Weekend Boxset: Serie A returns

Serie A finally starts season 2019/20 while in the Premier League Emery goes to a place he wish never had to and Frank Lampard goes to Norwich looking for his first Chelsea win.

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

All times are BST (GMT+1)


Friday



Bundesliga: Köln v Borussia Dortmund


19.00 on BT Sport 1


For a club that frequently has to deal with a very vociferous and demanding fanbase, Effzeh are playing down their prospects this season. There are high hopes in the long term for new coach Achim Beierlorzer's team but as their opening day defeat at Wolfsburg shows the Billy goats are in for a difficult season. Over in Dortmund, expectations are through the roof, especially after Bayern Munich dropped points against Hertha last Friday. There probably hasn't been that much belief that the Black and Yellows can win a Bundesliga since the turn of the century. Even greater than the Klopp era. After a 5-1 thrashing of Augsburg, last Saturday, the common consensus is that this match is a foregone conclusion. Sounds like the common consensus is trying to provoke the football gods into engineering a shock result. And the football gods, as we all know, are Bayern fans. TD
 



Saturday



Premier League: Norwich City v Chelsea


12.30 on BT Sport 1


I first heard about Teemu Pukki in 2011 when as a striker for HJK Helsinki, he scored three goals in a two-legged Europa League win against Schalke. Rather than hold a grudge, the German giants did the decent thing and signed the Finnish international. After that, it's fair to say, he did not quite meet expectations. When he the turned up at Norwich after a lengthy spell at Brondby I was pleased to see that this rather waifish forward had acquired strength and the experience with which to use it. It is great to see him taking advantage of the opportunity that Canaries coach, Daniel Farke, is giving him in the Premier League. His razor-sharp finishing instincts will be needed against a bruised but still dangerous Chelsea side. I suspect that there may be some money on City upsetting Frank Lampard's beleaguered side but that would be to tempt the football gods who, as we all know, are Chelsea fans. TD
 



Premier League: Liverpool v Arsenal


17.30 on Sky Sports Premier League & Main Event


Unai Emery joked that he wished he never had to play Liverpool, at his press conference earlier this week, and going into this one there will be few Arsenal fans disagreeing. The Gunners have conceded at least three goals on their last four trips to Anfield and lost by a four goal margin in their last two. Both sides go into this having won their opening two fixtures - the only sides in the top flight to do so. For Arsenal, new signing Nicholas Pepe has impressed as has Dani Ceballos on loan from Real Madrid. Whether they can give Arsenal the extra attacking threat to keep Liverpool at bay will be the key in this fixture. A narrow defeat may not be the worst result for the Gunners given their recent history here, if only as an indicator of improvement for Emery's work in progress. GS
 



Serie A: Fiorentina v Napoli


19.45 on Premier Sports 1


Having made his debut in 2000 for his home town club Boulogne, Frank Ribery starts his 20th season in senior football at a new club. A world class talent, undoubtedly, but at 36 who much does he have left to offer Fiorentina? Well considering he featured in 38 games for Bayern last season, there's every chance he can see out his two year deal in Serie A. His target man will be another new signing, the King of journeyman strikers Kevin Prince Boateng. The former Spurs, Portsmouth, Milan, Schalke (among others) man joins from Sassuolo having been most recently on loan to Barcelona. On the other wing, Ribery's experience is balanced with youth by young buck Federico Chiesa - 21 years old but already has 100 Serie A appearances and more than a dozen caps for the national team. If it all works, Fiorentina could be an impressive force going forward this year but how often that front line can play together is another matter. With Napoli's already proven attacking line-up, this match should provide an excellent season opener with plenty of goals. GS 
 





Sunday



Championship: Swansea City v Birmingham City


12.00 on Sky Sports Football


Since appointing Roberto Martinez as head coach in 2007, Swansea have made a number of interesting appointments for the top job. Interesting in the way that you're not entirely sure it will work but it would be great if it did. Some like Brendan Rogers went on to a better job. Some like Paul Clement and Bob Bradley were just abject failures. Graham Potter had a season good enough to warrant a Premier League job offer at Brighton and he's replaced by England's 2017 U17 World Cup winning coach Steve Cooper. It seems to be working so far with the Swans unbeaten in four and sat level on points with Leeds at the top. Birmingham are still to appoint a new manager after Garry Monk (another former Swansea manager) left in the summer. Having survived their nine point deduction for breaking EFL financial sustainability rules, Birmingham have made a reasonable start to their campaign under caretaker Pep Clotet. A 3-0 defeat away to Forest being the most obvious blight on their record, another defeat here will only hasten the need to appoint a full time replacement. Maybe they should ask the Swansea owners where they find theirs. GS
 



Premier League: Tottenham Hotspur v Newcastle United


16.30 on Sky Sports Premier League & Main Event


Quite what Steve Bruce was thinking when he took over from Rafa Beniítez at Newcastle is beyond me. It was also beyond his compatriot, Alan Shearer, who used his column in The S*n to voice his concerns. The Mags did well to get, and then retain Rafa’s services, but working for a toxic and capricious Newcastle owner proved too much. Enter stage left, Steve Bruce, confident he can do a job; like an elderly climate change denier oblivious to the thoughts of many an expert on the disaster awaiting him. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, and Norwich devoured their guests last weekend, adding to their opening day loss to Arsenal. £60m in transfer fees spent over the summer should have bolstered Bruces’s side, but £39m for Hoffenheim’s Joelinton, who made just 29 appearances in four years for Die Kraichgauer can’t really be described as a shrewd signing. By contrast, Spurs have enjoyed a good start to the season with a hard-fought point at Man City last week (with a little VAR assistance) following a convincing opening day win against Villa. With his suspension spent, Son Heung-min could return but, given their start, who Potch would drop is anyone’s guess. As you know, we don’t do predictions on The Sound of Football, but the Mags are going to get a right hiding this Sunday - boobloodyhoo! JB
 



La Liga: Barcelona v Real Betis


20.00 on ITV4


In the opening fixture of the new La Liga season, champions Barcelona were beaten very late by a spectacular goal from 38-year-older-sub Aritz Aduriz of Athletic Club. The result gave us a glimpse of life for Barca without Lionel Messi who was injured but is likely to return for this game at the Camp Nou. The result underlines a feeling of dissatisfaction with the performances of the Catalans who, while bossing the league, have been doing so because their rivals Real and Atlético Madrid, have issues of their own. Betis also lost last week, at home to Valladolid for the second successive season. New manager Rubi, can mitigate the disappointment with the knowledge his team still played pretty well and had their ‘keeper Joel Robles sent off early doors. That said Betis are walking into the Lio’s Den and will need help from the football gods if they want to come back with something. This is just as well because as we all know, the football gods are Real Madrid fans. TD
 



Whatever you watch, have a great weekend.



Terry (@terryduffelen), Graham (@grahamsibley) and Jan (@janbilton)



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