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Midweek TV Preview: 27 - 30 September 2010



Monday 27 September

19:45 York City v Darlington, Blue Square Premier League, Premier Sports
Another example of a former League fixture that would rarely have troubled the TV schedulers when they were at the higher level, getting top billing now that they are non-league. I wish Premier well in bringing the old Conference back to our screens but to be frank, I'm not convinced they're doing it right.

19:45 Glentoran v Linfield, Irish League, Sky Sports 1/HD1
Only one win in ten for Glentoran against their old rivals. Presently however, the east Belfast club sit atop the league with Linfield five points behind them in third place.

Tuesday 28 September

17:30 Spartak Moscow v Zilina, Champions League, Sky Sports 2/HD2
East European clubs to tend to offer variety in the Champions League for those of us a little bored of the same old names. There's no reason to assume that Spartak will trip up against the Slovakians who were none too impressive at home to a rampant Chelsea.

19:45 Chelsea v Marseille, Champions League, Sky Sports 2/HD2
Without wishing to take anything away from Man City's impressive win over The Blues last weekend, there was a suggestion that Carlo Ancelloti had his mind elsewhere when he substituted Drogba ahead of this big game. A win against the Ligue 1 champions will not seal qualification but will send Chelsea well on their way.

19:45 Partizan Belgrade v Arsenal, Champions League, Sky Sports 4/HD4
While Partizan coach Aleksandar Stanojevi? hastily orders a DVD of the Arsenal v West Brom game, his opposite number will be looking for a response after their dismal defeat. Inevitably, questions will be asked in the build up to the game about which goalkeeper will be picked. I don't suppose that it will matter much...

19:45 Ajax v AC Milan, Champions League, Sky Sports 4 (Red Button)
One of the pivotal games in this group. Ajax, while not favoured to finished in the top two, are not to be trifled with. At the very least they are capable of ruing a more favoured team's campaign. Especially at home. Milan beware.

19:45 Auxerre v Real Madrid, Champions League, Sky Sports 4 (Red Button)
This presents a superb opportunity for Real to top Group G on points against an Auxerre side who haven't won a game in any competition since their success against Zenit in the Play-off Round of this competition.

19:45 FC Basel v Bayern Munich, Champions League, Sky Sports 4 (Red Button)
Bayern are struggling to find a shape that they are happy with now that Franck Ribery is out of the team. They were also heavily stung by a 2-1 home reverse to high flying Mainz in the Bundesliga. Basel are doing OK in the league but would have been disappointed to lose to Cluj in the last round of the Champions League.

19:45 Roma v Cluj, Champions League, Sky Sports 4 (Red Button)
The visit of the Romanian champions to the eternal city may have put the willies up Roma before their excellent win over Inter. Will the inevitable over-confidence generated by their victory lead to an embarrassing result?

19:45 Braga v Shakhtar Donetsk, Champions League, Sky Sports 4 (Red Button)
Another tough challenge for Braga who welcome the Ukrainian league leaders. A second defeat seems unworthy of the team that knocked Sevilla out of the competition. It won't be easy, though, as Shakhtar are full of goals right now.

Wednesday 29 September

10:30 Jubilo Iwata v Kawasaki Frontale, J League National Cup Semi Final 1st Leg, British Eurosport 2
Of niche interest only but almost certainly more entertaining than Jeremy Kyle.

19:45 Valencia v Man Utd, Champions League, ITV1/ITV HD
Sir Alex risked incurring the wrath of the people of Scunthorpe so he could travel to Spain on a scouting mission ahead of this game. Faced with the same choice, who among us would have done any different?

17:30 Rubin Kazan v Barcelona, Champions League, Sky Sports 2/HD2
"Remember us?" say the Russians. Rubin are one of the few clubs that Barca have a negative record against in European competition.

19:45 Tottenham v FC Twente, Champions League, Sky Sports 2/HD2
There are absolutely no guarantees for Spurs in this group are there? If domestic and European form is anything to go by then Twente will be tough to beat. Saying that, Tottenham should be anxious to please their home crowd on another one of these special Champions League nights that they have craved for so many years. Not to mention wipe away the memory of losing to West Ham.

19:45 Rangers v Bursaspor, Champions League, Sky Sports 4/HD4
Walter Smith won the tactical battle at Old Trafford in the last round, if not the match. Now he must adjust his team to a more aggressive approach and beat the Turkish debutantes.

19:45 Inter Milan v Werder Bremen, Champions League, Sky Sports 4 (Red Button)
Rafa Benitez scouting reports on Werder Bremen will range from the sublime to the ridiculous. Beaten 4-1 last midweek by Hannover, yet 3-2 victors over hated rivals Hamburg at the weekend. Will Rafa be conservative and try to contain Marko Marin and his chums or will he elect to go on the offensive given Werder's porous defence? If I had the red button, I'd be using it on this game.

19:45 Hapoel Tel Aviv v Lyon, Champions League, Sky Sports 4 (Red Button)
Only one win in six for the Israeli club but that may change in front of their home crowd and against a Lyon side who haven't won away all season.

19:45 Schalke v Benfica, Champions League, Sky Sports 4 (Red Button)
The signs are that Schalke are slowly getting their act together. They seem to have found a way of getting the ball to their new forward line of Huntelaar and Raul (a fearsome partnership on paper). Their defence is awful, though, and Benfica will surely be eyeing an away win.

19:45 Panathinaikos v FC Copenhagen, Champions League, Sky Sports 4 (Red Button)
FCK were surprise winners against Rubin Kazan in the last round whereas Pana' were given a right shoeing by Barca. But the Greeks will fancy themselves at home and will be confident that if they can score at the Camp Nou, they can score anywhere.

04:00 San Jose Earthquakes v Chicago Fire, MLS, ESPN/ESPN HD
The Earthquakes are having their best season since returning to MLS in 2008. By contrast, the Fire don't look so hot this season and need this win to reignite their push for a place in the post-season (sorry).

Thursday 30 September

18:00 Borussia Dortmund v Sevilla, UEFA Europa League ESPN/ESPN HD
On of the games of the week, this. Dortmund are playing some superb football so far this season with Nuri Sahin and Shinji Kagawa among their leading lights. Sevilla lost to PSG in the last round but are far too experienced to be fazed by the imposing Westfalen Stadium (which may not be entirely full).

18:00 FC Utrecht v Liverpool, UEFA Europa League, ITV4
Blimey! Liverpool are really up against it aren't they, what with Cup exits to Northampton and Steven Gerrard acting like someone stole his Phil Collins collection? Perhaps a midweek Euro jaunt is just what the doctor ordered.

20:05 Villarreal v Club Bruges, UEFA Europa League, ITV4
The Yellow Submarines lost to Dinamo Zagreb last time out but are in decent shape in the league. Mind you, the Brugge club are no slouches, so for those of you who like your Euro football slightly off the beaten path, this is the game for you.

20:05 Atletico Madrid v Bayer Leverkusen, UEFA Europa League, ESPN/ESPN HD
The Cup holders (or are they League champions?) host a patchy Leverkusen side who can be dangerous. Atleti are yet another Spanish team yet to get of the mark in this competition. Come on chaps - think of the UEFA co-efficient!

20:05 Man City v Juventus, UEFA Europa League, Five/Five HD
City fans could be forgiven for thinking that this could be a Champions League fixture one day. It does, however, illustrate the tremendous value that the Europa League offers, despite the competition's critics.

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