Wow, what a weekend Gameweek 6 was. The four Champions League sides really struggled, producing a single point amongst them, and Liverpool, even benefiting from a gift goal, could not win at Anfield. (Five demerits to me for not mentioning the exploding balloon match). I doubt any 27-year olds will be assigned for the reverse fixture on March 19. In fact, you can circle that date as all of the matches we saw this past weekend will be reversed for the 19th/20th of March. I imagine we’ll get Chelsea v Man City in the Sunday 11 am match this time (west coast viewers will be happier!) while I’ll bet they give more prominence to Sunderland v Liverpool given the last two meetings. But I’m thinking too far ahead.
Let’s move back to the first matches of October! Chelsea v Arsenal at the Bridge is clearly our 4-star match of this weekend. Spurs v Villa should be very entertaining (3 stars) and the second London derby may provide some end-to-end action too. We have another early season 6-pointer in the early kickoff match, which will be aired on ESPN Deportes & espn3.com, but not on ESPN2 (fishing shows), and we’ll give it the appropriate 1-star. Enjoy your fix, and we’ll be back in 2 weeks after the international break.
**** 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, October 2 (all times EDT)
* Wigan v Wolverhampton, 7:45 am, espn3.com & ESPN Deportes
The away side won each match last year.
*** West Ham v Fulham, 9:55 am, FS+ & foxsoccer.tv & 10 pm (delayed) FS+
2 great matches last year, with 9 goals scored. Hammers looked terrific Saturday against Spurs, while Fulham’s matches have been exciting.
*** Sunderland v Man Utd, 10 am, ESPN2 & espn3.com
Steve Bruce looks forward to this match and Sunderland look comfortably mid-table. Not all is right for Sir Alex’s boys, especially away from Old Trafford, where they have now conceded 7, though the kids looked good Wednesday night in Spain.
*** Tottenham v Aston Villa, 10 am, FSC & FSE & 6 pm (delayed & condensed to 1 hour) FSC
Look who has 10 points! Both matches ended in draws last year.
** Birmingham v Everton, 10 am foxsoccer.tv & 12 noon (delayed) FSC & 2 pm (delayed) FSE
These two played two draws last season. Birmingham also look comfortably mid-table, while Everton need to pretend it’s April and not October. Like Man City & Villa, Birmingham have only conceded 1 at home.
* Stoke v Blackburn, 10 am foxsoccer.tv & 4 pm (delayed) FS+
** West Brom v Bolton, 10 am foxsoccer.tv & Sunday 10:30 am (delayed) FS+
Not many sides will score 3 at the Emirates (after missing a penalty too!). Bolton had a great game plan against United and deserved their draw. Had Elmander been able to convert, Bolton might have taken all 3 points.
Sunday, October 3
*** Man City v Newcastle, 8:30 am, FS+ & foxsoccer.tv
Newcastle have come back up all pistons firing, but City simply do not concede goals. They have not yet put together the brilliant offensive attack we thought we might get (losing Bellamy took away some of their flair), but they are playing like one of the better Italian sides.
** Liverpool v Blackpool, 10 am foxsoccer.tv & 5 pm (delayed) FSC & FSE
Hodgson just can’t seem to get it going.
**** Chelsea v Arsenal, 11 am, FSC
No away side has scored at the Bridge, and Chelsea has only allowed the late consolation Scott Parker goal and Tevez’s brilliant finish Saturday this season. You all will remember last season, when Chelsea simply man-handled the lightweights from North London, easily winning both matches without coming close to allowing a Gunner goal. Is Arsenal strong enough to challenge this year? From what we saw at the Emirates against West Brom: no.