Friendly Match Preview: Arsenal v. Enfield Town

Enfield Town will make the short trip to the Emirates on Sunday in a hastily-arranged friendly giving fans a chance to see the side on home soil before the new season begins.

New signing Jack Robinson is fit to face the seventh-tier side and, aside from goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, manager Gray Surman can pick from a fully-fit squad. However, AFC Reserves are set to play at Barnet on Saturday, and Surman has told Second XI manager Simon Ireland that Carlos Álvarez and Hensley Siberie are free for the match.

Enfield Town, of the Isthmian Premier Division, are bringing their first team while Arsenal will give run-outs to as many players as possible. The match is free, with the club today announcing that season ticket sales have now reached 33,240 of the forecast of 43,000.

Premier League referee Mike Jones is set to officiate on Sunday, his first trip to Arsenal since March when he oversaw the 2-1 win over WBA.  Weather is looking drizzly, 17°C.

Friendly Match Preview: St. Johnstone v. AFC

Arsenal fans eagerly await their first viewing of new manager Gray Surman in the dugout during tomorrow’s friendly at St. Johnstone. With the exception of Wojciech Szczesny, a full squad is available including new signings Julian Koch and Marko Obradovic as well as World Cup winners Santi Cazorla and Rubén Pardo.

Szczesny has returned to training after the broken ankle he sustained during Arsenal’s final match of last season, but Surman is unlikely to rush him back into action. Much to the new manager’s annoyance, the club are unable to call upon backup ‘keeper Josh Vickers.

Vickers started a season-long loan at Fleetwood Town which was signed-off while David Moyes was still at Arsenal, and a fee involved in the deal means he cannot be recalled. 18-year old Johann Tréguer may have to deputise between the posts.

It’s anticipated that Surman will play a separate XI in each half, with a youngster or two travelling with the squad up to Scotland as he’ll take a look at as many players as possible in his first opportunity. Weather in Perth for the match is predicted to be gusty, 17°C.

St. Johnstone v. Arsenal
McDiarmid Park, Perth
Sunday 22 July 2018

St. Johnstone are about to start their second campaign back in the second-tier, after finishing bottom of the Scottish Premiership in 2017 before a disappointing 8th place finish in the Championship last season. They’ve bounced between the top two flights in recent years, having experienced promotion or relegation five times in the last 20 years.

None of the current first-team squad has won a senior international cap, though last season’s Supporters’ Player of the Year – ex-Swansea centre-back Scott Tancock – made 22 appearances for Wales U21s. Defender Ben Hodges and striker Martyn Newton® have joined The Saints on loan for the season from Aston Villa and Newcastle respectively.

McDiarmid Park has been the club’s home since 1989 and was the first purpose-built all-seater stadium constructed in the United Kingdom. Located between the Rivers Tay and Almond in the city of Perth, the ground holds just shy of 11,000. Tomorrow will be the first-ever meeting between the two sides, and will be overseen by referee David O’Leary.

BVB Preview: Hummels Rallies The Troops


Borussia Dortmund captain Mats Hummels has urged his team-mates to win both of their remaining games, starting with the visit of Mainz tomorrow afternoon. Dortmund need just two points to claim back-to-back Bundesliga titles for the fourth time,  their tenth top-flight title.

hummelsThe 26 year-old centre-back has made 35 Dortmund appearances this season, scoring thirteen goals, helping keeping fifteen clean sheets, being voted man of the match six times, and winning one Bundesliga Player of the Week award.

70-mainzFSV Mainz have enjoyed their best ever season in continental football, having played in the Champions League for the first time, missing out on the knockout stages on goal difference behind Real Madrid. They then beat Rubin Kazan and Lazio before falling in the last eight against Ajax.

After last season’s third-place finish, the side are battling to end this campaign in the top-half, sitting in tenth place and unable to finish higher than eighth. The squad is the same as last year’s, not bringing anyone in during the transfer windows and managing to retain their core.

Ádám Szalai is their top-scorer having found the back of the net twenty times this season, as well as once for Hungary in his three appearances in their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign.

skybet70Matchday Odds
Dortmund: Evens
Draw: 2-1
Mainz: 11-5

Dortmund lost the reverse fixture at Mainz 1-2 at the beginning of December, just three days after crashing out of the Champions League after being beaten at home by Standard Liège. Andreas Ivanschitz put Mainz ahead inside two minutes, with Marco Reus equalising five minutes before the break.

