Friday, February 17, 2012

Weekend TV Preview: 17 - 19 February 2012

Friday 17 February

19.30 Southport v Grimsby Town, Blue Square Bet Premier, Premier Sports
Southport took full advantage of ailing Darlington on Tuesday night, riding goals from Karl Ledsham and Shaun Whalley to a 2-0 victory. The result saw them climb into fourth place, while Grimsby are four points behind them with a game in hand.
19.45 Fiorentina v Napoli, Serie A, ESPN/ESPN HD
Walter Mazzarri's Vesuviani look to give Edinson Cavani a belated birthday present by re-establishing themselves in the battle for a Europa League spot in Serie A. They face mid-table Fiorentina, whose form has improved of late thanks to two wins on the bounce.
20.00 Reading v Burnley, Championship, Sky Sports 2/HD2
Three consecutive league wins have put Reading into the playoff positions and just six points behind leaders West Ham United. Tenth-placed Burnley need a win to avoid being cut adrift of the playoff race, at least temporarily.

Saturday 18 February

12.30 Chelsea v Birmingham City, FA Cup Fifth Round, ESPN/ESPN HD
It's FA Cup weekend, and the fifth round action gets underway at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea defeated local rivals Fulham in the previous round, and Birmingham demolished Sheffield United with curiously spaced goals in the 18th, 38th, 58th and 78th minute. The Blades will have been glad to avoid eight minutes of stoppage time.
17.15 Sunderland v Arsenal, FA Cup Fifth Round, ITV1/ITV1 HD
Arsenal came from 2-0 down to secure their place in the fifth round by blowing away Aston Villa at the Emirates, eventually winning out 3-2 after the visitors were shell-shocked beyond repair. Sunderland needed two bites of the cherry against Middlesbrough and are rewarded with another crack at Arsenal, who defeated them in this fixture in the league last weekend.
19.00 Real Madrid v Racing, La Liga, Sky Sports 1/HD1
Racing are in the bottom three but have stemmed the flow somewhat with three draws on the bounce; they're closer to the team above them than the team below them, which spells trouble for Sporting and Real Zaragoza, especially if Racing should achieve the unachievable here.
19.45 Juventus v Catania, Serie A, ESPN/ESPN HD
The Old Lady of Turin has relinquished her grip on the top of Serie A, but the opportunity to head back to the summit rolls around with the visit of mid-table Catania. The Elephants haven't lost in three and now sit in 13th.
21.00 Sevilla v Osasuna, La Liga, Sky Sports 1/HD1
Mid-table is as mid-table does, and it doesn't get much more mid-table than this. A home win for Sevilla would squeeze the middle of the division still further, but it won't be easy - they've lost their last three La Liga games.

Sunday 19 February

12.00 Crawley Town v Stoke City, FA Cup Fifth Round, ESPN/ESPN HD
Crawley, eh? Still going in the FA Cup, still utterly deplorable and still a jewel in the eyes of incurious journalists. They defeated Hull City in the last round but the goal was scored by Matt Tubbs, who signed for AFC Bournemouth to give Project Promotion: The Sequel a hefty taste of its own medicine.
12.45 Aberdeen v St Johnstone, Scottish Premier League, Sky Sports 1/HD1
The Saints could do with putting their form back together after two consecutive defeats that have brought them dangerously close to the mid-table cut-off. Aberdeen are one of the clubs looking to take advantage and are now five points behind the Perth club having not lost in six.
14.00 Stevenage v Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup Fifth Round, ITV1/ITV1 HD
Stevenage edged past Notts County in round four, winning 1-0 courtesy of Damion Stewart's own goal. They host high-flying Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur, who defeated Watford to reach the last 16. Gary Smith's men can look forward to making life difficult for Spurs in front of a hostile and noisy crowd.
15.00 Hibernian v Celtic, Scottish Premier League, Sky Sports 1/HD1
Celtic are going to win the league. Far more significant is the fate of Hibernian, who have been utterly abject this season and are just one point ahead of Dunfermline Athletic at the bottom.
16.30 Liverpool v Brighton & Hove Albion, FA Cup Fifth Round, ESPN/ESPN HD
Liverpool's reward for defeating Manchester United at Anfield in the previous round is another home tie, this time against Brighton & Hove Albion. The Seagulls already have a Premier League scalp to their name having seen off Newcastle United at home last time out.
19.45 Palermo v Lazio, Serie A, ESPN/ESPN HD
A second consecutive defeat for Palermo could well put paid to their hopes of climbing into a European spot, while Lazio are looking to consolidate in the last Champions League place ahead of Udinese and faltering Inter.
20.00 Barcelona v Valencia, La Liga, Sky Sports 1/HD1
It's very likely that Barcelona will be 13 points adrift of Real Madrid by the time they face a potentially tricky visit from third-placed Valencia. Think about that. Barcelona could be 13 points adrift. Current Barcelona. Insane.
22.00 Godoy Cruz v Racing, Argentinian Clausura, Premier Sports
Both of these sides drew their opening matches in the Clausura championship. Racing's score against Tigre was 0-0, while a goal from Facundo Castillon secured a point for Apertura runners-up Godoy Cruz at Velez Sarsfield.

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