic, N’Golo Kante and Reece James look unlikely to feature, while Ruben Loftus-Cheek remains sidelined.

Crystal Palace v Sheffield United – Selhurst Park

Crystal Palace faces a Sheffield United side keen to end their London hoodoo.

The Blades haven’t won any of their last nineteen top-flight matches in the capital. However, they have draw on their previous four visits south this season.

Christian Benteke, Patrick van Aanholt and Andros Townsend have all trained this week and could be available for Roy Hodgson. Meanwhile, David McGoldrick is a doubt for the Blades with a foot injury

Watford v Everton – Vicarage Road

Adrian Mariappa spoke of the role Hornets fans can play as they look to claw themselves out of the relegation zone.

Speaking to ahead of Everton’s visit to Vicarage Road, the defender said: “They are all big games now.

“Every time we play it’s a cup final and it’s going to be that way until the end of the season. We will prepare this week and have the right mentality and attitude going into the game. 

“We can’t wait to get back to the Vic. It definitely feels like the fans are with us: they are the 12th man and we want the away side to feel that atmosphere and have an effect. We are going to need that support, especially on Saturday.”

West Ham United v Brighton & Hove Albion – London Stadium

David Moyes thought his struggling West Ham United side displayed positive signs despite slipping to a midweek defeat at the hands of league leaders, Liverpool.

“I thought the players did a good job defensively,” the Scotsman explained.

“Especially giving a debut to a young right-back as well. Look, we were playing against a really good team, we made opportunities, more in the second half and gave us some chances.

“Overall, pleased with the performance up against a tough team, we are a bit limited to what we can do as well so we made the most of what we could.”

The Hammers now face a ‘must-win’ clash with Brighton at the London Stadium. Michail Antonio could return, while Czech midfielder, Tomáš Souček, is expected to feature following his move to the east Londoners from Slavia Prague

Sky Bet Championship

Hull City v Brentford – KCOM Stadium

Thomas Frank will be hoping his Brentford side can bounce back on Humberside after slipping to defeat against fellow promotion hopefuls, Nottingham Forest, at Griffin Park last time out.

“Forest are a good side and they are where they are for a reason. They are well organised and set out to make it scrappy from minute one,” the Bees chief explained.

“When you see them timewasting so early you know you have done something good at Griffin Park. They paid us a lot of respect and didn’t let us get any tempo in the game.

Frank added: “We knew they were a good team and it would be a tight game but we didn’t have enough of that quality we usually do, so we can only blame ourselves.”

Charlton Athletic v Barnsley – The Valley

Lee Bowyer is hoping to secure the future of striker, Lyle Taylor, ahead of the transfer window’s closure, with the former AFC Wimbledon man out of contract, come the end of the campaign.

Speaking to, Bowyer said: “I hope he stays. He’s a big player for us. He’s played eight 90 minutes this season and we haven’t lost a game. If you’re asking me, on the football side of things, do I want Lyle to stay? Of course.

“I’m hopeful we can move forward, get this window out of the way, he’s still here and do something after the window because I want Lyle to still be here and be part of this club moving forward. He was a big part of us getting into this division so I’m hoping he’s a part of it moving forward as well.”

Fulham v Huddersfield Town – Craven Cottage

Scott Parker insisted his Fulham side have bigger fish to fry following their Emirates FA Cup exit at Manchester City last weekend.

Tim Ream was red-carded early on before City ran in four unanswered goals. However, Parker spoke positively to BBC Radio London.   

“You are playing one of the best teams in Europe but I have nothing but pride for my players when they went down to 10 men because I see a team here that has an identity with their commitment and personality,” the former midfielder explained.

“I’ve been in this job for 12 months and I’m trying to build something. OK, we lost the match 4-0 but the bigger picture is there are some big positives to take from it.”

Fulham are unbeaten in three Championship matches. Meanwhile, visitors to the Cottage, Huddersfield Town, have eased their relegation fears with two wins and a draw from their last five.

Queens Park Rangers v Bristol City – The Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium

Mark Warburton’s R’s know only a victory over play-off hopefuls, Bristol City, will realistically keep their slim top six hope alive.

Warburton gave an honest assessment following the West Londoners defeat at Blackburn last time out, explaining: “I think we did enough if I’m fair but I can’t say that because you have to put the ball in the back of the net, we all know it.

“You talk about stats and data and everything else. Irrelevant. Put the ball in the back of the net.

“We did enough to do that I think in terms of good areas we got into, dominated possession, looked dangerous on both flanks but just lacked, a bit of guile, that little cleverness on the last pass, the last cross, the last touch, to get the rewards.”

Sheffield Wednesday v Millwall – Hillsborough

Millwall return to action in Yorkshire having allowed a two-goal advantage slip as Leeds United took the points at Elland Road during the week.

“I’m disappointed, but overall we’ve been given a lesson. They (Leeds) were thoroughly deserved winners,” Lions boss, Gary Rowett, conceded.

“Ten days without a game has probably benefitted Leeds which you saw with the running and energy.

“We knew this was a tough place to come. To get in at half-time 2-0 up, we didn’t perform well enough after that.”

Millwall face an out of sorts Sheffield Wednesday side that has been beaten in their previous two league outings, conceding seven goals in the process. 

Sky Bet League One

Accrington Stanley v AFC Wimbledon – The Wham Stadium

Glynn Hodges’ Wimbledon side head to Accrington Stanley brimming with confidence after consecutive decent displays from his charges. 

“We should take confidence from the fact that we’ve had two hard home games against Peterborough and Burton – two teams flying high to try and get into the Championship – and we’ve won one and drawn one,” he told 

“We more than deserved what we got out of the games. The way that we came back in the second-half with the commitment, and never-say-die attitude shown, was a credit to the boys, they deserved a point.”

Host’s Accrington are without a win in six League Two matches – a sequence which has seen them slip within eight points of the dropzone.

Sky Bet League Two

Stevenage v Leyton Orient – The Lamex Stadium

Ross Embleton thought his O’s deserved better than the 2-0 defeat they received at Crewe on Tuesday evening. 

“If anyone who has been here this evening, they will see we probably deserved to win the game, or certainly come out of it with something. One hundred per cent, I am never satisfied with a defeat,” he explained after the Gresty Road setback.

“But, we’ve put in a performance that’s one of the best I’ve seen all season – against a team at the top of the table and being a tough place to come to. But, I’m frustrated we didn’t come away from here with anything.”

O’s will be looking to take another step towards securing their league status against a Stevenage side currently propping up the division, four points from safety.

Sunday, February 2

Premier League

Burnley v Arsenal – Turf Moor

Mikel Arteta spoke of the comparisons he has discovered from both captaining and managing Arsenal.

Speaking to, the Spaniard explained: “You sleep worse, for sure, before the games. It’s a completely different life you know. I’m pleased with today’s performance, but let’s go step by step and see where we get.”

Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City – Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

Spurs could include attacking midfielder, Steven Bergwijn against champions, Manchester City, following his big money move to N17 from Eredivisie outfit PSV Eindhoven.

“It’s an amazing move for me, an amazing club,” the 22-year-old told

 “Just look around the training ground, it’s amazing. It’s an honour to be here. I just spoke to the manager as well. When I was a young boy I looked up to a coach like Jose Mourinho, now I play for him.” 


Brian Jeeves

Email: [email protected]