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: Back for 2022/23



Football returns and so does the Weekend Boxset.

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


All times are UK (GMT+1)


Friday

Premier League: Crystal Palace v Arsenal
20.00 on Sky Sports Premier League & Main Event
Just as they did last year, Arsenal start the new Premier League season away on a Friday night in a tricky London derby. On that occasion they came undone against newly promoted Brentford and went on to lose their next two games for their worst start in years. Covid had much to do with that poor start but it was a streaky season for the Gunners, yet another of transition. With this summer's signings that transition could be near completion, marking a new period of stability for the club. Coming in are the exciting Fabio Vieira from Porto and the Manchester City pair of Oleksandr Zincheko and Gabriel Jesus. Jesus fills a noticable gap for the Gunners after the exit of both Aubameyang and Lacazette. He's still only 25 with a huge point to prove, and with a World Cup in November he will be highly motivated, for the first half of the season at least, to get into Tite's squad. He came off the bench twice in the summer for Brazil, scoring the last goal in a 5-1 win over Japan, his first for his country in almost three years. Looking at the table you wouldn't think much had changed at Palace but Patrick Vieira has turned this team from one that loses almost half its games to one that loses less than a third of them - which makes a big difference to the club's supporters. New signing from Lens, Chieck Doucouré is a player Vieira can mould in his own image, but there is a Conor Gallagher shaped hole that will need to be filled, following his loan return to Chelsea. I'll be at the game, so expect a lot of reaction on next week's podcast. GS


Saturday

Premier League: Fulham v Liverpool
12.30 on BT Sport 1
The question is, can Aleksandar Mitrović replicate his astonishing form from last season in the Championship? The answer is, of course: no, don't be ridiculous. But if he can score half the 43 goals in 46 league games then Fulham have a good chance of staying up. Coach Marco Silva who was once touted as the next Mourinho has made some bad career choices and which has left him with a point to prove. To help him there are some biggish signings arriving at the cottage. Among them is João Palhinha, an defensive midfielder from Sporting £18m, Andreas Pereira, another midfielder from Manchester United and of course Bernd Leno, the occasional German international 'keeper who was highly rated until he rocked up at Arsenal. We all know about Liverpool don't we? Only one of two title contenders in a race that's likely to be so tight that almost every point will count. Jürgen Klopp can be pleased with their 3-1 Community Shield win and happy that new striker Darwin Núñez got on the score sheet. Liverpool fans will look forward to seeing how he evolves. Making a brief cameo in Sunday's game for Fabio Carvalho, the 19 year old forward joined the Reds from Fulham in May. It will be fun if he features in this match. TD


Premier League: Everton v Chelsea
17.30 on Sky Sports Premier League & Main Event
The new era Chelsea for begins, but with Tuchel still there and forking out £62 million for a left back, you'd say it's not too dissimilar to the old era. But there does seem to be a difference in the business they're doing and its timing, so close to the start of the season. Kalidou Koulibaly coming from Napoli would be an excellent addition to any Premier League team but having lost both Christensen and Rudiger in the summer, you would still say they are light at the back. The signing of Raheem Sterling almost certainly means that Timo Werner is surplus to requirements, and with Conor Gallagher returning to the club as an England international, there is competition for places that could see others reviewing their options. With the Cucurella signing, Tuchel obviously sees an upgrade to Ben Chilwell - though with five subs now available in the Premier League maybe the whole concept of the starting eleven is looking a little quaint. If only Tuchel's predeccessor Frank Lampard had so many attacking options. With Richarlison departing for Tottenham, he was dealt a huge blow in midweek when Dominic Calvert Lewin picked up a knee injury in training, which looks likely to mean a lengthy absense. GS


