Weekend Boxset: Ole's last stand?

Club football returns with more than a couple of managers wishing it could have gone on longer.

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



Championship: Cardiff City v Sheffield Wednesday


19.45 on Sky Sports Football & Main Event


For the second time this season, Cardiff find themselves kicking off the weekend after an International break on a Friday night. You can probably guess how Colin feels about that.  In reality, despite initially bemoaning the situation, he’s become almost philosophical about it all, almost certainly due to the fact he has tough away fixtures at Millwall and Swansea to come next week. In one of those weird fixture computer things, Wednesday haven't played outside Yorkshire since August. Both sides sit deservedly mid-table as if waiting for the inevitable downturn of teams above who have had surprisingly decent starts. Should be a very tight affair with both sides conscious that defeat will see them drift from the large leading pack  GS
 



Saturday



A-League: Western United v Perth Glory


07.15 on BT Sport ESPN


The A League’s newest franchise run out at home for the first time. Of course, it’s not their actual home - their new stadium in Tarniet in Melbourne’s western suburbs won’t be built for several years yet, so we have a home debut in the town of Geelong. We should get an idea of how much support United muster in AFL country but they at least have a clear identity, which is more than can be said for neighbours Melbourne City. As for the football, United have a strong if ageing frontline with former Hammer Alessandro Diamanti and the A League’s all time leading scorer and pantomime villain Besart Berisha. They negotiated a tricky opening tie with manager Mark Rudan’s former club, Wellington Phoenix on the opening weekend, and will fancy their chances against a Perth side who look good on paper but were strangely profligate against Brisbane. This could be a cagey encounter despite the obvious firepower of both sides. GA
 



Premier League: Everton v West Ham United


12.30 on BT Sport 1


Having lost four games on the bounce Marco Silva must be wondering what decent job he's going to fall into next. Having relegated Hull City he got the job at Watford, where after a decent start he did badly enough to get himself sacked so he could join Everton. Is The Toffees recent form him engineering another exit to a better offer? Maybe he fancies his chances at Old Trafford. Players Everton will be looking at to help change their fortunes, Alex Iwobi and Richarlison, racked up the airmiles during the break as they lined up against each other in a friendly between Brazil and Nigeria in Singapore. Moise Kean should be fresh though, playing just 18 minutes of Italy U21's draw with the Republic of Ireland by getting himself sent off for a bit of handbags with Tottenham's Troy Parrott. The Hammers should certainly go into this with confidence but they seem to be developing a habit of letting early leads slip. Unless something drastic has changed over the break, the stats suggest Pellegrini's side should head back to London with at least a point - Everton haven't won any of their last eight Saturday lunchtime kick-offs. GS
 



Bundesliga: Borussia Dortmund v Borussia Mochengladbach


17.30 on BT Sport 2


BVB were supposed at the top of the table by now. A summer of headline signings and a blistering start to the season, plus uncertainty over Bayern Munich’s recruitment, placed Dortmund as early favourites. But a succession of 2-2 draws amid accusations of lack of bottle has put Lucien Favre’s team in 8th (eighth). But wait, non Bundesliga followers, because the current table toppers are not the aforementioned Bayern but Borussia Mönchengladbach. New coach Marco Rose arrived from Salzburg with high expectations and right now is meeting them. Admittedly, there are only two points separating the top seven so the likelihood of staying top can only be guaranteed with three points at the Westfalen. However, given their opponent’s accommodating defence, Gladbach should be suitably bullish ahead of this one. TD
 





Sunday



La Liga: Real Sociedad v Real Betis


13.00 on Premier 1


The Boxset finds both teams in poor shape. Sociedad’s good start was halted by Sevilla and Getafe respectively. That said, with 20-year-old Martin Ødegaard finally hitting form after joining on loan from Real Madrid, the San Sebastián club are still set fair for a decent season. Expectations will also be high for former Dortmund striker, Alexander Isak who, like Ødegaard, had a huge reputation at a tender age but needed a move away to season themselves. It’s fair to say that the Betis fans are not best pleased. Whistles rang around the Bent Villamarin Stadium after their 1-1 draw at home to SD Eibar. After Quique Setién failed to find the right settings on the Attack/Defence lever, last season, the club looked to regain some of that sparkle with new coach Rubi who joined from Espanyol.  So far it’s a pretty dull affair with the team only two places above the red zone. TD
 



Premier League: Manchester United v Liverpool


16.30 on Sky Sports Premier League & Main Event


With the season about to close, and facing absolutely zero pressure, the United board chose to appoint club legend and rookie manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. That was back in March, and Ole had an impressive fourteen wins under his belt, but history is about judge this as a rash decision with the same board reportedly demanding a result in the next fixture to avoid a change in leadership. To be honest, they should have just put the poor fella out of his misery before the international break, as United have exactly zero chance of overcoming Liverpool this Sunday. Compounding the challenge will be the absence of an injured Paul Pogba and potentially David De Gea, who hurt his thigh on duty with Spain earlier in the week. The terminally effervescent Liverpool could welcome back Alisson which can only add to Solskjaer’s woes. City have a tricky tie at Palace on Saturday, so come Monday morning, Liverpool could be sitting eleven points clear with a managerless United sitting in the relegation zone. The moral of this story for any club legends out there: never go back. JB
 



Ligue 1: Marseille v Strasbourg


20.00 on BT Sport 1


At the end May, three Ligue 1 sides appointed new managers. Lyon gave the job to Sylvinho, St Etienne appointed Ghislain Printant while Marseille took a punt on former Spurs and Chelsea manager Andre Villas Boas. It's not been an easy start for him returning to management after leaving Shanghei SIPG almost two years ago but at least he still has his job, which is more than you can say for those other two appointees. With just three wins from their opening nine games, his position isn't safe and defeat here against a side they really should beat will heap the pressure on him. Strasbourg sit with a bunch of sides in the bottom half of the table with just two wins. Having won back to promotions to return to the top flight in 2017, they have been making themselves comfortable and even snatched some silverware last season, beating Lille to the Coupe de la Ligue - a prize that gave them their first taste of European competition since 2006. They started the Europa League well but went out to Eintracht Frankfurt in the last round before the group stage. GS
 



Whatever you watch, have a great weekend.



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



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