Weekly football conversation since 2009, with Graham Sibley, Jan Bilton and Terry Duffelen. Listen on Acast, Apple, Google, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn or your podcatcher of choice.

Weekend Boxset: We go again



What has another 9-0 defeat for Southampton taught us about them, and United?

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


All times are UK (GMT)

Friday

Championship: Swansea City v Norwich City
20.15 on Sky Sports Football & Main Event
We all want a return to normal life, a life where the Premier League is a predictable stroll for the cash rich giants and where the Championship is where you go for results that come out of nowhere. Maybe it's just that Leeds aren't there any more (no, Derby aren't the new Leeds) but the Championship seems to be far more sensible these days. That certainly doesn't mean it's not worth watching. With 20 games to go for most teams, the relegation battle is going to be fought across the whole of the bottom half of the table with sides at the bottom like Wednesday and Rotherham finding results while teams in the mid-table like Huddersfield and Cardiff are getting sucked down. At the top Bournemouth and Middlesbrough have slipped out of the race for automatic promotion leaving these two to fight it out with Reading, Watford and Brentford. For Norwich, the decision to stick with Daniel Farke has paid off. Despite having dropped points in their last two games they remain four points clear at the top and have conceded just once in their five league games this year. Steve Cooper's Swansea side's success this season has also been built on their defensive strength. The numbers would say there will probably be just one goal in it, as it was when the sides met at Carrow Road, but it certainly won't be dull. GS


Saturday

Premier League: Newcastle United v Southampton
15.00 on BT Sport 1
Here we go again. Ralph Hasenhuttl has to pick his side up after another 9-0 hammering, less than 18 months after the last one. His Southampton side recovered impressively after that trouncing against Leicester but doing it again could prove a a tough task. Getting the fans back behind you is one thing, but how do you convince players like James Ward Prowse - on the pitch for 180 minutes of those two games - that another 9-0 isn't going to happen. As transfer windows signings go Newcastle getting in Graeme Jones on to the coaching staff could prove the most successful. Born in Gateshead, the long time assistant to Roberto Martinez, at Swansea, Wigan and Belgium, has a lot of respect in the game despite his only managerial appointment being a disappointing campaign in charge of Luton last season. Given the state both sides are in, this is a bit of a car-crash fixture. Don't miss it. GS


Bundesliga: Borussia Monchengladbach v Koln
17.30 on BT Sport 2
After a decent start to the campaign, Gladbach have dropped to seventh following a mid-season blip. Their temporary drop in form was not helped by shenanigans involving two of their top players: Marcus Thuram was sent off and banned for 6 matches for spitting at Stefan Posch in 2-1 defeat to Hoffenheim in December. Then Breel Embolo was fined by the club for some non-compliant, lockdown-busting, partying last month. Marco Rose’s team have gathered themselves in recent weeks and there have been some notable wins against BVB and Bayern Munich. That said, they only managed a 1-1 draw against Union Berlin at the weekend. The foals will need to do better if they want to return to the Champions League next season. Koln’s much needed 3-1 win and impressive performance against Bielefeld last Sunday lifted them away from the drop zone. But their spirits will be dampened after getting knocked out of the DFB Pokal on Wednesday on penalties by Jahn Regensburg. Max Meyer joins the Billygoats until the end of the season after an ill-fated spell at Crystal Palace. He made a brief cameo on Sunday and should feature more heavily in this match. The former wunderkind is, in theory, still a quality player. If he can produce for Effzeh and help them out of relegation trouble, he may yet resurrect his career. TD


Premier League: Manchester United v Everton
20.00 on Sky Sports Premier League & Main Event
If Southampton's midweek mauling taught us anything, it has to be that this Manchester United side is about as good as Brendan Rodgers' Leicester side (in fairness the Foxes are probably better: they scored one of their nine goals against eleven men, while United scored three against nine). Despite not looking like title winners Ole's side continue to get the results to keep pressure on City - who they could draw level with at the top if they win here. When the sides met in November, Everton had hit a poor patch - their goal in the 3-1 defeat was their only shot on target of the game. For United it was the first game of unbeaten run of 13. Unbeaten in the league at least, defeats in the Champions League did more to define United's progress this campaign but as they always seem to land on their right now, you'd be brave to bet against them going on to success again in the Europa League. Deadline signing Josh King made a cameo appearance at the end of Everton's win against Leeds midweek. With Cenk Tosun going back to Turkey, King is likely to be back up for Dominic Calvert-Lewin who broke a two month league goal drought in the Leeds win. GS


