Friday, November 5, 2010

Weekend TV Preview: 5 - 7 November 2010

Friday 5 November

19:45 Rochdale v FC United of Manchester, FA Cup 1st Round, ESPN / ESPN HD
It's somehow apt that on Guy Fawkes Night we get the weekend underway with this fizzing cracker of a match. As we discussed on this week's Sound of Football podcast, it's a local derby with a difference - namely one that gives a televisual airing to the breakaway faction that wants to be everything Fergie, Rooney and Co isn't. Rochdale will be looking to show their new-found credentials as a team very much on the up and up, so keep your fingers crossed for a tasty curtain-raiser to Round 1 of the Cup.

Saturday 6 November

12:45 Bolton Wanderers v Tottenham Hotspur, Premier League, Sky Sports 2 / HD2
Team News just in: Gareth Bale will be playing Bolton single-handedly in this match with one hand tied behind his back and will beat them for he is the greatest British footballer of his generation, the saviour of the modern game and a Messiah for our time. And if you saw that appear on the Sky Sports News ticker, you'd be proper freaked out, wouldn't you?

17:00 Bologna v Lecce, Serie A, ESPN / ESPN HD
Marco Di Vaio's goalscoring run appears to be at an end (albeit hopefully only a temporary one), which means this could be a dire match-up of two distinctly sub-standard teams. And if you've been reading these TV Previews of ours for some time, you'll know that's probably the cue for a 10-goal thriller.

17:20 Derby County v Portsmouth, Championship, Sky Sports 2 / HD2
Two teams in great form at the moment. Whether they'll find themselves in with a shout of promotion in May remains to be seen, but Nigel Clough and Steve Cotterill have clearly got their sides performing well with decent squads at their disposal.

17:30 Cambridge United v Huddersfield Town, FA Cup 1st Round, ESPN / ESPN HD
Keep your eye open for the match ball in this fixture. It's called the Umbro NeoSpark, and it's supposed to give a truer flight as it moves through the air (but then don't they all). The U's have been practicing with it all week and their captain Paul Carden said: "It’s orange and it resembles kicking a pumpkin." Smashing.

19:00 Real Sociedad v Racing Sandtander, La Liga, Sky Sports 4 / HD4
Eleventh plays twelfth as far as the league table's concerned, and there's little to choose between both teams. The current Segunda Division champions could find themselves heading up to fifth if they win here, but the last few games betwen Real and Racing have been cagey affairs so we'd suggest you don't succumb to an idle punt on this one if you can help it.

19:45 Inter Milan v Brescia, Serie A, ESPN / ESPN HD
Just because they collapsed against Tottenham Hotsbale, doesn't mean Inter have become a bad team all of a sudden. They remain second in Serie A and now face a straight-forward looking tie at home to lowly Brescia.

21:00 Espanyol v Malaga, La Liga, Sky Sports 4 / HD4
Two wins in the last 21 games in all competitions tells you all you need to know about Malaga's likelihood of staying up this season. Espanyol, on the other hand, look strong contenders for a Europa League place.

Sunday 7 November

12:00 Southport v Sheffield Wednesday, FA Cup 1st Round, ITV1 / ITV HD
This is the sort of tie that epitimises the spirit of the FA Cup. The Owls from League One, a team not unused to playing in front of crowds of 20,000+ at Hillsborough travel to Haig Avenue to face a team more likely to be cheered on by around 800. All of which will be inconsequential when David-and-Goliath epithets and talk of giant-killings fill the air this Sunday lunchtime.

12:00 St Mirren v Rangers, SPL, ESPN / ESPN HD
Bottom-v-top. St. Mirren have only notched up one win over The Gers since 1992, but we don't care because The Saints have always held a special place in our hearts since we laughed at the name Jimmy Bone in our Panini Football '79 sticker album.

13:10 Cardiff City v Swansea City, Championship, BBC1 / BBC HD
The South Wales derby hits our screens and with good reason, given how both teams are in tip-top form of late. The mind games have started, the sledging has begun... now it's time to see which team has the bottle to handle the big occasion. Unless it's a draw, of course, in which case QPR will probably end up benefitting.

13:30 Arsenal v Newcastle United, Premier League, Sky Sports 1 / HD1
We're still keeping our fingers crossed that Mike Ashley isn't going to sack Chris Hughton. After that display against Sunderland last weekend, he could deprive the fans of seeing the best brand of football Newcastle have played in ages and one which will surely keep them well clear of relegation. Arsene Wenger, meanwhile, merely has to defend his choice of so many fringe players in this week's Champions League defeat to Shakhtar.

14:15 Hibernian v Hearts, SPL,     Sky Sports 4 / HD4
What makes the Edinburgh Derby fascinating viewing is that you never know who will win, and a look at the form table for both sides backs that up. Despite Hearts sitting in fifth position, six places above Hibs, neither team has covered themselves in glory very much in recent games. Should be a good, open match with all to play for.

14:15 Lazio v Roma, Serie A, ESPN / ESPN HD
Lazio have won seven from their first nine games and sit top of the table, but they'll have to make do without Francesco Totti who got himself sent off last weekend against Lecce. Roma picked up a morale-boosting win against Basle in Europe this week, so everything looks set for a tough Rome Derby once again.

16:00 Liverpool v Chelsea, Premier League, Sky Sports 1 / HD1 / 3D
Still a long way to go in Liverpool's recovery but Steven Gerrard showed against Napoli that he hasn't given up on a lost cause yet. Chelsea, meanwhile, are finding everything terribly, terribly easy at the moment. A repeat of last season's 2-0 win for The Blues at Anfield isn't beyond the realms of believability.

16:30 VFB Stuttgart v Werder Bremen, Bundesliga, ESPN / ESPN HD
As Terry always says, you'll always get goals when Werder are playing - as shown by the fact that they've only failed to score in two of their last 26 Bundesliga games. A poor showing at home to Nurnberg last week should be balanced out here against a woeful Stuttgart team with only two wins to their name all season.

18:00 Getafe v Barcelona (1st Half Via Red Button), La Liga, Sky Sports 1 / HD1
Getafe's season seems to be unravelling before their very eyes. A strong start has been followed by inconsistency, most recently taking the shape of a 1-1 draw at Portugalete (from Spain's fourth tier) in the Copa Del Rey, then a short trip up the road to be walloped 3-0 by Athletic Bilbao last weekend. Add to that a poor showing in the Europa League and this should be a fairly comfortable win for Barcelona.

19:45 Palermo v Genoa, Serie A, ESPN / ESPN HD
Both teams are locked in mid-table on 11 points so far and the last two occasions on which they met ended in draws. Could very well be three-on-the-trot, from where we're standing.

20:00 Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid, La Liga, Sky Sports 1 / HD1
Similar fortunes for both sides in European competition this week. Real left it late to equalise 2-2 at Milan while Atletico left it late to get their winner in beating Rosenborg 2-1 in the Europa League. El Derby often provides great entertainment and this one should be no different.

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