London Soccer Shorts…

Saturday, October 3

Premier League

Chelsea v Crystal Palace – Stamford Bridge

It has been an inconsistent start to the season for Chelsea, with Premier League points dropped coupled with a Carabao Cup exit at Spurs.

Nevertheless, manager, Frank Lampard, insisted his players were on the right track.  

Speaking to BBC 5 Live after the Blues had tripped on penalties at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Lampard explained: “I keep saying the same thing but there’s no doubt that if you look at our first-half performance and some of the great stuff we did, that’s going to keep coming.

“To sustain that for 90 minutes with the fitness we’ve got is hard – you can see they were dead on their feet at the end. Tottenham had an extra two weeks of pre-season. That’s a tough challenge but I can’t be unhappy with a lot of the performance.”

Meanwhile, Roy Hodgson was satisfied with what he saw from Palace, despite their 2-1 home defeat at the hands of early-season pacesetters Everton.

“I was very pleased with the team’s performance,” the former England chief told www.cpfc.co.uk.

“I thought we started slowly and got ourselves back into the game well. And going towards half-time we were establishing some sort of control of the game.

“In particular, the second half, I thought the way the players got over the disappointment of finding themselves two goals to one down, in a way they felt was very harsh, and the way they approached the second-half was very positive.”

Sky Bet Championship

Reading v Watford – Madejski Stadium

Watford will leapfrog second-placed Reading with a victory at the Madejski Stadium.

The Hornets edged out local rivals, Luton Town at Vicarage Road last weekend. “We created four or five chances and we could have scored more goals but OK, game by game I believe that our performance will be better,” Head Coach, Vladimir Ivic, told BBC Sport

“I said a lot of times that we are not at 100% of our ability.”

Sheffield Wednesday v Queen’s Park Rangers

Rangers will have their work cut out against a Sheffield Wednesday side looking to claw back a twelve-point penalty handed out before a ball was kicked.

The R’s warmed up for their Hillsborough trip with a 1-1 draw against Middlesbrough at Loftus Road which left manager, Mark Warburton a little frustrated.

“They are a tough team and have good quality and physicality in their squad. You have to stand up against them in the box,” Warburton told BBC Radio London.

“It feels like we have dropped two points, as we had the better chances and much more of the ball.

“Overall, there was lots of good play and some very pleasing football.”

Swansea City v Millwall – Liberty Stadium

Millwall put their unbeaten start on the line at Swansea with boss, Gary Rowett in a bullish mood over his side’s chances.

The Lions competed extremely well against much-fancied Brentford last time out before settling for a share of the spoils.

“I thought we were really good. We probably created the better chances,” he told BBC Radio London

“We have played two tough sides here in Stoke and Brentford and have more than matched them.

Sky Bet League One

AFC Wimbledon v Accrington Stanley – Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium

Unbeaten Dons will fancy adding to their points haul when Accrington are the visitors to Loftus Road on Saturday.

A decent performance culminating in a single-goal success at Fleetwood Town impresses boss, Glyn Hodges: “After conceding four goals last week, it (a clean sheet) is always something you set out to achieve,” the former Welsh international told www.afcwimbledon.co.uk. 

“To come away and get a 1-0 win at a place like this is tremendous.”

Charlton Athletic v Sunderland – The Valley

Lee Bowyer focused on the positives following Charlton’s defeat at Lincoln and with Thomas Sandgaard’s takeover now complete, the Addicks chief could have one or two new faces on board come the visit of Sunderland on Saturday.

Speaking to www.cafc.co.uk  after the Sincil Bank setback, Bowyer explained: “The side that was out there today I thought did some really good things. We just didn’t get the result that we probably deserved. 

That’s our own fault, we can’t blame anyone else for that. The officials played a part but we should have been out of sight in the first half, two or three [goals] in my eyes.

“I thought we were by far the better team, by far – but if you don’t do the right things in both boxes correctly then you are going to lose the game. 

On the takeover, Bowyer added: “The positive thing now is that we can start bringing in bodies. We’ve done that already, I thought Akin (Famewo) did really well. The most important thing is that we can strengthen.”

Sky Bet League Two

Leyton Orient v Cheltenham Town – Breyer Group Stadium

Orient return to Sky Bet League Two action following their recent COVID issues and they will be keen to continue their unbeaten early-season form when Cheltenham Town are the visitors to the Breyer Group Stadium.

