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: Doing it for the environment

As a football newsletter that's never shy of recycling it hot takes, we're more than ready to go "net zero".

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

All times are UK


FIFA Women's World Cup 2023 qualifying UEFA Group D: England v North Macedonia
19.00 on ITV4
What's this? An international break? But the season's only two games in! Yes, the narrative in the women's game can be just as tiresome as the men's. The Lionesses' road to Australia and New Zealand 2023 starts at St Mary's. It also heralds the start of another new TV deal that will see all their qualifiers for the World Cup and the following Euros on ITV. Yes, immediately after a 1980 episode of Minder (the one where Arthur buys a consignment of dodgy wine), ITV4 will have live free-to-air coverage as well as 45 minutes of build up - which is fantastic news, unless of course you were confidently expecting a James Bond film to be on instead. As for the match itself, despite a shaky start to Sarina Wiegman's career as England manager, no one should expect anything other than a comfortable win to kick off what should be a steady progression to automatic qualification. North Macedonia's only games this year have been two defeats to Kosovo but they do have Nataša Andonova, their captain and all-time top scorer who plays for Levante, and counts PSG and Barcelona among her former sides. GS


Championship: Hull City v Sheffield United
12.30 on Sky Sports Football
After convincingly bouncing back to the Championship in their first attempt, Hull started where they left off putting four past Preston at Deepdale. Sadly, that was the last time they’d win, or indeed score, with some seven games now played. Last time Hull were in the Championship, they went down comfortably in 24th place under the stewardship of Grant McCann. They immediately secured promotion last season, again under McCann. Second to the Tigers, last term, were Peterborough, who I’m lazily going to use as a segue to today’s visitors: Sheffield United. United’s start is only marginally better than that of their hosts, with their lone win coming against, yes, you’ve guessed it, Peterborough, who, coincidentally were McCann’s first managerial post - this almost writes itself! To be fair, the Posh are second only to Forest in the early season Championship whipping-boys stakes, but early form suggests that either of today’s teams could give them a run for their money. There is a slight glimmer of hope in that United’s recent win is sandwiched between a couple of draws, so a win today would set them up nicely. JB

Bundesliga: Köln v RB Leipzig
17.30 on Sky Sports Football
It's been a great start of the season for Köln with consecutive home wins giving them a comfortable look in the early table. Granted those wins were against newly promoted Bochum and (Jungs, es ist) Hertha but given that Effzeh survived the relegation play-off last season, they should feel content with how things have started under new coach Steffen Baumgart. Sadly the same can't be said, for Jesse Marsch the new man in charge RB Leipzig. Having already suffered defeat against Mainz and table-toppers Wolfsburg, his side have conceded ten goals in the past week: four in their Bundesliga defeat at home to Bayern and six in their midweek Champions League trip to the Etihad. Marsch joined the Red Bull family when he took charge of the New York franchise in 2015. Having never played or managed outside of North America, he became head coach of Red Bull Salzburg in 2019, after a season as assistant to Ralf Rangnick at Leipzig, and won two Austrian Bundesliga titles. The pressure is on, can the Billy Goats press home the advantage? GS

La Liga: Alavés v Osasuna
20.00 on LaLigaTV
While Pamplona is in the neighburing province of Navarre, this match is treated as a Basque derby. With the international break and the subsequent Covid cancellation of their match against Villarreal, it's three weeks since Alavés' last game, a 3-0 defeat against Valencia. The break will hopefully have done them some good as they'd lost all three of their opening fixtures. Well, they have had a game in that time, or maybe two, or maybe none - it depends how you look at it. The other side left without a fixture last weekend was Sevilla, so Alavés took the trip to the opposite corner of the country to play two 60 minutes back to back training matches against them, behind closed doors. The only way to see the game(s) was on YouTube but they only set up the broadcast as a 90 minute match, so half an hour of it was missed completely. When the broadcast ended, Sevilla were winning 1-0 but Alaves went on to win 2-1 - both scorelines have been reported as the result, if reported at all. Local rivals Osasuna were unbeaten after their first three games but were on the wrong end of a 4-1 defeat to Valencia last weekend, a scoreline that wasn't a true reflection of how close the game was. GS


Premier League: West Ham United v Manchester United
14.00 on Sky Sports Premier League & Main Event
A bore draw at Southampton aside, the season is shaping up nicely for West Ham. That said, Michail Antonio's injury-time red card means that he misses this game. The English striker found the net at Zagreb in the Europa League last night, underlining how much his absence will be felt. Said Benrahma looks like the most likely choice to move into the middle against David Moyes' former club. Speaking of: the other United had some red card problems of their own. Aaron Wan-Bissaka was sent off in the first half of their Champions League opener at Young Boys. Jesse Lingard's error undid all the hard work done by his teammates to rescue a point. Will he make amends against the club he served with such distinction last season? For better or worse, C Ronaldo's return to Old Trafford looks to have paid off and whether we like it or not all eyes will continue to be on him as he leads Man U's attack at the London Stadium. TD

Premier League: Tottenham Hotspur v Chelsea
16.30 on Sky Sports Premier League & Main Event
Bizarrely, our penultimate match of the weekend will make history no matter what happens on the pitch. #GameZero, as it’s been dubbed, will see fans encouraged to make their way to the ground on public transport, players arriving in bio-fuel powered coaches and the caterers serving up plant-based burgers. All very important, I’m sure you’ll agree, but veggie-burgers - pleeaaase! Putting frankenstein food to one side for a moment, today's hosts have defied expectation (and this particular pundit) with an encouraging start to the season. Encouraging, that was, until last weekend. Their defeat against an impressive Palace side was not just a one off. Spurs managed a solitary shot on goal, demonstrating just how much they rely on the still injured Son Heung-min for creativity. His absence has been compounded by addition of Lucas Moura and Steven Bergwijn to th injured list during last night's 2-2 with Rennes in the Europa Conference League. Still, there is better news at the back, with Japhet Tanganga, a complete and utter liability in the 58 minutes he managed against Palace, thankfully out through suspension. Clearly, Nuno needs to rapidly find answers to the difficult questions raised at Selhurst Park. Chelsea, who they don’t have the best record against, will be ruthless. Lukaku is in blistering form, and the team are undefeated in ten of their last eleven league matches. Sorry Spurs fans, this result may well stick in your throat - just like those god-awful burgers. JB

Serie A: Juventus v Milan
19.45 on BT Sport 1
"It's time for the players to step up." declared Juventus legend Alessandro del Piero's in reaction to his former club's disappointing start to the season. The fallen giants were bested by title rivals, Napoli 2-1 last weekend and Empoli the week before. And Max Allegri's side did just that against Malmo in the Champions League on Tuesday with a comfortable 3-0 win. Now it's back to domestic action against a Milan side, undergoing a renaissance. The Rossoneri were out-muscled by Liverpool in a cracking game under the lights of Anfield on Wednesday. But the narrow scoreline makes you wonder what would have happened if Zlatan had been fit. The 38-year-old is not usually a starter but loves a big occasion and his injury denied us the chance to see the big man perform in one of football greatest stages. With or without him, Milan will fancy their chances to continue their 100% record in the Serie A. TD

Whatever you watch, have a great weekend.

Terry, Graham and Jan

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