Sometimes the fixture gods of the Premier League generate a random weekend where there are so many talking points to look forward to, such as the games scheduled this weekend. While many of us will be keeping a close eye on the Real Madrid against Barcelona El Classico, there are plenty of classics in store in the EPL this weekend including:
- Arsenal face their bogey team Middlesbrough at the Riverside. It’s about time Boro get their act together again, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a surprise home win for Gareth Southgate’s side (Saturday, 7:45am ET, Setanta Sports).
- Sunderland and West Bromwich Albion face a massive six pointer at the foot of the Premier League on Saturday. A loss for either team could be a massive blow to their Premier League survival chances. With West Brom suffering from the loss of Ishmael Miller to injury, Tony Mowbray’s side may be firing blanks up front. The question is which Sunderland side will turn up? The anti-football one that lost against Man United, the pathetic side that lost 4-1 to Bolton, or the half decent side that can be enjoyable to watch? The shame of all of this is that the game isn’t being shown on live television in North America (Saturday, 10am ET, not televised).
- One of the most entertaining matches may be Liverpool against Hull City at Anfield. I’m predicting lots of goals in this one. Let’s see if Hull City can shock Liverpool the way they did when they almost beat Man United at Old Trafford earlier in the season (Saturday, 10am ET, Setanta Sports).
- Tottenham against Manchester United. This one will be an intriguing match between two veteran managers. Is Tottenham’s revival a flash in the pan, or can they exploit Man United’s weaknesses that we continue to see on the Champions League stage? Plus it’s your last chance to watch United play in the EPL until a couple of weeks from now as they head to Japan early next week for the FIFA World Club Championship (Saturday, 12:30pm ET, Fox Soccer Channel).
- The Lancashire derby between Wigan and Blackburn is a must-win game for Paul Ince. A loss for Rovers could severely damage Ince’s chances of remaining in charge at the club and will add a huge amount of pressure on the first black manager in the Premier League (Saturday, 10am ET, no live TV but will be shown on tape delay at 8pm ET on Fox Soccer Channel.
- The London derby between Chelsea and West Ham is enticing too especially as it sees the return of Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola to Stamford Bridge. This should be an intriguing match to see what tactics Zola employs, and whether Scolari starts with Anelka or Drogba up front (Sunday, 11am ET, Fox Soccer Channel).
Here are the other matches that will be featured on TV that aren’t listed above:
- Aston Villa v Bolton, Saturday, 10am ET, Setanta Xtra
- Manchester City v Everton, Saturday, 10am ET, Fox Soccer Channel
- Portsmouth v Newcastle, Sunday, 8:30am ET, Setanta Sports
The one match missing from the list above is Stoke against Fulham, which is not being televised. Rory Delap will probably miss the game due to injury, so let’s see what Stoke are made of without their secret weapon.
Which matches are you looking forward to this weekend? And what surprises, if any, do you predict? Don’t forget to enter your predictions into the EPL Talk Predictor, too!