Graham (follow on Twitter: @grahamsibley)
Fri 21 August 2009

Weekend TV Preview: 21 - 23 August 2009

(All times - UK)

Friday 21st August

19.30 Hoffenheim v Schalke 04, Bundesliga, ESPN

Hoff will be looking for their first win of the season against a Schalke team in bullish form. Hoff have only won twice in nine attempts in their new home, the Rhein-Neckar Arena, so Schalke will be looking to maintain their 100% start.

Saturday 22nd August

11.00 Match Day 23, J-League, British Eurosport 2
Table-toppers Antlers suffered a shock defeat to lowly Kobe midweek, Kawazaki Frontale failed to take advantage though, losing to mid-table Jubilo Iwata. Long way off きゅっと裏面 time, but Antlers still look odds on. While this game isn't confirmed as yet, the only 11am UK kick off is JEF United away to Omiya Ardija - a bottom-half scrap.

12.30 Falkirk v Hibernian, Scottish Premier League, ESPN/HD
Hibs finished a poor sixth last campaign only just escaping having to play out the Clausura against the relegation scrapers. Falkirk on the other hand chose the SPL's end-of-season runaround to produce some of their best results, escaping relegation on the final day. Hibs will need a good result today to convince people of their chances this season.

17.20 West Bromwich Albion v Ipswich Town, Championship, Sky Sports 2/HD2
Not the sort of place you want to go to get your first win of the season. Coverage will almost certainly be more focused on the bench rather than the pitch, with one manager building a solid reputation, the other still needing to live up to the hype.

19.45 Siena v AC Milan, Serie A, ESPN
Italian football is back. Neither side have impressed in pre-season, so while Milan don't look great at the moment, Siena don't look as if they have enough to take advantage. The Rossaneri will certainly want to put in a good performance ahead of next week's Derby della Madonnina. Back in March, Milan romped to a 5-1 win here with braces from Pato and Inzaghi and a Pirlo penalty.

00.30 DC United v LA Galaxy, MLS, ESPN
DCU are in an awful slump at the moment, winning just one of their last seven MLS games - seeing the Eastern Conference's drawingest team (see, I know all the lingo) drop down to mid-table. Their poor form has transferred over to the CONCACAF Champions League (aww, bless 'em) losing their first game in the group stage in Honduras this week. David Beckham returns to Galaxy after serving his one-match ban and coughing up $250 for his red card against Seattle.

Sunday 23rd August

12.45 Hearts v Rangers, Scottish Premier League, Sky Sports 3/HD3
Hearts have to put Monday's defeat to third-spot rivals Dundee United firmly behind them. Another defeat to the champions today could see them playing catch up all season. A more disciplined performance is certainly called for.

13.15 Cardiff City v Bristol City, Championship, Sky Sports 2/HD2
Aside from the Ashtongategate furore, Gary Johnson's men have got off to a good start sitting with five other teams on seven points at the top of the table. Today's hosts are at the very top by virtue of all the goals they keep banging in. A good match to check the promotion credentials of either of these teams, both of whom promised much last season but missed out on the play-offs.

13.30 West Ham Utd v Tottenham Hotspur, Premier League, ESPN/HD
A double-header of proper London derbies starts with table-toppers Tottenham (*shudder*) taking 'Arry back to his old stomping ground. Spurs have got off to a very impressive start and the Hammers have struggled against them in recent years managing to pick up just a point in their last seven encounters. Baseless rumours of Zola walking out haven't seemed to dent their confidence, looking comfortable in their opening day win at Wolves. Should be a decent match.

16.00 Fulham v Chelsea, Premier League, Sky Sports 2/HD2
Switch channels and to the other side of London. Fulham seem to have picked up where they left off last season but as for Chelsea, while still 100%, they haven't exactly convinced with their performances - coming back from a goal down in both their games so far.

17.00 Inter v Bari, Serie A, ESPN
The season kicks off with a battle of the champions as Inter meet the Serie B title holders. The last time Bari got promoted, back in 1998, they did the double over Inter. I wouldn't put a lot of money on them repeating that.

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