It still feels like the biggest matches are ahead of us, but should be some interesting ones, especially at the bottom of the table, presuming United doesn’t look ahead too much to Tuesday night. It’s a shame about Blackpool’s form. Monday night football comes back with a pretty strong match. Maybe LeBron will be Dalglish’s new signing.
***: 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, April 9 (all times EDT)
*** Wolverhampton v Everton, 7:45 am, ESPN2/ESPND & espn3.com [Dowd]
Wolves remain in big trouble, while Moyes’s side should now be safe. Most Wolves games have at least been entertaining, and I love the ESPN production, so start your weekend off with this one.
*** Man Utd v Fulham, 10 am, FSC/FD [Jones]
The league is theirs for the taking. Talk of a treble seems premature with Barcelona still alive, but a double, even without Rooney against Tevez, still seems likely.
** Chelsea v Wigan, 10 am, FS+ & foxsoccer.tv [Webb]
Now will Torres score? Or will he be held back for Tuesday evening?
*** Sunderland v West Brom, 10 am, foxsoccer.tv & noon (delayed) FS+ [Walton]
What a big win for Roy Hodgson and the Baggies Sunday! Terrific appointment. Can he actually keep them up? Because the team he inherited had no concept of how to defend, and now they look solid. Hard to believe West Brom could pass the Black Cats in the league with an away win. Chelsea and Spurs are next, so a loss here for Roy and they may very well be dragged back into it.
** Blackburn v Birmingham, 10 am, foxsoccer.tv & 6 pm (delayed) FS+ [Foy]
I’m struggling a bit to see why Fox favored televising this match and pushed the more goal-scoring positive-minded Bolton-West Ham game off the tube this weekend. I’ll be charitable and give it a second star because it is important for both sides, but these are two I hate watching.
*** Bolton v West Ham, 10 am, foxsoccer.tv only [Probert]
In the Hammers’ last 4 league matches, they played Liverpool, Stoke, Spurs & United, and could easily have been looking at 1 or 3 points. Instead they earned 7, though will be disappointed with the defensive display home to the Red Devils in the second half Saturday. Bolton has been a bogey side for West Ham, though, with Wanderers winning the reverse fixture 1-3 at Upton Park.
** Tottenham v Stoke, 10 am, foxsoccer.tv & 5 pm (delayed) FSC [Friend]
6 and a half hours and running without a goal for Spurs. The team that started so brightly and defended so well against the Milan sides has swooned recently. With almost no chance of advancing to the Champions League semi-finals, they also have an uphill climb in the league to try to secure 4th again. Stoke should be safe.
Sunday, 10 April 10
*** Blackpool v Arsenal, 8:30 am, FSC/FD [Mason]
Blackpool are clinging to 17th and this may be the weekend they drop into the relegation zone. Like their North London rivals, Gunners need to remember how to put the ball in the net.
*** Aston Villa v Newcastle, 11 am, FSC/FD [Attwell]
Villa still need points.
Monday, April 11
*** Liverpool v Man City, 3 pm, ESPN [Halsey]
We saw the best of City Sunday. Do I dare give this game the 3rd star it probably deserves?
Tuesday, April 12
**** Man Utd (1) v Chelsea (0), Champions League quarterfinal leg 2, 2:45 pm, FSC/FD
Usually, I live for these second legs, but this is the only one worth watching this week. United look much better in the back with Vidic & Ferdinand back, though Evra is looking increasingly suspect defensively. Hopefully we get an absolute classic, with Martin Tyler on the call, but it’ll take a first half Chelsea goal to make this one truly exciting.
Wednesday, April 13
** Tottenham (0) v Real Madrid (4), Champions League quarterfinal leg 2, 2:45 pm, FSC/FD
Can it be done? It’s metaphysically possible. What are the odds against a park-the-bus Jose team? Close to nil. This should be a thank-you send-off from the Spurs fans for a great season of European football, and one they’re not likely to repeat next year. If I were Harry, I’d probably rest Bale, and get him ready for the North London derby in a week.