Weekend Boxset: Graham



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

All times are GMT


Friday



Championship: Aston Villa v Leeds United


19.45 on Sky Sports Football & Main Event


This season's race for promotion in the Championship has been one of the most exciting in years. While Wolves have powered their way almost unchallenged (they can confirm promotion and maybe the title as well on Sunday at home to Birmingham City  - 12.00, Sky Sports Football), the chase behind them continues to throw a number of twists. Jack Grealish's sensational volley, from the edge of the D, stole a late win in a tense midweek battle with the team that were sat second, Cardiff. Fulham have edged ahead of Cardiff, and have a five point lead over Villa and much better form. Steve Bruce's side will have to content themselves with a play-off place, which they can guarantee with a win here. For Leeds, the first two months of Paul Heckingbottom's leadership haven't been great but it would be harsh to lay the blame at his door. With only an 18 month contract, the question will be whether Leeds stick with a promising young coach or decide to replace him in the summer with any of the growing number of usual suspects currently on the market for a new job.
 



Saturday



Scottish FA Cup Semi-Final: Motherwell v Aberdeen


12.15 on Sky Sports Football & BBC 1 Scotland


Fan-owned Motherwell have already been to Hampden twice this season, beating Rangers in the League Cup semi-final and going on to lose to Celtic in the final. This cup run aside, Stephen Robinson's side have been in pretty ordinary form since that final - winning just three of their last 20 Premiership games. That evaporation of form sees them having to finish the season in the relegation group, though well clear of any danger. These two sides met just eleven days ago at Fir Park. Motherwell lost the game 2-0 but that followed draws against both the other semi-finalists, Rangers and Celtic, so there may still be some steel in the Steelmen. Aberdeen are looking to reach their second successive FA Cup Final having narrowly lost in injury time to Celtic, last May. A repeat of that final looks the most likely outcome of these semis but neither match looks straightforward. The other semi-final is on Sunday 14.30, Sky Sports Football.
 



Championship: Fulham v Brentford


17.30 on Sky Sports Football & Main Event


Now Fulham are second and in an automatic promotion place, the other play-off hopefuls might feel that have a chance in the knockout stage. The Cottagers earned just 29 points from their first 22 games but have gone on to take 52 in this unbeaten run of 20 games. While Fulham's incredible form isn't solely down to wonderkid Ryan Sessegnon being put up in a more attacking position, it certainly has helped and the addition of Newcastle loanee Aleksander Mitrovic has provided even more firepower to Slavisa Jokanovic's side. Gareth Southgate's decision not to select Sessegnon for the full England squad for the recent International suggests that he won't be a surprise call up for the World Cup. That won't stop him being one of the hottest targets when the transfer window re-opens. Making the five mile trip downriver, Brentford still have fading play-off hopes. Had they not had such an awful March, they'd still be in the reckoning. Results have returned and given how QPR managed to win a point at Craven Cottage recently, they'll be hoping that a bit local derby magic will help them out here.
 



Premier League: Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City


19.45 on Sky Sports Premier League & Main Event


Two weeks ago this match was going to be a non-event. City would have taken the title at home to United and then would have avenged their only League defeat of the season by knocking Liverpool out of the Champions League. Football has a way treating most narratives with the contempt they deserve; here we are with Pep's side still having to wait to confirm themselves as Champions, even if they manage to defeat a Tottenham side that are very much enjoying their season at Wembley. Having lost their last three games at the Etihad (the last time they did that, Stuart Pearce was in charge) City might appreciate playing somewhere they had such an easy time of it when they were last there for the League Cup Final. Is this just a blip, or has Pep been found out? If only you could download a podcast that discusses such matters. Wait, hang on...





Sunday



Eredivisie: PSV v Ajax


15.45 on Sky Sports Mix & Red Button


There are some great matches on offer this Sunday. In addition to the aforementioned third consecutive Old Firm Scottish FA Cup semi-final (kicking off at 14.30 on Sky Sports Football) there's the small matter of the Rivierderby, Schalke v Dortmund, a crunch tie that could have a huge influence on Champions League qualification in the Bundesliga (starting at the same time on BT Sport 2). Watch either of those (or both if you can) but I've chosen three matches from across Europe that sees the top two sides in their leagues battling it out. First up sees PSV given the chance to do what City failed to do last weekend. Victory in De Topper will see Philip Cocu's side crowned champions for the third time in four seasons. While PSV have only dropped points in one home match this season, they did get beaten 3-0 at Ajax in December - all the goals coming in a ten minute spell in the middle of the second half. If Ajax win, they close the gap to just four points with three games to go. While none of PSV's remaining fixtures look that troubling, their fans will remember how Ajax slipped up against 17th placed De Graafschap at the end of 2015/16 to allow PSV to snatch the title.
  



Primeira Liga: Benfica v Porto


18.00 on FreeSports


Things couldn't be much tighter at the top of the Portugese League. Benfica lead by a point having trailed Porto all season. Porto's slip to second place has coincided with injury to top scorer and £35 million Everton transfer target Moussa Marega. Porto have only lost twice this season but both defeats have been during this current injury spell to the 26 year old Malian attacking midfielder who has hit 20 in 24 games this season. He will not play a part in this game. For them to seal a fifth consecutive Primeira Liga, Benfica must go for the win here as they still have the Lisbon derby to come. Their own top scorer, veteran Brazilian striker Jonas looks set to return to the side for this game having missed the last match against Setubal. At 34, he is currently Europe's leading top scorer with 33 in 28 games, although he's unlikely to win the Golden Shoe because for that title his goals are only worth 75% of what Messi's or Salah's goals are. Feel free to draw your own opinions about that.
 



Ligue 1: PSG v Monaco


20.00 on BT Sport 3


Another chance to see a title won here with normal service being resumed as PSG cruise to regaining the title from current title-holders Monaco. Jardim's defence of the title was never going to be easy despite making a few shrewd acquisitions in the transfer market but losing so many players like Bernado Silva and Benjamin Mendy to Manchester City, Tiemoue Bakayoko to Chelsea and, of course, Kylian Mbappe to PSG. Although he is technically on loan and still a Monaco player he can and most likely will be playing in this game. A reported €180million will finally change hands for Mbappe this summer, however that may now depend on whether or not UEFA finally stick it to PSG for breaking FFP rulesAlternative viewing: If you don't fancy that, why not switch over to BT Sport 1 for the Rome derby, Lazio v Roma. The Stadio Olimpico will probably still be echoing with Peter Drury's passionate commentary from Roma's stunning midweek Champions League win over Barcelona.
 



Whatever you watch, have a great weekend



Graham (@grahamsibley)



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