Premier League Saturday, Gameweek 31: Open Thread

The torture of the international break is over. Even the term, “international break,” is derogatory. It implies that the players went on holiday overseas for a couple of weeks, or took a break from Premier League action when in actual fact the opposite is mostly true. Many of them competed in important but monotonous matches. They’re monotonous because the qualifying stages are so drawn out over a number of years. And that’s one of the reasons why I love watching the Premier League so much. The results this weekend will have immediate impact (and, for some, could have grave consequences if they lose; ahem, Gerard Houllier).

On the menu of Premier League matches today we have several crucial ties. West Ham United against Manchester United (7:45am ET) is a massive match for both clubs. A win here for United and it’ll make their 19th league title even more attainable. A win for the Hammers and this will put them in a plum position to escape relegation.

In the other matches today, we have a lot of clashes between clubs from top of the table against clubs near the bottom including Arsenal against Blackburn, Stoke against Chelsea, West Brom against Liverpool, and Wigan against Spurs. Plus, Birmingham against Bolton, Everton against Aston Villa and Newcastle versus Wolves.

As is the same every Saturday, post your questions, observations, rants and raves either before, during or after the matches today in the comments section below.

Thank heavens the Premier League is back!

40 thoughts on “Premier League Saturday, Gameweek 31: Open Thread”

  1. This old man called Fergie never ceases to amaze me.
    What’s this selection? Does he know his player’s capabilities at all?
    Why put both Berba and Chicarito on the bench? Where is VDS? What’s Nani doing sitting? This man is confused. Old age seems to be telling on him. I wouldn’t do that if I were he. Has he forgotten it was Kuszack in goal when we lost 4-0. This man like last season has ruined United’s season again. This should be a must win match! Now you see? United is 2-0 down in a game they want to win. I foresee Chelsea winning the title again this season if this is the rubbish this man called SAF is going to be doing at this stage of the competition? He is getting old and loosing his midas touch gradually.

    1. super silly.

      they have a packed fixture list. he knew united had the quality to take west ham without the best 11. With the first leg on wednesday, this was the absolutely right lineup.

    2. you must not ever watch united, this isn’t new or surprising. don’t question SAF, he’s been there that long for a reason while we’re all home watching on television for a reason.

    3. You might want to watch the entire match before you post some ridiculous tirade. Down by two on the road against Villa, Blackpool and now West Ham and have taken at least a point from all of them. As Eric said, don’t question SAF, he’s there everyday, he knows his players much better that you do sitting on your couch.
      United has 6 fixtures left this month. Anyone who watches football regularly knows you don’t wear your a-squad out against a side near the relegation zone with a huge CL leg and an FA Cup semifinal coming up.

    4. I’m a City supporter through and through, and even I saw how silly you were being in criticizing SAF for this. I saw the half-time score, and was of course happy, but turned to my wife and said “Ugh, they’ll come back anyway.”

      1. Here in the states it was on ESPN and you could just hear Steve McManaman’s heart breaking live as United began to charge back into the match.

  2. Grant has won the mind game war…

    The we would have had 10pts if not for poor ref decisions. But, then went on to explain that the referee has a much more difficult job today because of the speed of the game… whilst Red nose moans that he should he should be able to speak his mind freely even if its about referees.

  3. is pissing me off again. on their web based the newcastle game keeps jumpin back and forth in 7 minute increments. makes impossible to watch when you are watching the 37th minute and then it jumps to 30th minute. after about a minute there it jumps back to the 37th minute. i figured ok, ill go to the fox soccer app on my ipod. worked for a charm for a few minutes, then when the game was in the 30th minute, the game froze. when i refresh the video, it starts up at the same spot and refreezes. ive done it 5 times and it keeps refreezing. really frustrating dealing with foxsoccer. i got laid off few months ago, and my only extra monthly expenditure is foxsoccer. really frustrating when you spend what little cash i have coming in on foxsoccer and it constantly fails me.

  4. Is anyone else experiencing difficulty with Holy crow, I cannot get this Wigan v. Tottenham game to stay live. It keeps jumping back about ten minutes every time I reload the page. THIS IS SO FRUSTRATING.

    1. I’m having the same issue with the Newcastle-Wolves stream. I sent them an email as I’ve had this issue a few times before and it makes the game unwatchable.

      1. I haven’t been using this morning, so I can’t add anything in terms of what’s happening, but I agree with Pete. Best bet is to send them an e-mail so they’re aware of the situation. Definitely frustrating.

        The Gaffer

        1. I think the problem from the source. I had the same problem with similar service in the middle east. They use the same player and page style as They even have the same billing system. The only different thing is that i get the whole 10 games streaming live online. cheaper too.

