London Soccer Shorts….

Saturday, September 26

Premier League

Crystal Palace v Everton – Selhurst Park

Something has to give when Palace – off the back of a sensational victory at Old Trafford – take on the impressive Toffees at Selhurst on Saturday.

Despite the Merseysiders’ one hundred per cent start to the season, Roy Hodgson’s side will be super-confident of upsetting the applecart for a second successive weekend.

“I thought that both defensively and offensively we were good,” The Palace boss told BBC Match of the Day after their surprise 3-1 success in the North-West.

“We made certain and kept them playing in front of us and they could not profit from those spaces they are skilful enough to find.

“And when we had the ball I thought we looked very dangerous and threatening so I don’t think it was a big surprise that we scored three.” 

West Bromwich Albion v Chelsea – The Hawthorns

Frank Lampard took the positives from the Blues 2-0 defeat at the hands of Champions, Liverpool, at Stamford Bridge.

“I’m disappointed to lose three points as you always will and should be but I’m actually happier today in many ways than I was at Brighton,” he told www.chelsea fc.com.

“I saw spirit, desire to defend by a lot of our defenders – Reece James, Kurt Zouma, Fikayo Tomori when he came on.

“The midfield were giving everything to block gaps and you play half a game with 10 men, you don’t make that mistake for the second goal, you score the penalty – then it’s 1-1. I know that’s not football and I can’t reflect on that but those are the realities. The players should take heart, it’s how we go forward from here now.”

Having then rattled six past Barnsley in the Carabao Cup, Chelsea will be confident of bouncing back against an Albion side that has conceded eight goals in their opening two Premier League outings.

Sky Bet Championship

Millwall v Brentford – The Den

Unbeaten after two league matches. However, Millwall boss Gary Rowett spoke about the effect a lack of crowd is having on his side.

The Lions slipped out of the Carabao Cup to Burnley during the week and now face what would normally be a rip-roaring London derby with much-fancied Brentford at The Den.

“One of the disappointments for me was that it could have been a real rip-roaring Cup-tie, at home, at The Den, but it is tinged with disappointment from everyone at the club that we can’t get fans back,” Rowett explained to www.millwallfc.co.uk.

“It’s important for us as a club that we get our fans back in here, and it is also important economically. Our owner has supported us really well, but it’s a difficult scenario when you’ve got less income.

“I think we all need to rally around and do whatever we can to remain as strong as we can.”

Brentford head across the ca[pital in good shape having followed up 3-0 win over Huddersfield Town by dispatching West Brom from the Carabao Cup: “We are pleased with the win in the cup. It was a good win in a tight game where it could have gone either way,” Boss Thomas Frank told BBC Sport.

Queen’s Park Rangers v Middlesbrough – Loftus Road

Mark Warburton wants to see an improvement from his side following last Friday’s late defeat at Coventry City.

“We moved the ball around really well in the first half but we didn’t really test their goalkeeper enough and we didn’t get bodies around Lyndon enough,” he told www.qpr.co.uk.

“But we controlled it completely, got the penalty, got the goal and should have come in at half-time at least one up and be comfortable.

“But we give away a really poor goal, an avoidable goal, and that’s the biggest frustration.”

Warburton added: “We then didn’t start the second half well enough. We didn’t match their intensity for the first fifteen minutes.

“We get back in the game at 2-2. Then we had the warning and a second warning. We can’t let that happen, it’s as simple as that.

“There’s no excuses – we know we have to do better.

“We’ve dropped three points tonight.”

Rangers face a Boro side looking for their first league win of the season after losing at Watford then forcing a 1-1 draw with AFC Bournemouth.

Watford v Luton Town – Vicarage Road

Having picked up four points from a possible six, Watford head coach Vladimir Ivic, will be looking to add derby day delight to his CV when Luton visit Vicarage Road.

Ivic offered an honest response after last Saturday’s goalless encounter at Sheffield Wednesday, telling BBC Three Counties Radio: “First half we didn’t play well. We had a problem with our organisation, but (in the) second half it was much better. We start to play, we start to move the ball.

“It’s 0-0, whether that’s a fair result I cannot tell. They controlled the game in the first forty-five minutes. I believe in the second half we were the team who was more dominant in the last thirty-five – forty minutes.”

Sky Bet League One

Fleetwood Town v AFC Wimbledon – Highbury

Glyn Hodges was left pulling his hair out after his Dons side let a two-goal lead slip against Plymouth Argyle last time out. 

“We showed a great reaction in the second half to go 4-2 up after being 2-1 down,” he told www.afcwimbledon.co.uk.

“We just seemed to lose focus and concentration. I am disappointed we couldn’t get over the line. The centre forwards were brilliant. Ryan Longman got his first goal and ‘Pigs’ (Joe Pigott) could have had a hat-trick.

“When we put balls into dangerous areas we look dangerous. That’s our plan and I am still scratching my head to understand why we did not do it more. There are things we could have done more of and that’s why we will thrash it out next week.”

