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Midweek TV Preview: 29 November - 2 December 2010



Monday 29 November

19.45 Droylsden v Leyton Orient, FA Cup Second Round, ESPN/ESPN HD
If you thought you'd had your fill of FA Cup action over the weekend (your Fairground team was at Colchester for their visit from Swindon Supermarine), think again. Monday night sees Leyton Orient rewarded for a replay victory over Dagenham with a trip to Droylsden. The Blue Square Bet North side overcame Havant & Waterlooville in the first round. On the line is a trip to Norwich City in the third round.

19.45 Leicester City v Nottingham Forest, Championship, Sky Sports 2/HD2
A big derby win for Norwich on Sunday took them past Nottingham Forest and into the top six, but Monday evening's clash at the Walkers affords Forest the chance to immediately strike back. Their hosts are just two points above the relegation places but haven't been beaten on home turf since the middle of September. These two sides last met in February, when a 3-0 Leicester win was ample revenge for a Robert Earnshaw-inspired 5-1 victory for Forest last December.

20.00 Barcelona v Real Madrid, La Liga, Sky Sports 1/HD1
This is a match that needs no introduction, but that's not going to stop me. Real Madrid have a one-point lead over Pep Guardiola's side and both are in remarkable form. Cristiano Ronaldo and Leo Messi are scoring for fun but it could be the coaches whose battle is most fascinating on Monday night. Whatever happens, this looks set to be a fantastic game of football.

Tuesday 30 November

19.45 West Ham United v Manchester United, Carling Cup Quarter Final, Sky Sports 2/HD2
The mood at Upton Park was lifted slightly by a weekend win in the Premier League, but a much trickier task lies in wait for them in the League Cup. The Hammers will be even happier if Alex Ferguson sticks to his usual selection for this competition, leaving the weekend's five-goal hero Dimitar Berbatov out of action and West Ham out of his firing line. The visitors haven't been knocked out of the Carling Cup for almost two years.

19.45 Fiorentina v Reggina, Coppa Italia Fourth Round, ESPN/ESPN HD
It's cup week in Italy too, and the fourth round of the Coppa Italia sees Fiorentina host Reggina on the back of a fortuitous draw at Juventus. The Amaranto sit four points off the automatic promotion spots in Serie B, and progressed to this round of the cup by beating Frosinone with two second half goals at the end of October.

Wednesday 1 December

18.00 Sampdoria v PSV Eindhoven, Europa League, ESPN/ESPN HD
It's do or die for the Blucerchiati in Group I. They've two games left to gain three points on Metalist Kharkiv and the first is against a PSV side who need just a point to secure qualification. Samp's only win in the group so far came against Debrecen, who have lost all four games and scored just once in the process. The home side's draw against Serie A leaders Milan on Saturday could be a decent footing ahead of a difficult match.

19.45 Birmingham City v Aston Villa, Carling Cup Quarter Final, Sky Sports 2/HD2
A midweek Birmingham derby, you say? Surely that's not a good idea! Yes, it's West Midlands Police's worst nightmare on Wednesday as a large chunk of their December budget is blown on one football match. Villa had won six derbies on the spin before this season's goalless draw, but Blues will be gagging to get this one underway after beating Chelsea.

20.05 Manchester City v Red Bull Salzburg, Europa League, Five/Five HD
Manchester City can put one foot in the next round with a Group A win over Salzburg. Three points ahead of Juventus and behind Lech Poznan only on goals scored, City have their destiny in their own hands. However, too many draws - three in their last five matches in all competitions, before which they lost three games on the spin - could spell disaster.

20.05 Lech Poznan v Juventus, Europa League, ESPN/ESPN HD
In the other Group A match, the Bianconeri must win to have a realistic chance of qualifying. They have drawn all four Europa League group matches and face Poznan and Manchester City in the final two. Juventus are unbeaten in 13 games in all competitions but eight of those have ended level. They'll need to develop a killer instinct if they want to avoid crashing ignominiously out of Europe.

Thursday 2 December

14.45 FIFA World Cup Host Announcement, BBC2
Not a match, but worth a mention. A shambolic period in FIFA's recent history comes to a close with the announcement of host nations for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. 2018 will come down to England versus Iberia versus Russia, while the USA and Australia are going all out for 2022 with Qatar waiting in the wings. If England and USA are selected, my head might explode. Also covered on British Eurosport.

18.00 PSG v Sevilla, Europa League, ITV4/ITV4 HD
Sevilla's pedigree in this competition in recent years has been excellent, and their start to Group J has matched it. They sit top after winning three games out of four and would guarantee top spot with a win over second-placed PSG. They might be glad to be back on the road - after a run of five straight home wins, the Rojiblancos slumped to two home defeats in their most recent league matches.

18.00 Steaua Bucharest v Liverpool, Europa League, Sky Sports 2/HD2
A point in Romania would secure a place in the next round for Roy Hodgson's Liverpool, with Napoli and Utrecht both five points behind the Group K leaders. The group opened back in September with a 4-1 win for the Reds against the Militarii. Marius Lacatus' side beat Utrecht in the last group game to go second, and have a European Cup winner to look up to in the dugout.

19.45 Tamworth v Newport County, Blue Square Bet Premier, Premier Sports
In a midweek dominated by cup football, it's perhaps fitting (loosely fitting, like a smock or something) that Tamworth are in televised action. Their cup pedigree has been good over the years but on Thursday they're in league action against Dean Holdsworth's high-flying Newport County. Newport head to Staffordshire with Craig Reid in fine goalscoring form.

20.05 Palermo v Sparta Prague, Europa League, ESPN/ESPN HD
Sparta's Wilfried Bony is the top goalscorer in the Europa League this term, and has scored in every game in Group F in which the Czech side has found the net. A point will do for Sparta, while the home side will have to come out all guns blazing in Sicily if they're to keep their hopes alive. The Rosanero's only win in the group was a 1-0 win over whipping boys Lausanne Sports.

20.05 Villarreal v Dinamo Zagreb, Europa League, ITV4/ITV4 HD
Qualification prospects from Group D are as tight as John Burridge's doorframes, but Dinamo can make sense of the mayhem by defeating Villarreal on Thursday. But it won't be easy for the Croatian side - Villarreal's two group wins so far came in their two home games. A draw here and PAOK could take control of the group by beating Brugge.

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