Match of the Days: Champions League and FA Cup Quarter finals take centre stage plus Football League action

Match of the Days

This is one of the more complicated weeks on the football calendar, as somehow we have FA Cup and Premier League next weekend with Champions League thrown in to the mix. Make the most of this week as an International break is looming. Let’s be Degeneration X and break it down…

Tuesday 13th March

We start our week with a choice. Man Utd vs Sevilla was a bit of a snoozefest in Seville a few weeks ago except for a few David De Gea saves, but with the scores locked at 0-0 ahead of the second leg it might be a better game. There’s also Roma vs Shakhtar Donetsk, which is finely poised at 2-1 in favour of the Ukranian side. Both games are 7.45pm kick offs on BT Sport. Sky come out fighting by showing Brentford vs Cardiff from the Championship. Brentford are quite a nice side to watch but lack a bit of cutting edge sometimes, whereas Neil Warnock is Neil Warnock. It should be a canny game either way.

Wednesday 14th March

For some reason, PSG face Angers at 4pm. That seems quite early for any game, but Juventus vs Atalanta is at 5pm too so BT are having a bonanza of strangely early kick off times. The reason is of course they can’t clash the kick offs with the Champions League. The Champions League is of course the main event, the small matter of Barcelona and Chelsea locking horns at the Nou Camp. It’s 1-1 after the first leg and it’ll be interesting to see how Chelsea approach this one after their horror show against Man City a few weeks ago. Bayern Munich are also playing away to Besiktas, but Bayern won the first leg 5-0 which makes this a very pointless encounter indeed. It’s BT for the Champions League.

Thursday 15th March

EUROPA LEAGUE DAY. I love Europa League day. Arsenal managed to win 2-1 in Milan, which is a very good result but does set them up for a typical Arsenal performance at home where they lose 2-0 and exit the competition. I hope not though, it’s one thing seeing them struggle in the league but I think Wenger deserves to have something to play for into April at least. That’s at 8.05pm, but there are plenty of games at that time and also the 6pm slot, such as Athletic Bilbao looking to fight back against Marseille.

Friday 16th March

There’s no Championship game on Friday. Just thought I’d mention that early on. FreeSports have the Centenary Shield between the Under 18 sides of England and Republic of Ireland at 7pm, which I’m not going to say will be good but it is free. Elsewhere the picks of the pops is probably Monaco vs Lille in France (BT) or St Johnstone vs Hibs (also BT) both of which kick off at 7.45pm.

Saturday 17th March

We’ve got FA Cup and Premier League games on Saturday which sounds good but you’ve got to be positive about these things. Swansea vs Tottenham isn’t a bad game, it’s an all Premier League FA Cup quarter final and it’s on BT Sport at 12.15pm. Sky have Fulham vs QPR at 12.30pm in case you prefer Championship action. However we’re looking at just four Premier League games over the whole weekend, so the 5.30pm clash between Liverpool and Watford on BT is like gold dust to us. That’s actually followed by Saturday night football, between Man Utd and Brighton. It’s a 7.45pm kick off on BT, who are real monopolising the day, but I’m very against Saturday night football so it does not get a thumbs up from me. Into the evening there’s a mix of European action, SPAL vs Juventus and Real Betis vs Espanyol (both 7.45pm) are the options on BT and Sky respectively.

Sunday 18th March

There’s plenty to watch on Sunday and it starts fairly early in the day too. Leganes vs Sevilla is not a classic from La Liga but it’s the best you can get at 11am, though if you can wait until 11.30am it’s Sampdoria vs Inter Milan. The barrel scraping continues with Derby vs Cardiff from the Championship at 12pm, the same time as Nice vs PSG on BT. Of course without any Premier League games on Sunday we have to look to the FA Cup for inspiration, and a double header from the BBC is the best we can do. It’s Wigan vs Southampton at 1.30pm, with Wigan being the sole Football League representative left. That’s the warm up act for the 4.30pm tie of the round between Leicester and Chelsea, which by this point might be all Conte has left to play for in terms of trophies.  In the interim, Sky have Celtic’s trip to Motherwell at 2.15pm and an hour later Barcelona vs Athletic Bilbao. Real Madrid vs Girona is at 7.45pm incidentally. There’s MLS action at 9pm between FC Dallas and Seattle Sounders. Like I said, make the most of it whilst you can.

Monday 19th March

As the major European clubs have their players swan off for International duty, Sky are left with League One to fill their Monday night football slot. Doncaster vs Bradford is a Yorkshire derby of sorts and hopefully it finishes 6-6 with a glut of goalmouth action. I can’t see it though, somehow. There’s Bundesliga 2 on BT. It could always be worse.

That’s it for this week, I’m already dreading next week when it’s International games all round. Bye for now.