Joey Barton’s Fleetwood side head to the capital after producing a battling Carabao Cup performance against Everton, despite slipping to defeat.

Sky Bet League Two

Walsall v Leyton Orient – Bescot Stadium

Leyton Orient’s trip to the West Midlands currently remains in doubt after a number of the O’s squad returned positive COVID tests following last weekends exciting 2-2 draw with Mansfield Town. 

As a result, Tuesday’s Carabao Cup clash with Tottenham at the Breyer Group Stadium was postponed with details of a potential replay date or whether Spurs will be handed the tie still sketchy.

Sunday, September 27

Premier League

Tottenham Hotspur v Newcastle United – Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

Spurs returned to winning ways by thumping Southampton at St Mary’s. However, Jose Mourinho identified areas his side can brush up on ahead of their clash with Newcastle United in North London on Sunday.

“In the centre of our defensive area, we were a bit sloppy,” the Lilywhites chief told BBC Sport.

“We lost some duels. They got the ball behind us too easy. I was on the bench and thinking I would be happy to get in at 1-0.

“The goal gave us a different position in the game. In the second half, Harry Kane killed the game, the way he connected the game, the way he was dropping, he allowed Son Heung-min into attacking spaces. His performance was amazing.

“In the second half, we were too good for them.”

Spurs now face a Newcastle side beaten 3-0 at home by Brighton in their last league outing, but having retrieved some confidence with a seven-goal annihilation of Morecambe in the Carabao Cup during the week. 

West Ham United v Wolverhampton Wanderers – London Stadium

Assistant-manager, Alan Irvine, will again hold the fort after Hammers boss, David Moyes – along with Issa Diop and Josh Cullen – returned positive COVID tests ahead of Tuesday’s Carabao Cup thrashing of Hull City at the London Stadium.

Irvine’s task, leading West Ham to victory over a Wolves side who have won all four encounters since they returned to the Premier League. However, the one-time Everton, Palace and Blackburn winger insisted Moyes will still be involved from afar. 

“I am quite sure he will be in touch with us, he certainly won’t be disappearing so we will deal with it once we know,” the Glagwiegen explained.

“It’s one of these situations that it could come back as false positive so we will wait and see.”

Sky Bet League One

Lincoln City v Charlton Athletic – Sincil Bank

It’s a case of ‘back to the drawing board’ for Lee Bowyer after the Addicks were beaten by Doncaster in front of 1,000 fans at The Valley.

“You don’t lose 3-1 if you’re the better side,” he told www.cafc.co.uk.

“But what drives me crazy is that we still created chances and we don’t take them. I just said to the players it should have been 4-4. We didn’t defend well and we didn’t take our chances again. Frustrating, very frustrating.

“Goals win games and if you don’t take your chances and do the right things in the right areas, you don’t win games. That’s the difference. Look what they’ve done for the second goal. When did we get into positions and put crosses in like that? We didn’t. But these are things that we work on every day.

“You do work all week and then you play like that and make mistakes like that. They scored at good times but we should have scored before they did.”

Charlton now faces a tough test against a Lincoln side who have won each of their opening League Two matches and sit behind leaders Ipswich only on goal difference.

Monday, September 28

Premier League

Fulham v Aston Villa – Craven Cottage

Scott Parker’s Fulham are still looking for their first Premier League points of the season when Aston Villa are the visitors to Craven Cottage. 

Nevertheless, the Cottagers chief spoke about the positive aspects following his sides 4-3 defeat at Leeds United last weekend.

“There were a lot of encouraging things,” Parker told BBC Match of the Day.

You go 4-1 down away from home and they could really drop their heads. I didn’t see that in my team. I saw a real character and determination.

“The biggest thought in my head is that you cannot give up goals that we have given up today. You can’t expect to score four or five goals to win football matches in this league.

“If you give up goals too easy you aren’t going to win many. I just worry that a red bolt doesn’t go off for us. We need to smell it and sense it in those moments that are crucial in games. Sometimes we are a bit too nice.

“I see an innocence about them not being streetwise. Overall there are a lot of positives but there was one negative which I realise is going to be the difference between us getting results or not.”

Visitors’ Villa are looking to build on a 1-0 victory over Sheffield United in their opening Premier League encounter – Defender, Ezri Konsa, nodding the winner just after the hour.

Liverpool v Arsenal – Anfield

Evolving Arsenal continue to find different ways to win. A dogged Premier League triumph over West Ham was followed up with an altogether more polished Carabao Cup success at Leicester City. Nevertheless, with champions Liverpool just over the horizon, the Gunners chief remained pragmatic over where his side are just now.

Speaking after that midweek win at the King Power Stadium, the Spaniard explained to www.arsenal.com.

“When you win, you have to keep trying to win because things change really quickly. That’s what we demand from the players, to keep competing in every game and to show desire to win every game. That’s what they did tonight again.”

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Brian Jeeves

Email: [email protected]