The Armchair Fan’s guide to your week of televised football

Armchair Fan’s Guide is very excited this week. The money-grabbing suits at UEFA Champions League HQ had the sinister idea to stagger the knockout stages, limit us to two games a night and drag the competition on for longer.

But, the bad boys are usually the charmers aren’t they? And we’ve fallen under the mesmerising, shiny-headed spell of Mr Gianni Infantino’s bad boy charm. That charm, ladies and gentlemen, must be what got him the big job at FIFA.

That’s right, the Champions League is king of this week’s live televised football, just as it was king of last week’s. All of the football involving Europe’s best teams, all of the time. What’s not to love?

Armchair Fan’s Guide is all set to sit in its underwear, order a pizza and chow down on some quality football this week. And you can do the same! Here’s what AFG will be watching this week.

Monday

Newcastle United - Rafael Benitez Press Conference

The Premier League weekend provides the perfect transition into European football this week as Rafael Benitez takes charge of his first Newcastle game – he will be baptised in the fiery depths of the King Power stadium where the relegation-menaced Magpies take on the Premier League’s foxiest title-chasers.

Of course, AFG does cater to all tastes, so don’t feel left out. If a Monday night Premier League option is too mainstream for you, you can sit down with a bottle of the craftiest of craft beers from the local microbrewery and watch Benfica play relegation fodder Tondela. That young full back at Tondela is really something – but you’ve probably never heard of him….

You can watch…

Leicester City 0-0 Newcastle United – 8.00pm – Sky Sports 1

Benfica 9-0 Tondela – 8.00pm – BT Sport Europe

Tuesday

Dynamo Kiev v Manchester City - UEFA Champions League Round of 16 First Leg

THE CHAAAAAAAMPIOOOOOOOONS! AFG’s favourite leather jacket-clad bad boy returns to our screens on Tuesday night and we can hardly wait. Will Manuel Pellegrini’s Man City make it to the quarter finals of the competition for the first time in their history? Or will they inexplicably fail to progress, stumbling out of the competition after scoring three away goals? If any team is going to achieve that level of abject disappointment, it’s surely ‘Typical City’.

Elsewhere, Atletico Madrid host PSV Eindhoven, and it’s tight tight tight. The 0-0 draw the two played out in the first leg positions the tie right on the edge of the proverbial knife, but it probably also suggests that the second leg will be just as goalless. If the nostalgic draw of watching Diego Simeone take on Philip Cocu in a Champions League match makes you all tingly and pine for the 90s, then this is the one for you.

You can watch…

Man City 0-1 Dynamo Kiev – 7.45pm – BT Sport Europe

Atletico Madrid 1-0 PSV Eindhoven – 7.45pm – BT Sport 2

Wednesday

Arsenal v FC Barcelona - UEFA Champions League Round of 16 First Leg

Wednesday is the one we’re eagerly anticipating. A night so jam packed with Champions League quality, prestige and pedigree that AFG can hardly contain itself. But if it can sit still for long enough to watch the games, it may just be disappointed.

You see, Barcelona’s ability to allow Arsenal to play well and still beat them 2-0 at the Emirates points to yet more last 16 disappointment for Arsene Wenger and Gunners fans, whilst containing Messi, Suarez and Neymar at the Camp Nou might just be too big an ask. After all, if Koscielny and co couldn’t handle Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard the other week…

Elsewhere, Bayern Munich looked as good as through at half time in the first leg in Turin, but Juventus’s stunning comeback leaves the tie balanced nicely at 2-2. Let’s be honest though, with two away goals, we still expect the Bayern machine to trample all over poor Juve.

If these games are good, they’ll be very very good, but Barcelona and Bayern Munich are surely too strong to let that happen. Aren’t they?

You can watch…

Barcelona 3-0 Arsenal – 7.45 – BT Sport Europe

Bayern Munich 2-1 Juventus – 7.45 – BT Sport 2

Thursday

Liverpool v Manchester United - UEFA Europa League Round of 16 First Leg

After all the fun and games of Europe’s big boy competition, we head to kindergarten for the second legs of the Europa League last 16.

The little brother competition threw up the ‘mother of all matches’ according to Jurgen Klopp, and it would take a similar maternal-sized comeback for Manchester United to progress against Liverpool after their 2-0 defeat in the first leg.

