Friday, November 18, 2011

Weekend TV Preview: 18 - 20 November 2011

Friday 18 November

15.30 Zenit St Petersburg v Anzhi Makhachkala, Russian Premier League, ESPN/ESPN HD
Monetarily mighty Anzhi, home of Roberto Carlos, Samuel Eto'o and Fairground favourite Jucilei, face actually mighty Zenit St Petersburg in the Russian Premier League. Zenit once again lead the table and are a couple of points ahead of CSKA Moscow ahead of this perfectly-timed Friday dossing clash.
19.30 FC Kaiserslautern v Bayer Leverkusen, Bundesliga, ESPN/ESPN HD
Leverkusen look to take advantage of playing in the weekend's early Bundesliga game and jump into the nominal European places with a win over Kaiserslautern. Their hosts this evening are just five points behind them and will no doubt be relishing the opportunity to close the gap in front of the ESPN cameras.

Saturday 19 November

12.30 Inverness Caledonian Thistle v Celtic, Scottish Premier League, ESPN/ESPN HD
I See Tea are languishing forlornly at the bottom of the Scottish Premier League table and the visit of Celtic is hardly going to help lift the mood. The wounded Bhoys are a long way behind rivals Rangers and cannot afford to drop anymore points - or indeed to drop the points they already have - so it could well be plain sailing on Saturday lunchtime.
12.45 Burnley v Leeds United, Football League Championship, BBC1/BBC1 HD
A win for Leeds in the early Championship kick-off would take them into the top four of the division and they'll fancy their chances against a Burnley side that sits way down in 18th, at the messy end of a jam-packed mid-table. If only there were some historical cliche I could use to build up a game between these two teams based on their geography.
12.45 Norwich City v Arsenal, Premier League, Sky Sports 2/HD2
After the Canaries' bright start, they've taken to dropping points in recent weeks and are now winless in three. Unfortunately for Paul Lambert, his team now face the visit of a resurgent Arsenal. The Gunners have won four league matches on the spin and could leapfrog Spurs with a big win.
17.30 Swansea City v Manchester United, Premier League, ESPN/ESPN HD
In more lamb-to-the-slaughter news, Manchester United head to Wales to face a Swansea side unbeaten in three. Ho ho. Anyway, if goals and drama are your thing, you should probably set aside 105 minutes of your Saturday night for this one. You can have a cup of tea in the middle 15, if you like.
17.45 Fleetwood Town v Stockport County, Blue Square Bet Premier, Premier Sports
FA Cup battlers Fleetwood host turmoil magnets Stockport in a bizarrely timed Conference match on Premier Sports. The hosts are gradually clambering their way to the top of the table, where I've predicted previously they'll stay. County, meanwhile, are in appalling shape and haven't won in three.
19.00 Barcelona v Zaragoza, La Liga, Sky Sports 4/HD4
Remember when Spain and Barcelona were unbeatable? The latter aim to prove they still are when they host Zaragoza. More dropped points for Pep Guardiola's side in their last outing leaves them three points behind the Real Madrid powerhouse, so this is a must win. Good luck, Zaragoza!
19.45 Fiorentina v AC Milan, Serie A, ESPN/ESPN HD
The in-form Rossoneri get an early chance to grab the Serie A weekend by the balls and go top of the division when they visit Florence. Milan have won their last five consecutive league games and you might want to tune into this one; those games have produced 24 goals.
21.00 Valencia v Real Madrid, La Liga, Sky Sports 4/HD4
Real continue to be a phenomenon. Their short-term form is absolutely flawless, and they've still only lost one and drawn one league game this season. In Valencia, however, they face Spain's third-placed team on their own soil. Unhomely it may be, but it remains a tricky trip for Jose Mourinho's league leaders.

Sunday 20 November

11.30 Bologna v Cesena, Serie A, ESPN/ESPN HD
Cesena head back out on the road in their hunt for the first win of the season. They have just three draws to their name and already look a cert for relegation. Bologna have just ten points but have picked up slightly, their three wins all coming in the last five matches.
13.15 Millwall v Bristol City, Football League Championship, Sky Sports 1/1HD
Times are tough at Ashton Gate, and Bristol City are likely to remain in the relegation zone regardless of their result against Millwall. Kenny Jackett's Lions are at the bottom end of mid-table but, like Bologna, have begun picking up points of late.
14.00 Juventus v Palermo, Serie A, ESPN/ESPN HD
With the ugliness of Calciopoli rearing its head again, the Old Lady will be keen to get back to business on the field. They're right up there with Milan behind Udinese and Lazio, and are the league's only unbeaten side. Palermo would go level on points with the Bianconeri with a win.
16.00 Chelsea v Liverpool, Premier League, Sky Sports 1/HD1/3D
Remember when this was the big Premier League game, when the rivalry between the two was further fuelled by numerous dramatic Champions League battles? Remember Luis Garcia? Anyway...SUPER SUNDAY!
16.30 Hamburg v Hoffenheim, Bundesliga, ESPN/ESPN HD
Hamburg have battened down the hatches of late, settling down an inexperienced defensive line to arrest an alarming slump that resulted in a change of coach. Hoffenheim, meanwhile, are beautifully mid-table with five wins and five losses under the 2011/12 belt.
19.00 Atletico Madrid v Levante, La Liga, Sky Sports 1/HD1
Two defeats on the spin have seen Levante's flash-fairytale come to an end, but they're still flying high in fourth place in the Spanish top flight. They head from Valencia to Madrid this weekend aiming to put another three points on the board against a below-par Atleti, who've won just three times in the league this season.
19.45 Roma v Lecce, Serie A, ESPN/ESPN HD
Lecce are unbeaten in two and are looking for another win to drag them out of the bottom three. They're faced with a difficult trip this Sunday if they want to do so, with Roma now level on points with rivals Napoli (well, they're rivals to me) and keen to go past them and push on into the European places.
21.00 Granada v Mallorca, La Liga, Sky Sports 1/HD1
Granada are also unbeaten in two - hurrah! The La Liga newcomers have hopped over the top of Real Sociedad and another win could drive them into mid-table. One of the victims of such a leap, Mallorca, have the power to prevent it on Sunday evening when they travel to Andalusia.
02.00 (Mon) LA Galaxy v Houston Dynamo, MLS Cup, ESPN/ESPN HD
That's right, folks, it's all over. The 2011 Major League Soccer season reaches its climax at the Home Depot Center when Western champions LA meet Eastern champions Houston. The Dynamo have a huge task on their hands, with LA boasting three designated players and a surprisingly strong squad besides. Houston, meanwhile, will be without their key player, the injured Brad Davis.

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