EPL Weekly Viewing Guide, Gameweek 33

And then there was one:  only United survive in Europe.  So the distractions from the league are dwindling.  Obviously a humongous match on Sunday for Stoke and Bolton at the Reebok, with one heading to Europe next year and a May 14 final at Wembley.  United is not likely to falter in the league at this point, so one big race is again the fight for fourth, with City showing extreme vulnerability after being destroyed at Anfield Monday night.  Spurs can lick their Madrid wounds this weekend and then prepare for the big derby on Wednesday night at White Hart Lane.  And then the relegation scrap, with Blackpool v Wigan the biggest “6-pointer” this week.  Wolves and Fulham each get another full week to stew in preparation for their match next Saturday.

****:  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, April 16 (all times EDT)

** West Brom Chelsea, 10 am, FSC/FD [Probert]

This year’s great escape seems just-about-assured.  Hodgson almost deserves manager of the year for how he has converted this awful defensive team over the last few weeks.

*** West Ham Aston Villa, 10 am, FS+ & foxsoccer.tv [Oliver]

Almost a must-win now for the on-again, off-again, and decidedly off since the second half of the United game, for the Hammers.

*** BirminghamSunderland, 10 am, foxsoccer.tv & 2 pm (delayed) FS+ [Dowd]

McLeish will want points here, with the Stamford Bridge rescheduled match 3 days later.  3 points and they’ll feel reasonably safe.  A loss to the Black Cats and City fans will be nervous about Europe from the Championship.

** EvertonBlackburn, 10 am, foxsoccer.tv & 9:30 pm (delayed) FSC [Friend]

Still an outside chance for the Toffees to catch their cross-town rivals, but not if Liverpool keep playing the way they did on Monday night.  Blackburn still need points.

*** Blackpool Wigan, 10 am, foxsoccer.tv only [Walton]

The Bloomfield Road fan support is still terrific, but the team:  not so much.  Neither side has impressed and they may very well both go down.  Huge match, though.

*** Man City Man Utd, FA Cup Semifinal, 12:15 pm, FSC/FD [Dean]
No Rooney, no Tevez takes a bit away from this one, though it’s still a derby, and still pretty meaningful for both sides.  Those who have followed this column all year know about my weekly dilemma with how many stars to give for City matches.  The usual happened last week when I gave them the extra star for the Liverpool match and they delivered an absolute stinker.  So I’m downgrading back to 3-stars and hoping I’m wrong for the 15th straight week!

**** Bonus match:  Real Madrid v Barcelona, 4 pm, ESPND & GOLTV & espn3.com

Less scarcity value this year, as we will see these teams face off four more times in quick succession (!), but it will be interesting to see how Jose plays this one after being shellacked at the Camp Nou, and thinking through all of the chess moves ahead.  But it’s still must-see TV!

Sunday, April 17

**** ArsenalLiverpool, 11 am, FSC/FD [Marriner]

Is Liverpool actually back?  Andy Carroll was absolutely terrific Monday.  And I’m not just talking about the 2 goals, but the movement off the ball, the constant darting runs, the genuine understanding he seems to have already established with Suarez.  And the Reds were first to every ball and dominated in every area of the pitch.  And this American owner showed Roman how to buy strikers!

**** BoltonStoke, FA Cup Semifinal, 11 am, FS+ & foxsoccer.tv [Webb]

Both teams will go for it, each in their inimitable style, with not much else to play for in the league save a top 10 finish.

Tuesday, April 19

** NewcastleMan Utd, 2:45 pm, ESPN2/ESPND & espn3.com [Probert]

United have gotten good at these quick turnaround matches, with the team depth to take maximum points.  Newcastle may need another point, but they’ll be fine.

Wednesday, April 20

** ChelseaBirmingham, 2:45 pm, FSC/FD [Jones]

Ancelotti a clear lame-duck?  Chelsea need to finish the season strong and ensure a top 3 (preferably top 2) finish.

**** TottenhamArsenal, 2:45 pm, ESPN2/ESPND & espn3.com [Atkinson]

Both sides have struggled more than you’d have thought to score goals.  “Broadway” Danny Rose to start to get another one for Spurs in this one?  A pretty challenging run of matches for both sides.

24 thoughts on “EPL Weekly Viewing Guide, Gameweek 33”

  1. It’s a shame Blackpool-Wigan isn’t going to appear on real television. I think it’s the best three o’clock kickoff of the day. If one of the teams wins that game, the consequences will be profound.

    1. In my opinion, if Wigan win, they both go down. If Blackpool win, they likely will stay up. Should be a great (& definitely scoring) game.

  2. Not sure you understand the significance of Manchester Derby in London. It’s a 5-star game… not doubt.

    Can United prevent City from winning a trophy again this year? Who will be present at Wembley in mid-May for the FA Cup final?

    This game is so important on multiple levels for both sides. Finally, City are not at home and will not be playing ultra-defensive :)

    Expect a couple red cards and perhaps a high score.

    4-2 United!

    1. “Those who have followed this column all year know about my weekly dilemma with how many stars to give for City matches. The usual happened last week when I gave them the extra star for the Liverpool match and they delivered an absolute stinker. So I’m downgrading back to 3-stars and hoping I’m wrong for the 15th straight week!”

  3. What channel is El Classico on? They said ESPN 2 and Deportes on Monday’s City/LFC game but the listings aren’t showing it. Can someone confirm?

      1. I’m in a dilemma, do I watch the El Classico in HD on Espn3 or watch on Gol TV standard def and listen to Ray Hudson. Decisions Decisions…

  4. [I’m in a dilemma, do I watch the El Classico in HD on Espn3 or watch on Gol TV standard def and listen to Ray Hudson. Decisions Decisions…]

    Easy decision since Ray Hudson is partnered with Phil Schoen who is the worst commentator around. He talks for the sake of talking and his knowledge of the game is so poor as to be absolutely pathetic. I love watching la Liga on Gol Tv but I ALWAYS hit the mute button when Phil Schoen is commentating.