O’s chief, Ross Embleton, spoke of a strong togetherness following the positive tests returned by a number of their squad following their draw with Mansfield a fortnight ago. 

“As a club we find ourselves in a difficult position with the amount of time our players have been self-isolating,” Embleton told www.leytonorient.com.

“However, if lockdown taught us anything, there is a strong togetherness within the group, and they are driven and inspired to improve this season. I feel we will give it everything to go into the game and get something out of it.”

Sunday, October 4

Premier League

Leicester City v West Ham United – King Power Stadium

West Ham will again ring the changes for their daunting trip to the King Power Stadium.

A 4-0 success over Wolves was followed by a much-changed Hammers line-up receiving a Carabao Cup routing at Everton. 

Our job now is to pick everybody back up, and we played an eleven today which could be a team that plays in the Premier League,” Assistant boss, Alan Irvine told www.whufc.com after the Goodison defeat.

“The players we picked were all players who have Premier League experience.

“It wasn’t as if we weren’t going into this game in a serious manner, we wanted to come here and get into the quarter-finals. There’s no question about that, and had we done a couple of our defensive jobs better we could have been doing that.”

West Ham face a Leicester side currently topping the Premier League following an emphatic 5-2 victory over Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium – Jamie Vardy netting a hat-trick for the in-form Foxes.

Arsenal v Sheffield United – Emirates Stadium

Home comforts for Arsenal following a week stationed on Merseyside.

The Gunners were on the wrong end of a Premier League defeat to Liverpool but managed to dismiss the same opposition from the Carabao Cup following a penalty shootout. 

The Gunners will fancy their chances against a Blades side pointless after three games.

Bernd Leno will again feature – the German retaining his place amidst a string of changes and producing heroics during the Anfield shootout. 

But despite the departure of Emiliano Martinez, Mikel Arteta didn’t think there was any extended pressure on his first-choice stopper: I think the biggest pressure is coming from the players individually, honestly,” the Spaniard explained. 

“I don’t think they read that much about what other people are saying to be fair. He’s very stable, he works, he has his routines and I don’t think he’s very much bothered about what’s happening outside.”

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Fulham – Molineux

Rock bottom Fulham will be hoping to catch a smarting Wolves at Molineux.

The Cottagers were beaten 3-0 by Aston Villa last time out with boss, Scott Parker, pulling no punches with his assessment 

“We can keep working and try to improve but I think it’s clear to everyone what we need to do,” he told BBC Sport.

“Whether that’s on the training ground or in the market, that’s what we’re going to do.

“I said from the outset [after promotion] and when we sat down with people at the football club – I know where we were and where we are now.

“It’s going to be a tough year, we’re going to face a tough challenge and we need to work out if we want to compete in this league or just be a passenger.”

A tired-looking Wolves were beaten 4-0 at West Ham on Sunday evening. The Black Country outfit are currently struggling to replicate their form of the previous two seasons.

Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur – Old Trafford

Spurs complete their crazy four-match sequence with a trip to Old Trafford.

The Lillywhites were hard done by, dropping home points against Newcastle last time out. However, progress in both the Carabao Cup and Europa League will undoubtedly have softened the blow during a period described as ‘inhuman’ by Jose Mourinho. 

“What Eric Dier, Bergwijn and Toby did is not human,” the Portuguese chief added.

“It’s proven, scientifically proven, every sports scientist person knows that what they did shouldn’t be done.

“To play one hundred and eighty minutes in three days shouldn’t be allowed. These three guys did it, I know that some others played also until their limit, but we managed because we have a good squad and we have a squad with different options.

“We managed to share players in these matches and we managed to go through two knockout competitions in the Carabao and Europa League but we could have gone out. Job done – I am really happy for the job done.”

Sky Bet Championship

Brentford v Preston North End – Brentford Community Stadium

Thomas Frank was satisfied with his sides derby display against Millwall last weekend but will expect the cutting edge to return when struggling Preston visit the Brentford Community Stadium

“We could have won it but I think it was a fairly even game overall,” Frank told BBC Radio London after the Bees’ 1-1 draw at the Den.

“Millwall will create a lot of problems for a lot of teams, as they work extremely hard and want to play.

“We had maybe more chances and a few opportunities where we lacked the final pass, touch or decision on the ball.

“It was good to see Said (Benrahma) on the pitch. He has been working hard and he came close to deciding the game.”

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Brian Jeeves

Email: [email protected]