Well, we didn’t get the full panoply of last-game drama. Relegation is done and dusted, the four Champions League places are settled, and it seems quite likely that John Terry will be lifting the trophy at about 1pm ET Sunday afternoon.
But Chelsea still needs a result against a hot-and-cold Wigan side. No channel in the US gives us an option of a split screen Chelsea on the left, United on the right, so you have a few options for the simultaneous matches. Watch Chelsea on your big screen with United on foxsoccer.tv broadband on your computer, or DVR them all and switch back and forth. I’ve added the Championship first leg play-off matches for some added weekend excitement. See below for my ratings.
My ratings system:
: Must-see. Cancel all other activities. Do not even DVR as even in America you might hear the score!
: Strong match; worth watching live; DVR a must if you can’t see live
: Flip through quickly to see the goals, red cards, injuries, and perhaps watch the last 5 minutes + injury time if close
: Only if you’re a die-hard
Matches shown in chronological order:
Saturday, May 8 (all times EDT)
Blackpool v Nottingham Forest, 7:45 am, foxsoccer.tv, 12:30 pm, delayed on FS+
The Tangerines were favorites to be relegated at season start, but they clawed their way into the final play-off spot. Romantics would like to see Forest back in the premier league next year. This is leg 1, with the second leg played on Tuesday evening.
Sunday, May 9
Leicester City v Cardiff, 8:15 am, foxsoccer.tv & espn3.com
The Foxes have had a wild ride this past decade, dropping from the Premier league to the Championship, then for the first time ever dropping out of the top two divisions into League 1 just last year. They were promoted right back to the Championship, and kept their winning ways, finishing fifth, with a real chance to get back to the big-time. Many of us last saw the Bluebirds of Cardiff in the 2008 FA Cup Final, where they were beaten by Pompey. (Yes, Portsmouth could win 2 FA Cup trophies in 3 years!)
Chelsea v Wigan, 11 am, FSC
It appears that Chelsea have done enough, but they still will have to win this match to assure themselves of the championship trophy. Can Martinez’s Wigan play spoiler? Well, they were terrific coming back against Arsenal, but were generally awful at Hull last week. This will probably end up not much of a contest, but if we neutrals are lucky, there will be some tension after all.
Manchester United v Stoke, 11 am, FS+ & foxsoccer.tv
There are two ways United can win the trophy, only one of which is plausible: a win combined with a Chelsea draw or loss. (The second is a draw while Chelsea get beat by 10 goals!) So United will play for the win and hope to get some help. Only lifting the Carling Cup this year will be a big disappointment for Sir Alex and the gang.
Arsenal v Fulham, 11 am, foxsoccer.tv, 1pm FS+ delayed
There is still technically a battle for third between the North London sides, and it is meaningful in terms of Champions League entry. But one would think with just two days rest before the Europa Cup Final in Hamburg, that Roy Hodgson will rest everyone, so the Gunners should be humongous favorites to hold on to third. They just need a draw to claim it.
Burnley v Tottenham, 11 am, foxsoccer.tv, 1pm FSC delayed
Burnley says their good-byes to the Premier League against the newest member of the “Top 4”. Fox has the race for 1st at 11 on both channels and the race for third at 1 pm on both channels. So if you’re from North London, you can watch live on the broadband, or wait two hours and watch both matches on matching televisions plausibly live. Spurs must win and have Fulham win; seems unlikely.
West Ham v Man City, 11 am, ESPN2 HD
The final glorious ESPN hi-def game ends up being a meaningless one. I think by not waiting until Wednesday night to pick their match, ESPN truly erred in not opting for the London derby a few miles north and west of Upton Park. So not much of a match for the neutral, but Hammers faithful will give markedly different welcomes to Carlos Tevez, their continued hero, and Craig Bellamy. Tevez earlier vowed he would not score the goal that relegated West Ham, and now he doesn’t have to. He will get the loudest roar of the day if he scores, but he won’t celebrate it.
Aston Villa v Blackburn
Bolton v Birmingham
Everton v Portsmouth
Wolves v Sunderland
Hull City v Liverpool
While The Gaffer shows all of these matches airing live on foxsoccer.tv, the actual foxsoccer.tv web site does not list any of them, nor do I see any listings on any US channel for any tape-delayed coverage. Not that there’s much to recommend any of them for the neutral. Supporters of these teams can find dodgy streams, or wait for the Review show on Fox.
Remember, the second legs of the Championship play-off will be Tuesday & Wednesday nights, at 2:45 EDT, with Fulham playing Atletico Madrid on Wednesday night in the Europa League Final as well.
If you liked this feature and would like to see it next year, please leave a comment. Thanks, and have a terrific off-season.