Weekend Boxset: RIPPV



The Premier League's Pay Per View experiment has failed and has been consigned to the bin, but don't let that stop you donating £15 to a deserving cause.

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

All times are GMT

Friday

Championship: Coventry City v Birmingham City
19.45 on Sky Sports Football
It's tenants v landlords at St Andrew's, which would ordinarily add a bit of spice to a this fixture, but in this case it's not one the fake crowd noise could ever hope to capture. Both teams come into this after back to back defeats just when it looked like they were turning a corner. Coventry's win against table leaders Reading looked impressive at the time but less so now given the Royals' poor performances that followed. With sides in the bottom half like Forest, Derby and Wednesday, who would be expected to start stringing results together sooner or later, this match looks like a must win for either camp. Both sides will be able to take advantage of extra substitutions after the announcement this week from the EFL that Championship sides can bring on up to five substitutes from a bench of nine. League One and League Two are now able to use five from seven named substitutes. GS


Saturday

Premier League: Aston Villa v Brighton & Hove Albion
15.00 on BT Sport 1
It's Saturday 3 and we can watch football on our existing subscription packages! Yes, PPV dead - now let's all forget it ever happened. Jack Grealish returns to club football after finally being recognised as this generation's misunderstood talent. Is he the new Glenn Hoddle? The new Gazza? The new Joe Cole? Only time and a series of disappointing England team performances with and without him will tell. Villa's season so far shows how different a side can be when they're looking to win rather than having to avoid defeat. But despite the impressive display at Arsenal last time out, Villa will be all to aware that their last two home games have ended in defeat and seen them concede seven goals. Given Villa's positive start to the season and the form of their talismanic star player, you might think that Graham Potter's side would be happy to head back to the south coast with a point, but without a win in six, they need to find a win from somewhere. While the season is still only eight games in, Brighton find themselves in a group of five teams already cut off from the rest of the table by a four point gap. An inability to convert draws to wins - especially against the teams below them in the table - could see this decent Brighton side caught in a relegation scrap it needn't be in, and may not be equiped to get out of. GS


Premier League: Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City
17.30 on Sky Sports Premier League & Main Event
Tonight’s fixture sees two old sparring partners come together for what should be a cracking game of football. Since Jose took over at Spurs they have improved dramatically in all areas and look likely to collect a trophy or two before the season is out. Forgotten is the opening day disappointment at home to Everton and they remain unbeaten in the league since then and now sit second ahead of Champions Liverpool. As you’d expect from a Mourinho side, they’re able to grind out results while also boasting an incredible attacking line-up in Son, Kane and Bale. By contrast, Pep seems to be keeping his powder dry for the cup competitions, doing well in the early stages for both the Champions League and domestically in the League Cup. Sadly, in the one that matters (to some, at least), they are operating far below expectations. To be fair to Pep, he’s been battling a string of injuries to players who he can usually rely on for goals. Aguero and Jesus could make a comeback for this fixture, which should be enough to boost City’s chances of a result. Whether they’ll get into the team or not is another matter entirely. Ferran Torres’s hat-trick in Spain’s destruction of Germany in midweek may prompt Pep to chuck him in the mix while his confidence is high. Expect a few goals in this one. JB


La Liga: Atletico Madrid v Barcelona
20.00 on LaLigaTV
While the bookmakers still have Real as favourites for the title, with Barcelona just behind them, the impressive start to the season shown by Atleti - especially compared to the erratic form of their rivals - must make them the team to beat. Undefeated so far, they've conceded just two goals in seven games - so far, so Atleti - but considering the number of first team players that have come and gone in the past eighteen months, and all the other uncertainty in the world, it's a remarkable level of consistency. History in this tie stands against them: victory would break a winless run in the league against the Catalans that stretches back 20 games, to before Diego Simeone brought his Cholismo to the club in 2011. If they are to beat Barcelona it will have to be without Luis Suarez who misses the chance to go up against his old club after testing positive for Covid-19 while on international duty with Uruguay. GS


Sunday

Scottish Premiership: Rangers v Aberdeen
12.00 on Sky Sports Football & Main Event
Scotland's qualification for next summer's Euros has been celebrated as much as you can within current restrictions. The success of Steve Clarke and the talent coming into his national side, along with the promise of a genuine title race this season, makes for a lot of positivity north of the border right now (unless of course you're a Celtic fan). Such is the competition for places in the national side that Aberdeen's top scorer Lewis Ferguson is still restricted to the U21s. A match against Rangers will have added importance for the young midfielder, his dad Derek and uncle Barry both played there. Rangers are flying: an 8-0 hammering of Hamilton in their last game before the break was a sixth win in a row and their fifth consecutive clean sheet. In the 1997/98 season that saw Scotland last qualify for an international tournament, Celtic halted Rangers run of consecutive league title wins at nine, this season Rangers have an excellent chance to return the same favour. GS


Premier League: Leeds United v Arsenal
16.30 on Sky Sports Premier League & Main Event
During Eddie Nketiah's loan spell at Leeds last season, Marcelo Bielsa described him as "a complete player". Primarily used off the bench, he was called back to Arsenal in January just as he was starting to be first choice in attack. Again being used off the bench, he scored a number of useful goals for the Gunners and completed the season with a now even rarer double of gaining both Football League champions and FA Cup winners medals. His quickness of feet and thought have drawn comparisons to Ian Wright and with more goals for England U21 last week to see them qualify for next year's Euros (the group stage of which will be played in the March international break) his next objective is to become a regular fixture in an Arsenal attacking line that needs goals from somewhere. Nketiah's opportunities at Leeds were restricted by Patrick Bamford, who has returned to the Premier League in remarkably different form to how he left it. After scoring just one goal for the four clubs he played for in the top flight, he's already on seven from just eight appearances this season. Maybe he's one of those players who is enjoying the lack of fans. GS


Serie A: Napoli v Milan
19.45 on Premier Sports 2
It's always nice to see when what looks like an ideal relationship doesn't work out but both parties come out the other side the better for it. While Gennaro Gattuso's made his name and reputation as a player at Milan, it could be at Napoli where he makes his mark as a coach. His time in charge of Milan wasn't bad but it wasn't great either, and when he took control of a Napoli side that was falling apart, it could easily have been seen as a measure to get them back on track until a more established name came along. As it is, he's already won them the Coppa Italia and has a side that once again looks set to challenge for the title. Milan, now under Stefano Pioli and with the evergreen Zlatan in customary imperious form, look well-placed to be their main challengers, though in honesty this race is wide open. Milan are in their seventh season without Champions League football, so while, of course, they will be bigging up their chances to go all the way, you feel they would be more than happy to finish top four. Either side could be top of the table after this one (but that's depending on how the darkest of the horses Sassuolo get on at Verona - who are also proving to be no mugs). GS


Whatever you watch, have a great weekend.

Graham and Jan


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