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Midweek TV Preview: 31 October - 3 November 2011



Monday 31 October

20:00 Stoke City v Newcastle United, Premier League, Sky Sports 1 / HD1
Part one of a Stoke double bill this week, you lucky people. Despite being a game behind most of the league, Newcastle are going great guns under Alan Pardew. It must be Mike Ashley's fault.

Tuesday 1 November 2011

17:00 Bate Borisov v AC Milan, UEFA Champions League Group Stage, Sky Sports 2 / HD2
Milan's trip to Belarus will hold no terrors for them. Even if they slip up in Minsk, they are still likely to qualify in what is a two horse race of a group.
19:45 Arsenal v Marseille ,UEFA Champions League Group Stage, Sky Sports 2 / HD2
Three points for Robin van Persie's Arsenal should settle the nerve's at the Emirates. After an uncertain start to Ligue 1, OM have won their last three games, scoring nine goals.
19:45 Genk v Chelsea, UEFA Champions League Group Stage, Sky Sports 4 / HD4
The Belgian club were involved in a nine goal thriller against Club Brugge last Saturday, eventually winning 5-4.Given Chelsea's recent slump,there could be an opportunity to cause an upset. Rumour has it that the Belgians plan to slip a copy of Herge's racially suspect Tintin In The Congo into John Terry’s suitcase.
19:45 Viktoria Plzen v Barcelona, UEFA Champions League Group Stage, Sky Sports 4 Interactive
Plzen have only lost one game in their last six. The trouble is that it was against Barcelona.
19:45 Apoel v FC Porto, UEFA Champions League Group Stage, Sky Sports 4 Interactive
Don't ask me how but Cypriot football continues to improve. Witness APOEL who sit proudly atop and albeit very poor Group G. Porto are suffering from a hangover after winning the Portuguese League at a canter and the Europa League last season.
19:45 Borussia Dortmund v Olympiakos, UEFA Champions League Group Stage, Sky Sports 4 Interactive
BVB have pretty much got themselves back on track, domestically but despite their array of talented attackers, they have struggled in the Champions League. A home game against a beatable Olympiakos team may be their last hope.
19:45 Valencia v Bayer Leverkusen, UEFA Champions League Group Stage, Sky Sports 4 Interactive
Of the three German Bundesliga teams in the Champions League, Leverkusen were expected to achieve the least. Yet they are second in the group after having established a four point cushion over Valencia following their impressive victory over the Spaniards in the last round. Now they must travel to the lions den and finish the job. Match of the night, in my book.

Wednesday 2 November

19:45 Villarreal v Man City, UEFA Champions League Group Stage, ITV1 / ITV1
With Villarreal all but out and ravaged by injury, City need to to capitalise. The Manchester club, despite their squad have found European club football tougher than expected and have failed to recreate their Premier League zeal. Now that tricky first win is out of the way, things should be easier... shouldn't they?
19:45 Man Utd v Otelul Galati, UEFA Champions League Group Stage, Sky Sports 2 / HD2
Given their erratic performances, Manchester United will be guarded against complacency when welcoming the group's whipping boys. In truth, there is little here to be excited about.
19:45 Lyon v Real Madrid, UEFA Champions League Group Stage, Sky Sports 4 / HD4
The Madrid club are dominating this group but have only picked up a single point in their last four visits to the Stade de Gerland. Lyon aren't quite the team they were last decade, however so that proud record must be in jeopardy.
19:45 Bayern Munich v Napoli, UEFA Champions League Group Stage, Sky Sports 4 Interactive
Group A offers the two most attractive matches on the Wednesday evening. FC Bayern barely broke a sweat in their 4-0 trouncing of Nurnberg at the weekend. Napoli, meanwhile are going through a rocky patch. Still, plenty for the neutral to get stuck into.
19:45 Inter Milan v Lille, UEFA Champions League Group Stage, Sky Sports 4 Interactive
Fresh from a defeat to their hated rivals, Juve in the Derbi D'Italia on Saturday, Inter will be in no mood for any lip from Lille (or should that be Joe Cole's Lille?) The French Champions haven't lost a domestic fixture since August. Getting three points at the San Siro is a tough ask though, especially against a wounded home side.
19:45 Benfica v Basel, UEFA Champions League Group Stage, Sky Sports 4 Interactive
The Swiss club have recently lost their coach to Hamburg and lost to the same opposition at home. I've not seen Benfica yet but understand that they are something.
19:45 Ajax v Dinamo Zagreb, UEFA Champions League Group Stage, Sky Sports 4 Interactive
The Dutch team will be looking for a rare win for Real at Lyon to give them the chance to move into second spot.
19:45 Trabzonspor v CSKA Moscow, UEFA Champions League Group Stage, Sky Sports 4 Interactive
Both teams have a win, a loss and a draw to their names so far. CSKA have scored twelve goals in the last three games. Seydou Doumbia is the man to watch after having score eight of those twelve. He's a regular Robin van Persie. What would they do without him?
02:00 Seattle Sounders v Real Salt Lake, MLS, ESPN / ESPN HD
The Sounders have been strutting around the MLS like they own the place since their admission in the league in 2009. But football has a habit of biting Billy Big Bollocks and the Pacific North West club go into the second leg of this play of tie with a 3-0 deficit against an unfashionable Real Salt Lake side that won the MLS Cup in the Sounders' own stadium in 2010.

Thursday 3 November

17:00 Rubin Kazan v Tottenham Hotspur, UEFA Europa League Group Stage, ITV4 / ITV4 HD
Roman Pavlyuchenko scored the solitary goal when these two last met a, couple of weeks ago. The former Spartak Moscow striker will almost certainly be utilised again against Rubin.
18:00 Maccabi Tel Aviv v Stoke City, UEFA Europa League Group Stage, ESPN / ESPN HD
Still seems strange to say it but this should be another three points for Stoke. It's been a real treat seeing an English club participating in the Europa League with anything other than extreme reluctance.
19:45 Mansfield Town v Cambridge United, Blue Square Premier League, Premier Sports
With a wide choice of English and Scottish clubs on the telly, Premier Sports have got some nerve putting this fixture on. Those Cambridge fans hardy enough to make the trip can be relatively optimistic as their team has only lost two in the last nine away games.
20:05 Birmingham City v Club Brugge, UEFA Europa League Group Stage, ITV4 / ITV4 HD
If ever there was justification for the Championship getting awarded a Europa League spot, it's been Birmingham City's impressive displays despite relegation from the Premier League. They had a terrific result in Bruge in the last round and can put half a toe in the knock out stages with a win at St Andrews.
20:05 Celtic v Rennes, UEFA Europa League Group Stage, ESPN / ESPN HD
Despite only losing one match, Celtic are bottom of what is a bastard group. Unfortunately for UK viewers, Atletic Madrid v Udinese is the game of this round and it's not on the telly.
20:05 Fulham v Wisla Krakow, UEFA Europa League Group Stage, Channel 5 / Channel 5 HD
The Cottagers lost a man in the reverse fixture and were unlucky to lose in Poland. Their form has been patchy of late but should still be favorites. Krakow lost their first match, after a four match winning streak, on Saturday.

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