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: FA Cup 4th round

There’s literally more live FA Cup action than you can watch this weekend... and still we manage to fit in a few extra games from around the world.

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

All times are UK


FA Cup 4th round: Northampton Town v Derby County or Queens Park Rangers v Sheffield Wednesday
20.00 on BT Sport 1 and BT Sport Extra 1
A couple of weeks ago on the podcast we talked about the less than healthy relationship football has with betting companies; a subject brought back into the conversation following the trouble the FA got into by allowing those companies to show FA Cup games. As a result of that furore, an extra televised fixture has joined the schedules, giving viewers a choice for their Friday evening’s entertainment. Which one should you go with? Well the term “league form goes out the window in the Cup” is truer now than it ever was, with clubs having a ready made excuse for failure by saying that concentraing on promotion/avoiding relegation is much more important than progressing in the oldest knockout competition - so it really is whoever wants it more on the night. QPR and Wednesday are in dismal form despite them both beating Leeds in recent weeks, though the Owls mauling at home to Blackburn last weekend should give them more than enough motivation to put a shift in here. Wayne Rooney’s Rams are in better form and should have the beating of the Cobblers who are well-placed to gain promotion from League Two. Keep your remote handy to follow the action if BT don’t help you out with in-vision updates. GS


A-League: Melbourne City v Perth Glory
08.30 on BT Sport ESPN
At the start of December, last season’s table toppers Perth were bottom of the table, struggling for form and leaking goals, but there was always the sense that Glory were a good side one result away from kickstarting a revival. Title chasers Melbourne City were the unlucky side that day, comprehensively outplayed and beaten 3-0 on their home patch. That result has changed the course of the season, with Perth challenging for second place and an City wobbling to hold them off. With Sydney FC long since having disappeared into the distance, this is a real battle for finals advantage. Perth’s Bruno Fornaroli - who left City in acrimonious circumstances - will want to have a big say in the result, although a lot depends which Melbourne City turns up on the day. The smart money here would be on a tight win for the Glory. GA

FA Cup 4th round: Brentford v Leicester City
12.45 on BBC One
Things are quite rosy at Brentford these days. They’ve had a good injection of investment which has (almost) built a shiny new stadium and strengthened the team to boot. Danish coach, Thomas Frank, has put these resources to good use with The Bees sitting pretty in fourth place in the Championship boasting the tightest defence in the division. In addition, their front three of Said Benrahma, Bryan Mbeumo and Ollie Watkins (collectively known as BMW) have netted thirty-four times and created a further twelve. A narrow win against Stoke in Round Three, thanks to a superb free-kick from midfielder Emiliano Marcondes, set up today’s tie against Premiership opposition, something which may not be too much of a rarity in twelve months time. Prior to their midweek victory against West Ham, Leicester’s last win came against Wigan in Round Three and their previous two saw reverses against Southampton and Burnley respectively. For Brentford, there may be no better time to play Leicester and I quite fancy the home side to pull this one off. JB

Bundesliga: Bayern Munich v Schalke
17.30 on BT Sport 2
Personal bias aside, it’s been nice to see David Wagner with a smile back on his face. The German-American looked strung out in the final weeks of his spell at Huddersfield but has rediscovered his mojo in Gelsenkirchen. Despite the absence of a decent number 9, Wagner’s Schalke team are relevant again, fifth in the table and vanquishers of Borussia Mönchengladbach in the opening round of the Rückrunde. Of course, an away trip to Bayern is something of a free hit since they’ll be expected to lose. But the Champions have a soft underbelly, having lost to Hoffenheim, Leverkusen, Gladbach and Eintracht. But new coach Hansi Flick has steadied the ship and last week, after a few missed chances they did for Hertha BSC by 4-0. With a four point gap between them and Leipzig, Bayern can’t afford too many more slip ups if they’re to win their 29th Bundesliga title. TD


FA Cup 4th round: Tranmere Rovers v Manchester United
15.00 on BT Sport 1
Let’s face it, January is pretty rubbish. It’s cold, it’s dark and you’ve got no money after Christmas. I honestly think the only reason we don’t have a winter break in the UK is that January would be frankly unbearable without any football. However it can also be unbearable if your team has a terrible January. United have already lost four matches this month and if they slip up here on Prenton Park’s terrible pitch they face the very real prospect of being elimanted from both domestic cup competions in the space of three days. Add to that the fact they can’t seem to sign anyone in the transfer window, United fans wouldn’t be blamed for maxing out the credit card to book some winter sun. After defeat at home to Burnley in midweek, OGS has to go for this and do the same against City on Tuesday. Following their WSL match against Liverpool, Chelsea women's manager Emma Hayes, described Prenton Park’s surface as “a stain on their football club” - which for a competition largely held on non-league pitches, shows just how bad it is. It still won’t provide OGS with an excuse for anything but a win here. Lanzarote’s nice at this time of year. GS

Serie A: Roma v Lazio
17.00 on Premier 1
Simone Inzaghi’s team enter the Rome derby on the back of an 11 (eleven) game winning streak in the league that has propelled them to third place, seven points ahead of their city rivals in fourth. To place all their success on the shoulders of one player would be too simplistic but it certainly helps that striker Ciro Immobile is in the form of his career. The former Torino, Dortmund and Sevilla striker has scored 23 goals in all competitions including a hat trick in his last outing against Sampdoria who were destroyed 5-1. That said I Biancocelesti were knocked out of the cup on Tuesday. While the players are winning on the field, the battle still rages on the terraces as a number of ultra groups still persist in performing fascist salutes during matches. In their latest move to try and eradicate this obscene practice, the club are contacting some of the culprits among the fans and ask them to reimburse them for the fines incurred by their behaviour. We’ll see if it makes any difference. TD

Ligue 1: Lille v Paris Saint Germain
20.00 on BT Sport 1
The Sound of Football crew (and hangers on) will be visiting the Stade Pierre-Mauroy in March on our annual European football trip. Hopefully, Lille will recapture the form they showed towards the end of 2019 where they claimed four straight wins, including impressive performances against Europa League spot rivals Lyon and Montpellier. Sadly, the approach of Christmas saw them endure a nightmare 5-1 thrashing away to Monaco in a game where they were ahead for the first twenty minutes. Add to that a reverse against lowly Dijon last week, and you’ve got the worst possible run in to this encounter with runaway Ligue 1 leaders, PSG. This could well be a nightmare end to Sunday for the hosts as PSG are in sparkling form, and have been, save the odd hiccup, most of the season. They last lost a game in early November and have only dropped points since a thrilling 3-3 draw with Monaco in December. With quality like Neymar, Mbappe and Icardi consistently amongst the goals, this may be a long night for the hosts. JB

Whatever you watch, have a great weekend.

Terry, Graham, Jan and Gary (@gafootbl)

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