Ádám Szalai scored what was the winner with less than 90 seconds to go of the first-half, before referee Florian Meyer disallowed a Robert Lewandowski equaliser and turning down a strong penalty shout after the interval.

Tomrrow’s referee will be Günter Perl from Munich, taking charge of his 18th 1.Bundesliga game of the season. He’s shown just 22 yellows and one red in those previous seventeen matches. His last Dortmund game was the 4-1 win at Nürnberg in February.

In the pre-match press conference, manager Grayson Surman said that the squad was treating the match like any other, buoyed by extra confidence from the win at Bayern last week.

Dortmund are expected to play their strongest-possible squad, with Roman Weidenfeller expected to say a fond farewell to Signal Iduna Park ahead of a summer move away from the club after thirteen years at the club. Surman wants the job done tomorrow so he can play some youngsters at Hoffenheim next week.

speechmarks-leftspeechmarks-rightWe’re back playing very well, as we showed in Munich last week. We all want to put on one last display at home and treat our fans – the best in the league.

The Bundesliga Preview: Bayern-BVB and More!


Tomorrow’s opening fixture of the Bundesliga weekend sees Bayern Munich welcome Borussia Dortmund to town, with the visitors keen to maintain the division’s best away record. Last time BVB were at the Allianz-Arena, a Mats Hummels header won them the league title.

A Bayern win would see them climb to second on Friday night, their highest position all season, while three points for Dortmund will see them pull seven points clear and leave them with their destiny in the own hands.

70-dortmundDortmund will be without Marco Reus who hasn’t fully recovered from his arm injury, but the rest of the squad have reported fully-fit. Weidenfeller is likely to return in goal, while it’s believed Subotic and Perisic are in-line for starts.

70-bayernmunichBayern have Arjen Robben suspended after his red card at Hoffenheim last weekend, but can otherwise call upon the full first team squad. They’ve won six in a row in the league, conceding just three in those matches. They can boast 13 wins from 15 at home this season.


Chasers Leverkusen and Hamburg both play away from home on Saturday, with the former’s trip to Freiburg potentially tricky, while third-place Hamburg are at an Augsburg fighting to escape the bottom three.

It’ll all be over for Hannover if they fail to win at Düsseldorf, or if Hertha take three points from their match at home against Gladbach on Sunday.

  Friday 01 May


  Saturday 02 May

                   AUGSBURG   -   HAMBURGER SV
                SC FREIBURG   -   BAYER LEVERKUSEN
                    SCHALKE   -   VFB STUTTGART

  Sunday 03 May

                  FSV MAINZ   -   TSG HOFFENHEIM


BUNDESLIGA: Saturday News, Nürnberg Preview


A staggering 28 goals hit the back of the net in today’s six 1.Bundesliga matches, with nine of them coming as Schalke pulled three points clear at the top with a 6-3 thrashing of Augsburg. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar put the hosts in front before Augsburg turned the score round through Matthias Ostrzolek and Edu.

Schalke then scored three times in seven first-half minutes to put themselves 4-2 up before extending the lead after the break. They move clear at the top, with Dortmund in action tomorrow evening.

FSV Mainz pulled-off one of the greatest Bundesliga comebacks after being three goals down at Stuttgart inside the final fifteen minutes. The home side were ahead through a Martin Harnik brace and an effort from Tunay Torun, but Anthony Ujah, Ádam Szalai and Andreas Lambertz drew Mainz level before stoppage time before Szalai won it late on.

Bayer Leverkusen have gone second tonight after a 2-0 win over Hamburg who stay fourth.Renato Augusto and Ömer Toprak scored in either half at the sold-out BayArena.

Elsewhere, Düsseldorf put five past the visiting Hertha Berlin after Maik Franz was sent-off for the away side midway through the first-half. There were also wins for Hoffenheim at Hannover, and Werder Bremen beat Gladbach with an early Mehmet Ekici goal.



           Augusto 21
            Toprak 71

  Funk pen 12, pen 36       Lasogga 63
    Lambertz 33, 90+3       Franz s/o 35
            Wagner 38

             HANNOVER  1-2  TSG HOFFENHEIM
           Lampard 69       Volland 28
                            Compper 31

              SCHALKE  6-3  AUGSBURG
     Huntelaar 13, 64       Ostrzolek 27
             Höger 37       Edu 30
      Papadopoulos 43       Langkamp 58
          Holtby 45+1
          Escudero 48

         Harnik 5, 68       Ujah 75
             Torun 42       Szalai 84, 90
                            Ivanschitz 89

             Ekici 11



Dortmund will be without the suspended Marcel Schmelzer and injured Ivan Perisic (shoulder) for the trip to Nürnberg tomorrow, as they look to climb back to second-place and level on points with leaders Schalke after both they and Leverkusen won today.

