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: Under new management already

This weekend’s boxset features three sides who have appointed new managers after just a handful of games and one or two clubs who might be doing the same very soon.

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

All times are BST (GMT+1)


Championship: Derby County v Cardiff City
19.45 on Sky Sports Football & Main Event
When Cardiff gained promotion in 2018 they won their first five matches. Six games into this campaign though Neil Warnock’s side are a long way short of that level of consistency. Derby’s start under Phillip Cocu has been even less impressive, having now won since the opening weekend. Both sides are still strongly tipped to compete for the top six places at the end of the season but more dropped points here will add to the pressure on both managers. After a thumping defeat against Brentford before the break, Cocu has to decide how to rejig defensively. Does he bring in Brighton loanee Matt Clarke, who did so well for Portsmouth last season? If he does does he bench club record signing from Arsenal Krystian Bielik, or does he play both youngsters, side-lining the much more experienced Richard Keogh. As expected, Colin is griping about the late return of Leandro Bucuna from his CONCACAF Nations League double-header for Curacao against Haiti. He might even have point this time. GS


Premier League: Liverpool v Newcastle United
12.30 on BT Sport 1
The show reel of classic matches between these two sides is a perennial favourite for filling time on sports channels. Goal-filled encounters and a host of Reds cult heroes going up against their old side as managers and on the pitch gave this fixture extra narrative during the 1990s. For a decade or so, points dropped in this match contributed to either side falling short of winning the title, from Liverpool losing out in 1988/89 to Keegan’s Newcastle finishing second to United two seasons in row having lost 4-3 to his old side. Despite all the drama though, in all their years in the Premier League, Newcastle have to go back to their first season there - their roller-coaster campaign of 1993/94 - for their last win at Anfield. They’re unlikely to buck that trend here but if they can reproduce the form they showed in their win against Tottenham last month they might be able to catch a post international break Liverpool side off guard and end their club-record 13 game league win streak. Anything but a home win might not become a classic but might again have some influence as to where the title is going. GS

Bundesliga: RB Leipzig v Bayern
17.30 on BT Sport 2
It looks like we have a challenger for Bayern Munich’s crown this season and it comes in the shape of the energy drink franchise rather than Borussia Dortmund. Before the start of the season, I suggested that there could be a three horse race for the title but I am surprised at just how convincing Rasenballsport victories against Union Berlin, Eintracht and Mönchengladbach have been. After renewing his contract, Timo Werner has found his shooting boots and Leipzig under new coach Julian Nagelsmann are comfortably the best team in Germany right now. Whether they still are in May depends, to some degree, on whether or not they can overcome the Champions. Bayern beat lowly Mainz 6-1 last time out and despite some concerns over their squad depth the Bavarian giants are still the team to beat. TD

Serie A: Inter v Udinese
19.45 on Premier 1
No one needs to be told that the monkey chants directed at Romelu Lukaku by fans of Cagliari as he stepped up to convert Inter’s match-winning penalty were racist, except perhaps his own supporters. The Belgian striker plays in front of his home crowd for the first time since receiving a letter from the Curva Nord ultras fansplaining how the chants weren’t racist but were a form of collective gamesmanship and how he should treat them as a compliment for being such a dangerous player, worthy of this kind of tactic. The letter does more to reveal the real attitudes of Italian culture towards racism than the monkey chants: an even more vile position where you can be knowingly racist even when you don’t consider yourself to be that way. The Italian authorities will do little to censure either side for their actions, they never do, which goes some way to explain why Italian football is becoming less and less attractive to global markets. It certainly makes for uneasy viewing. GS


Championship: Huddersfield Town v Sheffield Wednesday
12.00 on Sky Sports Football
Both clubs approach this big Yorkshire derby after having made some big changes on each bench. Huddersfield have developed a habit of making un-conservative coaching appointments. Their latest, the brothers Danny and Nicky Cowley, started from humble beginnings at Concord Rangers and rose to prominence with double promotions at Lincoln City. Now they have arrived in Yorkshire to expand their scope. They are the football equivalent of Romulus and Remus only without the she-wolf. However, as someone once said, Rome wasn’t built in a day and their first job is to arrest the alarming decline and start winning football matches. Wednesday also have a new manager in the shape of Garry Monk and who can forget his confrontation with David Wagner when he was the coach of Leeds, against Huddersfield in 2017? Monk will have to start his career without forward Fernando Forestieiri who is serving a six-match ban for using racist language in a pre-season match against Mansfield last year. TD

Premier League: Watford v Arsenal
16.30 on Sky Sports Premier League & Main Event
Despite an eleventh place finish and an FA Cup Final appearance, Javi Gracia was sacked earlier this month following a run of results that saw Watford pick up just one point from their opening four games, leaving them bottom of the table. Too soon? Well, time will tell as the club opted to reappoint Quique Sánchez Flores, who returns having spent time at Espanyol and a short spell at Shanghai Shenhua. His last season with the Hornets wasn’t dissimilar Gracia’s suggesting that the Watford hierarchy spotted something so dire in the opening four games, that they just had to act. Maybe the international break will have given Flores time to reflect on how to stop Arsenal’s red-hot front three of Pepe, Lacazette and Aubameyang, but I suspect not. One glimmer of hope lies in the fact that Arsenal’s defence haven’t impressed much of late, and with the calamitous David Luiz in the side, anything can happen. JB

Ligue 1: Monaco v Marseille
20.00 on BT Sport 1
Monaco will be hoping that the international break allows them the chance to press the reset button on what has been a miserable start to the season. A hard-fought 2-2 draw with Nimes on the last matchday before the break was the club from the principalities first point of the season and they have had three players sent off in as many games. Marseille, on the other hand, were just getting going after two straight wins against Nice and Saint Ettiene which followed a poor start to the campaign. André Villas-Boas has one less player to pick from his squad after learning that Florian Thauvin will be out probably until the new year with an ankle injury. The French winger scored this time last year when these two sides last met in the Stade Louis II. That was OM’s last win in the microstate in six attempts. They will be optimistic for a second victory in succession.TD

Whatever you watch, have a great weekend.

Terry, Graham and Jan

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