Sunday, October 17, 2010

Midweek TV Preview: 18 - 21 October 2010

Monday 18 October

20:00 Blackburn Rovers v Sunderland, Premier League, Sky Sports 1 / HD1 / 3D
Darren Bent could be a doubt for this one due to a groin injury, and that'll be bad news for Steve Bruce. Without Bent's goals, Sunderland would be bottom of the table on just three points. Sam Allardyce, meanwhile, will be glad to get through 90 minutes without any of his players being sent off after telling Danny Murphy that that sort of thing doesn't actually happen in the real world.

Tuesday 19 October

17:30 Spartak Moscow v Chelsea, UEFA Champions League, Sky Sports 2 / HD2
Chelsea return to the Luzhniki Stadium for the first time since their 2008 Champions League Final defeat to Man United, and this visit may be similarly frustrating. The Blues look set to be without D.D.A. Drogba due to illness while Spartak are in tip-top form, unbeaten in all competitions since the end of August. Definitely one to watch, so don't be caught out by the early kick-off time.

19:45 Arsenal v Shakhtar Donetsk, UEFA Champions League, Sky Sports 2 / HD2
It's just over ten years since these two teams played each other in Europe's top competition. Back in 2000, Arsenal beat Shakhtar 3-2 during the group stage, Martin Keown scoring two of The Gunners' three goals. Arsenal made it through to the quarter finals that season only to be beaten by Valencia who then knocked out Leeds in the next round. Ah, those were the days, eh Leeds fans?

19:45 Real Madrid v Milan, UEFA Champions League, Sky Sports 4 / HD4
A fixture that never fails to get the juices flowing, although all the talk prior to this one surrounds Kaka's on-off move back to Milan. AC finally got their first win at the Bernabeu this time last year, but few will be betting on a repeat of their 2-1 victory in 2009/10.

19:45 Bayern Munich v CFR Cluj, UEFA Champions League, Sky Sports Interactive
A timely weekend hat-trick for Mario Gomez against Hannover will give the Romanians something to think about, especially after they conceded five (CINCI) against Vaslui in Liga 1. A Bayern win will extend their lead at the top of Group E.

19:45 Roma v Basle, UEFA Champions League, Sky Sports Interactive
A once-in-a-blue-moon opportunity for Basle to get one over on Italian opposition given Roma's currently collapse into mediocrity. Whoever loses this one will probably end the evening bottom of Group E.

19:45 Marseille v MSK Zilina, UEFA Champions League, Sky Sports Interactive
Zilina have just notched up their second successive 4-0 win in the Slovakian Super League, which just might be enough to put the frighteners up a Marseille side still trying haul their way up the Ligue 1 table.

19:45 Ajax v Auxerre, UEFA Champions League, Sky Sports Interactive
Speaking of which, Auxerre are looking a shadow of their 2009/10 selves, but a trip to Ajax gives them arguably their most winnable game in Group G. Mind you, Ajax will be thinking they can get their first win on the board too. Beating Real or Milan is not a likely option, after all.

19:45 Braga v Partizan Belgrade, UEFA Champions League, Sky Sports Interactive
Serbian football is desperate to be cast in a more positive light right now, so let's hope Partizan can put on a display that will take our minds off the terrible events in Genoa last week.

Wednesday 20 October

11:00 Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma v Al-Shabab, AFC Champions League Semi Final 2nd Leg, British Eurosport 2
Four of the eight quarter finalists in this season's AFC Champions League were South Korean, so it's no surprise that a couple of them made it through to the semis. Here we see last season's K-League runners-up Seongnam playing Al-Shabab, fourth last season in the Saudi Premier League.

19:45 Inter Milan v Tottenham Hotspur, UEFA Champions League, ITV1 / ITV HD
This is where we get the chance to see just how much Spurs have learnt about playing in the Champions League. Against Werder they only played well in the first half, while against Twente they only came to life in the second. Against Inter they may very well struggle in both halves.