Sunday

FA Women's Super League: Arsenal v Manchester City
14.30 on BT Sport 1
If the vacant position as head coach to AFC Wimbledon' s men's team had been loosely linked to former Welsh international and Manchester City women's manager, Gareth Taylor, it's very likely that it would only have registered amongst followers of those two clubs, if at all. As it was, it was Chelsea manager Emma Hayes who was linked, allowing the tabloids a chance to promote puff-pieces guaranteed to generate hate clicks. Not that the WSL can't make their own negative headlines. Both clubs came under fire in the uproar surrounding some of their players' controversial trips to Dubai over Christmas. City had four players test positive on returning but have bounced back with a run of impressive high-scoring victories. Arsenal have found the fall-out from the Dubai debacle harder to get over. Since these sides met in mid-December, Joe Montemurro's side have played just twice and last time out could only draw against an out of form Reading side. Already out of the title race, another defeat here will realistically end Arsenal's Champions League hopes too. GS


Premier League: Liverpool v Manchester City
15.00 on Sky Sports Premier League & Main Event
Let's go back to the summer of 2013, to the German Supercup between Dortmund and Bayern - the first meeting between Klopp and Guardiola. Pep had just taken over a Bayern side that had, under Jupp Heynckes, run away with the Bundesliga. They had won 25 points ahead of Klopp's Dortmund in second place, who had previously won back to back titles. The match itself was won in a crazy eight minute second half spell which saw Dortmund's lead move from 1-0 to 3-2. Marco Reus extended BVB's lead to give first blood to Klopp in a mangerial head-to-head that has provided some fantastic games in the 20 meetings over the years since then. Two players from that day have swapped managers and go into this game in polar opposite form. Ilkay Gundogan, scored Dortmund's third that day, and is currently in the form of his City career. Thiago on the other hand is struggling in front of an injury ravaged Liverpool backline and could well miss out here, being replaced by Curtis Jones. The form of these players mirrors that of their sides. No one has a better record against Pep than Jurgen Klopp, but defeat today could lead to a side of his again on their way to end the season 20+ points behind Guardiola's. GS


Ligue 1: Marseille v Paris Saint Germain
20.00 on BT Sport 1
Jeepers where to begin with OM? No win since December and in the last week, their training ground was attacked by ultras and the coach quits, only to be subsequently fired. Andre Villas-Boas' 18 month tenure came to an end on Tuesday, after his sporting director Pablo Longoria signed midfielder Olivier Ntcham against the express wishes of the manager. Having initially refused his resignation, the club decided to sack Villas Boas following his public criticism of Longoria. Three days earlier the training ground was attacked with flares and fireworks by ultras. Trees were set on fire and defender Álvaro González was hit in the back by a projectile. González is also in trouble with the law for allegedly insulting a police officer at an airport on the way to the Lens game on Wednesday after refusing the officer's request to wear a mask. The Spaniard played in that game and his team went 2-0 up at half time, only to concede twice in the second half. While the club search for the next coach, Nasser Larguet will continue as caretaker against the hated PSG in Le Classique. The Parisians were unbeaten under new coach Mauricio Pochettino until a shock 3-2 defeat to Lorient last week. The Champions are still seething over their loss to OM last September and will want to make amends. This could get emotional. TD


Whatever you watch, have a great weekend.

Terry and Graham

Get in touch with us

Name

Email *

Message *

Latest podcast

Never miss a podcast

Don't forget to subscribe to our weekly newsletter - The Weekend Boxset - which tells you all about the seven must watch games on your TV over the weekend.