If you’re like me and having football for breakfast, lunch and dinner you’ll be absolutely loving the fixture congestion which is causing managers such headaches. There’s little respite this week as we have the final European football of 2017 as well as the usual domestic fun. Here’s what you have to keep you entertained over the next 7 days – I’d keep Sunday free if you can…
Tuesday 5th December
It’s crunch time in the Champions League, although it’s not so much crunch as a slight coming together for the British teams involved. Firstly Man Utd require just a point to secure qualification and also top spot, and even if they lose they’d need to tank heavily. They’re at home to CSKA Moscow so you would expect to see Mourinho’s men in the last 16. Chelsea have a similar task, although they do face tougher opposition. Atletico Madrid arrive at Stamford Bridge needing a win and hoping that Roma lose to Qarabag, or it’ll be the Europa League for the Spanish giants. Chelsea need to better Roma’s result against Qarabag to secure top spot, but they have qualified regardless. Celtic also only need a point to secure the Europa League spot, their game against Anderlecht at Celtic Park is winner take all in that respect but having won the away game 3-0, even a narrow loss will be enough for Celtic as it’s all head to head in Champions League town. Elsehwere, Juventus need a win away to Olympiacos to guarantee their spot in the last 16 and save Buffon from more tears, though their rivals for that are Sporting Lisbon who need a result in Barcelona. Bayern vs PSG is a good game on paper but both teams are already qualified and Bayern need to win by a hatful to steal top spot. As usual, BT Sport have all your Europa League action.
Wednesday 6th December
Liverpool were all but qualified when they lead 3-0 at half time in Sevilla, but they had to settle for a point and that leaves them in this situation. A single point will secure qualification, and they should really get that against Spartak Moscow at Anfield. The Russians can also qualify with a win, whilst Sevilla will qualify regardless of other results as long as they win away at Maribor. Man City are through as group winners so their game in Shakhtar matters not a jot. Tottenham only need a point at home to APOEL to secure top spot, which is a lovely position to be in from a group that includes Real Madrid and Dortmund. It’s all on BT.
Thursday 7th December
You may remember two weeks ago I told you the British clubs have little to care about in the Europa League at the moment, with Everton out and Arsenal through. Well guess what? Still nobody cares. Arsenal have won their group so their home game against BATE Borisov serves merely as a vehicle to get Jack Wilshere some minutes, whilst Everton are out so their trip to Apollon Limassol is even more worthless. Everton are on at 6pm, Arsenal are on at 8.05pm. One to miss.
Friday 8th December
Sky finally get in on the act with their Friday night Championship offering, Sheffield United vs Bristol City is an attractive game on paper given how both teams play. BT’s alternative is Dundee vs Aberdeen. There’s normally a lot more action on a Friday but it’s slim pickings this week ahead of a blockbuster weekend, so you’re limited to Stuttgart vs Bayer Leverkusen on BT Sport at 7.30pm or Alaves vs Las Palmas at 8pm on Sky Sports.
Saturday 9th December
Here we go then, this is more like it. If you enjoy the misery of David Moyes, a home game with Chelsea in the lunch time kick off should be an entertaining encounter. If you prefer lower quality encounters, Macclesfield vs Wrexham from the National League on BT Sport 1 is probably more your thing. After the 3pm’s we have a pair of questionable games. BT’s Premier League offering is Newcastle vs Leicester at 5.30pm, whilst at the same time on Sky is Norwich vs Sheffield Wednesday. Not the best admittedly but games are games. Into the evening though and it’s Juventus vs Inter Milan on BT at 7.45pm or if you can wait until 9pm, you’ll see what many will consider the main event. Toronto FC vs Seattle Sounders in the MLS Cup final, live on Sky. I promise you, Sunday is better.
Sunday 10th December
Things start off quite mundanely, Southampton vs Arsenal will be competitive but probably not the 4-0 we witnessed a few years ago. That’s on BT Sport at 12 midday. Hibs vs Celtic is on Sky Sports at 12.30, which is all well and good but then it gets really tasty. 2.15pm will see the Merseyside Derby, now with added intrigue with Sam Allardyce taking over at Everton. It’s at Anfield so you’d still make Liverpool heavy favourites but it should be a decent game. It’s not just in England where great games are happening, as in Holland it’s Ajax vs PSV at 3.45pm on Sky Sports Mix. Do you think this is planned? It probably is. At 4.30pm, also on Sky, we’ve got Man Utd vs Man City, Mourinho vs Guardiola, call it what you want it’s going to be a great game. Even if Mourinho tries to spoil it, I’m not sure they can against a rampant Man City. Intriguing. If you need more football, it’s Villarreal vs Barcelona in the evening.
Monday 11th December
No Premier League Monday Night Football again as we have midweek Premier League games to look forward to, but that’s for next weeks update. This Monday though we have a Championship offering between last season’s beaten playoff finalists Reading and high-flying Cardiff City. It’s a chance to see Neil Warnock complain heavily as usual and you wouldn’t want to miss it if Jaap Stam knocks him out. If you need an alternative, Lazio vs Torino should do. That’s on BT Sport 3, both games kick off at 8pm.
That’s it for another week but as mentioned, next week the TV guide will contain midweek Premier League games and that’s always a cause for celebration. Have a pleasant week.