London Soccer Shorts…

Saturday, February 27

Premier League

Manchester City v West Ham United Etihad Stadium

West Ham head into the proverbial lion’s den’ to face a Manchester City side currently ten points clear at the top of the table and having won their last nineteen matches in all competitions.

Nevertheless, Manchester United loanee, Jesse Lingard focused on the ever-improving Hammers strengths: “We’re very confident at the moment and we’re going into every game fully focused on getting the three points, no matter how we do it,” he told www.whufc.com.

Sky Bet Championship

Barnsley v Millwall – Oakwell

Lions chief, Gary Rowett will be after a little more sharpness in the opposition box when his side head to Oakwell.

Speaking after Millwall’s hard-fought 1-1 draw at Luton, Rowett explained: “It wasn’t a great performance from us. 

“Overall we had by far the better chances, but just couldn’t play with that calmness in front of goal.”

Birmingham City v Queens Park Rangers – St Andrews

QPR boss Mark Warburton took the positives from his sides goalless draw at Preston during the week.

“I think it says a lot that the lads are really disappointed back there at only coming out of this game with a point,” he explained

“It’s another clean sheet for us, and that belief is still growing in the camp.”

Brentford v Stoke City – Brentford Community Stadium

Brentford saw off Sheffield Wednesday to return to winning ways and a similar outcome would be more than welcome for boss, Thomas Frank when Stoke are the visitors.

“We win or learn, today we won and we showed that we’ve learned from some of the other games,” the Bees chief told BBC Radio London after his side had ended a run of three successive defeats.

“We know we have a good structure and want to press high, press forward and all that, but today it was simple – about getting on the ball, aggressive pressure and win your duel. We did that to perfection.”

Sky Bet League One

AFC Wimbledon v Hull City – Plough Lane

Dons boss, Mark Robinson hailed academy graduate, Jack Rudoni after the 19-year-old grabbed a superb winner to see off Gillingham last time out: “I’m just chuffed for Rudi because we know he is capable of a goal like that. 

“I think he’s disappointed that he’s not on six or seven already because he has missed easier chances, as we know. I kept saying to him, ‘it will come’ because he’s a great technician. I am sure there will be many more to come.”

Charlton Athletic v Blackpool – The Valley

Lee Bowyer accepted the flack after his side slipped to defeat against bottom of the table Burton Albion during the week.

The former midfielder will demand more when Blackpool arrive in south-east London on Saturday: “I’ve had plenty of praise, and now I’m getting criticism,” he explained to www.cafc.co.uk.

“If you want to take the praise, you have to take the criticism. That’s how you learn. If you can’t take criticism then, I’m sorry, but you’re in the wrong game.

“We need a bit of luck to go our way. People say you have to earn it, maybe that’s true. We just have to keep doing the right things and maybe things will go our way.

Sky Bet League Two

Leyton Orient v Tranmere Rovers – Breyer Group Stadium

Ross Embleton has no fresh injury concerns ahead of the O’s clash with promotion-chasing Tranmere Rovers.

The O’s are looking to arrest a run of six without a win. A sequence that has seen them slip to twelfth in the League Two table.

Sunday, February 28

Premier League

Crystal Palace v Fulham – Selhurst Park 

Both Palace and Fulham go into this one off the back of important victories. 

The Eagles were on the ropes at Brighton, but secured a last-gasp victory thanks to Christian Benteke’s late winner: “We get so hung up on statistics these days,” Palace chief, Roy Hodgson to BBC Sport.

“We get so hung up on statistics these days. The game is decided by goals. Goals are a question of how well you take your chances and defend theirs.”

Scott Parker was enthusiastic over the performance of his side as Sheffield United were beaten by a goal to nil at the Cottage: “The quality that we have will ultimately get us results in this division. 

“We are a young team who want to improve and get better. We have got something about us that you need in these moments.”

Leicester City v Arsenal – King Power Stadium

Arsenal will face a tough task against a Leicester City side looking a decent bet for a Champions League berth come the end of the campaign.

The Foxes currently occupy third place, while the Gunners, with just one win from their last five Premier League outings, sit eleventh – ten points off the top four.

Tottenham Hotspur v Burnley – Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

Jose Mourinho is expected to recall Hugo Lloris, Tanguy Ndombele, Harry Kane, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Son to the starting line-up following their Europa League hiatus. While both Gareth Bale and Dele Alli have staked a claim with encouraging cameos against the West Ham and Wolfsberger.

Mourinho is under pressure following a run that has seen Spurs lose five of their last six Premier League outings. The Lilywhites are currently sitting in ninth place, nine points off the top four.

Chelsea v Manchester United – Stamford Bridge 

Thomas Tuchel’s unbeaten start at Chelsea will be put under the microscope when Manchester United visit the Bridge.

The Blues are unbeaten in eight matches in all competitions under the German and will move within three points of second-placed United with a win.

Brian Jeeves

Email: [email protected]