Terry Duffelen
Fri 28 August 2009

Weekend TV Preview: 28 - 29 August 2009

(All times UK)

Friday 28th August

19:30 Borussia Monchengladbach v Mainz, Bundesliga, ESPN
Even after three games, 'Gladbach look woefully inconsistent. However, their mercurial if flighty forwards will fancy having a crack against newly promoted Mainz who may still have their heads turned after that fantastic victory over Bayern Munich last weekend.

19:45 Barcelona v Shakhtar Donetsk, UEFA Super Cup, Sky Sports 1, HD1 & ITV1
Barcelona's season gets off to a nightmare start as they go bottom of the League. Why? Because they're playing in an exhibition match laid on for the benefit of the great and the good at UEFA on their annual jolly to Monaco. Picture it, some of the world's greatest players performing like seals in front of fat, disinterested suits and their weasel faced PR flunkies. How humiliating. For those of you asking, why, if the game is so pointless, is it being screened on Sky and ITV? Well, both are Champions League broadcasters and are most likely obliged to screen the Super Cup as part of their contract with UEFA. Avoid.

Saturday 29th August (or Night Of The Big Ones, as we are calling it)

12:45 Chelsea v Burnley, Barclays Premier League, ESPN & ESPN HD
Given the form of both teams, this is a tasty appetiser ahead of the feast of football gluttony that lies ahead of us. No one will beat Chelsea at the Bridge in my opinion and I doubt Burnley will draw many games. Home win and a cracking fixture. Can't wait to get a good look at Wade Elliott.

17:15 Manchester Utd v Arsenal, Barclays Premier League, Sky Sports 1 & HD1
The Big One. Not all Big Four fixtures are much cop to be frank; overhyped and under performing as the teams are often too tense to play at the peak. This time it will be different. Arsenal are off to a flyer but questions remain about how they will perform against the best teams. This will be the perfect opportunity to provide some answers. And United? Well they're off to their usual shaky start and could either collapse under pressure from the Gunners' forward line or trample over their back four. Not sure that the kick off time is wise.

17:30 Bayern Munich v Wolfsburg, Bundesliga, ESPN
Das Große. Both teams were stung by defeat last weekend. As painful as Bayern's defeat was against Mainz you can be certain that champions Wolfsburg will be furious after having surrendered their home record to Hamburg last week - especially after having come back from 2-0 down. The good news for Bundesliga fans is that a committed attacking football match is in store which Bayern will win by a one-goal margin. Arjen Robben is unlikely to feature.

19:00 Real Madrid v Deportivo La Coruna, La Liga, Sky Sports 2
And if you're curious to see Cristiano Ronaldo is his swanky new Real Madrid kit, then by all means check out the first half of this opening fixture of the La Liga season. But be sure to turn over at half time to...

19:45 AC Milan v Inter Milan, Serie A, ESPN
Quello Grande. I liked the cut of Milan's jib last weekend against Siena and think they have a chance against a moribund Inter. Unfortunately for them, I think they'll need more than a chance against Jose Mourinho's team who will be anxious to pacify their disgruntled manager. It's great to see the Serie A fixture computer getting some of the big games in early in the season and this blue riband encounter will be all the better for it.

21:00 Real Zaragoza v Tenerife, La Liga, Sky Sports 2
La Liga and Sky Sports go together like peaches and cream in the UK. The idea of Spanish football moving to another broadcaster is unthinkable right? Wrong! The UK broadcasting rights for this season were very keenly contested with ESPN and Sky were only able to announce their coverage earlier this week.

Sunday 30th August

12:30 Hibernian v Celtic, Scottish Premier League, ESPN & ESPN HD
There are only three teams on 100% records in the SPL. Two of them are playing in this fixture. History, form and culture suggest that Celtic will win. However, the last time they met at Easter Road, the game finished goalless.

13:30 Portsmouth v Manchester City, Barclays Premier League, Sky Sports 1 & HD1
City will probably line up Emmanuel Adebayor while Pompey may give a debut to Tommy Smith. These two teams may occupy the same league but they live in different worlds.

16:00 Aston Villa v Fulham, Barclays Premier League, Sky Sports 1 & Sky Sports HD1
Villa's win at Anfield bought Martin O'Neil three days of good will from the Villa fans. Their Europa League exit at the hands of Rapid Vienna has put the pressure back on him. Fulham have started the season in unspectacular fashion but Roy Hodgson's squad oozes stability and discipline. In truth there is not much here for the neutral. If you need to make some concessions in your household after having hogged the remote during the Night Of The Big Ones, this would be a good game to gracefully sacrifice for the benefit of domestic harmony.

17:00 Roma v Juventus, Serie A, ESPN
On the other hand you good wait an hour and watch this classic. Two great rivals clash with more at stake than three points. This is also the first opportunity for UK TV audiences to check out Diego in the black and white of Juve after his transfer from Werder Bremen.

18:00 Valencia v Sevilla, La Liga, Sky Sports 2
Valencia are now in the hands of the Local Government but still seem to be able to hang on to their top players. Such are the vagaries of Spanish football. Both teams are expected to challenge for a Champions League place this season.

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