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: What's Brice Samba up to now?

The Lionesses are back at a sold-out Wembley, Arsenal look to take advantage of a hurting Liverpool and Dortmund try to halt Bayern’s resurgance. This weekend also sees the start of a new A-League season, so we’re delighted to welcome back Gary Andrews for his insights.

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

All times are UK


Women’s International Friendly: England v USA
20.00 on ITV and STV
Before the confetti had settled on England’s Euro 2022 triumph, a match against the USA was hastily arranged as part of celebrations for next month’s 50th anniversery of the first "official" England Women’s football match. A game against the world champions in a sold out Wembley is the perfect test for Serina Weigman’s side in the build up to next summer’s World Cup, but the backdrop of this game is dominated by events off the field, which serve as a reminder that the ongoing success of women’s football will rely on far more than just filling stadiums. Monday saw the release of the Yates report - a far reaching investigation into systemic emotional, physical and sexual abuse in the NWSL. The report has exposed a litany of misconduct and cover-ups, with clubs and authorities guilty of failing players. While the subject of the report is the US’s professional league, the findings must serve as a warning for leagues across the world as the game continues to grow at pace. Both teams will wear teal armbands in solidarity with victims of abuse. On the field both sides are in process of introducing new faces among their established stars. For the USA, rising star and now highest paid player in the NWSL Trinity Rodman (yes, daughter of Dennis) should start, while for England the notable retirements of Ellen White and Jill Scott sees opportunites open for the likes of Jess Park, Manchester City’s 20 year old forward currently on loan at Everton. GS


A-League Men: Sydney v Melbourne Victory
09.45 on BT Sport 2
And so Australian football (the round stuff) kicks off for another season. In a cynical set of scheduling designed to drum up interest, the opening round has derbies a plenty and the league’s biggest draw: Sydney FC vs Melbourne Victory at the new impressive Sydney Football Stadium (complete with requisite expensive beer). Even though this is the first match of the season, there’s more at stake for Sydney than Victory. Steve Corica’s side underwhelmed last season, with the atmosphere starting to turn toxic as the Sky Blues missed out on finals fixtures. Sydney have already been knocked out of the Australia Cup by non-league opposition and while Victory’s marquee signing is former Manchester United star Nani, Sydney have had to make do with Jack Rodwell and Joe Lolley. Lose and the pressure will be very much on Corica after just one match. In contrast this is a free hit for Tony Popovic’s Victory: lose, and it’ll be put down to the new stadium effect. Win and it underlines their credentials as potential title challengers. One thing’s for sure, this should be anything but dull. GA

Bundesliga: Borussia Dortmund v Bayern Munich
17.30 on Sky Sports Football
The Bundesliga bigwigs still try to bill this fixture as the national derby between the top two teams in Germany. But the truth is that Bayern stand alone. They are so far ahead of the rest of the league that the only threat comes from themselves. In the last eleven instalments of "Der Klassiker" Bayern have won ten. Had this fixture been played before the international break, Borussia may have had a chance but since then, the hitherto out of form Munich club have recovered themselves with a 4-0 hammering of Bayer Leverkusen and a rudimentary 5-0 win against Plzen. Dortmund’s league form has dipped as they count the cost of their injuries that include Matts Hummels and skipper Marco Reus. But it’s not just the bodies in the treatment table. Shade is being thrown on coach Edin Terzic’s in-game decisions by the German media. Last week’s 3-2 loss at Köln resulted in some harsh words being spoken in the dressing room. Their best chance of getting something from this game will come from Jude Bellingham. The 19-year-old was in sensational form in the Champions League against Sevilla on Wednesday. He was handed the captain’s armband against Köln, confirming his position as senior pro in the squad. This fixture last season was a firecracker of a game, ending 3-2 to Bayern settled by a Lewandowski penalty and led to Bellingham openly calling out referee Felix Zwayer’s match fixing history. The Englishman will need to put in a bravura performance to lift his team against the 12 men of Bayern. TD

