Chris O (follow on Twitter: @COakleyFtbl)
Mon 27 April 2009

Midweek TV Preview: 27th - 30th April

(All times UK)

Monday 27th April

19:45 Norwich City v Reading, Championship, Sky Sports 1/HD1
"Where are you?" Delia Smith was once heard to ask. She may soon get the answer "in League One" if things don't go Norwich's way. Here's the deal: The Canaries are in the relegation zone and need to win this match to retain any slim chances of staying up, whereas Reading are in the play-off zone and need to win to retain any slim chances of gaining automatic promotion (or avoid losing a play-off spot). On current form, you'd have to side with Reading for this one...

20:00 Newcastle United v Portsmouth, Premier League, Setanta Sports 1
Two points from the last eighteen does not a survival candidate make. While Newcastle wait for 'the Shearer Effect' to kick in, teams like Portsmouth have just been grinding out the odd point here or there to see them draw clear of the proverbial trap-door. It's do or die for Newcastle tonight - a defeat will leave them with as much chance of going down as Hull, and that's saying something.

Tuesday 28th April

19:45 Barcelona v Chelsea, UEFA Champions League Semi-final 1st Leg, ITV1/HD
Averaging just under three goals a game, Barcelona have been the form team in the Champions League this season while Chelsea are back for their fifth CL semi-final in six years. The only safe thing you can bet on here is that Petr Cech has been reading his book 'How to Position a Defensive Wall for Free Kicks.'

Wednesday 29th April

11:00 Kashima Antlers v Vissel Kobe, J-League, British Eurosport 2
Third-placed Kashima remain just two points behind the leaders Urawa after seven games having lost only once since the start of the season. Vissel are down in seventh and already look likely to finish tenth for a third successive year.

19:45 Manchester United v Arsenal, UEFA Champions League Semi-final 1st Leg, Sky Sports 2/HD2
PFA Player of the Year Ryan Giggs will make his 800th appearance for the club if he gets on the pitch tonight in United's first European tie against The Gunners. And here's a gem for all you trivia fans: United have never been knocked out of Europe by an English team before and Arsenal have never progressed having played one. Home win then, surely?

01:50 (Thursday morning) Colo Colo v Palmeiras, Copa Libertadores, Setanta Sports 2
Crunch time in Group 1 of this season's Copa Libertadores. Both teams have seven points going into this final game of the group but with Colo Colo currently occupying the last qualifying spot, Palmeiras must win if they're to go through to the Round of 16.

Thursday 30th April

17:30 Dynamo Kiev v Shakhtar Donetsk, UEFA Cup Semi-final 1st Leg, ITV4
Funny how the UEFA Cup semis have panned out this season. This one's an all-Ukrainian tie between current league leaders Dynamo and Shakhtar. Kiev are a country mile ahead of second-placed Shakhtar in the Ukraine Premier League but Shakhtar have only lost three of their last 21 games in all competitions. Should be a fascinating encounter...

19:45 Stevenage v Cambridge United, Play-off Semi-final 1st Leg, Blue Square Premier, Setanta Sports 1
Following Cambridge's inability to beat Altrincham on Saturday, the U's must now face a Stevenage team that beat them 2-1 in the league earlier this month. Both teams are evenly matched going into this one, so expect an even more tense second leg on May 4th.

19:45 Werder Bremen v Hamburg, UEFA Cup Semi-final 1st Leg, ITV4
And so to the all-German UEFA Cup semi which has all the potential to be as good as its Ukrainian counterpart. Hamburg are going through a pretty poor run at the moment and have slipped to fifth in the Bundesliga but Werder have the capability to beat them as they did on penalties in last week's DFB Pokal. An away goal or two should be a useful insurance policy for Martin Jol's men.

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