For our US-based CultFootballers, see below for our televised/streaming picks for this weekend: 11 matches in Europe (4 in England, 4 in Italy, 2 in Spain, 1 in France); plus, live from Abu Dhabi, an intercontinental matchup in the FIFA 2010 Club World Cup final.
If these aren’t to your liking, see the SoccerInsider’s listings for many more televised matches. As usual, all times ET:
SATURDAY, DEC 18
England, Sunderland-Bolton, 7:30am ESPN2 & ESPN3.com: It is the game on ESPN2, so there’s a matter of convenience–but it’s certainly not an uninteresting matchup. Bolton is 6th in the standings, Sunderland 7th. American Stu Holden has been playing well for Bolton (as has his mate in the midfield, Fabrice Muamba). For Sunderland there’s of course Bent and Welbeck and Gyan and maybe even Bolo Zenden..and hence the possibility of dancing.
Club World Cup final, Mazembe-Inter Milan, noon Fox Deportes (tape at 11pm on FSC): Can the Congolese club compete with the European champions? Read our lengthy reblog of a Guardian Football piece on Tout Puissant Mazembe.
England, Liverpool-Fulham, 12:30pm FSC: American Clint Demsey is playing with a lot of confidence, which is not going unnoticed. In fact, seems as if Liverpool is interesting in buying him–but Fulham maintains he’s not for sale. Fulham needs to start winning to avoid falling into the relegation zone.
Spain, Espanyol-Barcelona, 2pm GolTV: El derbi Barceloní! Espanyol have quietly climbed up to 4th in the table–but Barcelona have outscored their last 6 opponents 26-0.
Italy, AC Milan-Roma 2:30pm FSC, FoxSoccer.tv & ESPN3.com: A resurgent Roma is still down in 6th place in Serie A, dieci punti behind league-leaders Milan, who have decided their best XI doesn’t include Ronaldinho, but does include Kevin Prince Boateng (another Ghanaian we love to watch)–and may soon include troubled striker Antonio Cassano.
SUNDAY, DEC 19
Italy, Lazio-Udinese 6:30 a.m. FSP & FoxSoccer.tv: Lazio sits fourth, but only due to goal difference, sharing 30 points with Juventus and Napoli above them. Udinese is in 9th, but should still pose a stern challenge; watch for Udinese’s Swiss (of Turkish descent) central midfielder Gökhan Inler, who everyone (Inter, Napoli, Parma, Arsenal) is after in the transfer window.
England, Blackpool-Spurs 8:30am FSP & FoxSoccer.tv: Blackpool have clawed their way into the top half of the Prem League table, while Spurs needs to keep winning if they indeed hope to challenge for the title (or at the very least another spot in Europe).
England, Chelsea-Manchester United 11am FSC: The big game of the weekend–indeed, the biggest one of the season so far in England. Hopefully turns out to be more interesting and better played than last Monday’s previous biggest one of the season so far.
France, Olympique de Marseille-Olympique Lyonnais 3pm FSP & FoxSoccer.tv: A rare Ligue 1 reccommendation–a regional derby, the Clash of the Olympics (en francais: Le Choc des Olympiques)–the two teams are separated by a mere 300km and one spot in the table (#4 and #5). Moreover, both have advanced to the knockout phase of the Champions League (so this one is especially interesting for you Man U and Madrid fans).
Spain, Real Madrid-Sevilla 3pm ESPN2, ESPN Deportes & ESPN3.com: Sevilla is a club in crisis, but they still have talent–a result at the Bernabeu would be a way to get their faltering campaign back on track.
MONDAY, DEC 20
England, Manchester City-Everton 3pm ESPN2 & ESPN3.com: Not an uninteresting Monday matchup, especially now that Man City seems to have opened up a bit–and with the Tevez drama current Prem League crisis of the month.