London Soccer Shorts… 

Brian Jeeves

Friday, April 26

Sky Bet Championship

Queen’s Park Rangers v Leeds United – Loftus Road

With their Championship status secured, QPR can relax, play, and perhaps derail Leeds United’s promotion aspirations with a win at Loftus Road on Friday evening.

The R’s ensured their place in the second tier with a single-goal success over Preston North End last time out. Speaking to BBC Radio London, Rangers Had Coach, Martí Cifuentes said: “We are very happy to get the three points, we performed at a good level against a good team.

“I’m very glad for all the guys and their performances, I’m happy for Lyndon Dykes, it was an important goal.

“This team never gave up, the last moments were very difficult and we needed to be focused, the team did a great job.”

Saturday, April 27

Premier League

West Ham United v Liverpool – London Stadium

David Moyes is sweating over the fitness of Jarrod Bowen, Konstantinos Mavropanos and Nayef Aguerd Aheda for the visit of Liverpool to the London Stadium.

Moyes is also without the services of goalkeeper, Alphonse Areola. The Hammers were thrashed 5-2 at Crystal Palace last time out, drawing a scathing response from teh Scotsman: “We have no excuse,” he told www.whufc.com.

“We’ve had a lot of games, and we didn’t have Jarrod, but we knew that and we needed to come here and be better.

“As a Premier League club, you have to have something about you. Every game is tough and we knew that coming here, but  it was just so, so bad.”

Fulham v Crystal Palace – Craven Cottage

Fulham host in-form Crystal Palace in what is sure to be an entertaining encounter at Craven Cottage.

Fulham were beaten 3-1 by Liverpool last time out. Boss Marco Silva told Sky Sports: “We have 12 points to fight for and that should be our focus. It’s been a long but very good journey for this football club. The ambition is to get more and more.

“We have a group of players who are professional and who will always fight for the shirt. We have points to fight for no matter who we play. No one can doubt our players because we’ve been really professional in every moment of the season.”

Meanwhile, Palace warmed up with a third successive Premier League victory as Newcastle United were beaten at Selhurst Park during the week.

Jean-Philippe Mateta netted twice for the Eagles. Palace chief Oliver Glasner told Sky Sports: “Once he was running after Guimaraes in the second half. He couldn’t get him but he was so ambitious to win this tackle and he ran twenty metres more. In the end, he wins the tackle and we win the ball. It’s the best for me as the manager to see the team working together.”

Everton v Brentford – Goodison Park

Brentford boss, Thomas Frank hopes to have Ivan Toney available for the Bees trip to fellow strugglers Everton. 

The England frontman missed out on Brentford’s 5-1 rout of Luton: Speaking to Sky Sports, Frank said: “We need to get him absolutely right, and fully fit. I thought he would be ready for this game but I strongly believe he’ll be ready for Everton.”

Aston Villa v Chelsea – Villa Park

Chelsea boss, Mauricio Pochettino is a ma under pressure following his sides’ 5-0 mauling at the hands of Arsenal, and it won’t come any easier against a Villa side looking to secure a top-four finish to the season.

Speaking to the media following the Emirates annihilation, Pochettino said: “It’s true we did not compete. I cannot blame the players, as a team we are showing this inconsistency. That is why we are where we are, because we are capable of having an amazing performance, and three days later to be at the other extreme.

“When we have bad days, we are so bad. When we are good, we are capable of everything. But it’s another thing that we need to be aware that we need to improve for the future.”

Sky Bet Championship

Millwall v Plymouth Argyle -The Den

Millwall secured their safety with a win at Sunderland and will now look to dent Plymouth’s survival hopes at The Den.

Speaking to BBC Radio London after their single-goal success at the Stadium of Light, Lions boss, Neil Harris, said: “I had two objectives when coming here, galvanise the football club and keep us over the dotted line.

“Both are just as important for me and Sunderland is a good side, to be three points behind them is so good.

“We’re not far away from teams who have ambitions of getting into the top ten, it’s a great place to be.”

Watford v Sunderland – Vicarage Road

Watford have confirmed the permanent appointment of Tom Cleverley as their new Head Coach following a notable interim spell.

The former Manchester United midfielder takes full control for the first time when Sunderland comes calling. Speaking to BBC Sport following his ap[pointmen, Cleverley said: “There is a lot of unfinished business from my playing career.

“That drives me forward with my coaching. It motivates me every day.

“I didn’t achieve anything in the Champions League with Manchester United. The title we lost to City. I came to Watford when they were in the Premier League. I retired as a player with them in the Championship. None of it sits right.

“I left a few out there as a player. I probably lacked ambition. But as a coach, I am very ambitious.”

Sky Bet League One 

Shrewsbury Town v Leyton Orient – Crowd Meadow

Wycombe Wanderers v Charlton Athletic – Adams Park

Charlton head to Adams Park looking to extend their unbeaten sequence under Nathan Jones to fifteen matches.

The Addicks face a Chairboys side looking to finish the season strongly. 

Nevertheless, Jones was far from happy with his side following their 1-1 draw with Shrewsbury Town last time out. Speaking to www.charltonafc.com, he said: “I’m disappointed really, because first half we just weren’t us.

“Second half we asked for a reaction at half time. We got it and we were much better. Created many more chances, were more front-footed, the crowd were up.

“But first half we were too passive all over. We moved the ball slowly, we became that possession-based, boring football team.”

Sky Bet League Two 

AFC Wimbledon v Walsall – Plough Lane

A 3-2 defeat at Tranmere Rovers ended AFC Wimbledon’s faint play-off hopes leaving them with a dead rubber with Walsall at Plough Lane to conclude their campaign.

Speaking to www.afcwimbledon.com about the clubs’ loyal fan base, boss, Johnnie Jackson said: “They were unbelievable. They stayed with the lads. They could have easily not got behind us when things weren’t going great. 

“They applauded the lads off at the end. I think they can see that the lads are giving absolutely everything, even in defeat. It’s been down to technical failings, not effort and endeavour. 

“The boys give everything and that’s reflected in our support. The way they get behind the boys is a credit to the football club. We’re gutted for them that we didn’t get to where we wanted to get to.

“There will be an excitement about what’s next and we’ll be aiming to get that right so that next year we’ll be sat here talking about how great a season it’s been rather than how much we’ve improved.2

Sutton United and a sizable travelling support head to StadiumMK in the knowledge that their EFL status is hanging by a threat.

United must rely on Colchester losing at home to Crewe, while they pick up all three points at high-flying MK Dons while making up a sizable goal difference in the process.

Sunday, April 28

Premier League

Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal – Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

The final North London Derby of the season takes place in N17 on Sunday, with Spurs keen to dent Arsenal’s title challenge, while keeping alive their hopes of a top-four finish.

Spurs are six points off fourth-placed Aston Villa but have two games in hand. Ange Postecoglou is sweating over the fitness of Pedro Porro and Richarlison, both of whom will be assessed. Meanwhile, Fraser Forster, Ryan Sessegnon and Manor Solomon remain sidelined.

Leaders Arsenal enhanced their title chances with a resounding 5-0 thumping of Chelsea. Striker, Eddie Nketiah is confident his side can replicate last season’s 2-0 triumph at their North London rivals.

“Arsenal tend to do a bit better in the derbies so I’ve seen a lot of wins, I’ve played in a few myself and it was quite memorable the one I started in last season,” he told www.arsenal.com.

“The team had a good win and performance and that was a really nice feeling so I’m going there with full confidence that hopefully this year we can replicate it. Why not?”

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Brian Jeeves

Email: sport@yellowad.co.uk