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Midweek TV Preview: 14 - 17 February



Monday 14 February

20.00 Fulham v Chelsea, Premier League, Sky Sports 1/HD1/3D
This Valentine's West London derby is probably being touted by Sky as "Love thy neighbour". Though given their recent troubles with out-moded 1970s attitudes, that's probably a title best steered clear of.

Tuesday 15 February

17.00 Aris Salonika v Manchester City, UEFA Europa League Round of 32 First Leg, ITV4/ITV4HD
Aris boast a 40 year unbeaten home record in European competition - surprising considering they've lost three in their last five games domestically. City may feel unlucky they didn't come away with a point from Old Trafford at the weekend but were undone by a couple of fantastic goals - and just for the sake of being controversial - I thought Nani's was better than Rooney's.

19.45 AC Milan v Tottenham Hotspur, UEFA Champions League Round of 16 First Leg, Sky Sports 2/HD2
Harry will be hoping for a repeat of their spirited second half comeback from their previous trip to the San Siro rather than a repeat of their first half dismembering. Their hat-trick scorer that night, Gareth Bale, is on a lengthy list of injuries that includes Modric and van der Vaart (though Nico Kranjcar is taking full advantage of rare starting opportunites). Milan have injury troubles of their own and new boys Cassano and Van Bommel are ineligible.

19.45 Valencia v Schalke, UEFA Champions League Round of 16 First Leg, Sky Sports 4/HD4
Schalke have kept two clean sheets in a row - certainly worth shouting about considering how shambolic their defense has looked sometimes. Valencia have had a very steady campaign both in Europe and domestically, seemingly easily coping following the departures of David Silva and David Villa. The last time Raul scored in Valencia, Real Madrid won 5-1, can't see the same happening this time.

Wednesday 16 February

17.30 Fiorentina v Inter, Serie A, ESPN/ESPN HD
Slightly disappointing choice from ESPN considering they could have shown the Derby della Lanterna instead, but bonus midweek Serie A is nothing to complain about.

19.45 Arsenal v Barcelona, UEFA Champions League Round of 16 First Leg, ITV1/ITV1 HD
Last season's 2-2 at the Emirates between these two was one of the most entertaining in the whole of the competition. It will be interesting to see if Wenger starts with Walcott on the left, to attack any frailty Pique may have with pace - with Puyol out, he was left horribly exposed for Gijon's goal in their draw at the weekend. If Arsenal can go to the Camp Nou in touch and have Van Persie, Fabregas and Song playing - all sorely missed in the return leg last season - they have every chance of getting through.

19.45 Roma v Shakhtar Donetsk, UEFA Champions League Round of 16 First Leg, Sky Sports 2/HD2
Shaktar are in the middle of their huge winter break - their last competitive fixture was in early December: their Champions League win over Braga which saw them finish top of their group above Arsenal. Roma's form seems to have deserted them recently seeing them drop out of the Champions League spots in Serie A to mid-table.

00.00 Cruzeiro v Estudiantes, Copa Libertadores Group 7, Premier Sports
The start of the group stage and this one's a cracker, with the Argentinian Apertura Champions playing the Brazialian Serie A runners up. Juan Sebastian Veron is still a regular for Estudiantes just short of his 36th birthday.

Thursday 17 February

18.00 Benfica v Stuttgart, UEFA Europa League Round of 32 First Leg, ITV4/ITV4 HD
On paper this looks pretty straight-forward; Benfica go into this having won their last 13 in all competitions while Stuttgart sit in the relegation zone in the Bundesliga. Benfica's last defeat though was in the Champions League at home to Schalke who themselves were near the foot of the table at the time.

18.00 Napoli v Villarreal, UEFA Europa League Round of 32 First Leg, ESPN/ESPN HD
Defeats to Levante and Depor have removed Villareal's faint chances of catching Real Madrid. Napoli's season just continues to gather momentum with Edison Cavani on an unprecedented scoring streak. He's already scored 27 goals in 35 appearances this season.

20.05 Sparta Prague v Liverpool, UEFA Europa League Round of 32 First Leg, FIVE/FIVE HD
No excuses for Liverpool not to get through here across two legs. Under Roy Hodgson, they drew all of their away group stage fixtures to get here and a similar result will suit them fine ahead of the return leg at Anfield next week.

20.05 Rangers v Sporting Lisbon, UEFA Europa League Round of 32 First Leg, ESPN/ESPN HD
With cup ties and postponements Rangers already have four domestic games waiting to be rearranged - a fixture pile-up that could seriously affect their title run. With an Old Firm derby sandwiched in between the two legs of this tie memories of 2008 can't be too far away from most fans.

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