70-nurnbergTomorrow’s hosts sit ninth, with just a three-point gap between them and Düsseldorf who occupy the final Europa League qualification spot. They boast the league’s second top-scorer in Marcus Berg (14) who has scored all ten of the side’s goals in their last four matches.

Like Dortmund, the club are in the last eight of the DFB-Pokal where they’ll face a trip to Regensburg. Overall form has been inconsistent this season, with only putting back-to-back wins together just last week as they won at Hoffenheim to follow a defeat of Mainz a fortnight ago.

They’ll be without Thierry Doubaï who’s at the Africa Cup of Nations, while Alexander Søderlund (ankle), Javier Pinola (calf), and Jan George (hamstring) are all injured.

skybet70Matchday Odds:
Nürnberg 3-1
Dortmund 4-5F
Draw 2-1

Earlier in the season, Dortmund won 3-1 at Signal Iduna Park with Stevan Jovetic scoring a hat-trick for his first goals for the club since his record transfer move from Fiorentina in the summer. Juhani Ojala scored a late consolation for Nürnberg.

Last season, Dortmund won 4-1 at home with a Julian Schieber treble, and won 1-0 at Stadion Nürnberg with Schieber again on the score-sheet. Nürnberg haven’t beat Dortmund since they returned to the top flight in 2009.

Tomorrow’s referee will be Günter Perl from Munich, taking charge of his third Dortmund match of the season having overseen the win at Leverkusen in September, and December’s 1-0 home win over Hoffenheim. He’s shown 17 yellow and 3 reds in his last ten matches, and awarding one penalty at the FIFA Club World Cup.

Match Preview: Away v. Mönchengladbach (Sun)


Tomorrow sees the first Borussen Derby of the year with Dortmund making the 60-mile trip to Mönchengladbach looking for revenge for defeat at home back in September, which saw Mats Hummels dismissed seconds before Oscar Wendt scored the only goal of the game in stoppage time.

Other than that match, games between the two sides have been high-scoring affairs of late with a 3-3 draw and three five-goal thrillers in the last two seasons.

Lars Bender is available again after sitting out the win over Hamburg on Tuesday night having limped off the previous match, but Dennis Praet looks set to miss a second match after suffered a gash in his leg in the same game. Ivan Perisic remains unavailable as he recovers from a dislocated shoulder.

Manager Gray Surman said after the midweek win that the side played the best across the park that he’d seen in several weeks so it’s unlikely that major changes will be made, though next up for BVB will be the visit of current league leaders Leverkusen on Friday.

70-bmgGladbach go into tomorrow’s game against Dortmund inside the bottom two having slipped below Hertha Berlin due to their win at Wolfsburg on Friday night, though they have only suffered one defeat in their last eleven matches.

They’ll be without Makoto Hasebe who is with Japan at the Asian Cup, and Tony Jantschke is out for at least another fortnight with a hamstring injury. Goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen may miss out after suffering a dead leg in training on Friday afternoon.

The side haven’t brought anyone in during the current transfer window, though did sell centre-back Felipe to Leverkusen for £1m. Luuk de Jong leads the club scoring charts with eight goals in 23 appearances this season, and the club’s record transfer is the man singled-out by Dortmund legend Lars Ricken as their key man.

skybet70Matchday Odds
Gladbach: 11-5
Draw: 11-5
Dortmund: Evens

Referee tomorrow is Guido Winkmann from Oberhausen. He’ll be taking charge of his 14th Bundesliga match of the season, having shown 55 yellow- and 5 red cards so far. His previous Dortmund match was the 4-1 home win over Frankfurt in November.

Winkmann was in the middle for Gladbach’s previous game, the 1-1 draw at Hoffenheim that saw six players cautioned and Tobias Weis dismissed for the host in a fiery affair.

This fixture finished 3-3 last April, where Gladbach pegged Dortmund level twice before taking the lead with a Luuk de Jong goal midway through the second-half, but an 86th headed equaliser from Felipe Santana shared the points.