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



After United's mauling at Anfield last weekend, Ole's back at the wheel to face a Spurs side going through their own recovery. The Women's FA Cup reaches the semi-final stage, and its squeaky-ass time in MLS.

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



Times for Friday and Saturday are BST (GMT +1). Times for Sunday are GMT.

Friday

Ligue 1: PSG v Lille
20.00 on BT Sport 2
After the joy of winning the league last season, LOSC are having Les Dogges of a hangover. Five defeats this season sees the Champions languish in tenth. A three-game winning streak was brought to an end with a draw at Clermont-Foot and a defeat to Brest. Thank goodness there are no more body parts left to play. But Lille's sorry start is not that surprising. Coach Christophe Galtier resigned just two days after lifting the league trophy and the new owners flogged Boubakary Soumaré to Leicester. Goalkeeper Mike Maignan also went for big money to Milan to replace the PSG-bound Gianluigi Donnarumma. But if we put on our spectacles and peer at the numbers in befuddlement, we see that LOSC's expected goals conceded is actually the second-lowest in the league so perhaps new coach Jocelyn Gourvennec is not having the rub of the green. And speaking of green, PSG may be top but they have not been entirely convincing: defeat at Rennes, a very narrow win to Angers and a bore draw with OM in "Le Classique". So there is value in this fixture and a chance that Lille could remind PSG, and maybe themselves, who are the champs. TD


Saturday

Premier League: Leicester City v Arsenal
12.30 on BT Sport 1
These sides share an identical league record, but while they currently occupy positions in mid-table they are just three points from fourth, the highest position either side can have reasonable expectations of achieving this season. Leicester have been plagued with injuries but a change in formation appears to have stemmed the defeats they suffered in early season and brought plenty of goals. What remains a worry for Brendan Rodgers is that his side have failed to keep a clean sheet since the opening day win against Wolves. Much was made about Arsenal's high net spend in the transfer window but at this still early stage, it seems to have been money well spent. While the performances of White and Ramsdale have already caught attention, the other summer signings of Tomiyasu, Tavares and Lokonga have all made good starts with the latter two providing able back-up for first team regulars Kieran Tierney and Granit Xhaka. Another bonus for Mikel Arteta is the recent form of Alexandre Lacazette. His late equaliser after coming on as a substitute against Dirty Cheating Palace spared the blushes in a game where the Gunners had taken an early lead. His reward was a start against Villa in which he stood out in a deeper role in the comfortable 3-1 win. GS


Premier League: Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester United
17.30 on Sky Sports Premier League & Main Event
Is it that much of a surprise that Spurs and Man United are sitting sixth and seventh respectively, with just nine games played? Well, if you ask me, I’d tell you ‘no’, but that’s not the way it is. Both managers are under an enormous amount of pressure following a string of disappointing results. Dig a little deeper and you’ll find that it’s not the fact that points have been dropped, but the manner in which they were fumbled and, of course, who was the opposition. All of Nuno’s league losses have come against London rivals, including a pasting at The Emirates. There was also the ‘embarrassment’ of losing to Vitesse in the European Conference League, which tells you all you need to know about the gap between expectation and reality in this part of North London. Of course, today’s visitors are guilty of the same misplaced expectation. Quite what preparations were made ahead of whatever the hell happened against North-West rivals, Liverpool, is anyone’s guess. Suffice to say, that Ole believed that he sent out a team capable of defeating Liverpool - again, this tells you all you need to know. Despite all of this, both sides boast an embarrassment of riches all over the pitch, and given the lack of any actual form, this could end up a mad, mad game. 4-3 to Spurs. JB


MLS: New York Red Bulls v Montréal
21.00 on Premier Sports 2
New England Revolution may have already walked away with their first Supporters Shield but for most MLS clubs it's crunch time as the regular season reaches its penultimate weekend and they try to grab the available play-off places. A couple of months ago the play-offs looked unlikely for the Red Bulls but an unbeaten run of eight games has put them back in contention. That run came to an end in midweek against DC United who now occupy the last play-off spot just a point above these two sides but having played a game more. If Red Bulls do miss out it will only be the second time they've failed to reach the post season since their rebrand from the being the NY/NJ Metrostars in 2006. For Montréal, missing out on the play-offs has become a regular thing. While they were regular semi-finalists and even winners during the 2000s, their only recent appearance in the post season was last year when, due to the regular season being curtailed, the play-offs were expanded to go down as far as 9th in the Eastern Conference. Montréal come into this one on the back of securing a place in the final of the Voyageurs Cup, Canada's qualification tournament for the CONCACAF Champions League. GS


Sunday

Women's FA Cup Semi-final: Manchester City v Chelsea
12.45 on BBC One
Still catching up with the delays from lockdowns, these semi-finals take place a week after the final qualifying round of the competition's next running. The final this year is scheduled for 5 December - 100 years to the day of the ruling to ban women's teams from using FA pitches and facilities. Women's football in England is now growing at its fastest rate since that ban was lifted 50 years ago. Evidence of this growth can seen in the number of teams taking part in the FA Cup: from 297 in 2019/20 to 397 in 2021/22. City are the holders and have won three of the last four finals, the other being won by Chelsea in 2018. If this was another season you'd be hard pressed to call this one, but City are missing key players through injury and head coach Gareth Taylor has struggled to shuffle his remaining pack successfully, leading to a run of defeats in the WSL. Emma Hayes' Chelsea side have the opportunity to turn the screw even further and will again when the sides meet here in the league in two weeks' time. The second semi-final follows later with 14-times-winners Arsenal at home to Brighton, coverage starting at 16.45 on BBC Two. GS


Bundesliga: Borussia Mönchengladbach v Bochum
16.30 on Sky Sports Football
Such a shame Gladbach can't play Bayern every week. Their 5-0 cup win over the mighty Bavarians on Wednesday was a masterclass. Breel Embolo had one of those games where he was impossible to play against. Borussia took all their chances, didn't back down and reduced one of the best teams in Europe to a smear. It was the kind of performance that justified their poaching of coach Adi Hütter from Eintracht Frankfurt and was in stark contrast to their moribund league form. Football being what it is Borussia will probably lose this match. Newly promoted Bochum effectively replaced Schalke as the second club in the Ruhrpot. This small club punched above their weight in the noughties, enjoying a prolonged stint in the top flight before being relegated in 2010. VfL's eventual return is welcome as they are an authentic and likeable football club. So far Thomas Reis' team have kept their heads above water and are a decent outside bet to stay up, despite their thin squad and meagre resources. TD


Serie A: Roma v Milan
19.45 on BT Sport 1
Milan went top this week, for a day at least. The Rossoneri increased their winning run to six games on Wednesday against Torino, with 35-year-old Olivier Giroud scoring the only goal. That was his fourth of the season and he's proving a more than able understudy to Zlatan, for whom time may finally be catching up. Milan can thank Roma for their brief time at the top of the table following their 0-0 draw in the Derby del Sole last weekend which spoilt Napoli's 100% start to the season. You could say that was a typical Mourinho display but they were always likely to shut up shop against Napoli following their recent narrow defeats to Lazio and Juve. Roma held on to their fourth spot in the table by also winning in midweek but had to come from behind away to bottom side Cagliari; Lorenzo Pellegrini scoring the winner, maintaining his excellent form this season. GS


Whatever you watch, have a great weekend.

Terry, Graham and Jan

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