Hello again and welcome to the weekend! There are indeed some tasty competitions over the next two days. So much so, in fact, that I’m currently diagramming how best to position my living room so as to allow me to watch three games on Saturday morning. World peace? International politics? No. These are the issues I choose to involve myself with… at least on Friday mornings. Anyway, here’s an abbreviated look at the American TV schedule this weekend.
7:30am – Manchester United v Manchester City – EPL – FSC (TSS GAME OF THE WEEK)
9:30am – Bayern Munich v Hoffenheim – Bundesliga – GolTV
10:00am – Arsenal v Wolves – EPL – ESPN2/ESPN3
10:00am – Liverpool v Wigan – EPL – FSC
12:00pm – Atletico Madrid v Valencia – La Liga – GolTV
12:00pm – AC Milan v Parma – Serie A – FSC
12:30pm – Sunderland v Spurs – EPL – FSC
12:30pm – FC Kaiserslautern v Borussia Dortmund – Bundesliga – ESPN3
2:00pm – Sporting Gijon v Barcelona – La Liga – ESPN3/ESPN Deportes
2:30pm – Roma v Napoli – Serie A – FSC/ESPN3
2:45pm – AZ Alkmaar v PSV – Eredivisie – ESPN3
4:00pm – Racing Santander v Sevilla – La Liga – GolTV
6:15pm – Once Caldas v Deportivo de Cali – Fútbol Profesional Colombiano – GolTV
8:00pm – Tigres v Cruz Azul – Mexican Primera – Telemundo
8:00pm – Pachuca v Puebla – Mexican Primera – Telefutura
6:25am – Palermo v Fiorentina – Serie A – ESPN3
9:00am – Brescia v Lazio – Serie A – FSC
9:00am – Catania v Lecce – Serie A – ESPN3
10:30am – Cologne v Mainz – Bundesliga – GolTV
11:00am – Bolton-Everton – EPL – FSC
11:00am – Hercules v Zaragoza – La Liga – ESPN3/ESPN Deportes
11:30am – Werder Bremen v Hannover 96 – Bundesliga – ESPN3
1:00pm – Deportivo La Coruna v Villarreal – Serie A – ESPN Deportes
2:30pm – Juventus v Inter Milan – Serie A – FSC/ESPN3
3:00pm – Espanyol v Real Madrid – La Liga – GolTV
3:15pm – Braga v Porto – Portuguese Liga – ESPN3
5:00pm – Werder Bremen v Hanover – Bundesliga – ESPN Deportes
TSS Game of the Week: United v City – No surprises here; it’s the Manchester Derby! United currently sit five points ahead of City with a game in hand, but (as with any derby) this one is as wide open as it gets. Unless, of course, you’re talking about on the actual pitch where tactics promise to be defensive and plodding.
This one could either be a 4-3 slugfest (like last year) or a tense 1-0 semi-snoozer (like last year). Either way, I’ll be up way too early for it. Oh, and there’s one karmic factor that could very well lead to City defeating United 3-0. This is happening (courtesy of Caught Offside):
A former United star is planning a city centre bash – to celebrate the anniversary of City’s 35th year without a trophy.
David May, who won a European Cup with the Reds, has organised a party marking the Blues’ recent lack of success on the night before the next Manchester derby.
Fans will be charged £20 for the United Nights event on February 11, which is being billed on a fans forum as City 35th Anniversary Party.
Fellow ex-Reds Frank Stapleton, Arthur Albiston and Clayton Blackmore, are also expected to attend the bash at the Walkabout Bar on Quay Street.
The M.E.N. understands the Stretford End ‘ticker’ banner, which celebrates City’s barren spell, will be ‘turned’ from 34 to 35 during the party.
Arsenal v Wolves – The Gunners, currently second in the table, will be hoping to erase memories of last weekend’s shocking draw with Newcastle (which saw The Magpies come from 4 goals down to earn a point in the final minutes). Meanwhile, Wolves, currently second from the bottom of the table, will be hoping to build upon the momentum of last week’s well-deserved victory over Manchester United, earn yet another shock victory over a “Top Four” side, and continue their push to avoid relegation. There’s far more to this encounter than meets the eye.
Juventus v Inter – In Italy, there will be a lot on the line when the Nerazzurri travel west to take on the Bianconeri. For Juventus, playing in Europe next season and a win here would do them a world of good. Last weekend’s win over Cagliari earned a valuable three points and marked the beginning of the “Mati Era”, as the new forward netted a brace and erased memories of an uninspired debut against Palermo. For Inter, it’s “All Hail Leonardo”. Rafa Benitez is a distant memory (just ask Wesley Sneijder) as the side have climbed from mediocrity/dissolution to within five points of Serie A leading Milan (and Inter have a game in hand). An injury to star striker Diego Milito means the Nerazzurri will need a stellar game from Samuel Eto’o and offensive contributions from attackers like Sneijder to see off their opponents and keep the title race as heated as ever. Speaking of the title race…
Roma v Napoli – Surprise second-placers Napoli will be hoping to keep their own title aspirations/European dreams alive when they travel north to the Stadio Olimpico. Roma will be without defender Nicolás Burdisso (who was sent off in last week’s 5-3 defeat by Inter) and will be hoping to avenge their early season 2-0 loss to Napoli. This one can perhaps best be summed up the following way: Edinson Cavani (18 goal) and Marek Hamsik (8 goals) versus Marco Borriello (10 goals) and Mirko Vucinic (7 goals). Whoever wins… er… wins?Sporting Gijon v Barcelona – I believe at this point I’m legally obligated to include Barcelona in my “What to Watch” segment. The Catalonians haven’t lost in the league since their home opener against Hercules on September 11, 2010. So, basically, they’re very good. However, they looked shaky/downright beatable the last time they played Sporting (a 1-0 victory at the Camp Nou). However, they also have this guy named Leo Messi, who is apparently pretty decent. At this point, he’s assumed Blake Griffin status (thanks Bill Simmons): I’m afraid to miss one of his games for fear that he’ll actually achieve true Jedi status and just use his mind to score goals. It could happen. But you’ll only find out if you tune in!