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How Many Premier League Games In a Season Are Must-See TV?

 How Many Premier League Games In a Season Are Must See TV?

Pop quiz! Out of the 380 games in the 2010-11 Premier League season, how many matches would you say are a must-see? Sure, there are always matches that sneak up and surprise you with their quality, but how many in a typical season would you, before the season started, write down as must-see matches? 100? 75? 50?

There are Super Sundays, massive derby clashes, cross-town rivals and bitter enemies. And then there are the games which, on paper, look like they’d be rather boring such as Stoke City against Birmingham, but they turn into a pleasant surprise. But those are games that generally you can’t bank on being a must-see.

Think about the teams in the division before guessing your answer. And don’t forget to count both the home and away match.

Now that you have a number in mind. Here’s how many I believe most soccer fans who watch the Premier League would answer:

The answer is 24. It’s 24 out of 380 matches played, which represents just 6.3% of the games. Those games are:

  • Manchester City vs Manchester United,
  • Manchester United v Manchester City,
  • Liverpool v Manchester United,
  • Manchester United v Liverpool,
  • Chelsea v Manchester United,
  • Manchester United v Chelsea,
  • Arsenal v Manchester United,
  • Manchester United v Arsenal,
  • Chelsea v Liverpool,
  • Liverpool v Chelsea,
  • Arsenal v Chelsea,
  • Chelsea v Arsenal,
  • Liverpool v Everton,
  • Everton v Liverpool,
  • Arsenal v Spurs,
  • Spurs v Arsenal,
  • Arsenal v Liverpool,
  • Liverpool v Arsenal,
  • Liverpool v Manchester City,
  • Manchester City v Liverpool,
  • Manchester City v Arsenal,
  • Arsenal v Manchester City,
  • Chelsea v Manchester City,
  • Manchester City v Chelsea.

Now if I was creating my own list, I would add to that Newcastle v Sunderland (home and away) and Birmingham City versus Aston Villa (home and away), which would increase the the number of games to 28, which only increases the percentage of must-see games from 6.3% to 7.3%.

There are a few ways you can look at this. One, that 92.7% of the games may not be must-sees but may surprise you with their quality when you watch them. Two, the number of games that are must-see are now far more that Manchester City have joined the echelon of Premier League clubs. Without the money they’ve spent and their success on the field, the above list of 24 would be lowered to 18 (the Manchester derby would still stick). Three, if Tottenham Hotspur can compete at the highest level and most especially compete against the top teams in the Premier League (who they have a horrible record against), then they could join the above list. Right now, they’re on the fringes.

The above list is not meant to be derogatory to the teams in the Premier League who are not listed. Some of the most enjoyable games I watch feature teams outside of the Big Four. But the fact is that many soccer fans gravitate to the big games. And some of the more casual fans may only try to watch the big games themselves.

What do you think? Is the above list of 24 games complete? Should some of those matches be removed, or should some that are not listed above be added? Share your opinion in the comments section below.


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About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
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