Weekend TV Preview: 20 - 22 January 2012



Friday 20 January

19.30 Borussia Moenchengladbach v Bayern Munich, Bundesliga, ESPN/ESPN HD
Gladbach have the opportunity to go within a point of Bayern at the top and go past Schalke and Dortmund in the process, but they won't have it all their own way in the Friday night Bundesliga match. Bayern have won three on the bounce and will be keen to pick up exactly where they left off as the league returns from its winter break.

Saturday 21 January

12.30 St Mirren v Celtic, Scottish Premier League, ESPN/ESPN HD
Well, what to say about this one? Celtic's run of ten successive wins might say everything that needs to be said about Scottish football, but it has marked a very impressive charge to the top of the SPL. It's hard to imagine their run will end in Paisley on Saturday lunchtime against a Buddies side that hasn't won in three.

12.45 Norwich City v Chelsea, Premier League, Sky Sports 2/HD2
After four games without a win, Paul Lambert's Canaries have returned to winning ways with victories over Queens Park Rangers and West Bromwich Albion; with all due respect, those are exactly the teams they'll need to be beating this season. Steve Morison's winners have seen Norwich to away wins of late, but they'll need to exploit home advantage to defeat Chelsea.

17.20 Huddersfield Town v Brentford, League One, Sky Sports 2/HD2
Despite their phenomenal run of form that spanned the summer, Huddersfield are now seven points off the top, where Charlton are taking advantage of Lee Clark's team's worrying drawing habit. It's Jordan Rhodes that's hogging the Huddersfield headlines, scoring 25 league goals already this term.

17.30 Bolton Wanderers v Liverpool, Premier League, ESPN/ESPN HD
When these two met at Anfield it was a walk in Stanley Park for the Reds, who took a 3-0 lead into the final minute thanks to goals by Jordan Henderson, the piscine Martin Skrtel and Charlie Adam. Bolton grabbed a consolation but will have their work cut out to achieve a better result on Saturday evening.

18.30 Equatorial Guinea v Libya, Africa Cup of Nations Group A, British Eurosport/HD
The 2012 Africa Cup of Nations kicks off on Saturday with co-hosts Equatorial Guinea in action, but it's the opponents that catch the eye. Libya has undergone enormous change this year and to qualify for the competition in those circumstances was a remarkable achievement in itself. With Senegal and Zambia completing Group A, it's possible but certainly not easy for the Mediterranean Knights to progress still further.

19.00 Real Sociedad v Atletico Madrid, La Liga, Sky Sports 4/HD4
After a very indifferent start to the campaign, Sociedad are now unbeaten in seven league games. That run boasts wins over Betis, Malaga and Valencia, and Saturday's game is another challenging fixture. Atleti are looking to pick up three points in order to drag themselves back out of mid-table.

19.45 Atalanta v Juventus, Serie A, ESPN/ESPN HD
The Tooting & Mitcham United of Turin are flying under Old Lady legend Antonio Conte, and sit proudly atop Serie A having not lost a league game in forever. Aiming to become the first team to beat them this term are Atalanta, for whom a third consecutive defeat would mean edging still closer to the drop zone.

21.00 Real Betis v Sevilla, La Liga, Sky Sports 4/HD4
Having been punished by Alexis Sanchez and Leo Messi after Mario's dismissal last weekend, it's back to home soil for Betis in Saturday's late kick-off. Sevilla have now not won in four league matches and have dropped out of the European places as a result. With Jose Antonio Reyes back in the side, they'll be keen to kickstart their season.

21.00 Senegal v Zambia, Africa Cup of Nations Group A, British Eurosport/HD
While all eyes will be on Ivory Coast to finally establish themselves as Africa's leading side, Senegal have the firepower to hurt any opponent, African or otherwise. Demba Ba will be most familiar to English fans, but Moussa Sow is a favourite at Lille and Papiss Demba Cisse of Freiburg is a transfer target for many this month.

Sunday 18 December

11.30 Bologna v Parma, Serie A, ESPN/ESPN HD
The first team to overtake Atalanta could be Bologna, who have climbed up slightly thanks to four points from the last possible six. Standing in their way are mid-table Parma and their top goalscorer, Sebastian Giovinco - the Atomic Ant. Remember him?

13.30 Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur, Premier League, Sky Sports 1/HD1/3D
It's first against third in the Premier League as Spurs look to continue a nine-game unbeaten run in all competitions. Manchester City will want to open up a six-point gap over rivals United before their game later in the day, and have gradually been putting their form back together after a slight wobble of late.

14.00 Novara v AC Milan, Serie A, ESPN/ESPN HD
This one's a rematch from a midweek cup clash between the same opponents. AC Milan lost top spot last weekend, with Juve drawing and the Rossoneri losing out to rivals Inter in the Milan derby. Novara have won just twice this season - against Parma and Inter(!) - and are going down. There, I said it.

16.00 Arsenal v Manchester United, Premier League, Sky Sports 1/HD1/3D
Once upon a time, there was a great rivalry at the summit of English football. The mutual contempt lingered thick in the air, dripping with pizza cheese. There's still a certain amount riding on Arsenal v Manchester United these days, but it's not what it was. United may well need a victory to stay in touch at the top, while defeat for Arsenal could leave them well adrift of fourth.

16.00 Ivory Coast v Sudan, Africa Cup of Nations Group B, British Eurosport/HD
Tournament favourites Ivory Coast have all the pressure on them as they get Group B underway on Sunday. With a squad packed full of internationally known stars, the Elephants will be expected to take advantage of the absence of the ever successful Egyptians and take the African Nations by storm. It is, as they say, Cote d'Ivoire's to lose. There are one or two teams capable of pouncing if they do so.

19.00 Burkina Faso v Angola, Africa Cup of Nations Group B, British Eurosport/HD
Burkina Faso qualified by topping Group F with relative ease, and are rewarded with an opening match against Angola. A handful of Angola's players impressed in their last ACN outing, but 32-year-old Flavio will still bear the bulk of the responsibility for finding the net. Burkina Faso's squad includes 16-year-old Bertrand Traore, a former Chelsea trialist.

19.00 Real Madrid v Athletic Bilbao, La Liga, Sky Sports 1/HD1
Real Madrid's rampage towards the title continues. Since defeat to Barcelona, Jose Mourinho's side have bounced back with three consecutive victories to open their lead back out to four points. Having met their arch-rivals in midweek, Real will need to have their wits about them against an Athletic side unbeaten in the league since November.

19.45 Inter Milan v Lazio, Serie A, ESPN/ESPN HD
All hail the Tinkerman! The Nerazzurri might be back in fifth but they're tearing through opponents like nobody's business under Claudio Ranieri. Six wins from six is blistering form by any standards, and they've conceded just once in those matches. Could a title charge yet be on the cards?

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