But if United’s task is tough, then Spurs’ task is gargantuan. Pochettino doesn’t seem to want the extra games in the Europa League this season, whilst Dortmund appear to be in it to win it. But if there are comebacks to be had in the later games, it’ll be a St Patrick’s night to remember!

You can watch…

Valencia 0-0 Athletic Bilbao – 6.00pm – BT Sport Extra 2

Man United 1-1 Liverpool / Tottenham 0-1 Dortmund – 8.00pm – BT Sport Europe / BT Sport 1

Friday

Hull City v Milton Keynes Dons - Sky Bet Football League Championship

If you’re not too busy starting your weekend with your mates in the pub, then join your sad and lonely friend AFG for a Friday night feast of football. We may be sad and lonely, folks, but football will keep us company.

Especially a top-of-the-Championship clash like Middlesbrough vs Hull City. The top four teams are keeping the pace with each other, and a win for either side on Friday would put them in the driving seat for automatic promotion to the promised land of the Premier League.

But if the chase for about 90 million quid doesn’t excite you, fear not, you can still have an exciting Friday night in front of the télé as European behemoths Schalke face Borussia Monchengladbach in a huge game in the race for the German Champions League spots, whilst Marseille drag their sorry and beaten carcasses to play Rennes, who are chasing the Champions League themselves – my how the tables have turned.

You can watch…

Middlesbrough 0-2 Hull City – 7.45pm – Sky Sports 1

Schalke 1-1 Gladbach – 7.30pm – BT Sport Europe

Marseille 0-1 Rennes – 7.30pm – BT Sport Extra 2

Saturday

Everton v Chelsea - FA Cup Quarter Final

The best thing about spending your Friday evening in your underwear watching football and eating pasta from the pot is that Saturday mornings are hangover-free! Whether you’re suffering or not, though, Saturday’s football is the perfect way to build up to Sunday’s firecrackers.

Start off with Everton destroying whatever hopes Arsenal had of winning the Premier League title and follow it up with Swansea sealing Aston Villa’s relegation – though AFG has been watching Villa’s relegation get sealed almost every week since early October.

After that, grab some food and settle down for an Italian Champions League showdown between a resurgent Roma and Roberto Mancini’s Inter.

You can watch…

Everton 15-0 Arsenal – 12.45pm – BT Sport 1

Swansea 1-0 Aston Villa – 5.30pm – Sky Sports 1

AS Roma 2-0 Inter Milan – 7.45pm – BT Sport Europe

Lyon 2-0 Nantes – 8.00pm – BT Sport 1

Sunday

Manchester United v West Ham United - FA Cup Quarter Final

Sunday, also known as the Big One this weekend, is a day of derbies – what a way to send you into the footballing abyss of the international break….

Newcastle v Sunderland will not only pit the North East rivals against each other, but it also happens to be a huge relegation deathmatch, too. And then you can add to that the fact that Rafael Benitez and Sam Allardyce hate each other’s guts. And once you do that, you get the picture – fire, brimstone, ruthlessness: like something from the Hunger Games.

Wash that down with a glass of Manchester derby red v blue; another deathmatch. Nowadays, City are – or at least should be – chasing the title whilst United feed for scraps in an attempt to finish fourth. But this time, if United beat City, the Red Devils could welcome Pep Guardiola to Manchester with Europa League football. I’m sure there’s a billboard for that.

If English footballing death and destruction isn’t your thing, however, we have more severe deathmatches from across Europe. Torino play Juventus in the Turin derby in the afternoon, and then you can finish off the evening with a choice of matches involving huge clubs: Real Madrid host Europa League specialists Sevilla, AC Milan host Lazio in the teams-who-used-to-be-good derby, and PSG face their recently-Zlataned ‘title rivals’ Monaco in the ultimate in dead rubber technology.

You can watch…

Newcastle 3-3 Sunderland – 1.30pm – Sky Sports 1

Manchester City 2-1 Manchester United – 4.00pm – Sky Sports 1

Torino 1-0 Juventus – 2.00pm – BT Sport Europe

Villarreal 0-4 Barcelona – 3.00pm – Sky Sports 3

Real Madrid 2-1 Sevilla – 7.30pm – Sky Sports 3

AC Milan 0-0 Lazio – 7.45pm – BT Sport Europe

PSG 5-0 Monaco – 8.00pm – BT Sport 2