Weekend TV Preview: 19 - 21 November 2010



Saturday 20 November

12.00 Kilmarnock v Rangers, Scottish Premier League, ESPN/ESPN HD
The Old Firm are ten and eleven points clear at the top of the SPL, with the main difference between the two still Rangers' win over Celtic back in October. The Gers were beaten by Hibs last week but bounced back to beat Aberdeen at the weekend, and the same pattern leaves Celtic a point behind. Kilmarnock have exactly half the number of points accrued by Rangers with just 13 games played. Plus ça change.

12.45 Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur, Premier League, Sky Sports 2/HD2/3D
The North London derby seems to have picked up some extra spice since Tottenham began to creep up on the top four league places under Martin Jol. Arsenal certainly have their rivals' number in this fixture and will be looking to pick up three more points that could help them establish their place in the title battle. But this is a very decent Spurs side and one that will be keen to turn over the Gunners on Saturday.

17.00 Villarreal v Valencia, La Liga, Sky Sports 4/HD4
Valencia travel to Villarreal three points behind Cosmin Alioanei's side, but goal difference likely precludes them from moving into third. Valencia have won only one of their last five games and only twice in their last five at home. They'll be up against a side on Saturday with two of the form goalscorers of the league, Giuseppe Rossi and Nilmar.

17.20 Sheffield United v Crystal Palace, Football League Championship, Sky Sports 2/HD2
Two of the Championship's traditionally big clubs, this meeting of Sheffield United and Crystal Palace sees them both in worryingly low positions. They're two points apart, with palace second from bottom and United just outside the relegation zone. However, both have picked up results lately with the visitors winning their last two and the Blades winning one and drawing one in the same period. Palace have already lost ten matches this season.

17.30 Liverpool v West Ham United, Premier League, ESPN/ESPN HD
Two teams in dire straits go head to head at Anfield in Saturday's late kick-off. The Hammers are bottom of the Premier League and have won just one match this term. But it's 11th-placed Liverpool who seem in the most distress after losing to Stoke last weekend. Manager Roy Hodgson seems unlikely to see out the year, and calls for Kenny Dalglish to replace him seem desperate at best.

19.00 Almeria v Barcelona, La Liga, Sky Sports 4/HD4
Ahead of a potentially tricky match for Real Madrid, Barcelona will be looking to put the pressure on them by beating lowly Almeria and heading for the top of the table. Pep Guardiola's men haven't lost a game in the league since their infamous defeat to a Nelson Valdez-inspired Hercules on 11th September, and have dropped just two points in that time. Lionel Messi has scored in each of Barcelona's last four league matches, finding the net no fewer than seven times.

21.00 Real Madrid v Athletic Bilbao, La Liga, Sky Sports 4/HD4
Unlike Barcelona, Real remain unbeaten ahead of this weekend's games. They welcome Athletic Bilbao to the Bernabeu on Saturday evening having dropped just four points and conceded only five goals all season. Bilbao's Spanish international Fernando Llorente is the top scorer outside the big two and will be looking to breach the Merengues defence. Neither Sporting nor Atleti managed it in the previous two league games involving Jose Mourinho's side.

Sunday 21 November

11.30 Genoa v Juventus, Serie A, ESPN/ESPN HD
Genoa replaced Gian Piero Gasperini with Davide Ballardini in the coaching hotseat earlier this month after a poor start to the season. Ballardini's reign has started well with wins over Bologna and Cagliari, but the Old Lady stands in the way of a third consecutive victory. Juve haven't lost in the league since September and won four and lost four since then.

13.30 Blackburn Rovers v Aston Villa, Premier League, Sky Sports 1/HD1
Injury-hit Villa caught the eye last weekend thanks to a magnificent performance against Manchester United by a team full of youngsters. Marc Albrighton, Jonathan Hogg and Barry Bannan made names for themselves in midfield and you can be sure that meticulous Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce noted their showing with interest. These two have met regularly in the last year, with Villa having the edge for the most part.

16.00 Fulham v Manchester City, Premier League, Sky Sports 1/HD1
After being jeered and booed against Birmingham, it's clear that the pressure is on Manchester City gaffer Roberto Mancini to start turning draws into wins. His opposite number on Sunday knows exactly how he feels, having been ousted at Eastlands in similar circumstances. Mark Hughes seems to be settling in well at Craven Cottage but also needs to start putting better results on the board.

18.00 Sevilla v Mallorca, La Liga, Sky Sports 1/HD1
Sevilla host Mallorca and will be hoping to grab their third league win on the bounce. On 8th November they disptached ten-man Valencia at home, and six days later took home the points from Zaragoza despite having Fernando Navarro dismissed with the score at 1-1. Mallorca have only taken one point from their last two games.

19.45 Napoli v Bologna, Serie A, ESPN/ESPN HD
A rather limp performance last weekend saw Napoli pass up a great chance to go top of the league. Instead they were beaten by Lazion and will settle for third for the time being. Bologna are three points above the relegation zone thanks to a 1-0 win over Brescia courtesy of Marco Di Vaio's second half goal. The fact that they're six points off fourth tells you all you need to know about Serie A so far this season.

20.00 Real Sociedad v Atletico Madrid, La Liga, Sky Sports 1/HD1
It's Madrid versus the Basque Country again on Sunday evening as Quique Sánchez Flores' Atleti head to San Sebastián to face Real Sociedad. Sociedad have won their last three at home and Real Madrid are the only visitors to find the net at the Estadio Anoeta so far this season. The visitors' away form is very poor but their only win on the road this term came in Bilbao, which is as daft an omen as I can come up with.

01.30 (Monday) Colorado Rapids v FC Dallas, MLS Cup Final, ESPN/ESPN HD
And as the weekend comes to an end, so too does Major League Soccer 2010. FC Dallas defeated LA Galaxy to reach the final, winning 3-0 in a shock result at the Home Depot Center last Sunday. Meeting them in Toronto late on Sunday will be Colorado, who won the Eastern Conference (don't ask) by beating Columbus and then San Jose. Keep an eye out for Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman's rather fetching lucky jacket on the touchline.

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