FA Cup, Barcelona and Real Madrid headline weekly schedule

Virgil van Dijk Liverpool
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English football’s giants are in cup action this weekend, and there are also massive clashes in South Africa, Italy and Spain

England’s biggest clubs are in action in the FA Cup fourth round this weekend, as the Premier League’s top sides look to take one step closer to Wembley.

Will any of the heavyweights fall at this early stage, and which of the minnows are ready to make the most of their moment in the sun and become giant-killers?

The biggest mismatch comes on Sunday, where imperious league leaders Liverpool travel away to Shrewsbury Town.

It’s only the second meeting in history between these two, and the first since 1996 when the Reds won 4-0 at Gay Meadow.

Surprisingly, Liverpool haven’t reached the Fifth Round of the FA Cup since 2015, when they made the semi-finals, and they’ve twice been dumped out by lower-league opponents in the Premier League era.

However, the chances of Shrewsbury emulating Bolton Wanderers in 1993 and Oldham Athletic in 2013 are slim, even if they have lost just one of their last 17 FA Cup games at home.

Liverpool, of course, are enjoying a remarkably dominant run of form, having taken 91 points of their last 93 available to them in the Prem.

Surely they won’t slip up, and the game is live on SS3 at 19:00 CAT on Sunday.

Jose Mourinho Tottenham 2019-20

Elsewhere, Tottenham Hotspur are away at Southampton in an all-Premier League clash on Saturday, Chelsea travel to Hull City, and Manchester City host Fulham.

Manchester United will face either Watford or Tranmere Rovers depending on the outcome of their Third Round replay.

There’s also fascinating PSL action this weekend, with Kaizer Chiefs away at Golden Arrows in Saturday’s early kick-off, before Orlando Pirates host AmaZulu in the evening.

On Friday, SuperSport United take on Chippa United, as they look to focus on the football after the recent news of Dean Furman’s impending departure and the ongoing speculation about Jeremy Brockie’s future.

Coach Kaitano Tembo has acknowledged his side is beginning to feel the heat as they look to maintain the pace set by leaders Chiefs, while also looking over their shoulder at the teams coming up behind them.

“At both ends of the log‚ there is pressure, and three points against Mamelodi Sundowns at home would have moved us a little bit closer to the top‚" he told journalists. “It's getting tighter and tighter in front of us and also behind where there are teams that are breathing down our neck.

“Three points against Sundowns would have meant us getting closer to the top and importantly‚ we could have moved two points ahead of them.

Kaitano Tembo, SuperSport United

"They have stretched the gap over us to four points and this means we are going to continue playing catch-up‚ which is always difficult.

"Losing three points at this time of the season is always a setback to your ambitions but we must put this behind us and focus on the next game.”

Chiefs enjoy a seven-point lead over Sundowns ahead of their meeting with mid-table Golden Arrows and will be desperate to return to winning ways after being held by Black Leopards last weekend.

Pirates may be 12 points off the pace, but their fine recent form will give everyone associated with the club confidence that they can reassert themselves in the title picture.

“Stranger things have happened in football, there are always possibilities. For us, we’ve just got to make sure we’re doing what we can on our front and win our games,” goalkeeper Wayne Sandilands told journalists. “Our focus has to be on our performances and trying to get the best we can out of our own individual and team performances, and take it from there.”

Lionel Messi Barcelona Granada

In Spain, Atletico Madrid’s own poor form has meant Barcelona and Real Madrid have opened up an eight-point lead at the top, but both will be keen to begin putting teams away on a more consistent basis to get some breathing space at the top.

Barca have won just three of their last six in the top-flight, and only narrowly beat 10-men Granada on Sunday. They face a particularly tough assignment on Saturday when they go away at Valencia, who linger just off the European places in seventh.

Real have things easier when they travel away to Real Valladolid, and after ending a run of three draws with consecutive league victories, this could be the weekend when Los Merengues retake top spot.

The £26 million signing of Brazilian wonderkid Reinier Jesus from Flamengo may well come as a boost to everyone associated with the club, as Real secure the future of one of the world’s brightest talents.

Finally, the weekend's action on SuperSport concludes with a blockbuster doubleheader on Sunday evening, as Roma host Lazio in the Derby of Rome, before Napoli and Juventus collide.

Ciro Immobile Lazio

It’s a perfect opportunity to catch a glimpse of two of the league’s in-form strikers, and indeed, two of the hottest attackers in the world game today, when Ciro Immobile and Cristiano Ronaldo strut their stuff live on SS9 for South Africa and SS8 for the rest of the continent.

The former’s remarkable form in front of goal has underpinned Lazio’s sensational recent form—they have won their last 11 consecutive matches—with the Italy international netting 23 so far in just 19 matches this term.

With Juve facing a tough assignment away at Napoli, who could put their recent troubles behind them for such a heavyweight clash against their old foe, this weekend represents an ideal opportunity for Lazio to close the six-point gap between themselves and the reigning champions.

However, the Old Lady are themselves on a five-game winning streak, and Ronaldo, who has 16 goals in 17 games, should ensure that they maintain their advantage atop the pile.

Full SuperSport weekend fixtures

Friday 24 January:

SuperSport United vs Chippa United SS4 (SA) & SS9 (ROA) Kickoff at 20:00 (CAT)

Brescia vs AC Milan SS9 (SA) & SS8 (ROA) Kickoff at 21:45 (CAT)
Saturday 25 January:

Golden Arrows vs Kaizer Chiefs SS4 (SA) Kickoff at 15:30 (CAT)

Southampton vs Tottenham SS3 Kickoff at 17:00 (CAT)

Valencia vs Barcelona SS7 Kickoff at 17:00 (CAT)

Orlando Pirates vs AmaZulu FC SS4 (SA) & SS9 (ROA) Kickoff at 18:00 (CAT)

Hull City vs Chelsea SS3 Kickoff at 19:30 (CAT)
Sunday 26 January:

Atletico Madrid vs Leganes SS7 Kickoff at 13:00 (CAT)

Inter Milan vs Cagliari SS9 (SA) & SS8 (ROA) Kickoff at 13:30 (CAT)

Manchester City vs Fulham SS3 Kickoff at 15:00 (CAT)

Watford / Tranmere vs Manchester United SS3 Kickoff at 17:00 (CAT)

Shrewsbury vs Liverpool SS3 Kickoff at 19:00 (CAT)

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Roma vs Lazio SS9 (SA) & SS8 (ROA) Kickoff at 19:00 (CAT)

Napoli vs Juventus SS9 (SA) & SS8 (ROA) Kickoff at 21:45 (CAT)

Valladolid vs Real Madrid SS7 Kickoff at 22:00 (CAT)