Hope everyone had a terrific Thanksgiving. Too bad there’s no real football on Turkey Day.
Not sure why, but fewer delayed matches this week means we only get 8 of the 10 for the first time this season on broadcast television (all 10 of course available if you have espn3.com & foxsoccer.tv). Based on the resurgence of Liverpool and the extraordinary matches Spurs have played this year, I’m going to give all 4 stars to the final match of the week at White Hart Lane Sunday. Villa v Arsenal should also be entertaining in the first match early Saturday morning. And look at the bottom for an 11th must-see match to watch!
****: 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 27 (all times EST)
*** Aston Villa v Arsenal, 7:45 am, ESPN2/ESPND & espn3.com
Arsenal are a topsy-turvy team this year, sometimes looking like world beaters, and then in last week’s 2nd half and in their mid-week Champions League match, looking very very ordinary. Villa didn’t score against the Gunners last year.
** Man Utd v Blackburn, 10 am, FSC/FD
They’re going to find a way to win it after all, right?
*** Stoke v Man City, 10 am, FS+ & foxsoccer.tv
If Man City ever turns the offensive jets on, watch out. They’re just 3 points off the leaders.
** Fulham v Birmingham, 10 am, foxsoccer.tv & noon (delayed) FSC
Two teams declining quickly.
* West Ham v Wigan, 10 am, foxsoccer.tv & 5 pm (delayed) FSC/FD
Do I have to give this match a star? Say goodbye, Avram.
** Everton v West Brom, 10 am, foxsoccer.tv & 6 pm (delayed) FS+
The Baggies are sliding down incredibly quickly.
*** Bolton v Blackpool, 10 am, foxsoccer.tv
Well, this is Fox’s first real scheduling mistake of the season. I suppose there are very few USA based fans of these two sides, but those of us without foxsoccer.tv are going to miss an attractive football match. Bolton are playing better than even Spurs right now.
* Wolverhampton v Sunderland, 10 am, foxsoccer.tv
This one probably fine to skip.
Sunday, November 28
** Newcastle v Chelsea, 8:30 am, FS+ & foxsoccer.tv
Chelsea need to win these types of matches to stay level with United.
**** Tottenham v Liverpool, 11 am, FSC/FD
This becomes an important match. Liverpool want back what they feel is rightfully theirs. (CL football.) Spurs advanced easily to the final 16 and may very well win the group to avoid Barcelona and Madrid in the next round.
Monday, November 29
***** Barcelona v Real Madrid, ESPND & espn3.com
Speaking of which… Yes, you read the stars right. The only 5-star match of the season! Barcelona in all their glory and passing, with all of the World Cup heroes, against Cristiano and the Special One. I still haven’t seen whether ESPN2 is going to carry this match, but they should. Otherwise, watch or record ESPN Deportes, or find a way to hook up espn3.com, because this could be a great one. Yes, they are very upset in Spain about this match moving to Monday night (Catalonian elections Sunday), but I saw both Madrid & Barca play mid-week, and they both looked absolutely terrific. With Barca we get the best of Brazil (two attacking full backs that play more like attacking wingers than English style full backs), Spain (Xavi & Iniesta on the ball are just incredible) and Argentina (Messi). Madrid is playing amazing soccer too, and it would be shocking if Jose doesn’t have something up his sleeve for this match (witness the two late red cards for time-wasting in their penultimate group stage match; cheeky). You simply cannot miss el clásico!