London Soccer Shorts…

Friday, September 19

Sky Bet Championship

Coventry City v Queen’s Park Rangers – St Andrews (Birmingham City FC)

Mark Warburton will call for more of the same when his QPR side head to newly-promoted Coventry City on Friday night.

Speaking to www.qpr.co.uk after their opening day 2-0 triumph over Nottingham Forest, the boss said: “We had to show a lot of commitment, togetherness and quality, as well as making sure we stuck to the game plan which the players did well.

“We looked good all afternoon so I am really pleased with the performance.”

Saturday, September 20

Premier League

Leeds United v Fulham – Elland Road

Scott Parker offered an honest assessment after witnessing his newly-promoted Cottagers comfortably beaten by Arsenal at the weekend.

“When you are a team like us that has come from the Championship you can’t let defeat after defeat really cripple you,” he explained to BBC Match of the Day.

“We are going to lose more than we win but as a team, you have to keep learning and developing.”

Now Fulham head to another promoted side, Leeds: “It has been a quick turnaround for us,” 

“Parker added. We have brought players in that will improve us and hopefully, there will be more. We need to get them up to speed quickly.”

Manchester United v Crystal Palace – Old Trafford

Roy Hodgson might well require another strong performance from his goalkeeper, Vicente Guaita if Palace are to snaffle anything away from Old Trafford.

The Spanish stopper made several notable saves during the Eagles 1-0 victory over Southampton on the opening day of the season, drawing praise from the one-time England chief: “I have to take my hat off to our goalkeeper for making a fantastic save, but I am very happy to get off to a good start against a team like Southampton with such good quality,” he told www.cpfc.co.uk.

Arsenal v West Ham United – The Emirates Stadium

Mikel Arteta insisted his Gunners look in pretty good nick following their opening day victory over Fulham. 

“Yes, I don’t think it gets much better than that,” the Spaniard told www.arsenal.com. 

“I think it’s really good for the players, for their confidence, for their belief, and to settle in the group quickly. It’s always a challenge when you bring in new players but the way they played today and the commitment they showed with the boys, it was terrific.”

Arteta will call for more of the same when West Ham visit. The East Londoners were beaten by Newcastle on the opening day. However, boss David Moyes hoped a midweek brace for Sebastien Haller against Charlton in the Carabao Cup might offer his shot-shy frontline a little more confidence ahead of their trip across the capital: “Seb getting a couple of goals will be good for his confidence. We had Michail Antonio scoring for us at the end of last season and now we hope Seb gets on a run of scoring goals.”

Sky Bet Championship

Brentford v Huddersfield Town – Brentford Community Stadium

Thomas Frank insisted the Bees were a little more like their old selves at Southampton during the week.

Having lost their opening league fixture at Birmingham, Brentford produced the sort of display their fans have come to expect as the Premier League Saints were sunk by two unanswered goals at St Marys.

“It was a performance where we definitely showed we can compete with a Premier League opponent,” Frank told BBC Sport.

“But we all know that we need to do that more than one game to go forward. And it’s very important for me to mention that.”

Brentford are now looking to take advantage of a Huddersfield side beaten in each of their opening two domestic fixtures against Rochdale and Norwich. 

Rotherham United v Millwall – The New York Stadium

Lions assistant manager, Adam Barrett, insisted their midweek Carabao Cup win over Cheltenham Town will add further momentum ahead of their return to Championship action on Saturday.

“It was a very professional performance, there were bits in there where we can be better,” the former Southend United defender told BBC Sport. 

“We’re delighted with the start, it’s two wins and a draw so confidence is starting to build, we’ve got a little unbeaten run which we can hopefully take into Saturday.”

Sheffield Wednesday v Watford – Hillsborough 

Central defender, Ben Wilmot, insisted Watford’s young squad will continue to improve as the season comes to life.

The Hornets hope to follow-up last Friday’s single-goal success over Middlesbrough with another three points at Sheffield Wednesday this weekend

Speaking to www.watfordfc.com after the Boro clash, Wilmot explained: “It was difficult, but I think we needed it as a team. There are a few lads who aren’t aware of what the Championship’s like, so it was a good test.