        2. Gaffer and all,
          Had the same issue with video skipping on the Birmingham game. For what it’s worth, the email I got back from tech support was to turn off hardware acceleration per below. I saw it too late to try it out and, frankly, seems more likely to be a feed issue than a local computer issue, but did anyone else try it?

          “When the screen is up can you right click (or ctrl click if using a Mac) on the streaming screen then click settings. In the box that pops up can you disable ‘enable hardware acceleration’ by unchecking the box on the first tab then click close.
          Once completed please refresh your screen, usually by pressing F5.”

  5. is doing the same thing to me. I thought it was my computer. This is complete BS. They should at least partially refund the purchase price with all the problems they’ve had this year.

  6. The worst thing is that this is the second time this season that this has happened (that I know of). Last time I remember Spurs not being on tv, the foxsoccer feed was just frozen the whole game. I know that I had to watch the Newcastle game on my phone too. Then they come back and give me a “free week,” which is worthless to me because most Spurs games are on tv. I’ve paid these a**holes for about 6 months, at $15 bucks a pop, and gotten to watch two games uninterrupted (Birmingham, Blackburn). And to top it all off, SPURS ARE PLAYING THEIR B-TEAM AND SUCKING AGAINST WIGAN!!!! AAAARARRRGGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!!!!

  7. I just cannot understand paying money to watch live games online. You are at the mercy of not just the service provider having a good fast network system but also your own internet line speed not to go up and down, which is inevitable. Things would have to be at the level of regular TV for me to even consider that.

  8. Just got in from Stoke Vs Chelsea. Absolutely battered them second half, without Cech we could have won by four. Excellent display of goalkeeping.

    Watch Jon Walters goal, apparently we only score from throw ins and set pieces.

    Nice to see classy Chelsea play on when two Stoke players were down injured, shows how desperate they were to win I suppose.

    Atmosphere was fantastic, am speaking like a chain smoker at the minute I’ve sung myself hoarse. MOTD should be good later. Ahh to be a season ticket holder in the Premier League XXXX

    1. It was definitely a case where Stoke dropped two points in this one. How they didn’t win it in the end, I don’t know. Cech was brilliant, but Stoke missed several clear chances to grab all three points. Definitely an entertaining game, but it must have been a frustrating one to watch for Chelsea supporters.

      The Gaffer

  9. Just as frustrating from a Stoke point of view! I’m definitely not overegging it when I say that it was a throughly entertaining match to watch from the point of view of both sides.

    Cech and Begovic both had to be on top form, but for a bobble I think Chelsea would have got a second.

    Very satisfying to compete with a moneybags side, £50m for Torres is about the total transfer fee of all 11 Stoke starting players. Ancellotti really lost his rag second half, I think he was expecting us to roll over with them having gone 5 matches without conceding.

    Just hope we can keep it up now. Have promised not to have my hair cut until we get knocked out of the FA Cup, it’s getting on for four and a half months now since I last had it snipped. I look like the b@$tard love child of David Luiz and Felliani.

    Kenwyne Jones keeps improving, just need him to get a goal. Walters appears to have got Premier League ‘fit’ and up with the pace too now.

    Good times in the Potteries at the moment.

  10. Gaffer, I’ve noticed that this site’s pages take longer to load since a couple of days ago. It’s not my connection as all other sites load just as fast as before. Not sure if others are having the same problem.

    1. Thanks gents for your feedback on this. It looks like the ad server has locked up and it’s causing the site to run really slowly. I’m trying to track down my developer to get his help to fix the issue. My apologies.

      The Gaffer

  11. I noticed the same problem loading pages. I traced it a few times, and it’s only 40ms, so that’s not it.

    1. Okay, it’s something other than the main EPLTalk server, because when I run Adblock, the page loads quick like it’s supposed to.

  12. Thanks gaffer, the site is now back to normal. The video section on the upper right does not work with Internet Explorer, it works with Chrome.

  13. I am amazed as to how and why does SAF/Rudolph w/ the big red nose keep benching the top goalscorer of the league, Berbatov? This is borderline criminal. The league hasn’t seem such a talented player since Bergkamp (his touches and impact on the game after he came on yesterday was superb).
    I know, SAF this and that, and all the tropheys, etc.
    I just think that Berba and United will become champions despite their senile coach. Thankfully, Arsenal have become the ultimate chokers and have practically gifted the title to Manure.
    Shame, shame on SAF/Rudlph for keeping Berba on the bench! I just feel like Berba is the most underappreciated player in the league; for some reason, the media/fans are waiting for him to fail…don’t care if Rooney scored 3 or 30 yesterday, he isn’t worthy of carrying Berba’s shoes; the bulgarian is X10 more talented than the over-hyped Shreck.

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