La Liga: Getafe v Real Madrid
20.00 on LaLigaTV
Despite having won all of their first six games of the season, the champions lost top spot in the table to Barcelona after they dropped points at home to Osasuna in the first game back after the international break. It was a match they dominated and should have won, with the visitors having to play out the last quarter of an hour with ten men following David Garcia’s straight red. Karim Benzema could only fire the resulting penalty against the middle of the crossbar, and then two minutes later he had a goal disallowed for a very tight offside call. The table suggests they should get back to winning ways in this short trip to the suburbs of Madrid but they’ve only won (and scored in) just one of their last four visits to the Alfonso Perez. Their star man Vinicius Jr was missing with Covid for their defeat here in January, and his battle with Getafe’s veteren Uruguayan wingback Damian Suarez will be key in deciding how this game goes. Quique Sanchez Flores, is in his third stint as head coach of Getafe, keeping them up last season by a single point. Last week’s defeat to Vallodolid ending a promising run his side were on before the break, beating the aforementioned Osasuna and Real Sociedad. GS


Premier League: Crystal Palace v Leeds United
14.00 on Sky Sports Premier league & Main Event
Recent matches between these two have not been big on spectacle but they are evenly matched teams and if they both perform could offer value to the neutral. It’s the draws that are costing Palace. The Eagles have played with great discipline and commitment this season but have been hampered with a fixture list that has put them up against Arsenal, Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea in their first seven games from which they have yielded a single point. But failure to beat Brentford and Newcastle has led to Patrick Viera’s side sitting just above the relegation zone, albeit with a game in hand. Expectations will be high coming into this game and the mostly popular coach may face renewed criticisms that he is too cautious in his approach. Viera’s plans will be hampered somewhat if, as expected, centre back Joachim Andersen misses the game through injury. Leeds’s response to their 5-2 drubbing at Brentford with a truly forgettable goalless draw against Villa with ten men, albeit with ten men. The Yorkshire club’s two victories so far have been against Wolves and that impressive win against Chelsea. They have yet to win at Selhurst Park since their return to the Premier League. Coach Jesse Marsch returns to the dugout after a one match ban following his red card at Brentford. TD

Premier League: Arsenal v Liverpool
15.00 on Sky Sports Premier League & Main Event
It certainly is a joy to watch Arsenal this season. Going forward they’ve given their opposition countless headaches, and, had it not been for a controversial VAR decision, may well have overcome ‘Manchester United Football Club’ and still now be unbeaten. Even Granit Xhaka is chipping in; indeed, his goal to put the North London derby beyond Spurs last week was equal to any striker’s finish. That said, they do look vulnerable to quick breaks, something that was exposed against both Spurs and ‘Manchester United Football Club’. While a lot of pundits will tell you that this is a good time to play Liverpool, you only need to look at how dangerous today’s visitors looked in midweek (I know - it was only Rangers) and despite their shortcomings in defence, scored three against a highly motivated Brighton list time out. No, Liverpool aren’t playing to the same standard as they were last season, but it’s not like they can’t land a punch or three. Also, Trent Alexander-Arnold hasn’t become a bad player overnight. He’s bloody brilliant, and, as Klopp admitted recently, he’s doing exactly what his coach is asking him to do. Hopefully, his performance on Tuesday night (...again, I know - it was only Rangers) will give him a much needed confidence boost. So there you have it, a team with a winning habit who can get caught on the break, against a team who have forgotten how to defend but are good on the break. Should be a right goal-fest, then. JB

Ligue 1: Lille v Lens
19.45 on BT Sport 3
For a few years now, Lens have had the position of underdog in the Derby du Nord, but having finished above their local rivals last season for the first time since 2007, Le Sang et Or are favourites going into this one. So where has it all gone wrong for Lille? Having won the Ligue 1 title in 2021, it was clear their squad was going to be the target for clubs across Europe. Key players were snapped up and even players they brought in as replacements were soon flipped: Amadou Onana bought from Hamburg for €8m then sold to Everton for €36m. Head coach Christophe Galtier left for Nice and, looking back, his replacement with the more conservative-minded Jocelyn Gourvennec was a mis-step. He’s been replaced this season with Paulo Fonseca, the former Shaktar and Roma head coach who had been linked with a number of jobs in the Premier League, most notably Spurs and Newcastle. Le Dogues are still struggling for anything near consistancy, losing as many games as they have won this season. They still have Jonathan David in attack but depending on how he does for Canada in the World Cup, there could be a lot of interest for him in the January window. He’ll need to be at the top of his game to get past Lens keeper Brice Samba. The hero of last season’s EFL Championship play-offs with Nottingham Forest has kept a clean sheet in each of his last three games. GS

Whatever you watch, have a great weekend.

Terry, Graham, Jan and Gary

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