Weekend Boxset: Flowers and a box of chocolates

In the normal course of affairs, this Valentine's weekend would have had the romance of the FA Cup 5th round. The mid-winter break has put paid to that but there's plenty of cracking games to watch instead.

Seven great matches to take you from Friday to Sunday. It's the Sound of Football Weekend Boxset.

All times are GMT


Friday



Premier League: Wolverhampton Wanderers v Leicester City


20.00 on BT Sport 1


This fixture sees the winter break, such as it was, officially come to an end for Wolves as they embark on three games over the next nine days. To be fair, they deserved the rest given they were forced to play Manchester United three times of late, which is enough to put anyone off football for good. The home side’s league form can only be described as patchwork over their last half-dozen games, yielding only one win and a couple of draws. Hopes of improvement may lie in a trio of new signings including Portuguese attacking midfielder, Daniel Podence, making it almost possible for Wolves to select a side made up entirely of players from the Iberian nation. Today’s visitors may also be guilty of inconsistency of late, but they could end Friday overtaking Manchester City into second if they manage to overcome Wolves. Headaches for Brendan Rogers include injuries to Ndidi, Mendy and Morgan which will not help their leaky defence. For me, this has score-draw written all over it. JB
 



Saturday



Championship: West Bromwich Albion v Nottingham Forest


12.30 on Sky Sports Football & Main Event


At the start of the year, a fool may have looked at the top of the Championship and concluded that things were proceeding towards an obvious conclusion. The cream had risen and there was a nine point buffer between the top two and the rest. Fast forward a few weeks and we are in a position where six teams are within three points of the second automatic place. Much of that turnaround has been due to Leeds' implosion but West Brom are only four points clear of the hungry rabble behind them. Forest missed a golden opportunity to snatch second place in midweek when they rested several key players for the home tie against relegation threatened Charlton and ended up losing to a first half Lyle Taylor goal. With Leeds facing Bristol City as well this weekend, the top of the Championship could look very different on Saturday evening but it's very unlikely to tell us what it will look like come May. GS
 



Premier League: Norwich City v Liverpool


17.30 on Sky Sports Premier League & Main Event


We had a good old chinwag about the haves and have-nots on the pod this week, so the football gods must have been smiling on us when they decided this fixture should be on the box. Not that Norwich are on the bare bones of their arse by any stretch, but this fixture does neatly demonstrate the huge gulf in resources between the bottom and top clubs of the Premier League. Indeed, this time next year, Norwich, having been relegated, will still have a couple more parachute payments left and I might be describing them as the ‘haves’ and, I don’t know, Sunderland, as the ‘have nots’ - funny how things work out. While they are in the top division, they, like everybody else, have to take their turns having their aforementioned arses handed to them by Liverpool. It won’t be pretty, but consider this: putting the detestable subjects of money and power to one side (just for the moment), and purely from a sporting perspective, I think you should tune in for this one simply for the joy of witnessing the best team on earth do their thing. JB
 



Northern Ireland League Cup Final: Coleraine v Crusaders


19.30 on Sky Sports Football


Coverage of football from Northern Ireland is pretty sparse; this League Cup Final is one of only six that Sky show over the whole season - the remainder being league matches. The teams are both involved in a five-way tussle for the league title and are the most recent winners of the more senior knock out competion, the Irish Cup, so there is precious little to choose between them. Coleraine booked their place in the final by beating league leaders and ten times League Cup winners Linfield with three second half goals at WIndsor Park. Crusaders passage was far easier: they received a bye to the last 16 following the withdrawal of Lurgen Celtic, and had the straightforward task of beating Premiership bottom side Institute in a home semi-final. Both Stephen Baxter for Crusaders and Oran Kearney for Coleraine were in charge of their sides when they met in the final of this competition in 2012, which finished 1-0 to Crusaders. GS 
 





Sunday



Scottish Premiership: Aberdeen v Celtic


12.00 on Sky Sports Football & Main Event


It's advantage Celtic in the title race after the midweek round of fixtures. The Champions ran riot over Hearts, beating the Edinburgh side 5-0 at Parkhead. Meanwhile, in Rugby Park, Eamonn Brophy scored a late winner for Kilmarnock against Rangers to widen the gap at the top of the Premiership to 10 points. So Stevie G needs his team to win all the games and hope Celtic let this slip, starting at Pittodrie. The Dons are only two places behind their guests. However, their recent poor form has left them looking over their shoulder at Motherwell who are eyeing that third-placed spot as though it were the final cookie on a plate. If that wasn’t enough to play down Rangers fans hope, Celtic have won the last six at Aberdeen. TD
 



Bundesliga: Mainz v Schalke


17.00 on BT SPort 3


Robin Quaison has been in cracking form of late. His hattrick in Mainz’ 3-1 win at Hertha sealed the 05ers first win in five and the fate of Jurgen Klinsmann’s short and unhappy life as coach of the Berlin club. Quaison’s second came as a consequence of some sneaky play. Mainz gas a throw-in and the Swedish international pretended to by tying his shoelace. Ignored by the Hertha defender he suddenly sprang into life and used the space to meet Karim Onisiwo’s cross and score. Schalke are trundling along OK although few will be impressed with their 1-1 draw with bottom club Paderborn which saw the club fall to six in the table. Evertonians looking for an update on Jonjo Kenny: the left-back is currently injured but has played 19 games and is comfortably first choice. Schalke are reported to be looking to make the loan permanent in the summer. TD
 



Serie A: Lazio v Inter


19.45 on Premier Sports 1


In the last Boxset we included the Milan derby - which ended up as one of the most remarkable games of the season. Two goals down at half time, Antonio Conte's men destroyed the Zlatan narrative and blew away their city rivals to win 4-2. The pressure was on them too with Juventrus having slipped up the night before in Verona. They too let a lead slip to a Fabio Borini equaliser (yes, him) followed by a late penalty that sent them back to Turin empty handed. Lazio had won their game away to Parma to stay just one point behind the tied top two, and set this crunch tie up perfectly. Lazio are unbeaten at home, Inter are unbeaten away. All signs point towards this ending in a draw and Juve retaking top spot but you can't escape the feeling that it's not going to be that straightforward. GS
 



Whatever you watch, have a great weekend.



Terry (@terryduffelen), Graham (@grahamsibley) and Jan (@janbilton)



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