The longest week in football history has come to an end. Well, sort of, you’ve got one more day of International football to endure before it’s back to our beloved club football. It’s an incredible weekend coming up with some amazing matches so let’s go and see what we’ve got to look forward to.
Tuesday 10th October
The last day of the International break should be a cause for celebration but when you see the agenda for Wednesday and Thursday, I’ll actually be sad to see it go. So, let’s make the most of Tuesday. There’s not loads to play for – Holland need to beat Sweden by a mighty margin to make the playoffs, it might be fun if they get a couple early on but they need to win by 7 goals. Poor Dick. His prediction that Sweden would never score 8 against Luxembourg turned out to be all the motivation the Swedes needed to basically eliminate the Oranje. Portugal and Switzerland however are going head to head in a winner takes all showdown, with the losers finding themselves marooned in the playoffs. With it being in Portugal you just know it’s going to be another special night for Ronaldo, but Switzerland are one of the more underrated teams in International football and you just never known. France host Belarus still needing the win to secure top spot, but unless they’re going to endure a Luxembourg 0-0 kind of night, I think they’ll be okay.
Wednesday 11th October
Now it gets difficult. As players return to their clubs, there is an unfortunate down time until club football reappears in our lives. However, using creative license, all of the final South American qualifiers kick off at half midnight, and that is technically Wednesday. Argentina need to win in Ecuador to stand any chance after a series of bad results. Ecuador are already out though, so that might help Messi & co. If you’re more of a traditionalist, I’ve got two matches for you when you wake up on Wednesday morning. Firstly, South Melbourne vs Sydney in the Australian Cup semi-final will be every bit as good as it sounds. Make of that what you will. Then at 12.30 there’s Under 17 World Cup action as England take on Mexico. England thrashed Chile in match one and if that’s a sign of things to come, look out Mexico.
Thursday 12th October
An absolutely desperate day of football. Do you like Finnish football? Thought not. There’s a big JK battle as SJK take on HJk Helsinki. No idea. There’s also Brazilian Serie A action, 7 games in all with three at a respectable 9pm. Flamengo against Fluminese anyone? Next.
Friday 13th October
Sweet, wonderful Friday. Domestic football as we know it returns and whilst it’s not brilliant, it is at least something to vaguely enjoy. Friday’s Championship affair on Sky is Birmingham vs Cardiff, two sides at opposite ends of the table, and of course Birmingham are no longer saddled with Harry Redknapp. It is sort of sickening how well Neil Warnock is doing with Cardiff but this is his turf. If Scottish football is your bag, St Johnstone vs Rangers might be more up your street, that’s on Bt Sport at 7.45pm. Overseas, you could enjoy what’s left of Monaco away to Lyon, or Espanyol against Levante. It’s all just an appetiser though for the weekend ahead.
Saturday 14th October
All that waiting will be worth it. The Premier League’s lunch time opener sees two old rivals slugging it out as Manchester United visit Anfield to take on Liverpool. It’s an intriguing test for Mourinho’s men, and he won’t even have Fellaini to call upon. Liverpool meanwhile could do with a win against a side in the upper echelons to prove they are a real threat and not just playing for fourth place. After the 3pm’s (including Chelsea, Man City and Spurs) I hope local derbies are your thing because we’ve got two of them. Watford vs Arsenal, which admittedly is barely a derby but might be a decent game of football the way both sides set up, goes up against Sky’s Championship offering which is Wolves vs Aston Villa. That is definitely a derby. 5.30pm is the kick off for everybody apparently, with Juventus, Dortmund and Ajax also in action then. Into the evening and the main draw is Atletico Madrid against Barcelona. Barcelona’s supposed crisis has not really transpired but this is still a huge test of any team’s resolve. That’s on Sky Sports Football at 7.45pm
Sunday 15th October
I hate Super Sunday when there’s only one game. I hate it even more when it’s my team. The pressure to perform, to not look terrible…yes Super Sunday in the Premier League sees Newcastle travel to Southampton for a 4pm kick off. That’s right, Newcastle have been away to Brighton and Southampton at 4pm in the space of a month. Have a word with yourselves, Premier League. That no doubt one goal classic is preceded by Derby County against Nottingham Forest – yes, another derby – and these two really don’t like each other. So it might be alright. Again though, if you like a derby you’ll love the Milan derby at 7.45pm on Sunday night, two teams who share a city and a stadium. What can go wrong? It’s BT for that one, or you can watch Real Betis against Valencia on Sky. Options, options.
Monday 16th October
Seeing as our theme this week is local fixtures, it seems only right that Monday Night Football is also a local affair as Leicester host West Brom. Will Tony Pulis play 4 centre back and 3 holding midfielders? I hope so. It won’t bother Leicester though, they always find a way to score. Las Palmas vs Celta Vigo is your below par Spanish alternative…
It’s one of those weeks where because we’ve been starved of football any set of domestic fixtures will look amazing. But rest assured I will be sat at lunch time next Monday bemoaning having to watch Leicester vs West Brom. We are spoiled. Enjoy the games!