****: 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 23 (all times EDT)
*** Man Utd v Everton, 7:45 am, ESPN2/ESPND & espn3.com [Walton]
Everton playing well again. United have definitely benefited from Arsenal’s frailties this season but could have one eye on Germany.
*** Liverpool v Birmingham, 10 am, FSC [Webb]
Could Liverpool actually join Birmingham in Europe next year? We’ll see which team we get this week in this Jekyll and Hyde season.
* Aston Villa v Stoke, 10 am, FS+ & foxsoccer.tv [Foy]
Both just about safe and mid-table. So clearly Fox doesn’t understand how much more interesting Sunderland v Wigan is.
**** Wolverhampton v Fulham, 10 am, foxsoccer.tv & noon (delayed) FS+ [Oliver]
Just a humongous match for Wolves, along with their visit to Stoke Tuesday night. We’ll get a good sense if they are going down or if they are dragging sides like Fulham and Stoke into it.
*** Tottenham v West Brom, 10 am, FD & foxsoccer.tv & 5 pm (delayed) FSC [Attwell]
Spurs can catch City still so these are 3 important points.
** Blackpool v Newcastle, 10 am, foxsoccer.tv & 6:30 am Sunday (delayed) FS+ [Atkinson]
I really don’t understand why Fox can’t put every one of the 10 matches on each weekend, even delayed into the late evening or early morning hours as they are doing this weekend with Blackpool v Newcastle. Of course, diehards will subscribe to foxsoccer.tv, but for those who do pay for FSC & FS+, I don’t see why we couldn’t have Sunderland v Wigan on, say, at 4:30 am. Meanwhile, I don’t know if I can bear to watch these final Blackpool matches as their utter implosion continues.
*** Sunderland v Wigan, 10 am, foxsoccer.tv only [Probert]
Black Cats crashing down the table, and Wigan are still favorites for the drop.
*** Chelsea v West Ham, 12:30 pm, FSC/FD [Dowd]
I’m not sure why Ancelotti was saying “We really blew this season.” The way I look at it if Chelsea can win their final five matches, they still have a decent shot at the title! The Hammers look truly doomed. Stay tuned for West Ham-Millwall matches 2x next year.
Sunday, April 24
*** Bolton v Arsenal, 11 am, FSC/FD [Jones]
My view is that Arsenal really blew it. They certainly should have beaten Liverpool, and had Spurs well beaten too! It may not be over yet, but I think Wenger is going to have to stop blaming everyone else and really improve both is squad and the training methods that saw his team exhausted at the end of matches late in the season.
Monday, April 25
*** Blackburn v Man City, 3 pm, ESPN2/ESPND & espn3.com [Marriner]
Very important for both sides, as City strive for Champions League football and prep for the FA Cup final, while Rovers are still in deep trouble.
Tuesday, April 26
**** Schalke v Man United, Champions League Semifinal Leg 1, 2:45 pm, FSC/FD
An away goal = Wembley?
*** Stoke v Wolverhampton, 2:45 pm, FS+ & foxsoccer.tv [Mason]
I imagine I’ll watch Schalke – United first, but this is a big match.
Wednesday, April 27 ***** bonus match: Real Madrid v Barcelona, Champions League Semifinal Leg 1, 2:45 pm, FX/FD
Note that the Wednesday semifinal legs have been upgraded this year from Fox Soccer Channel to the more widely broadcast FX channel. Jose’s Pepe-in-the-middle strategy is generally working and these teams are getting awfully feisty after repeated matches. Cards may be important here.
** Fulham v Bolton, 3 pm, FS+ & foxsoccer.tv [Taylor]
If Fullham beat Wolves, downgrade this to 1 star and watch the Clásico.