The 8 best televised games you NEED to watch over the festive period
1. Fiorentina vs Napoli, Dec 22, BT Sport 1 (7:45pm)
Two of Serie A’s most iconic teams collide. Napoli are pushing for their now-customary Champions League place in third, but Fiorentina are also in desperate need of points to avoid being cut adrift in the fight for Europa League football next season.
Dries Mertens stuck four past Torino last time out – the fourth you really need to see (below) – and Jose Callejon helped himself to three assists. For the Viola, meanwhile, goalscoring hopes rest firmly on the shoulders of Nikola Kalinic (eight goals so far this season) and the exciting Federico Bernardeschi (seven).
2. Juventus vs Milan, Dec 23, Sky Sports 4 (4:30pm)
There is seemingly no logic around where the Italian Supercup is held each year. This time they’re back in Doha’s Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium for the second time in three years, after an edition in Shanghai.
In the 12 years preceding that, host cities have included Beijing (three times), Milan (five times), Turin (once), New Jersey (once) and, of course, Libya’s Tripoli (once, in 2002).
Anyway, Big Boring Juve vs a rejuvenated Milan side slowly clawing their way back to respectability: what’s not to like about this one? Well, that’s if it goes ahead – Milan were due to fly out yesterday but their plane got stuck in London. If there are further delays, they won’t fly. “We’ve suffered a serious sporting disadvantage,” groaned big cheese Adriano Galliani.
3. Newcastle vs Sheffield Wednesday, Dec 26, Sky Sports 1 (7:45pm)
A classic ‘90s Premier League fixture in the second tier – though Sheffield Wednesday fans won’t have too many fond memories of St James’ Park, having been stuffed 8-0 there in their final top-flight campaign of 1998/99.
These two did face off a year ago in the League Cup, however, when the Owls scooped a 1-0 win on Tyneside, and twice in 2009/10 when Newcastle last dropped into the Championship. En route to the Magpies’ title win stroll – and the Owls’ relegation – they came out 1-0 winners in this fixture thanks to Shola Ameobi’s early goal.
But while Newcastle look good value to claim another immediate route back to the Premier League, Sheffield Wednesday are a very different side seven years on. With four wins from their last five, Carlos Carvalhal's team are once again challenging for the play-offs.
4. Liverpool vs Stoke, Dec 27, Sky Sports 1, (5:15pm)
Here lies a fixture that has thrown up some odd results in the past. Last season Liverpool trounced Stoke 4-1, fully avenging the Potters’ 6-1 home demolition on a crazy final day of 2014/15. Poor Stevie G won’t ever forget his final game for the Reds.
Liverpool also edged a tight game on the opening day of last season, won 1-0 courtesy of Philippe Coutinho’s 86th-minute stonker. Their late win at Everton on Monday night only added to the entertainment value under Jurgen Klopp – but which team will turn up at Anfield?
You could say similar of Stoke, who chucked away a two-goal home lead against Leicester with a man advantage in their last game. But four words for you: Joe Allen, goal machine. Right? Right.
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