London Soccer Shorts… 

Brian Jeeves
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Saturday, May 11

Premier League

Fulham v Manchester City – Craven Cottage

Fulham are in the firing line when all-conquering Manchester City hit West London on Saturday.

The Cottagers have won just one of their last six, while City have won six out of six as they hone in on their fourth successive Premier League title.

Fulham played out a flat, goalless draw with Brentford last time out: “A tough game for both sides,” boss Marco Silva speaking to BBC Match of the Day.

“It is a derby that is becoming a little bit more special, the incentive for both, and I think we showed that in the match as the best chances were for us. We kept them really quiet. Even though they are dangerous on set-pieces we kept them quiet because we did our job.

“We showed the motivation and commitment. When you are not motivated you can start to lose focus but we didn’t see that in our team. We tried until the last moment to go forward. All the changes I made – and Thomas Frank – was more attacking.”

AFC Bournemouth v Brentford – Vitality Stadium

Brentford boss, Thomas Frank threw his support behind misfiring frontman Ivan Toney following the Bees’ goalless draw with West London rivals Fulham.

“There are spells for any striker where they don’t score in a period of time and then they’ll do it again,” he told BBC Match of the Day. 

“Ivan is a top player and he will score again soon. He’s been out with injury. I think he was average last week and took a step forward this week. 

“Both games we haven’t been fantastic offensively so even when Messi was top it was very rare. The team need to click as well.”

Tottenham Hotspur v Burnley – Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

Four defeats on the bounce have seen sections of the N17 crowd question Tottenham boss, Ange Postecoglou.

Nevertheless, the home crowd will be expecting their side to end that frustrating sequence when struggling Burnley are the visitors.

The Australian picked the positives out of the Lilywhites 4-2 defeat at Liverpool, telling www.tottenhamhotspur.com: “Disappointed, obviously, with the outcome, but today was more like ourselves. The lads tried to play our football and tried to be the team we want to be. That gives me something to work with. So, yes, a disappointing outcome, but at least we tried to play our football.

“I thought our football, in general, was good. Obviously, when you are losing 4-0, it’s bizarre to say it, but I thought we had a good foothold in the game, just in the front third, we really lacked any sort of real bite and conviction, and when that happens, that allows the opposition, allowed Liverpool, to get comfortable, whereas if we’d created a couple of good chances with our good general play, it may have put them under a bit more pressure. The flip side of that is that their front third was dangerous when they got into our box.

“We gave ourselves a mountain to climb, but, again, when we play like ourselves, we always finish strong, the players didn’t waiver in their belief and we got a couple of goals, could have had a couple more.”

West Ham United v Luton Town – London Stadium

David Moyes takes charge of West Ham United for the penultimate time this Saturday, with former Sevilla, Spain, Real Madrid and Wolverhampton Wanderers boss, Julen Lopetegui seemingly ready to take charge at the London Stadium.

Despite coming in for heavy criticism from sections of the West Ham support, Moyes will ultimately go down in the history books as one of their more successful managers, having twice taken charge and led them clear of relegation, as well as overseeing their UEFA Europa Conference success in 2023.

Moyes will leave West Ham when his contract concludes at the end of the season. Speaking to www.whufc.com, the Scotsman said: “I have enjoyed four and a half brilliant years at West Ham, and the Club is in a stronger position than when I returned in 2019.

“When I joined West Ham for a second time, the Club was one place above the relegation zone, and it has been a terrific journey to have achieved three consecutive seasons in Europe.

“After leading the Club to safety, we guided the team to finishes of 6th and 7th in the Premier League, and I was delighted when we won the Europa Conference League title last June – the Club’s first major trophy in 43 years.

“I would like to thank all the players for their support, and all the success they have achieved, over the last four and a half years.

“I have really enjoyed working with everyone at West Ham, and I would like to thank the Board for giving me the opportunity to manage this great Club.

“I wish my eventual successor, the Directors, the players, the staff, the fans, and everybody at West Ham, all the very best for the future.”

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Crystal Palace – Molineux

Crystal Palace boss Oliver Glasner is keen to keep his clutch of star players, who once again caught the eye, this time as the South Londoners swept away Manchester United by four unanswered goals at Selhurst Park.

“It’s the job of the club to keep all the players,” he told BBC Sport. 

“I know they’ll try everything possible. You never know how your squad will look when the next season starts. 

“They’re amazing players, this is an amazing group.”

Palace head to Molineux unbeaten in five and face a Wolves side with a single win to their name in the same sequence.

Nottingham Forest v Chelsea – The City Ground

Victory for Chelsea at relegation-threatened Forest will give them a great chance of securing European football for next season.

Back-to-back London derby successes over Tottenham and West Ham have moved the Blues into seventh place. Speaking to BBC Sport, boss, Mauricio Pochettino, said: “In the really tough moments, we keep pushing.

“We really believe and we never give up. Even with the criticism of many things, we were there.

“That’s the important thing, when we talk about experience and quality and capacity to deal with things. We will enjoy today, this type of performance.

“Now it’s about being clever and smart and to keep this momentum until the end of the season.”

Sunday, May 12

Premier League

Manchester United v Arsenal – Old Trafford

Arsenal head to Old Trafford off the back of four straight victories and will be confident of extending that sequence against a Manchester United side seeingly on the beach.

The Gunners continued their title charge with a 3-0 victory over AFC Bournemouth last time out. However, they still require chief title rivals Manchester City to falter: Speaking to BBC Match of the Day, boss Mikel Arteta bemoaned: “Last week we won two difficult games and then we wait for something and it doesn’t happen.

“We need to keep doing our bit and then pray.”

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Brian Jeeves

Email: sport@yellowad.co.uk

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