Graham (follow on Twitter: @grahamsibley)
Fri 8 January 2010

Weekend TV Preview: 8 - 10 January 2010

Friday 8 January

19.45 West Brom v Nottingham Forest, Championship, Sky Sports 1/HD1
A real test for Forest's increasingly credible promotion ambitions. West Brom's 1-0 victory at the City Ground back in August was a rare defeat for Forest who are on a 16 match unbeaten run in the League. Let's hope the conditions allow it to go ahead.

Saturday 9 January

12.45 Hull City v Chelsea, Premier League, Sky Sports 1/HD1
Stephen Hunt's opener at Stamford Bridge earlier this season proved to be the last goal Chelsea conceded for another 10 hours of football at home. Didier Drogba isn't around to get the equaliser and last-minute winner this time around.

17.30 Birmingham City v Manchester United, Premier League, ESPN/HD
St Andrews isn't the place to go at the moment if you want to put on a barn-storming display to banish doubts about your teams title's ambitions. Birmingham are unbeaten in 12 and have only conceded two goals at home in the last six including clean sheets against Manchester City and Chelsea (they're the only team that's stopped Chelsea from scoring in any competition this season).

19.00 Sevilla v Racing Santander, La Liga, Sky Sports 2/HD2
Not as cut and dried as you might think, this one. A month ago this would have been a stick-on home win but Sevilla are in a slump at the moment with just one win from the last five. Racing, meanwhile, have turned things around having won three of their last four - more than doubling their season's points tally in the process.

19.45 Inter Milan v Siena, Serie A, ESPN
Inter are unbeaten at home and are riding eight points clear at the top of the table. Siena have lost their last seven games away from home and sit at the bottom of the table. Ok children, what do you think is going to happen here?

21.00 Villarreal v Almeria, La Liga, Sky Sports 2/HD2
Villareal have put their awful start to the season firmly behind them and are creeping towards the European places. Almeria are not enjoying things at the moment - their only win in the last two months came last time out at the expense of Xerez who, to be honest, I could beat on my own.

00.00 San Lorenzo v Estudiantes, Torneo De Verano, ESPN
Some bonus Argentinian football: a summer friendly to fill the gap between the Apertura and Clausura. These two Buenos Aires teams finished the spring tournament (their spring, our autumn) 7th and 8th respectively.

Sunday 10 January

12.15 Hamilton Academical v Rangers, Scottish Cup 4th Round, Sky Sports 2/HD2
Hamilton have managed to improve things a bit after an awful start to their season but they face a Rangers team in terrifying goal-scoring form - Kris Boyd has scored more goals this season than the whole of the the Hamilton squad put together.

13.30 West Ham United v Wolverhampton Wanderers, Premier League, Sky Sports 1/HD1
These two met on the the opening day with the Hammers taking a 2-0 win. That was to be their last win for the next ten matches. Still a huge way to go in this season's relegation battle but you feel this game could say a lot about the realistic expectations of at least one of these clubs.

14.00 Fiorentina v Bari, Serie A, ESPN
Fiorentina will hold ambitions to take fourth spot while Bari are just enjoying the ride. Just one goal separates these two in the table: they occupy a very congested pack chasing down fourth spot. Only Inter have conceded fewer goals than this pair, so expect a very tight encouter.

16.00 Liverpool v Tottenham Hotspur, Premier League, Sky Sports 1/HD1
Will the real Tottenham please stand up... One of the biggest criticisms levelled at Tottenham and their Champions League aspirations has been their inability to go away to the Big Four clubs and win. The last time they managed a victory was against today's opponents back in the 93/94 season. Since then it's been no wins in 65 (SIXTY FIVE) attempts! Today, they not only have the opportunity to put that record behind them, they also have the chance to do the double over Liverpool for the first time in 23 years.

17.30 Angola v Mali, Africa Cup of Nations Group A, British Eurosport/HD
The African Cup of Nations kicks off with a very tough opener for the hosts, Angola, against a side that made it to the semis in this competition in 2002 and 2004. Mali boast the likes Freddie Kanoute, Barcelona's Seydou Keita and Real Madrid's "What would my" Mahamadou Diarra. Probably more importantly though, Stephen Keshi, the Nigerian who helped Togo qualify for the World Cup is now the Mali coach. A key fixture in this group which also includes World Cup qualifiers Algeria.

18.00 Real Madrid v Mallorca, La Liga, Sky Sports 1/HD1
Mallorca currently occupy the fourth Champions League spot in La Liga but before you think that should make for a competitive encounter we should warn you that their lofty position is entirely down to their fantastic 100% record at home. On the road they're pretty ordinary having won only once in eight. That said, they did run out 3-1 winners the last time they went to the Bernabeu, albeit after the title race was over.

19.45 Juventus v AC Milan, Serie A, ESPN
Not a happy hunting ground for Milan - they managed just one win away to Juve during the Noughties. In an inconsistent season, these matches seem to bring the best out of the Old Lady. What's the betting they beat Leonardo's men here and then lose away to Chievo next week?

20.00 Tenerife v Barcelona, La Liga, Sky Sports 1/HD1
Thirteen years ago Tenerife humbled Bobby Robson's Barcelona 4-0 in the Canaries. The last time the Catalans visited they ran out 6-0 winners. Barca are still undefeated so far this campaign, so expect a scoreline more like the latter than the former.

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