Weekend TV Preview: 16 - 18 March 2012



Friday 16 March

11.00 UEFA Champions League Quarter Final Draw, Champions League, Sky Sports News/British Eurosport
Sponsored by Jaffa, because the draw for the last eight is seedless. Both ends of the football spectrum are represented here, from Milan, Bayern and Barcelona to APOEL and Chelsea. Once the quarter finals are decided, they'll also pick out the semis too (once the attending dignatries have finished laughing at Man United's early elimination).
12.00 UEFA Europa League Quarter Final Draw, Europa League, Sky Sports News/British Eurosport
If you're not inspired by the sheer variety and freshness of the teams through to the last eight of the Europa League, you shouldn't be watching football. This competition continues to grow in stature and this draw (along with the one following for the semis) will whet the appetite for the latter stages nicely.
15.00 Dinamo Moscow v Zenit St Petersburg, Russian Premier Liga, ESPN/ESPN HD
Four games into the Championship Group and no-one's taken the competition by the throat yet. Zenit still lead the table and haven't lost a league game since September 10 2011.
19.00 Cork City v Shamrock Rovers, Airtricity League, Premier Sports
The season's two games old and Cork have already lost both theirs. Shamrock, however, have won both theirs. Early days, but our money's on Rovers.
19.30 Hoffenheim v Stuttgart, Bundesliga, ESPN/ESPN HD
Stuttgart are finally getting some decent form together at long last, and this could be a chance to extend it against a Hoffenheim side still reeling from the seven they conceded last week against Bayern.

Saturday 17 March

12.45 Everton v Sunderland, FA Cup Quarter Final, ITV1/ITV1 HD
I'm highly tempted to put a few quid on Sunderland to go all the way in this year's Cup. It's based on nothing more than a hunch, plus the way they disposed of Liverpool last weekend. Oh, and the fact that Martin O'Neill wears glasses. That must count for something.
12.45 Dundee United v Rangers, SPL, Sky Sports 1/HD1
United are on a tremendous run of form at the moment - 14 scored, one conceded in the last five league games and unbeaten in the last six. Every chance they'll inflict another stumble on Rangers here.
17.30 Tottenham Hotspur v Bolton Wanderers, FA Cup Quarter Final, ESPN/ESPN HD
Both teams will see this as a welcome opportunity to be distracted from their dire league form. Whether that same form will be carried over into this Cup tie remains to be seen.
19.00 Sevilla v Barcelona, La Liga, Sky Sports 4/HD4
Barcelona still 10 points off the pace, Sevilla stuck in mid-table. Should be a win for Barcelona though the last two meetings between these two have ended tied.
19.45 Fiorentina v Juventus, Serie A, ESPN/ESPN HD
While the Old Lady may be unbeatable, she's also fallen out of the habit actually winning games - so much so that despite a zero in the losses column they trail Milan now by four points at the top of the table. Fiorentina are only seven points above the drop zone and will gladly take a point from this. Won't be an easy watch, this one.
21.00 Rayo Vallecano v Real Betis, La Liga, Sky Sports 4/HD4
The runners-up and champions of last season's Segunda Division meet in differing circumstances. Only four points separate the sides but while the fourth Madrid team in Spain's top flight are having a steady first season sandwiched between local rivals Atletico and Getafe in mid-table, the Seville side are hovering just above the relegation zone.

Sunday 18 March

12.00 Hearts v Hibernian, SPL, ESPN/ESPN HD
The Jam Tarts' 2-1 win over Rangers last weekend was their first in the league since mid-January. Hibs, meanwhile have only one win in seven. Edinburgh Derby or not, this might not be a classic - consider yourself warned.
13.30 Wolves v Man Utd, Premier League, Sky Sports 1/HD1
Wolves managed to beat United 2-1 last season at Molineux but they're currently on a run of 204 consecutive minutes without scoring. Perfect preparation for a new era under Steve Bruce's management.
14.05 Chelsea v Leicester City, FA Cup Quarter Final, ESPN/ESPN HD
New hope for Chelsea fans given the gutsy (and if we were to be needlessly snide, lucky) win against Napoli midweek. Given that most of their key (and aging) players played two hours on Wednesday and with the massive home game against Machester City coming up in a few days, John Terry might be forgiven for making a few changes... did I say John Terry? I meant Roberto Di Matteo, obviously.
15.00 Celtic v Kilmarnock, Scottish League Cup Final, BBC1 Scotland
Earlier on this season Killie blew a 3-0 half time lead against Celtic who clawed it back to draw. Such is the task facing the side who have lost all five of their League Cup Finals. This match is a repeat of the 2001 final which Celtic won with a Larrson hat-trick. The match referee, William Collum, dished out nine yellows and a straight red in the Europa League game he officiated midweek between PSV and Valencia, let's hope he doesn't have so much work here.
16.00 Liverpool v Stoke City, FA Cup Quarter Final, ITV1/ITV1 HD
Liverpool's fourth home game in this year's competition and Stoke's fourth away. History stands against the Potters who haven't won at Anfield for over fifty years. I think this will provide some entertainment, and not just the schadenfreude variety.
16.00 Newcastle United v Norwich City, Premier League, Sky Sports 1/HD1
Newcastle can still have a say in matters in the League but sixth place is looking increasingly likely along with the possibility that their hard work won't be rewarded with Europa League football next campaign. While both sides are definitely worth watching, I can't imagine it will put too much of a dent into the Cup's viewing figures.
16.30 Hannover 96 v Cologne, Bundesliga, ESPN/ESPN HD
Two teams that have found league wins hard to come by of late. On the off-chance Cologne stumble on another one here, they could rise several places in the table, depending on other results.
19.45 Udinese v Napoli, Serie A, ESPN/ESPN HD
Napoli need to shake off their defeat at Stamford Bridge and remember that they are on a run of six straight wins in Serie A. Udinese's form is all over the place, having been imperious at home all season, they've failed to win their last three there, and haven't scored there in over four hours of play.
20.30 Real Madrid v Malaga, La Liga, Sky Sports 1/HD1
Malaga's win over Levante last week saw them leap-frog the side from Valencia into the Champions League places. They could swap back again here with Levante taking on struggling Villareal in the midday kick off.

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