Sunday, January 22, 2012

Midweek TV Preview: 23 - 26 January 2012

Monday 23 January

16.00 Gabon v Niger, African Cup of Nations Group C, British Eurosport/British Eurosport HD
As one of the co-hosts, Gabon have to be a decent bet for a place in the latter stages of the tournament. In an open group, they face a Niger team that impressively qualified above Egypt and South Africa. The wise money probably goes on The Panthers, but only just.
19.00 Morocco v Tunisia, African Cup of Nations Group C, British Eurosport/British Eurosport HD
The Moroccans have, frankly, been a washout in the last two CAN competitions and are long overdue a decent campaign. They could well get it this time around, despite Marouane Chamakh being a part of their squad.
19.45 Southampton v Leicester City, Championship, Sky Sports 1/HD1
The Saints go into this match knowing they've been toppled from the Championship summit by West Ham. A swift return is required and against a Leicester team on poor form of late, they should get the win they need to restore the status quo.

Tuesday 24 January

16.00 Ghana v Botswana, African Cup of Nations Group D, British Eurosport/British Eurosport HD
Something of a baptism of fire for Botswana, here at their first African Nations Cup but facing one of the stand-out favourites in their opening game. Featuring a wealth of European-based stars including Andre Ayew, Sulley Muntari and Agyemang Badu, The Black Stars should be treating this like an exhibition match, but this tournament has been known to throw up an upset or two in recent editions.
19.00 Mali v Guinea, African Cup of Nations Group D, British Eurosport/British Eurosport HD
Mali made a complete hash of their 2010 CAN campaign, a run of form that spilled over into their qualification for this one. Guinea, for their part, have been here many times before but are unlikely to set the tournament on fire. A draw seems likely.
19.45 Juventus v Roma, Coppa Italia Quarter Final, ESPN/ESPN HD
Not easy to pick a winner between these two. Both teams are playing well in the league but Roma have won two of their last three games at Juve's ground which may just give them the confidence they need to win it.
20.00 Mirandes v Espanyol, Copa del Rey Quarter Final 2nd Leg, Sky Sports 1/HD1
Arguably the story of the quarter finals surrounds the giant-killing exploits of third-tier Mirandes. Having already knocked out La Liga opponents Racing Santander and Villareal 3-1 on aggregate, they now find themselves 3-2 down after the first half of this tie against the team currently fifth in the Primera Division. A third scalp is still entirely possible for the team from Burgos.
19.45 Cardiff City v Crystal Palace, Carling Cup Semi Final 2nd Leg, BBC2/BBC HD
Advantage Palace after the fantastic first leg which saw Anthony Gardner's headed goal give the Londoners a 1-0 lead. Palace will be aware that Cardiff have lost the fewest games of anyone in the Championship this season and having seen their 1-0 lead at Blackpool turn into a 2-1 defeat last weekend, nothing will be taken for granted.

Wednesday 25 January

16.00 Libya v Zambia, African Cup of Nations Group A, British Eurosport/British Eurosport HD
Zambia were the surprise winners on the opening weekend of this year's CAN, silencing Senegal with an impressive 2-1 win. Libya, meanwhile, will need to regroup following a disappointing defeat to co-hosts Equitorial Guinea. If Zambia can remain composed and get a win, they could be set fair for a place in the latter stages while at the same time knocking out The Mediterranean Knights.
16.00 Chievo v Siena, Coppa Italia Quarter Final, ESPN/ESPN HD
Chievo have won only one of their last seven games against their Serie A opponents but with Siena trying not to drop into the bottom three in the Serie A table, now might be a good time to strike a crucial blow. The winner plays either Napoli or Inter in the semi finals.
19.00 Mallorca v Athletic Bilbao, Copa del Rey Quarter Final 2nd Leg, Sky Sports 2/HD2
Bilbao remain in fine form in the league and have a 2-0 lead in the bank from the first leg of this tie. It's been five long years since they last won at the Iberostar Stadium, however, so a transferral of their La Liga results will be very welcome to reach the last four.
19.00 Equatorial Guinea v Senegal, African Cup of Nations Group A, British Eurosport/British Eurosport HD
A cracking start for the co-hosts in their CAN debut and who's to say they can't repeat their achievements against a faltering Senegalese side? Expect more in the way of fervent euphoria if the home side even so much as score against the 2002 World Cup participants.
19.30 Luton Town v Mansfield Town, Blue Square Premier League, Premier Sports
Mansfield have turned things around of late and are currently unbeaten in four matches. Luton, however, are unbeaten in nine and haven't conceded a goal at home since December 10th.
19.45 Napoli v Inter, Coppa Italia Quarter Final, ESPN/ESPN HD
Napoli left it until the last five minutes to grab an equaliser away to Siena at the weekend and a nervy performance is the last thing they need against the current Coppa Italia holders here.
19.45 Liverpool v Man City, Carling Cup Semi Final 2nd Leg, Sky Sports 1/HD1/3D
Like Crystal Palace in the other semi-final, Liverpool hold a 1-0 lead going into the second leg. Given the weekend's results, it's difficult seeing The Reds hold onto the advantage as morale in the Dalglish camp - to say nothing of technical ability - seems to have reached rock bottom. A Herculean effort will therefore be needed to stop City's advances which makes for a mouth-watering conclusion to the tie.
21.00 Barcelona v Real Madrid, Copa del Rey Quarter Final 2nd Leg, Sky Sports 2/HD2
There are so many El Clasicos these days that someone's going to have to recategorise them to suit the occasion. We're labelling this one 'El Clasico Ordinario.'

Thursday 26 January

16.00 Sudan v Angola, African Cup of Nations Group B, British Eurosport/British Eurosport HD
The Palancas Negras are desperately seeking a return to the form that took them to the 2006 World Cup but which has since fizzled away. Against Sudan - one-time champions in 1970 - they stand a decent chance of getting three points at least.
19.00 Ivory Coast v Burkina Faso, African Cup of Nations Group B, ITV4/ITV4 HD/British Eurosport/British Eurosport HD
A golden crop of players knows this tournament represents one last chance to show they're not the late stage chokers we've seen in recent years. Burkina Faso, we're sorry to say, are here mainly to make up the numbers and shouldn't stand in the way of their opponents march into the knockout stages.
19.45 Lazio v Milan, Coppa Italia Quarter Final, ESPN/ESPN HD
The last four meetings between these two sides have been draws but Milan struggled to get rid of Novara in the last round of the competition, only winning 2-1 after extra time. That said, both sides have lost just once since late November so another draw could be on the cards.
20.30 Levante v Valencia, Copa del Rey Quarter Final 2nd Leg, Sky Sports 1/HD1
Valencia won the first leg 4-1 to ensure you won't be watching this one at the end of another all-too-short weekend.

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