World Football Update - Jan 24th 2012
FA Cup 4th Round Weekend & much more...
Jon Forget
Jan 26th 2012
World Football Update - Jan 24th 2012
Feature Matches 1/24-1/29 

     As the first month of the New Year comes to a close there is certainly no shortage of enticing football to enjoy.  This afternoon Crystal Palace make the journey to Wales to face Cardiff in the second leg of the League Cup (Carling Cup) Semifinal.  Palace hold a slim 1-0 advantage, as both sides fight for a spot in their first ever League Cup Final, and a coveted trip to Wembley.  Neither side has many injury woes, but Palace knows they will have their work cut out for them against Cardiffs 12th man.  Later Tuesday evening the USWNT take on Mexico (8:30pm KO) in Olympic Qualifying.  After dismantling the first two teams the U.S. Women have faced, we can expect a stiffer test from the upstart Mexican Womens side.  The USWNTs involvement in the 2012 Olympics may be a foregone conclusion, but the U.S. v Mexico rivalry will none the less make this one worth watching.

     Wednesday is surely the highlight day of our week with three terrific encounters to look forward to.  First we have Liverpool playing host to Manchester City in the 2nd leg of the other League Cup Semifinal (12:45pm KO).  This will be the 165th meeting between these two storied clubs, with the first being played in 1893.  Liverpool holds seven previous League Cup titles, to Manchester Citys two; however, the Reds have not made a trip to Wembley since 1996.  Besides holding a 1-0 advantage, Liverpool also has the benefit of playing the second leg at their home fortress, Anfield.  The real story is suspensions here though, as both sides will be missing key players.  City will be without the services of Mario Balotelli (after stomping on a players head in their previous match right in front of the hapless Howard Webb, who did nothing), and Vincent Kompany (a key defender).  Liverpool is still without Luis Saurez, who has been their most prolific striker in the 2011/12 campaign.  This should be quite a battle, and it leads into our second big match of the day, Barcelona v Real Madrid (2pm KO).  The two Spanish powerhouses are meeting in the second leg of the Copa Del Rey Quarterfinals.  After Barcelonas 2-1 victory in Madrid last week, Jose Mourinhos men will have to score at least two goals to have a chance of advancing.  We can expect a much more attacking philosophy from Madrid, which will likely open plenty of space for Barcas massively talented midfield and strike force.  This should be a shootout of a game with plenty of opportunities for both sides.  Wednesday evening the USMNT travels to Panama to face our regional rivals.  Jurgen Klinsmanns young side looked good on Saturday, with plenty of pace and very crisp and concise passing throughout.  Hopefully they find the net during the run of play, and not in the waning seconds of stoppage time this time around.  

     Our weekend football starts Friday afternoon with Championship side Watford hosting the Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Cup 4th round.  Watford are a young side, and they are no doubt underdogs, but anything can happen in FA Cup football.  Saturday morning we will be open early (5am) for the first kick of the day, as Queens Park Rangers host Chelsea in a classic London Derby.  This clash leads us into our match of the day, where Liverpool face Manchester United with a 5:45am kickoff.  Breakfast will be served, and by early second half the pints will be flowing!  Dont miss the two most storied clubs in English Football as they fight to see who will continue to the 5th round.  The rest of the day fills out with more FA Cup fixtures, Serie A, and La Liga.

    Sunday morning we open the doors early again with more FA Cup action.  The 9am kickoff pits struggling Arsenal against Aston Villa.  The Gunners have suffered three straight losses, and the typical mid to late season melt down seems to have begun for them.  Perhaps the expected return of England International Jack Wilshere will give them a boost.

On The Horizon

   Next week we have both midweek and weekend matches in the EPL, as well as Serie A, Bundesliga, and La Liga fixtures to look forward to.

This Weeks Football

Tuesday January 24th
Cardiff v Crystal Palace 12:45pm (Carling Cup Semifinal Leg 2)
Juventus v Roma 12:45pm (Coppa Italia)
USWNT v Mexico 8:30pm (Olympic Qualifying)
Wednesday January 25th
Liverpool v Manchester City 12:45pm (Carling Cup Semifinal Leg 2)
Barcelona v Real Madrid 2:00pm (Copa Del Rey Quarterfinal Leg 2)
Panama v USMNT 6:30pm (International Friendly)
Friday January 27th
Watford v Tottenham 12:45pm (FA Cup 4th Round)
Saturday January 28th
Queens Park Rangers v Chelsea 5:00am (FA Cup 4th Round)
Liverpool v Manchester United 5:45am (FA Cup 4th Round)
Bayern Munchen v Wolfsburg 7:30am (Bundesliga)
Derby County v Stoke City 8:00am (FA Cup 4th Round)
Leicester city v Swindon Town 8:00am (FA Cup 4th Round)
Catania v Parma 10:00am (Serie A)
Brighton & Hove Albion v Newcastle United 10:15am (FA Cup 4th Round)
Real Madrid v Zaragoza 12pm (La Liga)
Juventus v Udinese 12:45pm (Serie A)
Villareal v Barcelona 2:00pm (La Liga)
Sunday January 29th
Sunderland v Middlesborough 6:30am (FA Cup 4th Round)
Lecce v Inter Milan 7:00am (Serie A)
Arsenal v Aston Villa 9:00am (FA Cup 4th Round)
AC Milan v Cagliari 12:45pm (Serie A)
Stade Renne v Olympic Marseille 1:00pm (Ligue 1 )
Avalanche Hockey
Avalanche v Wild 7:00pm Tuesday Jan. 24th
NHL All Star Weekend
NHL Skills Competition 5:00pm Saturday Jan. 28th
NHL All Star Game 2:00pm Sunday Jan. 29th

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