Weekend Wanderings: Will Paul Lambert make an impact as he returns to the Premier League as Stoke City Manager and can Roma level up with Inter Milan in Serie A?

As another weekend of football comes around, the stakes continue to remain as high as ever.

New Stoke City manager Paul Lambert might well wonder what he’s stepped back into.

With no let-up in the fixture schedule here are five things you should be keeping an eye on in this weekend’s football action.

1) Can Paul Lambert have an instant impact on his Premier League return?

Former Norwich and Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert is back in the Premier League after he was appointed Stoke City manager on January 15.

However, he was given an instant reminder of the task that awaits him as he watched his brand new team get decisively beaten that night 3-0 by Manchester United at Old Trafford.

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The Scot’s appointment has widely been met with ridicule, as his previous Premier League didn’t exactly end in harmonious fashion.

But, then again, the appointments of Roy Hodgson at Crystal Palace and David Moyes also received the same levels of derision and they have paid off so far.

Lambert’s first test comes against David Wagner’s Huddersfield on Saturday afternoon.

Will the Terriers, following their humbling defeat to West Ham last time out, prove too much for the struggling Potters?

2) Coleman v Adkins – who would be a manager?

Last season Sunderland v Hull City was a Premier League fixture.

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Now you will be hard pushed to find two Championship clubs in more turmoil than the Black Cats and the Tigers.

Therefore it is only natural to sympathise with managers Chris Coleman and Nigel Adkins – who both arrived in their posts midway through the season – as they attempt to halt the slides their turbulent clubs are on.

This Saturday the two teams meet at the Stadium of Light with Sunderland rock bottom and Hull hovering above the relegation places just a point clear.

The game obviously represents a chance to gain some vital points but, if anything, it will likely showcase how far the two clubs have fallen.

3) What next for the Shrimpers?

After almost five years as manager Southend boss Phil Brown has been placed on gardening leave following a dramatic slide in fortunes for the club.

With the club trying to arrange the exit of the former Hull City boss as smoothly as possible the most pressing concern is points.

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The Essex side have lost their last four league games in a row and are now just two points clear of the League One relegation zone.

This Saturday they face another side deep in relegation trouble as they travel to Rochdale – currently second from bottom.

Can Brown’s departure kick-start Southend into life or will Rochdale seize their opportunity?

4) Can Roma haul themselves level on points with Inter?

Napoli and Juventus have opened up a lead at the top of Serie A but behind them the fight for third and fourth is very much on.

On Sunday Roma – currently in fifth on 39 points – travel to the San Siro to face Inter Milan who are third on 42 points.

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Eusebio Di Francesco’s side have lost two and drawn one of their last three but Inter have yet to taste league victory since December 3.

There is also the side story of Inter boss Luciano Spalletti hosting his former side.

This could be a vital game in the race for Champions League football.

5) The top two in France go head-to-head

Paris Saint-Germain may well be 11 points clear but second placed Lyon have an opportunity to cut that lead this Sunday evening.

While the star-studded PSG side may have opened up quite the lead in Ligue 1 this Lyon side are capable of causing problems – as Everton found out during their Europa League campaign.

With attackers such as Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Bertrand Traore and Nabil Fekir on show this is sure to be an entertaining encounter.

And you never know, you might see a referee kick out at a player again…

Follow Alasdair on Twitter at @adjhooper1992


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