Thursday, 28 August 2008

Friday - Sunday preview

Friday 29 August
Karlsruhe play FC Cologne in a basement battle in the Bundesliga on Setanta, while the main match of the day is the European Supercup of Zenit St Petersburg vs Manchester United on ITV. Zenit won the UEFA Cup in Manchester, and Man Utd won the Champions League in Russia, and now they both play off against each other in Monaco, as the pinnacle of a couple of days which also sees the Champions League and UEFA Cup draws, and gives journalists around Europe the chance of a jolly in the sun. It's not much more than a glorified friendly, but Man Utd will expect to win, although both teams haven't been in great form, Man Utd should to to strong for their Russian counterparts.

Saturday 30 August
No stand-out matches in the Bundesliga, but expect Digitalb to screen Schalke vs Bochum. Southampton vs Blackpool and Watford vs Ipswich are Sky's live uninspiring Championship features, while Arsenal host Newcastle in Setanta's evening Premier League match. With Arsenal struggling in the league, and Newcastle showing early promise, it could be a closer encounter than in previous seasons. Serie A gets underway as Sampdoria host Jose Mourinho's Inter (as they seem to have been re-christened, much like Roy Keane's Sunderland or Nigel Clough's Burton Albion). Setanta may have this match if news of their Serie A deal is sorted in time, otherwise I'll be watching on Setanta. Also worth a look is an early season clash between Porto and Benfica in Portugal - you'll need to go to Bet365 for that.

Sunday 31 August
Big match of the day is the first Old Firm match of the season, on Setanta. Rangers have made the stronger start of the two in the SPL, although neither have really to impress, and the match may give an indication if Rangers can re-capture the title again this season. In the Premier League, Chelsea host Tottenham, with Tottenham looking to get some points on the board - Stamford Bridge may not be the ideal place to start getting any. Aston Villa take on Liverpool in the late fixture, expect no references at all to Gareth Barry's tedious transfer "saga".

Stand-out Serie A fixture is a toss up between AC Milan and Bologna, with Ronaldinho making his Serie A debut, or Roma taking on Napoli. Fiorentina play Juventus in the evening match, which has the makings of a good match bewteen two teams who will see Champions League qualification as the minimum for the season. Bayern Munich take on HerthaBerlin in the Bundesliga, and La Liga gets underway (as far as Sky are concerned) with Barcelona and Real Madrid's first matches of the season.

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