    In the past ESPN2 has shown El Classico so I’m surprised that they aren’t doing so this time.

    1. GolTV has the English TV language rights to both Clasicos, ESPN only has the Spanish language rights, but ESPN can use English commentary on ESPN3 online only, can’t be on TV (no ESPN2).

  5. I agree about Phil Schoen on Gol TV. He ruins the viewing experience with his incessant, useless talk. ESPN3.com is where I’ll watch it. If Gol TV was in HD then I’d watch it there but with the sound off.

    The EPL match of the week is definitely Arsenal vs Liverpool. With United not playing an EPL game till midweek Arsenal have a chance of moving closer to United with a win. Won’t be easy as Liverpool are playing better and their strikeforce can cause problems to any defence, especially one like Arsenal’s which is suspect to begin with. Still I think Arsenal can win as Liverpool’s defence is a makeshift one with Aurelio and Flangan on the wings. One is injury-prone (Aurelio can hurt himself getting up) and the other is very young and inexperienced. I can see quite a few goals being scored in this one and will give the edge to Arsenal.

  6. Don’t want to make any of you jealous or owt but I’ll be at Wembley on Sunday, might not be ***** on the pitch but the crowd will be. I think we hold the record for the loudest crowd at the old stadium when we played Stockport in 92.

  7. Predictions:
    West Brom 1 – Chelsea 1
    Chelsea are still hungover from their loss in the CL. West Brom are playing with belief and at home. Won’t even be surprised if they win although I think a draw is in the cards.

    West Ham 2 – Aston Villa 2
    West Ham are better at home and after last week’s loss will play better and get a result against Villa who have been very inconsistent. They had a good win last week and should put in a decent performance. Not much to separate these teams so I’m going for a draw.

    Everton 2 – Blackburn 0
    Blackburn could be in trouble and get draggged down towards relegation. Everton at home should win this easily.

    Birmingham 2 – Sunderland 2
    Birmingham are difficult to beat at home and Sunderland need to win after a string of defeats. I think Sunderland will get a draw as I cannot see their slump continue with the talent they have.

    Manchester City 1 – Manchester United 1 and United win on penalties.
    Without Tevez City will find it difficult to trouble the United backline. United will miss Rooney who has been playing very well as of late. Neither team will want to lose so it will end in a draw after extra time with United’s experience winning it on penalties.

    Arsenal 2 – Liverpool 2
    Both teams will trouble the other’s defence. Liverpool have a makeshift defence that Arsenal will exploit. But Liverpool’s strikeforce will also get the better of Arsenal’s suspect defence.

    Bolton 3 – Stoke 1
    Bolton will take it to Stoke and will win it easily. I’d have given Stoke a chance it they were playing at home but at a neutral site I think Bolton will prevail.

    Newcastle 2 – Manchester United 1
    Newcastle will get a shock win after United’s penalty shootout win in the FA Cup and their tiredness will show.

    Spurs 1 – Arsenal 2
    Arsenal will bounce back from their disappointing draw with Liverpool to beat Spurs.

    Real Madrid 2 – Barcelona 1 (will watch on Gol TV but with the mute button pressed as I cannot stand Phil Schoen’s loud voice and lack of soccer insight).
    Barcelona have the title in the bag so will let this game go and concentrate on their midweek clash in the Copa del Ray final which will be won by Barcelona.

  8. I agree with most of your predictions Kevin but I think Manchester City will beat United. Rooney is more important for United than Tevez is to City. I think City will come back from their disastrous showing at Liverpool on Monday and cause United problems. This will be a cagey affair with not much goals. Maybe 1-0 for a scoreline.

    Arsenal will beat Liverpool. Liverpool haven’t won at Arsenal in many a year. Liverpool’s dedfence won’t be able to cope with the likes of Nasri, Arshavin, Van persie and Wolcott. Can see this one go 3-1 to the Gunners.

  9. West Ham vs Aston Villa should be a good, open game so I’m looking forward to it. I hope foxsoccer.tv doesn’t have the problems of the past two weeks and ruin the game.

    Arsenal vs Liverpool should also be a very entertaining game as Liverpool are more attack-minded since Daglish has been their manager. Should see a few goals in this game. Happy that it’s on FSC and in HD.

    Manchester City vs Manchester United is the pick of the weekend with the game being an eleimination affair. I hope we get to see a more adventorous City or else it will end up being a bore.

    Bolton vs Stoke might just end up being the better FA Cup semifinal game. Evenly matched in my opinion. Again I hope foxsoccer.tv doesn’t drop the ball on this one too.

  10. I’m also looking forward to seeing the West Ham – Aston Villa game. The Hammers play well at home and Villa are beginning to get results so this should be a good game. I also hope foxsoccer.tv don’t mess up with their stream. They had problems again today during the Norwich game. Shame as they were once quite reliable.

  11. That Torres ebay bid is just too funny. Thanks Jason for sharing.

    The FA Cup action this weekend will be the most exciting. City vs United is a derby that hardly ever disappoints and this being an FA Cup semifinal on neutral ground will be even more intriguing. United are favorites but City have the quality to win. Much will depend on the tactics City employ. United will employ the same tactics they alsways use which is attack from the get-go and stretch the field with their cross-passes.
    Bolton vs Stoke is an evenly matched game and I’m looking to see if Bolton’s free-flowing style can overcome Stoke’s dogged physicality. Stoke can also score with Jones upfront and Pennant on the wing. Looking forward to this one too.

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