Weekend Boxset: This could be Rotterdam


 
Seven great matches to take you from Friday to Sunday: it's the Sound of Football Weekend Boxset

 

All times are GMT

 

Friday



Ligue 1: Bordeaux v Lyon


19.45 on BT Sport ESPN


If at the start of the season you were told that Ligue 1 would be a three horse race you might reasonably have expected last season’s runners-up Lyon to be one of those chevaux. As it is they sit a deep 4th, just above today’s opponents. The addition of Memphis Depay from Manchester United in the January transfer window has coincided with an upturn in goal scoring for the club - 20 in their last four games. Whether Depay is the last piece of the puzzle for Lyon remains to be seen but he has hit the ground running, scoring three in the league already (more than he scored in his 18 months at United). The Friday evening kick off will certainly suit Lyon, giving them almost a full week before the first leg of their mouth-watering Europa League tie against Roma next Thursday


Saturday



Scottish FA Cup Quarter-Final: Rangers v Hamilton Academical


12.30 on Sky Sports 2


The quarter final draw in Scotland didn’t present much for the neutral, with the top three sides in the Premiership and the Cup holders all drawn at home against opposition they are expected to beat. Rangers will start as favourites against an Accies side just two points from the bottom of the Premiership but are struggling to see an upturn in performances since the sacking of Mark Warburton last month, so an upset is not unthinkable. History is against the side making the 12 mile trip down the Clyde to Ibrox: Rangers are in the hunt for their 34th Scottish Cup, while victory for Hamilton would give them their first Cup semi-final in more than 80 years.
 


Premier League: Liverpool v Arsenal


17.30 on BT Sport 1


In all the drama of Monday night’s victory for a post-Ranieri Leicester, it’s easy to forget that the performance came against Liverpool. Easy to forget if you’re not a Liverpool fan, that is. After Klopp’s side demolished Spurs it looked like a corner had been turned but their poor display against the beleaguered Champions again exposed all the cracks had been so evident in January. Playing an Arsenal side that looks equally as fragile could be just what they need - especially if Coutinho and Mane can rediscover the form that helped their side rip the Gunners apart at the Emirates at the start of the season. If the battle for fourth spot isn’t your thing, you could always switch over to Sky Sports 1 for Huddersfield Town v Newcastle United; a match now especially of interest to Brighton fans.
 


MLS: LA Galaxy v Dallas


21.00 on Sky Sports 2


Major League Soccer is back. That might not be something that usually gets you excited but in the absence of a major tournament this summer, it could be a good year to develop an interest in it. For viewers in the UK, the kick off times are perfectly suited for post-pub viewing on summer nights. Galaxy start this season without Steven Gerrard but more importantly they are without Robbie Keane, their MVP for four straight seasons. They have a tough start against FC Dallas - the 2016 winners of the Western Conference and Supporters’ Shield. Both sides were eliminated at the Conference Semi-Final stage of last season’s play-offs, so have high expectations for this campaign.
 




Sunday



Eredivisie: Sparta Rotterdam v Feyenoord


11.30 on Sky Sports Mix


The Rotterdam Derby may not be as bitter a rivalry as it once was but this tie is steeped in history. Before the Great War, Sparta were the dominant side in Dutch football and the team of the middle classes of Rotterdam, whereas Feyenoord were the team of the working classes. Feyenoord went on to dominate the league themselves in the sixties but have not won a title since 1999. This season could prove to be their best chance to change that; Gio Van Bronckhorst’s side are 5 points clear at the top and are on a run of 10 straight wins. On paper it doesn’t look good for Sparta, who are 5 points off the bottom, but in important local derbies things rarely go according to the script. Sparta won the last three derbies at their home ground, The Castle, before they were relegated in 2010. This is the first meeting here since their return. If they’re looking for other signs for optimism, Feyenoord’s only defeat this season came away at Go Ahead Eagles - a side in an even worse position than Sparta.
 


Premier League: Sunderland v Man City


16.00 on Sky Sports 1


It wasn’t too long ago when City would have dreaded going to the Stadium of Light: between 2010 and 2013 they lost four consecutive league games there 1-0 - what would David Moyes give for a return of that tradition? City will also see this as a must win as later this month they start a testing run of games that will see them face Liverpool at home followed by trips to Arsenal and Chelsea. This match could be all over after fifteen minutes but also it could be the start of this year’s miracle for the Black Cats.
 


MLS: Orlando City v New York City


22.00 on Sky Sports 2


Both of these sides were expansions teams introduced for the 2015 season. Orlando, captained by 2007 Ballon D’Or winner Kaká, still look to be finding their feet in the league but have attracted a huge match-day following - second only to Seattle. City on the other hand, part of the City Football Group, consider themselves to be on an upward trajectory having finished runners-up in the Eastern Conference in just their second season. If you can stay up on a school night, stay tuned to this channel from midnight to see a brand new team, Atlanta United, take on New York Red Bulls. Atlanta are one of the two latest expansion sides, along with Minnesota, and have former Premier League players Tyrone Mears and Kenwyne Jones in their squad. Make of that what you will.

Whatever you watch, have a great weekend

Graham (@grahamsibley)
 


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