Chris O (follow on Twitter: @COakleyFtbl)
Fri 15 January 2010

Weekend TV Preview: 15 - 17 January 2010

Friday 15th January

18:15 Ivory Coast v Ghana, Africa Cup of Nations, British Eurosport/HD
Ghana finally get their ACN campaign underway after the sad events leading up to what would have been their first match against Togo. A win for the Black Stars would put them in the box seat to reach the next round after Ivory Coast's draw against Burkina Faso, but they have their injury worries including Michael Essien who's only 50-50 for this match.

19:30 Bayern Munich v Hoffenheim, Bundesliga, ESPN
Nearly a month of waiting is finally over... and now at last the Bundesliga's back back BACK! Bayern were on a run of six straight wins in all competitions before the winter break intervened while the Hoff were all over the place and looking frankly beatable. Expect the Bayern fans to roar their side to victory and, consequently, top spot in the league (albeit only until tomorrow's games go ahead).

Saturday 16th January

12:00 Hamilton Academical v Rangers, Scottish Premier League, ESPN/HD
An interesting one to start the week, given that the Accies almost dumped Rangers out of the Scottish Cup last weekend. 2-0 down after half an hour, they went in at half time 3-2 up only to concede an equaliser in the second half. More of the same would be an ideal start to our Weekend TV selection.

12:45 Stoke City v Liverpool, Barclay's Premier League, Sky Sports 1/HD 1
Liverpool have only beaten Stoke once in the three games they've played against each other since The Potters returned to the top flight. Gerrard, Benayoun, Babel and Torres will all missing for this one, and even worse, Rafa Benitez probably won't be.

15:45 Nigeria v Benin, Africa Cup of Nations, British Eurosport/HD
It's hard to know which teams are treating this competition as merely a series of glorified friendlies ahead of the World Cup this summer. Nigeria's 3-1 thumping at the hands of Egypt on Tuesday could be put down to just such a reason but here they'll have an altogether easier game against a country used to naturalising players ironically born across the border in Nigeria.

16:45 Everton v Manchester City, Barclays Premier League, ESPN/HD
Interesting times for City. Finally into the top four in the table and on the back of a convincing 4-1 demolition of Blackburn in midweek, they've got Tevez on form, Vieira a possibility to make his first start in a sky blue shirt but probably no Adebayor after the shocking events in Cabinda last week. A win over The Toffees will do Mancini's growing reputation for consistency no harm at all.

18:15 Egypt v Mozambique, Africa Cup of Nations, British Eurosport/HD
Mozambique showed plenty of fight in their first match against Benin earlier in the week. 2-0 down after 20 minutes, they eventually ground out a 2-2 draw. When they go behind against Egypt here (as they surely will), it'll be for keeps, rest assured.

18:55 Athletic Bilbao v Real Madrid, La Liga, Sky Sports 2/HD2
Bilbao haven't beaten Real for four years and despite climbing comfortably into the top half of the Primera Division table, they remain inconsistent. We'll go for a narrow win to Manuel Pellegrini's men.

21:00 Barcelona v Sevilla, La Liga, Sky Sports 2/HD2
These two face each other for the third time in 11 days after Sevilla knocked Barcelona out of the Copa Del Rey on the away goals rule this week. Both managers had their strongest teams out on Wednesday and that looks set to be the case here. Should be a great match.

Sunday 17th January

13:30 Aston Villa v West Ham United, Barclays Premier League, Sky Sports 1/HD1
West Ham visit Villa with no first-choice strikers available and only one win to savour from their last 12 visits to Villa Park. That takeover can't come soon enough for Hammers fans.

16:00 Gabon v Tunisia, Africa Cup of Nations, British Eurosport/HD
Gabon lead Group D after their unlikely 1-0 win over Cameroon on Wednesday. Coach Alain Giresse continues to work his magic for the co-hosts of the next tournament and a win here against the Tunisians will see them through to the next round for sure.

16:00 Bolton Wanderers v Arsenal, Barclays Premier League, Sky Sports 1/HD1
With Coyle now installed, will Arsenal be made to look a little... sterile? Write your own gags for this one...

16:30 Cologne v Borussia Dortmund, Bundesliga, ESPN/HD
With the Rückrunde underway, BVB will resume their attempt to keep up the pace with the leading pack. Their form directly before Christmas coupled with weakening opponents here should ensure they do for the foreseeable future.

18:15 Cameroon v Zambia, Africa Cup of Nations, British Eurosport/HD
Cameroon were all over Gabon a few days ago but couldn't find a way past excellent Gabonese goalkeeper Didier Ovono. They should have better luck against a Zambian side who'll be fearing a repeat of the 5-1 mauling they got from Cameroon back in the 2008 competition.

19:00 Atletico Madrid v Sporting Gijon, La Liga, Sky Sports 1/HD1
The first chance for new Birmingham City signing Michel to see his old team-mates up against an improving Atletico Madrid side.

20:00 Valencia v Villarreal, La Liga, Sky Sports 1/HD1
A fixture that traditionally throws up lots of goals. Both teams were knocked out of the Copa Del Rey this week, so expect a considered return to "concentrating on the League" on the part of these two.

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