Midweek TV Preview: 16-19 August



Monday 16 August

20.00 Manchester Utd v Newcastle Utd, Premier League, Sky Sports 1/HD1
The last time Newcastle started the season at Old Trafford they ended the campaign getting relegated. So how will a year on the naughty step have affected Newcastle? We probably won't get a good idea here; most of their fans will be happy to get away from this simply with a good performance. That said, in that opening fixture two years ago they got a point after taking an early lead against the eventual Champions.

Tuesday 17 August

17.30 FC Zenit St Petersburg v AJ Auxerre, UEFA Champions League Qualifying Play Off 1st Leg, Sky Sports 2/HD2
Zenit's run of league wins came to an end with a draw againt Dinamo at the weekend. Auxerre are just two weeks into their season and are still looking for their first win - they'll do extremely well to get it against Spalletti's side.

19.45 BSC Young Boys v Tottenham Hotspur, UEFA Champions League Qualifying Play Off 1st Leg, Sky Sports 2/HD2
The season is well under way in Switzerland but it's not been a great start for the the Berne side with just one win in five. Spurs looked very bright in their opening 0-0 against City at the weekend - a similar performance here should yield goals for them and make things easy for the home leg.

19.45 Dynamo Kyiv v Ajax, UEFA Champions League Qualifying Play Off 1st Leg, Sky Sports Red Button
Ajax will welcome back Luis Suarez from suspension to face a Kyiv side that suffered their first defeat of the season at the weekend. Both sides finished runners up in their respective leagues last season, though Kyiv's passage to this round, a 6-1 aggregate win over Gent was far more convincing than Ajax's away goals win over PAOK.

19.45 Rosenborg BK v FC Copenhagen, UEFA Champions League Qualifying Play Off 1st Leg, Sky Sports Red Button
Rosenborg are sweeping their way to another Norwegian title - unbeaten after 20, they only lost one game last campaign and that was after they'd lifted the title. FCK face a tough task against a side that has made the group stages in this competition 12 times out of the last 15 seasons.

19.45 Sparta Prague v MK Zilina, UEFA Champions League Qualifying Play Off 1st Leg, Sky Sports Red Button
The Czech Republic champions against the Slovakian champions. Back in the day of course these two were in the same league though the best Zilina ever managed was third behind the two giants from Prague. Maybe old rivalaries will help them overcome the odds here, I wouldn't count on it though.

Wednesday 18 August

11.00 Kawasaki Frontale v Nagoya Grampus, J-League, British Eurosport 2
Grampus two points clear,
Kawasaki sit in fourth,
but are unbeaten at home.


19.45 Werder Bremen v Sampdoria, UEFA Champions League Qualifying Play Off 1st Leg, Sky Sports 2/HD2
According to the papers, Ozil WILL play in this game despite most of the biggest cups in Europe wanting to sign him before the transfer window closes. Ozil only has one season left on his contract, so any offers haven't been huge - according to Bremen though they haven't even received any. As far they're concerned it's business as usual and with Cassano leading the line for Samp, this should be an extremely watchable game.

19.45 SC Braga v Sevilla, UEFA Champions League Qualifying Play Off 1st Leg, ITV4
Braga's lack of a +20 goal a season striker probably cost them the title last time out - but that shouldn't detract from their most successful season that saw them finish runners up in the Portugese League. Sevilla certainly have plenty of quality up front with the likes of Fabiano and Kanoute, quality that should see them through to the next stage.

19.45 Basel v FC Sherriff Tiraspol, UEFA Champions League Qualifying Play Off 1st Leg, Sky Sports Red Button
After starting their season with five straight wins, Basel have lost their last two; however, front man Alexander Frei has started in good touch with four goals in five games. Basel cruised passed Drebrecen in the previous round,  Sherriff however have struggled to make it this far, holding on by just one goal against the Albanian champions and defeating Dinamo Zagreb on penalties.

19.45 Partizan v Anderlecht, UEFA Champions League Qualifying Play Off 1st Leg, Sky Sports Red Button
Partizan have only made it to the group stage of the Champions League once. While Anderlecht's record is better, they haven't got past qualification for the past three seasons. Partizan have been extremely strong domestically in recent seasons, so this could be a very close encounter.

19.45 Red Bull Salzburg v Hapoel Tel Aviv, UEFA Champions League Qualifying Play Off 1st Leg, Sky Sports Red Button
Just over a week ago, in the third tier of Austrian football, Red Bull's reserve team was beaten 2-1 by the fan created SV Austria Salzburg - who have been rising as champions through the Austrian pyramid for the last few seasons after having their club ripped away by the corporate powerhouse. We only mention this here because it really is a big deal.

Thursday 19 August

17.45 Rapid Vienna v Aston Villa, UEFA Europa League Play Off 1st Leg, ITV4
Villa's display at the weekend will have shown those fans worried about the departure of Martin O'Neill that their side is still pretty good, though even if Milner is still a Villa player, they won't damage his value by cup-tying him in this one. Rapid shouldn't provide any problems for them here.

19.45 Liverpool v Trabzonspor, UEFA Europa League Play Off 1st Leg, ITV1
The city of Trabzon is over 500 miles away from Istanbul. I doubt whether this fact will stop Clive Tyldesley mentioning the city on the Bosphorus.

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