Happy New Year to you all. The festive fixture pile-up may be coming to a close but the really good news is there is top flight action just about every day this week! Some held over New Year’s Day matches kick off the week before we slide into FA Cup 3rd round action. Let me tell you more…
Tuesday 2nd January
If you’re back at work and have the January blues you are probably trying to hold on to any crumb of comfort. Swansea vs Tottenham could be your crumb. It’s a 7.45pm kick off on Sky Sports and get ready for a million mentions of Harry Kane trying to beat his record for goals in a calendar year (if he overcomes illness to play). There are three other Premier league games, such as Man City vs Watford, but they aren’t on British TV. As a result there is a Match of the Day on BBC1 at 10.45pm. If you can’t stomach Swansea vs Tottenham and prefer Italian Cup action, Napoli vs Atalanta is also on Sky Sports at 7.45pm. Should you be lucky enough to be off work (or live in Scotland where it’s a bank holiday) you can watch Morton vs St Mirren on BBC Alba at 3pm.
Wednesday 3rd January
There’s a crunch clash between Arsenal and Chelsea at 7.45pm which of course Sky have snapped up. It was 0-0 at Stamford Bridge back in September but don’t let that put you off. I’m sure this will be grand. Elsehwere Juventus are in action against Torino in more Italian Cup action, that’s on Sky Sports Football at 7.45pm. FreeSports also have Boavista vs SC Braga in the Portugese league, that’s a bit earlier at 6.15pm, and is followed by Benfica vs Sporting Lisbon at 9.30pm – now that’s a big game.
Thursday 4th January
Thursday is normally a bit of a black spot for football outside of the Europa League so it’s a huge bonus to have Tottenham vs West Ham on our screens. This should have been played on New Year’s Eve but was postponed due to security issues, so there you go. Thursday bonus.
Friday 5th January
The FA Cup 3rd round gets underway and that of course signals the arrival of the Premier League and Championship clubs. BBC are televising Liverpool vs Everton, not your typical David vs Goliath affair at this stage but a Merseyside derby nevertheless and there’s an element of bad blood between the two managers after their meeting in December. Man Utd are in action against Derby but for once it’s not on TV. There’s also Serie A for you to enjoy, Chievo vs Udinese at 5pm followed by Fiorentina vs Inter Milan at 7.45pm.
Saturday 6th January
3rd round Saturday is one of my favourite days on the calendar and there are plenty of your more traditional cup matches to enjoy. BBC have Fleetwood vs Leicester at 12.45pm in what will no doubt be billed as the Jamie Vardy derby, but in reality he won’t be involved. Unfortunately one of the drawbacks of the festive fixture pile up is that the FA Cup will be given even less respect than normal. The 5.30pm game will see BT Sport come to the party, as we are treated to Norwich vs Chelsea. There are of course a boat load of 3pm fixtures, which can’t be televised. There are options from abroad too, with Atletico Madrid vs Getafe on Sky Sports at 12pm and Roma vs Atalanta on BT at 5pm. Your evening viewing is Cagliari vs Juventus in more Serie A on BT, or Sevilla vs Real Betis on Sky – the latter of course is a derby.
Sunday 7th January
Onto Sunday then and we have 3 FA Cup ties to get stuck into. The first is at 12pm and sees Newport County of League Two take on Championship Leeds United. It’s on BBC Wales, if you were wondering why this was picked. That leads into the 2pm match, on BBC One, where we’ll see Shrewsbury against West Ham. That is Joe Hart going back to his former club, but I’m not sure you can really call that a grudge match. Finally, at 4pm we have Nottingham Forest vs Arsenal on BT Sport. That was a big game 30 years ago, probably less so now but a banana skin anyway. Forest don’t currently have a manager, but they might by Sunday. Outside of England, Barcelona host Levante at 3.15pm whilst Celta Vigo provide the opposition for Real Madrid at 7.45pm.
Monday 8th January
The last action of the FA Cup weekend is Brighton against Crystal Palace. These two just don’t like each other and the match has been spiced up for neutrals as it will be the first professional match in English club football to include VAR. Obviously that means there will be no incidents to judge, but we’ll see how it goes.
That’s your lot for this week, it’s a week where you don’t have to really dig very far to find a match and that is music to my ears. Enjoy and I’ll be back next week with more.