Thursday, April 21, 2011

Weekend TV Preview: 21 - 25 April 2011

Thursday 21 April

19.30 Freiburg v Hannover, Bundesliga, ESPN/ESPN HD
Hannover's challenge for a Champions League spot took a turn for the worse last weekend, with Mirko Slomka's men having to settle for a goalless draw at Hamburg while Bayern Munich thrashed Bayer Leverkusen to all but end the title race. Freiburg played their part too, losing 3-0 to BVB.

01.00 (Fri morning) DC United v New York Red Bulls, MLS, ESPN/ESPN HD
These two mirrored one another at the weekend, both picking up their second wins of the season with 3-0 wins. Former Notts County forward Luke Rodgers put in an impressive two-goal performance for RBNY, while DC's Charlie Davies leads the league with five goals.

Friday 22 April

17.15 Nottingham Forest v Leicester City, Championship, Sky Sports 1/HD1
Forest have now won just one league game in 11 in their faltering quest to make their way back into the Premier League. They're now just three points clear of local rivals Leicester, who visit in this Good Friday derby. Both teams desperately need a win to keep them in the hunt for the playoffs.

19.45 Kidderminster Harriers v Fleetwood Town, Blue Square Bet Premier, Premier Sports
The hilarious Premier Sports' latest offering is this vital Conference game. Fleetwood are four points clear of Harriers in the race for the final playoff spot so Kidderminster can't afford to be beaten here. However, Town have won their last five in the league and Kidderminster are on a run of draws that hasn't helped their position.

19.45 Leeds United v Reading, Championship, Sky Sports 1/HD1
Leeds, in the last playoff spot, haven't won in three and now have Forest (although we've mentioned their form already) and Hull City breathing down their necks. Reading, meanwhile, are absolutely flying. Eddie Hitler's side are in fourth and have won eight consecutive league games.

Saturday 23 April

06.00 Kawasaki Frontale v Vegalta Sendai, J-League, British Eurosport 2
The J-League returns from hiatus this week after the horrific events and aftermath of March 11th, during which Sendai's stadium was left in ruins. The league will make up the lost time by playing through the period during which a team of European-based Japan players will compete in the Copa America in Argentina.

11.30 Roma v Chievo, Serie A, ESPN/ESPN HD
The Flying Donkeys jet into the capital to face AS Roma in the first Serie A game of the easter weekend. Their hosts look almost certain to fall short of a Champions League spot and instead should be looking to hold of Juventus for Europa League qualification.

12.15 Dundee United v Kilmarnock, Scottish Premier League, Sky Sports 4/HD4
The top half of the split SPL table outside the Old Firm title race isn't the most thrilling prospect, but this match sees the meeting of Conor Sammon and David Goodwillie, two of the league's top goalscorers who aren't the departed Kenny Miller and don't play for Celtic.

12.45 Manchester United v Everton, Premier League, Sky Sports 2/HD2/3D
The title, surely, is United's, and it wouldn't be the first time a game against Everton has helped them get a firmer grip on first place at the business end of the season. The Toffees are unbeaten in six.

12.45 Cardiff City v Queens Park Rangers, Championship, BBC1/HD1
QPR's Monday night goalless draw with Derby leaves them needing one win to secure automatic promotion, and where better to achieve that than at the home of the team in pole position to join them? It won't be easy - Cardiff have won four on the spin.

17.20 Millwall v Preston North End, Championship, Sky Sports 2/HD2
North End are in deep trouble in the Championship relegation zone but unlike Sheffield United they seem to be fighting. Millwall's hopes of sneaking into the playoffs will almost be gone if they fail to win this meeting at the Den. Defeat for Preston would be a disaster.

17.30 Chelsea v West Ham United, Premier League, ESPN/ESPN HD
West Ham are in real relegation trouble now and were beaten at home by Aston Villa in a crucial battle last Saturday, Gabby Agbonlahor's stoppage time header sinking the Hammers. Chelsea did a few teams a favour by coming from behind to beat West Brom 3-1.

19.00 Valencia v Real Madrid, La Liga, Sky Sports 1
This one, bizarrely, will be showed with a two-hour delay...thanks, Sky. Defeat is not an option for Real Madrid (when is it ever?), although if Jose Mourinho still has hopes of winning the title perhaps a visit from the men in white coats is in order. He's smart enough to be concentrating on the Champions League and I'm sure that's what he's doing after last week's 1-1 draw in the Clasico.

