We have our first mid-week contests coming up, so I think the approach I’m going to take this season is to list all 20 matches for the week ahead, rather than 2 separate guides, so take a deep breath, and here goes.
If there is one match all year I would give 5 stars to, I think it would be the Manchester derby. Last year we were treated to four of these, and they were simply extraordinary!! I certainly hope Tevez is back and healthy. City may miss Bellamy’s heroics, though Michael Owen got the late winner as the clock ticked on and on. ESPN2 will be carrying this amazing match. The Liverpool v Chelsea encounter on Sunday still earns my fourth star for this weekend, for historical reasons.
****: 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, November 6 (final day of EDT)
*** Bolton v Tottenham, 8:45 am, ESPN2/ESPND, espn3.com
The third star is for Bale, as there is no better player in the world to watch right now!! What a win for Spurs on Tuesday night.
** Man Utd v Wolverhampton, 11 am, FSC/FD
Wolves did not manage a goal against United last year, though they looked terrific against City last week.
* Sunderland v Stoke, 11 am, foxsoccer.tv & 1 pm (delayed) FSC
* Birmingham v West Ham, 11 am, foxsoccer.tv & 1 pm (delayed) FD
** Blackpool v Everton, 11 am, foxsoccer.tv & 5 pm (delayed) FS+
* Blackburn v Wigan, 11 am, foxsoccer.tv & Sunday 10:30 am (delayed) FS+
Sunday, November 7 (all times EST)
*** Arsenal v Newcastle, 8:30 am, FS+ & foxsoccer.tv
This should be a fun one. Tough loss for Arsenal mid-week; Newcastle couldn’t have dreamed of a better scenario than what they did to rivals Sunderland.
*** West Brom v Man City, 10 am, foxsoccer.tv & 5 pm (delayed) FSC/FD
Terrific top-of-the-table clash, though the sides spend a bit differently.
**** Liverpool v Chelsea, 11 am, FSC/FD
Liverpool is only 5 points out away from a Champions League spot! There was a time when this fixture came too frequently. Liverpool was blanked by identical 2-nil margins in last year’s matches. Chelsea are still the team to beat.
Tuesday, November 9
* Stoke v Birmingham, 2:45 pm, ESPND & espn3.com
** Tottenham v Sunderland, 3 pm, FSC/FD
Wednesday, November 10
*** Chelsea v Fulham, 2:45 pm, FSC/FD
** Wigan v Liverpool, 2:45 pm, FS+ & foxsoccer.tv
** Newcastle v Blackburn, 2:45 pm, foxsoccer.tv & 5 pm (delayed) FSC
* West Ham v West Brom, 2:45 pm, foxsoccer.tv & 5 pm (delayed) FS+
** Aston Villa v Blackpool, 2:45 pm, ESPN3.com
I can’t find any delayed offerings of this match on television. FSC & FS+ have lots of FA Cup Round 1 matches to show, and still seem to prefer to show “classic” matches over 1-day delayed EPL matches. I still think they should show matches like this one at 2 in the morning.
**** Man City v Man Utd, 3 pm, ESPN2/ESPND & espn3.com
The big one, and terrific that we should have Ian Darke live on site for this one. Hearing that Tevez should be fit and back. What a derby!
** Everton v Bolton, 3 pm, ESPN3.com
*** Wolverhampton v Arsenal, 3 pm, ESPN3.com