UEFA Europa League quarter-finals 2013, Preview and TV Schedule: Chelsea and Newcastle face tough tests

Richard Heathcote

Chelsea, Newcastle and Tottenham are all in action in an English looking Europa League quarter final stage, but all four ties should make for interesting match-ups.

The Europa League is finally getting interesting as the quarter-final stage has resulted in four intriguing ties, with all eight teams having at least an outside shot of going all the way.

Chelsea vs. Rubin Kazan

Chelsea are a much better side than Rubin, but that doesn't tell the whole story. As well as enduring a nightmare run of fixture congestion, Rafael Benitez's men are in danger of dropping out of the top four in the Premier League and will need to keep an eye on things domestically, and they've also been pretty inconsistent. Rubin, meanwhile, aren't the most watchable of sides, but they've produced some defensive masterclasses to allow them to progress past the likes of Atletico Madrid. This one is very much up for grabs for the Russians.

TV: FOX Soccer Channel (U.S. English), FOX Deportes (U.S. Spanish), ESPN (U.K.), Sportsnet Regional (Canada), NTV (Russia)

Tottenham Hotspur vs. Basel

Spurs will be the favourites to progress, although they've done just enough in most of the rounds so far and could rest players as they look to keep their narrow lead over their rivals Arsenal alive in the Premier League. Basel have some form for surprising English sides too, having put Manchester United out of the Champions League group stage last season, and have plenty of dangerous players to make it interesting. And as Inter Milan showed, even a big win for Spurs won't necessarily mean it's over.

TV: FOX Soccer Plus, FOX Soccer 2Go (U.S.), ITV1 (U.K.), Sportsnet World (Canada), RTS Sport (Switzerland)

Fenerbahce vs. Lazio

Another reasonably well-balanced tie sees Lazio face a daunting trip to Turkey in the first leg. Much like Galatasaray, Fenerbahce have plenty of dangerous forward players in the likes of Moussa Sow and Miroslav Stoch, although could be vulnerable defensively. They'll be hoping to fare better than their rivals did against Real Madrid, and they should be a match for Lazio, although the Italians will probably be slight favourites over the two legs.

TV: FOX Soccer 2Go (U.S.), Star TV (Turkey), Sky Calcio 1 (Italy)

Benfica vs. Newcastle

Perhaps the tie of the round sees two very entertaining teams clash in Portugal in the first leg. Newcastle may occupy a lowly position in the Premier League, but they have a squad stacked with talent and should have some of their stars back from injury after having to field a largely second-string side in their last game, a thrashing at the hands of Manchester City. Benfica, meanwhile, have been somewhat disappointing in terms of free-flowing, attacking football so far in the tournament but an opponent like Newcastle at home should make them come out and play. Both sides have plenty of fun players and like to attack, so this should be one to watch.

TV: Fox Soccer 2Go (U.S.), ITV 4 (U.K.), Sportsnet One (Canada), SIC (Portugal)

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