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Saturday Football Open Thread

FA Cup action takes most of the headlines in England, with Michael Ngoo in action for Hearts, Roma looking to take points off Serie A leaders Juventus, and a decent slate of Bundesliga action on tap as well.

Alex Livesey

FA Cup:

Luton Town v. Millwall 12:45PM GMT/7:45AM EST
Arsenal v. Blackburn 3:00PM GMT/10:00AM EST
Oldham v. Everton 6:00PM GMT/1:00PM EST

The Luton-Milwall fixture has a nasty bit of history attached to it, and while we certainly won't expect anything similar today, the visiting supporters aren't exactly known for their wonderful manners. The other two noteworthy matchups on the day have lower league sides facing off with Premier League opposition; Arsenal host Blackburn in what could turn out to be a tricky tie just three days before they welcome Bayern to the Emirates, and the now Paul Dickov-less Oldham host Merseyside's other top flight club at Boundary Park, where they'll hope to have some sort of respite from the form that's seen them slip into the relegation zone in League One.


Cardiff City v. Bristol City 1:00PM GMT/8:00AM EST
Birmingham City v. Watford 3:00PM GMT/10:00AM EST
Crystal Palace v. Middlesbrough 3:00 GMT/10:00AM EST

League leaders Cardiff host Bristol in Wales in a bookend matchup--Craig Bellamy's side have an eight-point lead over Hull City with a game in hand, while Bristol are just one point off the bottom despite winning three of their last four. Watford and their band of loanee non-loanees have been a decent watch and can push closer to a guaranteed promotion spot with all three points at St. Andrews, while Crystal Palace and Middlesbrough face off in a matchup of the league's fifth- and sixth-place teams.

Scottish Premier League:

Hearts v. Kilmarnock 3:00PM GMT/10:00AM EST

Michael Ngoo continued his fine form with a goal against Dundee United last weekend in the 3-1 loss, controlling gently with his right foot from a failed clearance and blasting in off the post to cut the host's lead to one. It's hard to tell just how his early successes in the SPL will convert after he returns to Liverpool (if they'll even have a chance to), but it's certainly nice to see him taking advantage of the opportunity that's been afforded. Celtic's not going to be troubled by anyone at the top of the table, but Hearts could temporarily draw within four points of third-place Motherwell with a win.

La Liga:

Granada v. Barcelona 7:00PM GMT/2:00PM EST

Granada made headlines two weeks ago when they beat Real Madrid 1-0 at home, widening the gap between Jose Mourinho's squad and their opponents today, who'll have one eye--maybe two, possibly even three or four--on Wednesday's visit to the San Siro to face AC Milan.

Serie A:

Roma v. Juventus 7:45PM GMT/2:45PM EST

The Celtic-Juventus Champions League tie is all but finished after the Italian side scored three at Parkhead, but they'll be wary of a letdown that could see Napoli draw within two points with a win on Sunday. Roma's response to the sacking of Zdenek Zeman was mostly jamming hands in pockets, kicking pebbles and mumbling to themselves stuff last weekend with a 3-1 loss at Sampdoria, and it'll be interesting to see if they can muster anything more positive at home against the champions.


Hamburg v. Monchengladbach 2:30PM EST/9:30AM EST
Dortmund v. Frankfurt 5:30 PM GMT/12:30PM EST

HEUNG-MIN SON!@!#! Also, Hamburg and Monchengladbach are by just a point, with Hamburg narrowly hanging on to the final Europa League qualifying spot after their resounding--and somewhat surprising--win at Dortmund last weekend. And after their 2-2 draw in Donetsk, last season's champions will host fourth-place Frankfurt, who could leapfrog their hosts with a win.

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