“It’s a very direct and aggressive league, games come thick and fast and teams are renowned to be very strong, physical and play direct football. I experienced a lot of that on loan last season, so I’ve played a number of these teams and know what’s coming.”

Sky Bet League One

AFC Wimbledon v Plymouth Argyle – Loftus Road (Queen’s Park Rangers FC)

Glyn Hodges hopes his inexperienced side will learn fast, believing one or two cool heads might well have seen them take more than a point from last weekends entertaining 2-2 draw at Northampton Town.

Ahead of Saturday’s clash against a Plymouth side, themselves smarting after allowing a two-goal lead slip during Tuesday, 3-2 Carabao Cup defeat at Leyton Orient, Hodges explained to www.afcwimbledon.co.uk: “Sometimes we got caught up in the game, we got a bit rash, and needed to be calm. That’s probably the inexperience, that they want to do so well. Sometimes they need to take a breath and calm down so that they relax and play.”

Charlton Athletic v Doncaster Rovers – The Valley

Lee Bowyer took the positives from Tuesday evenings Carabao Cup exit at West Ham but was clearly more concerned with the bread and butter of the EFL with his side looking to make it back-to-back League One successes when Doncaster Rovers visit The Valley.

Speaking to www,cafc.com immediately after the London Stadium clash, Bowyer explained: “They’ll have a rest tomorrow.

“I said to them ‘ignore the score, the most important thing is Saturday.

“We’ll be ready, that’s why I took Macca (Macauley Bonne) off, that’s why I took (Darren Pratley off, that’s why I took Jonny (Williams) off. The most important thing is getting them ready for Saturday.”

Sky Bet League Two

Leyton Orient v Mansfield Town – Breyer Group Stadium

Leyton Orient head into Saturday’s clash with Mansfield bubbling with confidence after their midweek Carabao Cup heroics.

The O’s recovered a two-goal deficit before progressing to a home tie with Spurs – in-form frontman, Danny Johnson, netting his fourth goal in as many matches to seal the deal.

“I’m incredibly proud of the performance that the players have put in, the grit and determination that they’ve put in to get us to that point of playing against Tottenham,” O’s chief, Ross Embleton enthused to BBC Sport.

Orient face a Stags side still searching for their first goal of the campaign, although manager, Graham Coughlan, was happy with a clean sheet last time out against Tranmere: “It was a good, solid start and we created,” the Irishman told www.mansfieldtown.net.

“We were by far the better team and were solid at the back. We kept a clean sheet and we limited them to very little.”

Sunday, September 21

Premier League

Southampton v Tottenham Hotspur – St Mary’s Stadium

Jose Mourinho will demand more from his side when they take on out of sorts Southampton at St Mary’s on Sunday lunchtime.

The Lilywhites produced a flat performance, culminating in a single-goal defeat to Everton last time out: “It wasn’t a very good performance, not a consistent performance, not a performance that leaves me a very good feeling that all of my players gave everything, that all my players were in the right frame of mind, that all of my players were there really to leave what you have and what you don’t have,” he told www.tottenhamhotspur.com. 

“I don’t go home with that feeling. I go home with the feeling that some of the boys could do more.”

Spurs face a Saints side beaten on the opening day at Crystal Palace, then humbled in the Carabao Cup by impressive Championship outfit, Brentford. 

Chelsea v Liverpool – Stamford Bridge

Frank Lampard was pleased with what he saw from his Chelsea side at Brighton and insisted there’s more to come from his exciting side.

Blues won 3-1 at the AMEX Stadium with Jorginho (penalty), Reece James and Kurt Zouma on target. They now face champions Liverpool, who perhaps appear a little more defensively vulnerable than Jurgen Klopp would like?

“We will be better,” the Chelsea boss told www.chelseafc.com.

“This is our first game and circumstances mean we have only been together as a group for four days. We had two players making their debut and we showed a lot of good stuff. 

“We weren’t where we want to be in the end, that will take a bit of time. The first game of the season is certainly about getting a win when you come to a place like Brighton and we did a lot of good things to get that.”

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Brian Jeeves

Email: [email protected]