London Soccer Shorts 

Brian Jeeves
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Friday, February 24

Premier League

Fulham v Wolverhampton Wanderers – Craven Cottage

Fulham look likely to be without leading goalscorer Aleksandar Mitrovic when Wolverhampton Wanderers visit Craven Cottage on Friday evening.

Mitrovic is struggling with a hamstring injury which forced him out of the West Londoners’ single-goal success at Brighton a week ago.

Fulham, who currently occupy sixth place, are also without Neeskens Kebano and Tom Cairney who are nursing Achilles and ankle problems respectively. 

Premier League

Leicester City v Arsenal – King Power Stadium

Leaders, Arsenal head to the East Midlands looking to build on an impressive away record which has seen them win nine of their twelve Premier League matches on the road.

The Gunners’ late rally at Villa Park saw them wrestle the leadership back from Manchester City. Speaking to BBC Match of the Day after the game, Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta, said: “Today I think we can take two big lessons. In the first half we did the simple things wrong and in the second half we raised our individual level and did the simple things right. We totally merited the win.

“Jorginho produced an incredible moment. For us, it will be Jorginho’s goal. Psychological it was really tough to get that result against Manchester City and then less than three days we come to Aston Villa and win, which is a difficult thing to do.

“Character, quality and having the right temperament and personality, not throw our toys away, emotionally I think we coped really well.”

Arteta will be without Gabriel Jesus and Mohamed Elneny at the King Power, while Thomas Partey remains a doubt.

West Ham United v Nottingham Forest – London Stadium

Under pressure West Ham United boss, David Moyes will be without Lucas Paqueta for the visit of Nottingham Forest for what is a huge game for the struggling East Londoners.

The match could come too soon for Kurt Zouma and Maxwel Cornet who have returned to training, while Jarrod Bowen should be available after picking up a knock during the 2–0 defeat at Tottenham.

Speculation is rife that defeat will cost Moyes his job, with Rafa Benitez amongst those linked with the position.

Crystal Palace v Liverpool – Selhurst Park 

Wilfried Zaha, Sam Johnstone, Joel Ward and Nathan Ferguson remain unavailable for Crystal Palace when they host a Liverpool side smarting from their midweek Champions League drubbing at the hands of Real Madrid.

Tyrick Mitchell should be okay to face the Merseysiders, despite picking up an ankle injury during the draw at Brentford last weekend, while James Tomkins could also return for Patrick Vierra’s men.

Sky Bet Championship

Queens Park Rangers v Blackburn Rovers – Loftus Road

Gareth Ainsworth takes charge at Loftus Road following an emotional departure from Wycombe Wanderers.

Ainsworth is faced with the task of arresting an alarming slump that has seen Rangers fail to win any of their last ten matches, leaving them eight points above the relegation zone in eighteenth place.

Speaking to Ainsworth said: “I really want to challenge myself. This is going to be a real challenge because the club is so special to me, and so huge as well.

“I want to get Loftus Road absolutely rocking again and I hope the fans will get right behind me and right behind the team.

“To be trusted by the Board here and those above me, I want to be able to pay them back in droves. I will be giving my absolute everything for this football club.”

Sheffield United v Watford – Bramall Lane

Slaven Bilic remains without Dan Gosling, Edo Kayembe, Tom Cleverley, Francisco Sierralta, Hassane Kamara and Craig Cathcart for Watford’s tricky trip to Bramall Lane.

The Hornets are outside the play-off places on goal difference following a win and three draws in their last four outings.

Stoke City v Millwall – bet365 Stadium

Gary Rowett is sweating over teh fitness of Tom Bradshaw and Oliver Burke ahead of the high-flying Lion’s trip to the Potteries.

Bradshaw was on target as Millwall forced a draw with league leaders Burnley during the week. Rowett’s side currently sits in fifth place have lost just one of their last five Championship outings.

Sky Bet League One

Charlton Athletic v Sheffield Wednesday – The Valley

Dean Holden is expecting better from his Charlton Athletic side when promotion-chasing Sheffield Wednesday visits The Valley.

The Addicks were beaten 2-0 at Derby County last time out, leaving them languishing in mid-table: “There were far too many unforced errors in our play today,” he told 

“To come here and get anything we needed to be better in every department. For the first goal, we let the ball into our box too easily and that led to the penalty. These are the basic things that we need to be better at.

“We had a lot of good moments going forward but a bad touch or careless pass just killed that momentum. We couldn’t get our wide players involved as much as we wanted.”

Sky Bet League Two

Gillingham v AFC Wimbledon – Priestfield Stadium

AFC Wimbledon boss, Johnnie Jackson will be hoping for better game management from his side when they head to rapidly improving Gillingham on Saturday.

The Dons drew for the fourth time in six outings last weekend when struggling Hartlepool United recovered a two-goal deficit at Plough Lane last weekend.

“We’re frustrated to concede so late in a game where I felt we should’ve been out of sight in terms of our dominance,” Jackson told

“We had the better of the match but the scoreline doesn’t reflect that. I’m speaking on pure emotion but I feel we could have managed the game better than we did.”

Grimsby Town v Leyton Orient – Blundell Park

Leyton Orient boss, Richie Wellens is aware his side faces a tough test when they take on Grimsby Town at Blundell Park.

Since beating the Mariners on the opening day of the campaign, Orient has seized control of the division and currently holds a thirteen-point lead at the summit.

“Paul Hurst (Grimsby Town manager) is a good experienced and it will be a tough game,” Wellens told 

“The logistics of it make it difficult anyway because it’s a long way to go for us, but our away record, on the whole, has been exceptional so we’ll go there full of confidence.”

Wellens hopes to have playmaker, Paul Smyth fully fit following a frustrating spell of injury and illness.

Newport County v Sutton United – Rodney Parade

Sutton United will be looking to close in on the play-off places when they make the trip to South Wales.

Sutton are unbeaten in five matches and is currently just two points outside teh top seven. Craig Eastmond is available after serving a suspension following his sending-off at Hartlepool United, However, Omar Bogle is out after accumulating five yellow cards.

Sunday, February 36

Premier League

Tottenham Hotspur v Chelsea – Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

Cristian Stellini will remain in the dugout for Tottenham’s huge derby with troubled Chelsea.

Stellinin has overseen victories over Manchester City and West Ham United since deputising for Antonio Conte, who remains at home recovering from surgery.

Tottenham are without Hugo Lloris, Rodrigo Bentancur, Yves Bissouma and Ryan Sessegnon. The stand-in boss was provided with food for thought when Heung-min Son came off the bench to score Tottenham’s second goal against the Hammers.

Chelsea has held superiority over their North London rivals for some considerable time. Indeed, the Blues are unbeaten in eight Premier League meetings with the Lilywhites and have won the last three encounters on the road.

Pressure ramped up on Chelsea boss, Graham Potter following last weekend’s home defeat at the hands of bottom-of-the-table Southampton. Potter will be without Christian Pulisic,, Armando Broja, Edouard Mendy and Cesar Azpilicueta for the N17 clash.


Brian Jeeves