Friday, January 27, 2012

Weekend TV Preview: 27 - 29 January 2012

Friday 27 January

16.00 Niger v Tunisia, 2012 African Cup of Nations Group C, EurosportUK/HD
The Tunisian's lived up to their billing as dark horses in this group with a good 2-1 win against fellow North Africans Morocco on Matchday 1. Their goals came from domestically based players, both of whom play for the African Champions League holders Esperance Tunis. Despite a fantastic qualifying campaign, Niger just look there to make up the numbers.
19.00 Gabon v Morocco, 2012 African Cup of Nations Group C, EurosportUK/HD
Following that defeat to Tunisia, the Atlas Lions have it all to do now against the co-hosts in their capital city. Gabon cruised to victory in their game against Niger scoring both their goals in the first half. The Panthers will be looking to continue their good start in a bid to top the group and avoid Ghana in the Quarter Finals.
19.45 Watford v Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup 4th Round, ESPN/ESPN HD
Harry Redknapp's been busy in Southwark this week which can hardly be the best preparation for this tricky encounter. The Hornet's league form has been been awful lately - having lost their last three - while Tottenham have been busy closing down the gap with the top two. The Cup might need a bit more magic than usual for this one, unless 'Arry decides that the League is his focus.

Saturday 28 January

12.45 Liverpool v Manchester United, FA Cup 4th Round, ITV1/ITV1 HD
The home team already have a place booked at Wembley after seeing off the other Manchester club midweek in the League Cup. Of course all the focus will be on Patrice Evra. An opportunity for the majority of Liverpool fans to adopt a higher ground - let's hope they take it.
14.30 Bayern Munich v Wolfsburg, Bundesliga, ESPN/ESPN HD
Hang on! What's this? Live Bundesliga on a Saturday! You know what I think I just might. Let's have live updates too please, ESPN.
15.00 Rhyl v Llanelli, Welsh Cup, S4C
More embargo busting action from Wales. Rhyl sit third in the Cymru Alliance League while Llanelli finished the third in the (relatively) big league above them's Apertura.
16.00 Botswana v Guinea, 2012 African Cup of Nations Group D, EurosportUK/HD
Tipped by our good friends at as a surprise package, Botswana pushed Ghana close in their first game though failed to capitalise on a numerical advantage for the last 25 minutes, losing 1-0. Guinea also lost by the same scoreline to Mali. This match is most likely to be the battle for third place in the group but whoever wins today will have the chance of causing an upset in the final round of fixtures.
17.15 Brighton & Hove Albion v Newcastle United, FA Cup 4th Round, ESPN/ESPN HD
Brighton needed a replay and penalties to get the better of Wrexham in the last round and face a Newcastle side that needs to bounce back after a 5-2 mauling against Fulham. Toon will be the third Premier League side to play at the Amex this season following Sunderland (who lost) and Liverpool (who won) in the League Cup.
19.00 Ghana v Mali, 2012 African Cup of Nations Group D, EurosportUK/HD
Almost certainly the key tie in this group, with both teams likely to advance. Ghana are missing a lot experience without the likes of Essien shoring up the midfield and Kingson in goal, they'll also be missing their captain John Mensah after he received a straight red against Botswana. Mali will probably start with more familiar names than the Black Stars, it could be just enough to tip it in their favour.
19.00 Real Madrid v Zaragoza, La Liga, Sky Sports 4/HD4
Trust Sky to stink up the schedule with a complete non-event from Spain. The team five points clear at the top is playing the team six points adrift at the bottom with predictable consequences. Lucky for us there's a decent match to be watched on ESPN...
19.45 Juventus v Udinese, Serie A, ESPN/ESPN HD
Juve sit just a point clear of Milan at the top of the table with the visitors just two more points behind. Expect a tight, fascinating match in a tense season in Serie A.
21.00 Villareal v Barcelona, La Liga, Sky Sports 4/HD4
The Yellow Submarine's home form is almost identical to Barcelona's away form (the only difference being Barcelona have scored one more goal). Form would suggest then that despite 15 places separating them the draw is the most likely outcome.

Sunday 29 January

11.30 Feyenoord v Ajax, Eredivisie, ESPN/ESPN HD
Probably the tastiest fixture on the Dutch calendar but this game finds both of them sitting outside the top three. Shared points will most likely further the gap between themselves and the current third places side Twente, who are once again back under Steve McClaren.
13.30 Sunderland v Middlesbrough, FA Cup 4th Round, ITV1/ITV1 HD
You'd have thought after the Birmingham/Wolves bore-fest in the last round ITV would have learnt that locals derbies do not make for good cup ties. That said, these two have produce entertaining performances of late so it might be worth not going out for that pub lunch.
16.00 Falkirk v Celtic, Scottish League Cup Semi Final, BBC1 Scotland
Late goals have been the story behind Falkirk's cup run - an injury winner against Rangers in the third Round and an equaliser two minutes from the end of extra time in their Quarter Final against Dundee United. They're second in the First Division but will need Ross County to suffer a dip in form if they are to play today's opponents in the League next season.
16.00 Arsenal v Aston Villa, FA Cup 4th Round, ESPN/ESPN HD
Apparently things have got so bad for Arsene Wenger the only team that wants him is Real Madrid. The call will be for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to start and finish the game, at least one of those will undoubtedly happen following his performance against the Champions last week. Villa will be far more content with a replay than the Gunners will and will no doubt play accordingly.
18.00 Equatorial Guinea v Zambia, 2012 African Cup of Nations Group A, EurosportUK/HD
Co-hosts Equatorial Guinea are already through to the next round and need just a point to guarantee top spot. A point will suit Zambia too but may want to push for the victory to avoid Ivory Coast in the Quarter Finals.
18.00 Libya v Senegal, 2012 African Cup of Nations Group A, EurosportUK2
Senegal are already out of the competition marking another disappointment for a side that was seen as one Africa's brightest prospects after they reached the World Cup Quarter Final ten years ago. Libya must win to stand any chance of going through, relying on the co-hosts to beat Zambia.
19.45 Milan v Cagliari, Serie A, ESPN/ESPN HD
Milan coach, Massimiliano Allegri, gets another chance to stick it to his formers employers. He has three wins from three against them so far and with Ibra in the form he's in at the moment, it should be four out of four.
20.00 Malaga v Sevilla, La Liga, Sky Sports 1/HD1
Seriously? Sky, why don't you just take the weekend off?

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