Coppa Italia first round: Torino v Palermo
20.15 on Premier Sports 1
Having returned to Serie B via the last season's Serie C play-offs, Palermo also return to the Coppa Italia. Just a few seasons back this could have been a bottom-half of Serie A clash but having been relegated from the top flight in 2017, Palermo have been on a wild ride. In their second season in Serie B, they had done enough to earn a play-off place but instead, investigations into serious financial mismanagement saw the club at first relegated, then reprieved with a point deduction, then finally expelled from the league. But now, three years on and I Aguile could be on the verge of becoming a new power in Italian football. Last month it was announced that the club is now part of City Football Group, the Abu Dhabi backed body behind Manchester City, New York City, Melbourne City and a host of other clubs across the world. Five times Coppa Italia winners Torino enjoyed a steady if unspectacular campaign in 2021/22 but have lost two of their best players over the summer. Their Brazialian rock in centre half, Gleison Bremer helped give them the most miserly defence outside of the top four, but he has gone to local rivals Juventus for €41 million. Also, top scorer for six of the last seven season, Andrea Belotti, has left the club and is now a free agent. GS


Sunday

Premier League: Manchester United v Brighton & Hove Albion
14.00 on Sky Sports Premier League & Main Event
The Erik ten Hag broom has swept through the United squad: Pogba, Mata, Matic, Cavani and Lingard are now off the wage bill, but of course that does leaves one very large salary still on it. Having missed almost all off United's pre-season, Cristiano Ronaldo played the first half of a friendly against Rayo Vallecano last Sunday. For a man of his ego, it's very doubtful he would allow that to be his second Old Trafford exit, so don't be surprised if he makes at least one showing before the close of the transfer window - if he can find anyone willing to pick up his bill. United may well have pulled off the deal of the summer with the free signing of Christian Eriksen. The thought of him linking up with Jadon Sancho could make United well worth watching this season, but this time not in a car crash sort of way. Brighton could make a decent claim for the "deal of the summer", they signed Marc Cucurella from Getafe for €6 million in 2020 and will make £50 million before add-ons. Coming just one season on from them making a similar sum on Ben White, don't be surprised if one of the players coming into the Seagulls' squad who you've never heard of are flipped next summer for something similarly ridiculous. GS


Bundesliga: Köln v Schalke
16.30 on Sky Sports Football
When Frank Kramer was sacked as coach of Arminia Bielefeld in April, he couldn't have expected to be back in the Bundesliga so soon. But the 50 year old returns with Schalke, one of the teams that replaced Arminia in the top flight. The Ruhr giant's spell in Bundesliga 2 was mercifully brief but it is a troubled club. Their promotion was sealed without a coach and Kramer was not their first choice. But when you have a Gazprom size hole in your finances, beggars can't be choosers. The Russian energy giants long standing sponsorship deal was cancelled after the invasion of Ukraine and an already cash strapped club are feeling the pinch. However, they got off to a bright start to the season with a 5-0 win over non-league Bremer SV in the DFB Pokal last weekend. Köln's cup campaign is already over after a penalty shoot-out defeat to second division Jahn Regensburg. But that's OK because Steffen Baumgart and his players are now free to concentrate on the Conference League, the play-off for which they qualified to great jubilation last season. Their biggest summer losses were 23 goal striker Anthony Modeste (Saint-Étienne) and defensive midfielder Salih Özcan (Borussia Dortmund). Özcan was superb at protecting the Effzeh back four and will be missed. Coming in to plug the gaps are Stefen Tigges, a striker of some promise and defender Luca Kilian from Mainz. TD


Ligue 1: Marseille v Reims
19.45 on BT Sport 1
OM majority owner Frank McCourt has splashed out this season to challenge PSG for the Ligue 1 title and go deep in the Champions League. They forked out for three forwards: Arkadiusz Milik, Luis Suarez and Cengiz Ünder from Napoli, Granada and Roma respectively. The latter was on loan last season. As was Matteo Guendouzi who is now a permanent transfer from Arsenal. Most significantly however, is the new coach, Igor Tudor who replaced Jorge Sampaoli. The Croatian was a long serving Juventus player and has had coaching spells in Turkey and Greece. McCourt feels his fighting temperament will do well in Marseille. And of course that still have Payet, Dimitri Payet. I just think we understand that the club captain is at the peak of his powers this season, as evidenced by how much he seems to enrage opposition fans, just for playing football. Not a lot to say about Reims beyond the fact that it could be a tough campaign. Les rouges et blancs said farewell to 20 year old striker Hugo Ekitike who left for PSG in the Summer. Ekitike scored 10 goals last season and coach Óscar García will struggle to replace them. TD


Whatever you watch, have a great weekend.

Terry and Graham

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