Monday, February 13, 2012

Monday 13 February

19.45 Siena v Roma, Serie A, ESPN/ESPN HD
Despite Siena's lowly postion in the table this is hardly an easy tie for Roma. Siena have put in some excellent performances at home recently, against a stuttering Napoli and a 4-0 hammering of third placed Lazio. Roma are still looking for their first win away from home in 2012.
19.45 Gillingham v Southend, League Two, Sky Sports 1/HD1
I'm assuming this is being dubbed by Sky as the battle of the Thames Estuary - or some similar nonsense. Both teams are in a bit of a slump at the moment: Southend's poor run has seen them drop from first to third and with Swindon and Torquay piling up the points they could drop even further soon.

Tuesday 14 February

17.30 Braga v Besiktas, UEFA Europa League Round of 32 1st Leg, ESPN/ESPN HD
Besitkas are the seeded team here having finished top of their group (ahead of Stoke) while Braga finished second behind Brugges. Since then though, Braga have gone on a run of nine straight wins while Besitkas have just one point from their last four domestic games. The sour air of corruption in Turkish football has turned many fans away from the game; a good run in this competition for Besikas could go a long way to winning them back.
19.45 Bayer Leverkusen v Barcelona, UEFA Champions League Last 16 1st Leg, Sky Sports 2/HD2
Is Messi burnt out? Probably not but the pundits need to blame Saturday's defeat to Osasuna on something. Leverkeusen, while not tearing up any trees in the Bundesliga, won all their home games in qualifying. The Champions on the other hand, have won every away game in the Champions League they've had since defeat to Arsenal at this stage last season.
19.45 Lyon v APOEL, UEFA Champions League Last 16 1st Leg, Sky Sports 4/HD4
What about a little romance on Valentine's Day? APOEL topped a group that held three of the last four UEFA Cup/Europa League winners. It's usually at this point you discovery that they've got this far because their team is being bank-rolled by evil. On the face of it, this doesn't seem to be the case here. The only criticism you could possibly put their way is a lack of domestic players in their starting eleven, which has a very heavy Portugese/Brazilian bias.

Wednesday 15 February

17.00 Zenit v Benfica, UEFA Champions League Last 16 1st Leg, Sky Sports 2/HD2
It's been cold enough here over the last week or so - I shudder to think what it must be like in St Petersburg now. Zenit might be a bit ring rusty having only played just two friendlies since their last match at the beginning of December.
17.30 Parma v Juventus, Serie A, ESPN/ESPN HD
Parma's recent run has seen them put some daylight between themselves and the relegation zone but they've suffered heavy defeats this season when going up against contenders for the Scudetto. Juve lost their top stop at the weekend thanks to their match with Bologna being called off - they're now two points behind Milan with two games in hand.
19.45 Milan v Arsenal, UEFA Champions League Last 16 1st Leg, ITV1/ITV1 HD
Arsenal have to get used to life without Thierry all over again - which is a shame because he enjoyed playing at the San Siro. Milan should be favourites but will know they have lost their last three games here against English opposition.
00.00 (Thurs) Deportivo Tachira v Corinthians, Copa Libertadores Group 6, Premier Sports
Corithians make a return to the Group stage of the Libertadores after missing out last year in the qualifying round. Tachira are Venezuela's only representative in this stage of the contest; they made it as far as the quarter finals in 2004 but this is just their second appearance at this stage since then.

Thursday 16 February

18.00 Ajax v Man Utd, UEFA Europa League Round of 32 1st Leg, Channel 5/Channel 5 HD
Stop laughing.
18.00 Legia Warsaw v Sporting, UEFA Europa League Round of 32 1st Leg, ITV4/ITV4 HD
Both teams cruised through their groups with games to spare. The Polish season was due to start at the weekend with the Polish Super Cup at the brand new Euro 2012 stadium in Warsaw between Legia and Wisla. However, it was postponed due to security concerns - leading to a protest from 3,000 disgruntled Legia fans.
18.00 Lazio v Atletico Madrid, UEFA Europa League Round of 32 1st Leg, ESPN/ESPN HD
This actually the game you should be watching instead of Channel 5.
20.05 FC Porto v Man City, UEFA Europa League Round of 32 1st Leg, ITV1/ITV1 HD
I said stop laughing!
20.05 Stoke City v Valencia, UEFA Europa League Round of 32 1st Leg, ESPN/ESPN HD
Ok, now you can laugh.

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