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Weekend TV Preview: 17 - 19 December

Friday 17 December

19.45 Borussia Moenchengladbach v Hamburger SV, Bundesliga, ESPN/ESPN HD
Moenchengladbach are the bottom club in Germany's Bundesliga, having lost four consecutive matches, and get the weekend's action underway with a home tie against Hamburg. Exactly halfway up the league are Hamburg who have themselves lost five of the last seven in the league and have been beaten four time on the spin away from home.

19.45 Crawley Town v Mansfield Town, Blue Square Bet Premier, Premier Sports
Two of non-league football's most controversial clubs meet at Broadfield Stadium. Mansfield are recovering from a messy and seemingly unnecessary wrangle over the ownership of and access to their Field Mill home, while Crawley have raised the ire of all around them by spending heavily in the summer with money from a source about which little is known. Oh, and being managed by Steve Evans doesn't help.

Saturday 18 December

12.45 Sunderland v Bolton Wanderers, Premier League, Sky Sports 2/HD2
High-flying Bolton head to the Stadium of Light to face another side that has won plaudits this season. These sides have played some gorgeous football at times, with Sunderland's win against Chelsea being particularly impressive. Bolton have been superb all season and Stuart Holden's goal last weekend secured the three points against Blackburn despite Wanderers being down to ten men.

12.45 Hamilton v Celtic, Scottish Premier League, Sky Sports 4/HD4
Celtic go into this game three points behind arch-rivals Rangers at the top of the SPL. Of course, every game is a must-win in such a lopsided league and Hamilton should prove useful fodder in that respect - they're second from bottom and have picked up just one point since October.

17.20 Ipswich Town v Leicester City, Championship, Sky Sports 2/HD2
Some matches are dominated by the dugouts and this will undoubtedly be one of those. Sky's cameras will surely be disproportionately trained on under-fire Ipswich boss Roy Keane, for whom Carling Cup success has been the saving grace, and Leicester manager Sven-Goran Eriksson. And they'll both love every second of it.

17.30 Liverpool v Fulham, Premier League, ESPN/ESPN HD
The Cottagers go to Anfield looking to get one over on Roy Hodgson, the popular manager who left for Liverpool in the summer. Unfortunately for them, Hodgson was unable to arrest Fulham's traditionally appalling away form, a trait he also appears to have introduced at his new club.

19.00 Espanyol v Barcelona, La Liga, Sky Sports 4/HD4
Barcelona visit neighbours Espanyol in imperious form, but the Periquitos are having a decent time of it themselves. In fourth place and three points clear of fifth, Espanyol are yet to drop a point at home this season. They have conceded only twice in the process, and kept Barca out when this fixture was played in April.

19.45 AC Milan v Roma, Serie A, ESPN/ESPN HD
When Max Allegri went shopping at the end of August and added Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Robinho to an attacking roster already boasting Alex Pato, Ronaldinho and, then, Marco Borriello, some questioned his sanity and others saw a potential Scudetto challenge. The Rossoneri are now sitting pretty at the top of Serie A, comfortably clear of rivals Inter.

21.00 Real Sociedad v Valencia, La Liga, Sky Sports 4/HD4
The team chasing Espanyol is Valencia, who famously began the season with five wins from their first six matches but have been struggling to get a foothold since then. Having won just twice in the last nine they face Sociedad having not won away from home since September. Their hosts will do well to recover after being thoroughly routed by Barcelona.

Sunday 19 December

11.30 Ajax v Feyenoord, Eredivisie, ESPN/ESPN HD
It's fair to say this fixture ain't what it used to be. Like Twente and Groningen, Ajax are just about keeping pace with leaders PSV, but their opponents on Sunday are down in 13th and just five points clear of the relegation zone. Fallen giants doesn't come close to covering it.

13.30 Blackpool v Tottenham Hotspur, Premier League, Sky Sports 1/HD1
If it's free-flowing, error-strewn and chaotic football you're after, look no further than Bloomfield Road on Sunday. Ian Holloway's Tangerines have shocked the Premier League by holding their own and doing so in some style, but they will have their work cut out against an ambitious Spurs side determined to put points on the board in the hunt for more Champions League football.

14.00 Chievo v Juventus, Serie A, ESPN/ESPN HD
High-flying Juventus face the Flying Donkeys with the Scudetto in their sights. Sitting in second, six points behind leaders Milan and level with Napoli, the Bianconeri have lost just twice this season and seem unlikely to do so at Chievo, who haven't won in three, on Sunday.

16.00 Chelsea v Manchester United, Premier League, Sky Sports 1/HD1/3D
It's been a while since Manchester United have won a league game at Stamford Bridge, but now's as good a chance as any. Both teams have disappointed enormously this term and, while Chelsea's dire form has been surprising, United's is something Alex Ferguson has experienced before. Monday's win over Arsenal was good preparation for his team's visit to West London.

16.30 Stuttgart v Bayern Munich, Bundesliga, ESPN/ESPN HD
Stuttgart have racked up ten defeats this season, leaving them in the bottom two and coach Jens Keller out of a job. He was sacked this week after just two months with Die Roten, and has been replaced by Bruno Labbadia in the dugout. A nice easy fixture for the former Hamburg and Leverkusen boss - it's Bayern Munich.

18.00 Malaga v Atletico Madrid, La Liga, Sky Sports 3/HD3
Atleti are five points off fourth place and could be facing a vulnerable opponent in Malaga. The home side have won just twice in ten matches and sit in the relegation zone - however, their home results have taken a turn for the better lately.

19.45 Sampdoria v Genoa, Serie A, ESPN/ESPN HD
It should be a tasty Genoa derby on Sunday evening, spiced up by the Genoa's ability to leapfrog the Blucerchiati with a win. They'll find it tough, though. Samp are ahead of them by virtue of the fact that they have drawn more matches than any other side in Serie A, losing just three times.

20.00 Real Madrid v Sevilla, La Liga, Sky Sports 3/HD3
Should Barcelona succeed at Espanyol, all eyes will inevitably be on the Bernabeu and Real Madrid, who could by then be five points adrift in the Spanish title race. It could be a difficult evening for Sevilla - only the leaders have beaten Real in the league this term.

Chris N

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