London Soccer Shorts…

Saturday, March 6
Premier League
Burnley v Arsenal – Turf Moor
Having impressively seen off Leicester City at the King Power Stadium a week ago, Gunner boss, Mikel Arteta believed his side were starting to portray something similar to what he would like.

“The way we are playing looks much closer to what we want,” the Spaniard enthused.

“The way the team is evolving, we have some consistency in recent months.

“We are still giving things to the opposition – we did it against Benfica and we did it today. It’s something we have to eradicate to give ourselves the best possible chance.”

Sky Bet Championship
Watford v Nottingham Forest – Vicarage Road
A 2-0 victory over Wycombe Wanderers ensured that Watford remains hot on the heels of Norwich and Brentford.

“We have a very good squad and the most important thing is whoever stays in the first team gives the maximum for the team,” Hornets chief, Xisco Munoz told BBC Three Counties Radio.

Watford will fancy their chances of making further progress against a Forest side struggling for consistency again this campaign.

Brentford v Rotherham United – Brentford Community Stadium
Brentford slipped to a single-goal defeat at Norwich in a battle between the top two during the week. However, boss Thomas Frank remained philosophical: “ “We needed to be better on the ball and in our decision making and needed to create more. We have to remember that we are still in a good position,” the Dane explained.

The Bees will be looking to bounce back against Rotherham side in the relegation places but who recorded a superb late victory at Sheffield Wednesday on Wednesday evening.

Bristol City v Queens Park Rangers – Ashton Gate
It’s no wins in three for QPR and they’ll find it tough again against a Bristol City side keen to rediscover some consistency themselves.

Speaking after their frustrating 3-1 midweek defeat to Barnsley at Loftus Road, R’s boss, Mark Warburton, said: “Barnsley are very good at what they do. They’re direct, commit bodies forward and take risks at the back.

“We had to time our runs and not play to their strengths. In the first ten minutes, we did that and created a couple of great chances. We’ve got to get our rewards.

“We’ve got to be better in front of goal. If you give away set-pieces and don’t take your own rewards, you pay the price.

Millwall v Blackburn Rovers – The Den
Gary Rowett was pleased with what he saw from his Millwall side after they came from behind to see off Preston during the week: “In the Championship, most teams that go a goal up don’t tend to go on and lose the game, but what we’ve done is show different ways to win a game,” the Lions boss enthused.”

Millwall now face a Blackburn side struggling for form and who have slipped to fifteenth place, thirteen points off the play-off places in recent weeks.

Sky Bet League One
Blackpool v AFC Wimbledon – Bloomfield Road
Two wins and a draw from their last five matches has offered AFC Wimbledon an opportunity to escape the drop. However, boss Mark Robinson believe an opportunity had been missed when the Dons were held 1-1 at Shrewsbury on Tuesday evening.

“I know Shrewsbury had managed to get some really good results here, and there were elements I was pleased with, but I felt in the second-half we could have taken the game by the scruff of the neck,” he told www.afcwimbledon.co.uk.

“We didn’t do enough and the substitutes lifted it a bit, but I had said to them if we are ever going to lose a match let’s do it on the front foot by taking it to the opposition.

“That’s what I want to see more and some of our decision making wasn’t good enough. We got into good areas and the final pass wasn’t good enough.”

Wimbledon faces a tough task at Bloomfield Road, facing a Blackpool side unbeaten in four.

Oxford United v Charlton Athletic – The Kassam Stadium
Charlton went back to basics to win at Wigan during the week, much to the delight of boss, Lee Bowyer.

“We’ve got a clean sheet and the win and now we have to build on it,” the former midfielder told www.cafc.co.uk.

“The players worked hard and showed that, when we do the basics right, we’re not a bad side.”

The Addicks now look to enhance their play-off push against an Oxford United side one place and a point worse off in the League One table.

Sky Bet League Two
Exeter City v Leyton Orient – St James Park
Interim O’s chief, Jobi McAnuff will face a far tougher test when his side head to the West Country.

The O’s won by a goal to nil at bottom of the table Grimsby during the week in McAnuff’s first game in the hot seat, displaying encouraging signs that a top-seven finish isn’t completely beyond them.

O’s will be without defender, Adam Thompson, who sustained a serious ankle injury at Blundell Park. Hosts, Exeter are currently just outside the play-off places following Tuesday’s goalless draw with Walsall.

Sunday, March 7
Premier League
Liverpool v Fulham – Anfield
Fulham faces a difficult task in closing the gap on those outside the dropzone when they head to Anfield.

Boss Scott Parker insisted the Cottagers were hard done by when Spurs snaffled the points on Thursday evening: “We fully deserved something out of it. The endeavour was there for all to see,” he told BBC Sport.”

Tottenham Hotspur v Crystal Palace – Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
It’s a case of concentrating on the job at hand and not getting too far ahead of themselves according to Spurs boss, Jose Mourinho.

The Lilywhites saw off Fulham to record back-to-back Premier League victories for the first time since November, but the boss wasn’t getting carried away.

“I don’t want to look at the table,” Mourinho explained.
“I want to win matches and especially for us – a team in two competitions – the next match is Premier League but then the next one is the Europa League. I don’t want to look too much to the table, I don’t want to see anything good or bad about that.

“I just want to try to win matches and that’s what we did today and of course another one is coming fast on Sunday. We go again and we try again.”

Meanwhile, a win at Brighton followed by goalless draws with Fulham and Manchester United has left Palace chief, Roy Hodgson enthusiastic over the sides toil: “I can’t fault the players,” he explained.

“There were a few times where we got the ball down in midfield and I thought we looked like we could score ourselves,” said Hodgson.

“These guys have spent four years together doing their best to keep the team in the league. I’m so proud of them and so grateful to them for what they’ve done for the club.”

Monday, March 8
Premier League
Chelsea v Everton – Stamford Bridge
A win at Liverpool extended Thomas Tuchel’s unbeaten start at Chelse to ten matches and the German will eye up more of the same when the other half of Merseyside arrive in West London on Monday evening.

“I am very, very happy with the performance,” Tuchel enthused after Mason Mount’s goal had settled Thursday’s Anfield encounter.

“It was clear we needed a complete performance in all aspects of the game. We did this, we were very brave with the ball and never lost intensity with the ball.

“We were always aggressive and very brave. This was the key. It was a top team performance and a deserved win.

West Ham United v Leeds United – London Stadium
Tomas Soucek drew comparisons ahead of the Hammers Monday night clash with Leeds United.

“I could compare this game to the game against Tottenham when we were in this position and we beat Tottenham,” the popular Czech told www.whufc.com.

“So if we do a similar performance and get a win against Leeds, we will be in a great moment and a great position ahead of our games in the future.”

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Brian Jeeves

Email: [email protected]