20.00 Santos v Ponte Preta, Paulista Championship, Premier Sports
It's Paulista last eight time and big city behemoth Santos face Serie B Ponte Preta, who defeated Palmeiras on their way to reaching the quarter finals. Interesting Wikipedia fact: this was Pele's last fixture in Brazil.

20.00 Juventus v Catania, Serie A, ESPN/ESPN HD
As mentioned, Juventus are still in the hunt for a European spot. They're shaping up reasonably well, and are unbeaten in five - however, the three games before that were all defeats for the Bianconeri.

21.00 Barcelona v Osasuna, La Liga, Sky Sports 1
Like the match from Valencia, this one's on a two-hour delay. Even if Real win, Barca will be five points clear with this game in hand. It's a bad time for Osasuna to be in such a position - their form is nose-diving and they're just two points ahead of Malaga, who are third from bottom.

23.15 River Plate v Godoy Cruz, Argentine Primera Division, Premier Sports
Jorge Da Silva's Godoy Cruz have lost three out of ten games so far in the current Argentine season, but a win would take them past second-placed River Plate, who take their lofty position despite scoring on average less than a goal a game.

03.30 (Sun morning) LA Galaxy v Portland Timbers, MLS, ESPN/ESPN HD
Major League Soccer newbies Portland opened their refurbished stadium last week and did so with a thumping win over Chicago. This weekend John Spencer's side face a glamourous trip to California and will be looking to upset the accumulator forms with a win at HDC.

Sunday 24 April

12.30 Rangers v Celtic, Scottish Premier League, Sky Sports 4/HD4
Ibrox, Rangers v Celtic, crucial game in the title race. And just to make matters even spicier, this Old Firm derby comes in the midst of even more antipathy than usual between these two sides. Oh, and it's on Easter Sunday - not that that means anything, because these two clubs are all about the football, right?

13.30 Feyenoord v PSV Eindhoven, Eredivisie, ESPN/ESPN HD
Mid-table Feyenoord face league leaders PSV, but at least they do so on the back of a big result. Last Sunday they went 1-0 down at home to bottom club Willem II but roared back with a 6-1 win. Ryo Miyaichi and Georginio Wijnaldum got two each.

16.00 Bolton Wanderers v Arsenal, Premier League, Sky Sports 1/HD1
Last Tuesday, Arsenal's title hopes forced their undead claws through the dirty like an extra from a zombie film; last Wednesday, a 3-3 draw with North London rivals Spurs blew their freakin' brains out. It didn't do Spurs much good either, but at least Manchester was happy.

16.30 Nuremberg v Mainz, Bundesliga, ESPN/ESPN HD
Another big match for Europa League qualification, this one sees Mainz visit Nuremberg looking to prevent their hosts from pinching their spot in fifth. The gap between the two is currently two points, and their goal difference identical, so a win for Nuremberg would make the run-in very interesting indeed.

18.00 Atletico Madrid v Levante, La Liga, Sky Sports 1/HD1
No delayed coverage here, just good old fashioned live action. Atleti are looking to hold onto their position in the Europa League spots with Sevilla on their coat-tails at the time of writing. On Sunday, a draw at Espanyol prevented the capital side picking up a third consecutive victory.

20.00 Sevilla v Villarreal, La Liga, Sky Sports 1/HD1
Sevilla are level on points with Atletico but face a difficult visit from Villarreal on Sunday. Giuseppe Rossi, scorer of 16 league goals this term, scored the only goal last Sunday as the visitors here beat Team Dubai...sorry, Real Zaragoza.

Monday 25 April

12.15 Colchester United v Brighton & Hove Albion, League One, Sky Sports 1/HD1
Stand up for the champions - it's Brighton on the road in League One and there's nothing to play for but pride. The Seagulls followed up their success with a win at Walsall, and mid-table Colchester are next on the docket. United's season is effectively over already.

16.15 Hamilton v Aberdeen, Scottish Premier League, ESPN/ESPN HD
This one's in the bottom half of the SPL, and Hamilton have put only three wins on the board all season. Aberdeen have already beaten this opponent three times this season, with Accies yet to score against them.

19.45 St Johnstone v Inverness Caledonian Thistle, Scottish Premier League, ESPN/ESPN HD
The top team in the bottom half of the split SPL, Inverness CT, face St Johnstone, who are four points behind them. Neither team is going down, so...uh, yeah.

20.00 Blackburn Rovers v Manchester City, Premier League, Sky Sports 1/HD1/3D
These two have played out some corking matches over the years, but their first meeting this year wasn't much of a blockbuster. Nikola Kalinic and Patrick Vieira got the goals in a routine 1-1 draw back in September.

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