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Too much choice? The ultimate football TV guide – the best matches on this weekend and how to watch them

AC Milan, Zlatan Ibrahimovic
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If last week's drab/nailbiting [delete as appropriate] 0-0 draw didn't put you off, we're sure you'll be watching Manchester United take on Liverpool in the FA Cup on Sunday evening.

But it's far from the only football on your screens over the next couple of days.

With so much football broadcast and live streamed at the moment – there's almost always something on – it's hard to know when it's worth sitting down to watch a match. Over-exposure is all too easy (those 6pm Monday kick-offs can take their toll), so making sure you're watching the best on offer is important.

So at FourFourTwo, we decided to go through everything on this weekend and pick out our highlights: the ones it's really worth making time for.

As well as cup action in England, there's a Messi-less Barça in Spain, attractive attacking sides going head-to-head in Italy and Germany, and an old-school rivalry takes place in France.

What to watch this weekend

Friday, January 22

7.30pm: Borussia Mönchengladbach vs Borussia Dortmund, Bundesliga, BT Sport 2

If you don’t watch a lot of the Bundesliga, the prospect of sitting down for seventh versus fourth might not seem an ideal Friday night – especially with the prospect of a major cup upset on the other channel (see below).

But the race for the final Champions League spot is hotting up in Germany, with five teams separated by two points. On top of that, there’s a personal point between the sides: all the rumours suggest that Gladbach coach Marco Rose will be heading to Dortmund at the end of the season.

Manchester City fans may be looking at this fixture for a taste of Rose's Gladbach ahead of their Champions League tie next week, while English football fans will want to keep an eye on perennial Premier League transfer targets Erling Haaland and Jadon Sancho, as well as Three Lions prospect Jude Bellingham.

If what you want to see is top-level attacking football with an edge to it, this is your Friday night choice.

Watch it on BT Sport 2 with a BT Sport Monthly Pass

7.45pm: Chorley vs Wolves, FA Cup, BT Sport 1

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We try and avoid suggesting games that clash, for obvious reasons, but it’s hard to pick between this and Gladbach vs Dortmund.

After non-league side Chorley dumped Wayne Rooney’s Derby County™ out of the FA Cup in the last round, the idea of following up with a Premier League scalp is too enticing to ignore.

And with the National League now suspended for a fortnight amid increasing concern over whether the season can continue further down the pyramid, this could potentially be the last game the Magpies play for many months.

Watch it on BT Sport 1 with a BT Sport Monthly Pass

Saturday, January 23

12.15pm: Southampton vs Arsenal, FA Cup, BT Sport 1

This is the pick of the Saturday lunchtime kick-offs – though genuine cases could be made for Crusaders vs Larne in the Northern Irish Premiership and Aston Villa Women vs Reading Women in the WSL if you have Premier League fatigue.

Arsenal climbed up to a giddy 10th in the table midweek, but the current FA Cup holders may well be looking at this competition once again as a way to salvage their season.

After netting against them in the league a month ago, though, could we see Theo Walcott stand in their way?

And if you enjoy it, good news! They plan each other again on Tuesday.

Watch it on BT Sport 1 with a BT Sport Monthly Pass

5pm: AC Milan vs Atalanta, Serie A, Premier Sports 2

Let's skip the 3pm kick-offs – there's nine to choose from over various channels – and head straight for the teatime game.

Serie A leader AC Milan take on everyone's favourite plucky attacking European underdog side, Atalanta, who could rise to third with a win.

There's also a bit of a local rivalry – both teams are in the Lombardy region, and Atalanta's use of the San Siro for their Champions League games is believed to have been a cause of the initial coronavirus outbreak in Bergamo last spring.

There could be ramifications in the Serie A top scorer race: Atalanta's Luis Muriel is on 11, while Milan's 39-year-old Zlatan Ibrahimovic is on 12.

Watch it on Premier Sports 1 with a Premier Sports subscription

8pm: Monaco vs Marseille, Ligue 1, BT Sport 1

This fixture may not have some of the bite it did when the two sides were contesting for titles in the 1980 and '90s, but a healthy dose of rivalry remains.

Now aiming for European places, rather than the championship, it's always worth seeking out games between grand old sides like these two.

Watch it on BT Sport 1 with a BT Sport Monthly Pass

Sunday, January 24

12pm: Chelsea vs Luton Town, FA Cup, BBC One

The kind of game you can imagine being played behind closed doors without a pandemic.

Frank Lampard is starting to feel the heat at the Chelsea, and no one thinks an FA Cup trophy would be enough to save him. But with confidence supposedly a factor in their struggles, an ignominious dumping out at the hands of a mid-table Championship side could be brutal.

Lying almost equidistant between the relegation zone and the play-offs in the second-tier (13 and nine points, respectively) the Hatters will surely be going gung-ho for a cup run.

Watch it on BBC iPlayer

3.15pm: Elche vs Barcelona, La Liga, La Liga TV

Tiny relegation-threatened club take on an inconsistent Barcelona side plagued with constant rumours about in-fighting and departures? Lionel Messi suspended after the first red card of his career? 

This one's got Elche win all over it.

Watch it on La Liga TV with a Premier Sports or La Liga TV subscription

5pm: Manchester United vs Liverpool, FA Cup, BBC One

Liverpool haven't scored in four successive league games, are six points off top in their quest to retain the title, and just lost at Anfield for the first time in 68 Premier League games.

There surely couldn't be a worse time to face their fiercest rivals, Manchester United? There's no replays in the cup this year, so some way, some how, we'll have goals. FourFourTwo reckons there could be a few...

Watch it on BBC iPlayer

How to watch wherever you are

Use a VPN to watch football from outside your country

If you’re out of the country, then annoyingly your domestic on-demand services won’t work – the broadcaster knows where you are because of your IP address (boo!). You'll be blocked from watching it, which is not ideal if you’ve paid up for a subscription and still want to catch Steve Bruce’s extra-red face without resorting to illegal feeds you’ve found on Reddit.

But assistance is on hand. To get around that, all you have to do is get a Virtual Private Network (VPN), assuming it complies with your broadcaster’s T&Cs. A VPN creates a private connection between your device and t'internet, meaning the service can’t work out where you are and won't automatically block the service you've paid for. All the info going between is entirely encrypted – and that's a result.

There are plenty of good-value options out there, including:

VPN legal disclaimer

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ExpressVPN

Including a 30-day, money-back guarantee

Runs on almost any platform
Enterprise-level encryption
Speedy VPN servers in 94 countries
Superb 24/7 live customer support
Fewer simultaneous connections than some

FourFourTwo’s brainy office mates TechRadar love its super speedy connections, trustworthy security and the fact it works with Android, Apple, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, PS4 and loads more. You also get a money-back guarantee, 24/7 support and it's currently available for a knockdown price. Go get it! 

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NordVPN

Including a 30-day, money-back guarantee

Quality mobile and desktop clients
Up to six connections and value pricing
Great performance in our tests
Not the best user experience at all times
Some historic security breaches

A cheaper option; its cheapest package current averages at a wallet-friendly £2.29 per month.

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IPVanish

Including a 30-day, money-back guarantee

Owns and manages its own servers
peedy live chat support
Powerful, configurable apps
Excellent download speeds
The odd usability issue

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