Midweek TV Preview: 5 - 8 March 2012



Monday 5 March

15.30 Dinamo Moscow v Anzhi Makhachkala, Russian Premier League, ESPN/ESPN HD
Now a household name across the football world, wealthy Anzhi bolstered their defence with the mighty Chris Samba at the end of the Russian transfer window. He followed Dutch coach Guus Hiddink into Makhachkala, another indication of their financial power - though it hasn't yet translated into honours.

19.45 Dundee United v Inverness Caledonian Thistle, Scottish Premier League, ESPN/ESPN HD
A win for Caley Thistle at Dundee United on Monday would tighten things up somewhat in the middle of the SPL, bringing them within seven points of their hosts in a compressed mid-table. But a win for United would give them a seven-point lead over draw-happy Aberdeen, with the teams either side of the dotted line.

19.45 Southend United v Crawley Town, League Two, Sky Sports 1/1HD
Crawley, shorn of some serious firepower in recent months, look to consolidate their playoff position with a trip to Roots Hall on Monday. Their hosts occupy the third and final automatic promotion spot but have endured patchy form of late.

Tuesday 6 March

19.45 Birmingham City v Chelsea, FA Cup Fifth Round Replay, ITV1/ITV1 HD
After a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge, Birmingham and Chelsea battle it out in the second city for the right to play against Leicester City in the FA Cup quarter final, a game that offers a realistic route to Wembley for either team in spite of being a potentially tricky one. Chelsea will need to start faster this time around - they were a goal down inside 20 minutes in the first game.

19.45 Arsenal v AC Milan, Champions League Last 16 Second Leg, Sky Sports 2/HD2/3D
File this one under "Miracle Needed". Arsenal are 4-0 down after a Zlatan Ibrahimovic inspired mauling at San Siro two weeks ago. Robinho scored twice in the first leg after Kevin-Prince Boateng's brilliant opening strike. If Arsenal manage to turn this around I will drink a pint of Bovril.

19.45 Benfica v Zenit St Petersburg, Champions League Last 16 Second Leg, Sky Sports 4/HD4
This second leg in Lisbon is beautifully poised after Zenit had the last laugh in an undulating first leg, Roman Shirokov scoring the winner in a 3-2 victory. If you only watch one Champions League game this week, this could be the most exciting of the lot. Could be.

Wednesday 7 March

19.30 Wrexham v Luton Town, Blue Square Bet Premier, Premier Sports
Two of the Conference giants meet on Wednesday with plenty at stake. If Luton win, they may as well take a detour to deliver the title to Fleetwood Town on their way home. A win for the Welsh side leaves them in striking distance of the leaders; in a division with only one automatic promotion place, this is a big one.

19.30 Tottenham Hotspur v Stevenage, FA Cup Fifth Round Replay, ESPN/ESPN HD
Gary Smith's new charges continued their proud FA Cup tradition by drawing 0-0 with the country's form team - and they put out a relatively strong side - in the Fifth Round, but face a huge task when they travel to White Hart Lane for the replay. The winners will host Bolton Wanderers in the last eight.

19.45 Apoel Nicosia v Lyon, Champions League Last 16 Second Leg, Sky Sports 2/HD2/3D
Like the game in Lisbon, this game sees a visiting side arrive with the slenderest of leads. Lyon won their home leg 1-0 and the Cypriot champions will be confident of restoring parity. Another tie still in the balance, and another one to watch.

19.45 Barcelona v Bayer Leverkusen, Champions League Last 16 Second Leg, ITV1/ITV1 HD
3-1 is a first leg result that can be turned around - I've even seen Aston Villa do it. But when the second leg is away from home, and the opponents are Barcelona, the task becomes incredibly daunting. In truth, Barca won this tie in Germany and Leverkusen only have marginally more hope of progression than the stricken Gunners.

01.00 (Thu) Boca Juniors v Fluminense, Copa Libertadores, Premier Sports
It's Argentina v Brazil as these two teams battle it out for top spot in Group 4. Fluminense won their opening game, defeating Arsenal 1-0, but Boca didn't get off to the best of starts. They had to settle for a draw against Venezuelan side Zamora.

Thursday 8 March

20.05 Manchester United v Athletic Bilbao, Europa League Round of 16 First Leg, Channel 5
Javier Hernandez turned out to be the key man for Manchester United as they embarked upon their second choice European journey over two legs against Ajax. His goals gave United a 2-0 and then 3-0 aggregate lead before the Dutch side fought back to 3-2 to create the proverbial nervy ending for Alex Ferguson's men.

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