Weekly football conversation since 2009, with Graham Sibley, Jan Bilton and Terry Duffelen. Listen on Apple, Google, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn or your podcatcher of choice.

Weekend Boxset: Copa Conquistadores

The MLS Cup, England’s fossil-fuel derby and the Copa Libertadores finally gets sorted once and for all.

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

All times are GMT


Championship: West Bromwich Albion v Aston Villa
20.00 on Sky Sports Football & Main Event
A high scoring Midlands derby is in the offing as free-scoring Villa travel to the Hawthorns. Dean Smith’s team are good for 15 goals in their last 4 matches (including that exhilarating 5-5 draw with Forest) but the Villa coach is keen to flex the negative: "We’ve had four clean sheets in eight games so far," he told the BBC this week. Given how many times they’ve found the back of the net, Smith must fancy his team’s chances of promotion if they get the balance right. The 3-0 win at Middlesbrough will have heartened him greatly after having conceded seven in the previous two games. A late equaliser from Brentford’s Lewis MacLeod ballsed up West Brom’s chances of cutting the gap between the Baggies in third and Leeds in second to just a point on Monday. However, as his team prepare for another home game under the lights, Darren Moore can be optimistic that his team will create enough chances to make this quite a contest. TD Alternative viewing: Before this game starts, you can grab the first half hour of Juventus v Inter, the Derby D’Italia, on Eleven Sports 1.


Premier League: Bournemouth v Liverpool
12.30 on Sky Sports Premier League & Main Event
Truly we live in an upside-down world when Bournemouth are the highest-placed south coast club in the English leagues. Especially when you consider that their 2-1 win against Huddersfield on Tuesday broke a four game losing streak. Part of the Cherries success is that they’re being bankrolled by a wealthy owner. However, when you look at their roster it is not studded with star names. At least, they are not stars yet. At 26, Callum Wilson earned his recent England cap the hard way. Ryan Fraser, Joshua King and the impressive David Brooks reflect an understated but effective squad which is the envy of many of their contemporaries that have considerably higher playing budgets. Liverpool would probably be favourites to win the league in another season and after their win over the dreadful Burnley will encounter tougher opposition at Dean Court. Tough but still eminently beatable. TD

Premier League: Chelsea v Manchester City
17.30 on BT Sport 1
What has happened at Chelsea? Only a few weeks ago Maurizio Sarri was lauded as an invigorating tonic countering the malaise of his predecessor’s reign. A draw against Everton followed by a visit to Spurs saw that particular illusion shattered. Then, this just week, a resurgent Wolves came from behind to beat them 2-1 — it’s a concerning time at the Bridge. By contrast, City remain unstoppable. Only Lyon seem to be able to get to them; although Watford did make them work hard for the win in midweek. Aguero may be a doubt for this one, and De Bruyne remains sidelined, but the sheer depth and talent of this squad means that the outcome of this game remains heavily skewed in the visitor’s favour. JB

La Liga: Espanyol v Barcelona
19.45 on Eleven Sports 1
It was going well for Espanyol until they bumped into Sevilla earlier in November. The 2-1 loss broke an unbeaten six game spell. Subsequent defeats to fellow Catalans, Girona and then Getafe have not been the ideal preparation for the big city derby against Barcelona. This week Eleven Sports have been announcing the birth of "a new Barca Star" on their website with no hint of hyperbole. They are referring to 20 year old Carles Aleñá who scored an absolutely beautiful goal against Villarreal last Sunday. Born in nearby Mataró, this highly rated and clearly talented midfielder is a graduate of Barcelona’s youth system, La Maxia. This is only his third appearance this season but after Sunday was officially included in the first team squad. Hopefully we’ll get to have a look at him again in what should be a pretty straightforward challenge for his team. TD


MLS Cup: Atlanta United v Portland Timbers
01.00 on Sky Sports Football
The 23rd season of MLS closes with their showpiece final at the 72,000 seat Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Despite winning the MLS Cup as recently as 2015 and their own conference just last year, Portland are very much the underdogs in this final. Atlanta’s Josef Martínez won this season’s golden boot by a mile, his 31 goals (including three hat-tricks) were nine better than his nearest rival, Zlatan, and broke the all-time MLS record by four. The Venezuelan’s performances saw him pick up the Landon Donovan MVP award at the end of season awards on Wednesday. While everything points towards a comfortable win for Atlanta in front of yet another sell-out home crowd, it should be remembered that last season’s MVP was Timbers’ Diego Valeri. It was his two goals that turned around their conference final against Sporting Kansas City and gave them this shot at a second MLS Cup. UK viewers should settle in for a long night, these things seldom if ever kick off on time. GS

Scottish Premiership: Dundee v Rangers
13.30 on Sky Sports Football & Main Event
Steven Gerrard’s side slipped to second place in midweek losing at to home to Aberdeen. On paper this match should be a return to winning ways with Dundee bottom of the table but there could be some hopeful signs for Jim McIntyre’s side with the resurgence of their captain, Kenny Miller. Between playing in England, Wales, Turkey and Canada he had three spells at Rangers playing over 300 times and scoring 116 goals. His third spell at Ibrox ended acrimoniously after a bust-up with the club’s old management following their 4-0 Cup semi-final defeat to Celtic in April. Miller, who will celebrate his 39th birthday this month, joined Dundee after a very brief foray into management with Livingston. He scored a hat-trick against Hamilton on Wednesday in his 767th career game, and has scored in their last three matches helping them to their longest run without defeat since Rangers lost here on their last visit to Dens Park just over a year ago. GS

Copa Libertadores Final 2nd Leg: River Plate v Boca Juniors
19.30 on FreeSports and BT Sport 1
Each time we’ve covered this match in this newsletter something has meant it hasn’t happened. The first leg was postponed for a day after torrential rain had water-logged the pitch. This second leg had to be abandoned after the visitors’ team bus was attacked on its way to the stadium. Now this match has been moved not just out of Buenos Aires but out of South America. Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu Stadium will now host the match with the anticipation that at least half of the 80,000 watching will be Spanish-based Argentinians to bolster the 10,000 making the cross-Atlantic trip. The atmosphere won’t be as febrile as that generated in their home city, but maybe this time that won’t be such a bad thing. Oh, and in case you forgot, it’s 2-2 after the first leg. GS If for some bizarre reason this game doesn’t go ahead, you can always flick over to BT Sport 3 to watch St Etienne v Marseille - the real derby of France.

Whatever you watch, have a great weekend.

Terry, Graham and Jan

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