Weekend Boxset: Contenders ready

This week we have some games with teams who are looking like surprise contenders in their leagues. Maybe this weekend is when we find out whether they are genuine or not.

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

All times are BST


Friday



Ligue 1: Paris Saint-Germain v Lille


19.45 on BT Sport 2


The top two in Ligue 1 face off in what could present PSG's toughest test so far to their record breaking 100% start. While the attacking might of Neymar, Cavani and Mbappé for PSG is well known, Lille have their own awesome trio up front in the shape of what is being called their Bip Bip strikeforce - Bamba, Ikoné and Pépé. With PSG's defensive frailities only so far being exposed against decent attacks in the Champions League, this could be the first time they are truly tested domestically. While Kylian Mbappé is Ligue 1's top scorer this season with ten, Nicholas Pépé has contributed to twelve goals for Lille, scoring seven. Victory for PSG will see them equal Monaco's record for consecutive wins in a season with 12. The winning goal could well come from the spot: games involving either of these sides so far have yielded nine penalties so far this season. GS
 



Saturday



Premier League: Bournemouth v Manchester United


12.30 on BT Sport 1


If you're looking for an emerging attacking three in the Premier League, you don't have to look beyond Bournemouth. Ryan Fraser, Callum Wilson and Josh King have helped Bournemouth to by far their best start to a top flight season - though it's not known whether they have a cool acronym nickname as yet. They start the weekend in sixth just a point behind Spurs and three ahead of today's visitors, though so far they have only played one of last season's top six sides: a 2-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge. GS 
 



Premier League: Arsenal v Liverpool


17.30 on BT Sport 1


There's much about this new Arsenal side that is reminiscent of Klopp's Liverpool from about a year ago: suspect at the back, anonymous for large portions of the game and then absolutely devastating for about half an hour where they will score three or four goals from anywhere across the forward line. The addition of Virgil Van Dijk to Liverpool's back line did much to balance the side and turn them into genuine title contenders. Arsenal's defensive problems have not been helped by a number of injuries but their undefeated run has meant the absence of Nacho Monreal and Laurent Koscielny has barely been noticeable. However, against a side with the attacking capabilities of Liverpool, Arsenal are likely to struggle as they did in their first two games under Emery; defeats to City and Chelsea. GS
 



Premier League: Wolverhampton Wanderers  v Tottenham Hotspur


19.45 on Sky Sports Premier League & Main Event


In the UK, putting a late Saturday evening match on live TV  before Christmas puts the Premier League right up against Strictly Come Dancing. If your house is anything like mine and you still want to watch this game, that means you might be consigned to the spare room. Spurs' away form has kept them in touch with the leading sides. Their defeat to Watford has been only points they've dropped away from Wembley, a place they can happily escape today while it recovers from last weekend's NFL and Premier League double header. Wolves have saved their best performances for the biggest opponents, drawing 1-1 with both City and United but recent defeats have taken the shine off what has been a strong (if low-scoring) start to their Premier League return. GS
 





Sunday



Scottish Premiership: Kilmarnock v Aberdeen


12.15 on BT Sport 1


After a patchy managerial career, Steve Clarke seems to have found a home at Killie. Since taking charge at Rugby Park, roughly a year ago, the former West Brom and Reading coach guided the Ayrshire club to a respectable fifth place and they currently sit third in the table, a point behind Celtic in second. Greg Stewart, who scored in the 1-1 draw with Rangers on Wednesday, had his appeal against his ban for violent conduct turned down and will not be available on Sunday. Fellow striker and top scorer Eamonn Brophy may not be fit which may put extra pressure on veteran Kris Boyd to provide the goals. Their opponents celebrated their League Cup semi-final victory over Rangers with a 3-0 win at home to Hamilton. Derek McInnes’s side are ever so slightly languishing in 8th but a win against a depleted Killie would get them back in the mix. TD
 



Premier League: Chelsea v Crystal Palace


16.00 on Sky Sports Premier League & Main Event


Roy Hodgson, while well-liked, is getting some stick for Palace’s start to the season. However, the way he handled last week’s creditable 2-2 draw against the Arsenal should give some of his doubters pause. The Eagles recent record against Chelsea is pretty decent, winning two of their last three meetings. Sarri’s Chelsea are a different matter of course but the Palace defense can feel relieved that Eden Hazard is not fit. That said the Blues are yet to lose this season (not counting the Community Shield) and have only dropped points at home to Liverpool and Man United, so good luck Palace. You’re going to need it. TD
 



Serie A: Udinese v Milan


19.30 on Eleven Sports 2


A last minute Alessio Romagnoli goal cancelled out his earlier own goal to claim three points for Milan against Genoa at the San Siro on Wednesday. Defeats to Inter in the last minute and the opening day loss to Napoli are the only blots on an otherwise well kept copybook for the Rossoneri. While the league title is a touch fanciful, a return to the Champions League is not out of the question. Udinese are having a tougher time of things. Granted the fixture computer has been unkind with games against, Napoli, Juventus and Lazio in recent weeks. However, a 2-2 draw against 10 man Genoa is not a good look for a club unused to being so close to the bottom three.TD
 



Whatever you watch, have a great weekend.



Terry (@terryduffelen) & Graham (@grahamsibley)



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