19:45 Man Utd v Bursaspor, UEFA Champions League, Sky Sports 2 / HD2
United are looking a shadow of their ruthless former selves. They weren't playing their best before this past weekend, but now they've got Giggs injured with a pulled hamstring and Van Der Sar endorsing Teflon goalkeeper gloves. Not the best shape to enter a match against the current Turkish league leaders, and even a defeat to Rangers in the previous round won't change our mind on that one.

19:45 Rangers v Valencia, UEFA Champions League, Sky Sports 4 / HD4
Speaking of which, did you know the Scottish champions haven't lost a game in any competition since early May this year? Oh you did. Well there's no harm in mentioning it again, we suppose...

19:45 Twente v Werder Bremen, UEFA Champions League, Sky Sports Interactive
On current form, you'd have to go with Twente to win this one, battling away as they are in a three-way fight for the Eredivisie title right now. Werder are merely battling with themselves these days, although a much-needed 2-1 win over Freiburg on Saturday might put them in the mood for a scrap.

19:45 Lyon v Benfica, UEFA Champions League, Sky Sports Interactive
With eight games gone in Ligue 1, Lyon are currently enduring their worst start to a season for 14 years, and yet they still seem to be pulling the results out of the bag whenever the Champions League rolls into town. Benfica are doing much better on the domestic front, however, and will relish the taking of three points at the Stade Gerland.

19:45 Schalke v Hapoel Tel-Aviv, UEFA Champions League, Sky Sports Interactive
The Israelis should look refreshed and alert having not played a game for a month. Schalke, however, merely *wish* they hadn't played for a month. One win in eight in the Bundesliga does not a top European team make.

19:45 Barcelona v Copenhagen, UEFA Champions League, Sky Sports Interactive
Here's an interesting one. Copenhagen are currently top of Group D, two points ahead of Barca, and all in no small part down to the former Wimbledon midfielder Ståle Solbakken. He's the Copenhagen coach these days and is doing wonderful things, by all accounts. Barca are up to second in La Liga and have just inflicted a first defeat of the season on Valencia, so expect a cracking match here against the current Danish champions.

19:45 Panathinaikos v Rubin Kazan, UEFA Champions League, Sky Sports Interactive
Elsewhere in Group D, the bottom two make a desperate bid to avoid the wooden spoon, and given that Rubin have only lost one game (to Copenhagen) since early August, one would expect the Greeks to be adding to their collection of culinary utensils by the end of the night.

Thursday 21 October

18:00 Napoli v Liverpool, UEFA Europa League, ITV4
Liverpool fans were reminded of the fact that their club's new owners might be heroes but they aren't necessarily miracle workers, as was shown in The Reds' woeful 'performance' against Everton on Sunday. The Neapolitans, however, have made a decent start to their Serie A campaign and will be eager to show more of their current form in European competition.

18:00 Utrecht v Steaua Bucharest, UEFA Europa League, ESPN / ESPN HD
Two teams united by their inconsistent form of late. Utrecht held Liverpool to a draw last time out, but then again that's nothing that Northampton weren't capable of. One for the purists here, we fancy.

20:05 Man City v Lech Poznan, UEFA Europa League, Five / Five HD
The Citizens gave former boss Malcolm Allison an appropriate send off with an entertaining 3-2 win over Blackpool at the weekend. A European win over some much-fancied Poles would be even more appropriate for those that remember City's win over Gornik Zabrze in the Final of the 1970 Cup Winners' Cup.

20:05 Atletico Madrid v Rosenborg, UEFA Europa League, ITV4
We're starting to wonder whether ITV4 have shares in Atletico Madrid, but no matter. The defending Europa League champions are always good to watch and haven't been in a goalless game since April this year, so expect Los Rojiblancos to come out fighting with all guns blazing here.

20:05 Red Bull Salzburg v Juventus, UEFA Europa League, ESPN / ESPN HD
If you're still reading this mammoth TV Preview, thank you and well done. Your reward is to be forewarned about a potential display of exhibition football by the Old Lady against a Red Bull side that failed to trouble Man City last month. Juventus played superbly in a 4-0 win against Lecce on Sunday and could very well repeat their performance in Austria if they're lucky.

No comments :