DO Europe’s top leagues align their diaries to ensure some of the big games are played over the same weekend? Next weekend, Spain, Austria, the Netherlands and Italy all have huge clashes, while in midweek, we have the FA Cup quarter-finals and another round of Champions League games.
Monday March 13
In Northern Ireland, two of the front-runners, Crusaders and Cliftonville meet, while the last Scottish Cup quarter-final, Falkirk versus Ayr, takes place. The other semi-finalists: Rangers, Celtic and Inverness Caledonian Thistle.
Tuesday March 14
Two UEFA Champions League last 16 second legs. Porto host Inter with the Italians having a one-goal advantage and Manchester City and RB Leipzig are all-square at 1-1. Who will join Chelsea, AC Milan, Benfica and Bayern Munich in the last eight?
Wednesday March 15
The last Champions League ties, Italian chamopions elect Napoli are at home to Frankfurt and have a two-goal lead from the first leg in Germany. Napoli are 18 points clear at the top of Serie A. Real Madrid won their first leg at Liverpool 5-2, so will be hoping to finish Jürgen Klopp’s side off at home. In the Premier League, the oddest “derby”, Brighton v Crystal Palace, the clash of seagulls and eagles, kicks off.
Thursday March 16
Manchester United have got their Europa League round of 16 tie sewn-up unless something seismic happens in Seville. Real Betis trail 4-1. Arsenal will have to work hard against Sporting Lisbon after their 2-2 draw in Portugal, but as Premier League leaders, they will be favourites to go through. Real Sociedad trail by two goals to Roma, who travel to Basque country for the second leg. In the Conference League, West Ham host AEK Larnaca with a 2-0 lead from their game in Cyprus.
Friday March 17
Cracking League One action with Sheffield Wednesday at home to Bolton Wanderers.
Saturday March 18
In the FA Cup sixth round, Manchester City welcome their former skipper Vincent Kompany and his Burnley side to the Etihad. In the Premier, struggling teams have tough tasks, including Southampton v Tottenham and Chelsea v Everton. League Two sees a promotion tussle with Carlisle United at home to Stevenage.
Sunday March 19
Three FA Cup quarter-finals: Sheffield United v Blackburn, Brighton v Grimsby Town and Manchester United v Fulham. It’s also the last eight in the Women’s FA Cup, with Lewes hosting Manchester United, Brighton going to Birmingham, Reading playing Chelsea and Aston Villa at home to Manchester City. In Spain, it’s El Clasico time, with Barca v Real Madrid. In Italy, the Derby d’Italia, Inter versus Juve takes place, and it’s the Rome derby aswell, Lazio v Roma. Ajax and Feyenoord meet headlong in Amsterdam, while in Vienna, Austria Wien are at home to Rapid.