Weekly football conversation since 2009, with Graham Sibley, Jan Bilton and Terry Duffelen. Listen on Acast, Apple, Google, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn or your podcatcher of choice.

Midweek TV Preview: 17 - 20 January



Monday 17 January

13.15 Saudi Arabia v Japan, AFC Asian Cup Group B, British Eurosport HD
The Green Falcons' campaign has collapsed in a big way. The 2007 runners-up lost their opening Group B fixture (2-1 to Syria) - a result that prompted the dismissal of head coach Jose Peseiro - and followed it up with a 1-0 defeat to Jordan, ranked 107th in the world. The Saudis therefore enter this match knowing it will be their last match of the tournament while Japan - presently group leaders - need a draw to ensure safe passage to the next round.

19.45 Brentford v Exeter City, JPT Southern Area Final 1st Leg, Sky Sports 1/HD1
As luck would have it, a dress rehearsal for this match took place in League One on Saturday and in it, Exeter led for over 90 minutes before Nicky Forster earned the home side a point four minutes into injury time. Much to reflect on for both sides, especially The Grecians who will be hoping to sew the match up before the second leg back at St James Park on February 8.

Tuesday 18 January

13.15 Australia v Bahrain, AFC Asian Cup Group C, British Eurosport HD
Few would bet against Australia maintaining their unbeaten record thus far, especially against the unfancied Bahrainis. It's worth remembering, though, that if Bahrain do win and South Korea beat India, that'll be the Aussies out of the tournament. A must-win for both sides, then.

19.30 Ayr United v Hibernian, Scottish Cup 4th Round Replay, Sky Sports 2/HD2
Ayr gave a good account of themselves in the first match which finished 0-0 on January 8th, but Hibs were the more threatening and will hope to show their more clinical side at Somerset Park.

19.45 Cardiff City v Stoke City, FA Cup 3rd Round Replay, S4C/FA TV
Fair play to S4C for seizing on this one. Having played out a 1-1 draw at the Britannia, Cardiff will know that a spirited performance in front of an even higher-spirited crowd could earn them a 4th Round tie against either Doncaster or Wolves. Stoke, for their part, are flip-flopping on current form and will need 100% focus to emerge unscathed against the Welshmen.

19.45 Manchester City v Leicester City, FA Cup 3rd Round Replay, ESPN/ESPN HD
The managers of these two clubs know each other so well and have so much in common that it was probably no surprise the first match ended in a 2-2 draw. A rip-roaring 4-3 win for City over Wolves at the weekend could be a sign of things to come in this replay as Man City maintain their 'two-steps-forward-one-step-back' form progression.

20.00 Sevilla v Villarreal, Copa Del Rey Quarter Final 2nd Leg (3-3), Sky Sports 3/HD3
Sevilla have lost six of their last eight in the league while Villareal look ever more certain of a Champions League spot. You do the math.

Wednesday 19 January

16.15 Iraq v North Korea, AFC Asian Cup Group D , British Eurosport
The Iraqis left it late to beat the UAE on Saturday, but that win made as near as dammit no difference to their circumstances. A win over North Korea here is vital to secure their place in the quarter-finals, while a draw may not be good enough - especially if the UAE beat already through Iran in the other game going on at the same time as this one.

16.30 Sampdoria v Udinese, Coppa Italia Round of 16, ESPN/ESPN HD
Still no sign of stability for post-Cassano Sampdoria. Nothing to separate these two in recent Coppa Italia encounters with Udinese going through on away goals in 2006 and Samp by penalties in 2009

19.00 Deportivo La Coruna v Almeria, Copa Del Rey Quarter Final 2nd Leg (0-1), Sky Sports 1/HD1
Depor are currently on a slow slide towards the bottom of the table while Almeria are already there waiting for them. Perhaps unlikely to be at the top of your TV viewing list this week, but needless to say some of you will do the decent thing and watch it so the rest of us don't have to.

19.45 AS Roma v Lazio, Coppa Italia Round of 16, ESPN/ESPN HD
An excellent season so far for the two Rome sides promises much from this encounter but, as the away team, Lazio haven't won at the Stadio Olimpico since 1997.

20.00 Leeds United v Arsenal, FA Cup 3rd Round Replay, ITV1/ITV1 HD
With their performance in the first fixture together with a packed Elland Road crowd Leeds will enter this cup tie optimistically. Whether that optimism has any basis really depends on what Arsenal team decides to show up.

21.00 Real Betis v Barcelona, Copa Del Rey Quarter Final 2nd Leg (0-5), Sky Sports 1/HD1
The first leg of this tie finished 5-0 to Barca. Just in case you thought this might be a one-off or a freak result for the away side, we should tell you they won 4-1 at home to Malaga at the weekend. At best, Betis could scramble a draw if Guardiola rests his best players, but we suspect that's unlikely in the grand scheme of things.

Thursday 20 January

20.00 AC Milan v Bari, Coppa Italia Round of 16, ESPN/ESPN HD
This long, drawn out Round of 16 has been going on since mid-December. It finishes here with the top and bottom teams in Serie A, both far more concerned with their league form.

21.00 Atletico Madrid v Real Madrid, Copa Del Rey Quarter Final 2nd Leg (1-3), Sky Sports 2/HD2
Inconceivably, Real very nearly lost to bottom-of-the-league side Almeria at the weekend, and only a 77th minute Granero equaliser salvaged any respect for them when all looked doomed. Here, they have a 3-1 lead from the first leg, and just as well, we say.

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