Three is a magic number
Ya it is, it’s a magic number
Somewhere in that ancient mystic trinity
You’ll get three
As a magic number
The past, the present, the future,
Faith, and hope, and charity,
The heart, the brain, the body,
Will give you three,
It’s a magic number
Three matches to go!
Three teams still to be relegated!
Three teams in the hunt for the final Champions League spot!
And three of the most magical points there ever were in the EPL to be won Sunday tea-time at Old Trafford!
It simply doesn’t get any better than this. You all know what the 4-star match is this weekend. Read below for the remaining matches…
****: 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, May 7 (all times EDT)
**** West Ham v Blackburn, 10 am, ESPN2/ESPND & espn3.com [Walton]
I was roundly excoriated on this group last week for wondering why on earth ESPN had opted for the meaningless Fulham match when there were much more exciting, better options, like the derby up in Birmingham. Dempsey, you all replied, Dempsey. And what happened, of course? Dempsey didn’t play. Well, maybe the folks at Disney were reading, because they sure got this one right this week. Two teams fighting for their lives. A Black v White showdown. And it’s simply must-win time for Grant and the Hammers. This is the must-watch morning encounter.
*** Aston Villa v Wigan, 10 am, FS+ & foxsoccer.tv [Jones]
Wigan still need points.
*** Everton v Man City, 10 am, FSC/FD [Dowd]
One more win would be enough for City, though with a game in hand, they theoretically could catch Arsenal for 3rd. The Toffees’ dreams of catching their crosstown rivals is all but dead.
* Bolton v Sunderland, 10 am, foxsoccer.tv & 4 pm (delayed) FS+ [Friend]
These teams can play attractive football, but not much meaning now.
** Newcastle v Birmingham, 10 am, foxsoccer.tv & 5 pm (delayed) FSC [Foy]
Birmingham not quite safe.
*** Tottenham v Blackpool, 12:30 pm, FSC/FD [Probert]
Hard to believe the Tangerines had a 3-goal lead and beat Spurs just 10 weeks ago. The points against Stoke & Newcastle may be precious, but they’re still likely to need another win or two to be safe. