The TV guide is so much easier to write when there’s Champions League, Friday Night Football and no sodding International break. With that ringing endorsement for the week ahead, let’s see what we can watch this week.
Tuesday 17th October
Before I get into the Champions League games, you can check out England’s Under 17’s in action in the last 16 of the Under-17s World Cup at 3.30pm on Eurosport 2. Our youth teams seem far more competent than the senior squad so that might be worth a watch. Anyway, onto the evening’s fixtures and I have to say I am looking forward to Man City vs Napoli. With the two sides on top form I think it’ll be an enjoyable watch. It speaks volumes that we’ve potentially got better than that, as Spurs travel to Real Madrid. It’s always interesting from a British point of view to see how our best stack up against the European Champions – my bet is, not well. But it’s not at Wembley so Spurs will fancy themselves. Liverpool travel to Maribor, in desperate need of a win, not just after 2 draws in their opening two games but because they’ve lost any momentum they had built up. There are League One and League Two fixtures as well, if you like that sort of thing.
Wednesday 18th October
More Champions League goodness for you, especially for the three British clubs in action. Man Utd are off to Benfica, a tough looking fixture but Benfica have been a bit hit and miss this season. Celtic are off to Bayern Munich, with Celtic actually above Bayern as it stands. If the Glasgow giants can succeed where Arsenal always fail, they may change their ambitions from dropping into the Europa League to advancing to the last 16. Meanwhile back in London, Chelsea host Roma in another tough looking fixture.
Thursday 19th October
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, I love the Europa League. Arsene Wenger most likely disagrees but it gives him a chance to blood his promising youngsters, and Jack Wilshere. Arsenal are actually off to Crvena Zvezda, or Red Star Belgrade as they are more commonly known (in English anyway). That’s a long trip for a Thursday night and will just infuriate Wenger further. Everton, who are having a bit of a nightmare at the moment, host Lyon. The good thing is the Arsenal game is at 6pm and Everton kick off at 8.05pm, so you can watch both if that’s your want in life. Elsewhere there are some decent fixtures to look for, such as Nice vs Lazio, AC Milan vs AEK Athens and Ostersunds vs Athletic Bilbao – Ostersunds are managed by Englishman Graham Potter – the only English manager in Europe this season.
Friday 20th October
I’m dead against Friday night football for the Premier League, and when the fixture is West Ham vs Brighton it does little to alter my opinion. I’d say it’s better than nothing but I’m not 100% sure that it is. You’re not blessed with alternatives, St Etienne vs Montpellier on BT Sport is probably as good as it gets.
Saturday 21st October
Sky’s choice for the lunch time kick off is Chelsea vs Watford, which sounds rubbish but it’s actually 5th vs 4th. The job Marco Silva has done at Watford will hopefully be lauded but I personally hope they spend the whole build up calling out Paul Merson as a fraud. That’s a 12.30 kick off, but there’s also the Scottish League cup semi final between Hibs and Celtic at 12:15pm. The 3pm’s as usual aren’t televised in the UK but Man Utd are off to Huddersfield and Man City host Burnley. Oddly, the 5.30pm on BT is Southampton vs West Brom. Nobody needs that. The Championship alternative from Sky is Milwall vs Birmingham, might be a good night to go out for dinner. There are alternatives across Europe though, also at 5.30pm you can enjoy Hamburg vs Bayern Munich on BT Sport 3, or Valencia vs Sevilla on Sky Sports Mix. Into the evening and we have Napoli vs Inter or Barcelona vs Malaga at 7.45pm. So it’s not so bad I suppose.
Sunday 22nd October
Who wants a derby for lunch? At 12pm on Sky Sports we’ve got the East Anglian derby to feast on, as Norwich make the short trip to Portman Road. It’s usually a feisty affair, mind you so is Feyenoord vs Ajax which kicks off at 1.30pm on Sky Sports Mix. That clashes with the Premier League, Everton takes on Arsenal in the battle of the unhappy fanbases. At 2.30pm, Rangers face Motherwell in the other Scottish League Cup semi final, will we have an Old Firm final? Super Sunday lives up to it’s name this week as the 4pm offering is Tottenham vs Liverpool. Spurs can’t get going at Wembley in the league and it’s a nice big pitch for Liverpool’s attacking talent to enjoy, so the odds are it will be a good game but maybe Klopp has a taste for 0-0 now. At 8pm, it’s Marseille vs PSG on BT Sport which is another big clash – Real Madrid take on Eibar at 7.45pm but that might be a bit of a landslide.
Monday 23rd October
There isn’t a Monday Night Football, which is displeasing. There are two games from La Liga, but it’s Real Sociedad vs Espanyol and Deportivo vs Girona, or Sky have taken it on themselves to give us Linfield vs Crusaders in the Northern Irish Premiership. Wow.
There’s plenty to watch at least, Sunday more than makes up for Saturday’s lacklustre effort but everybody knows we’ll watch it regardless. Have a good weekend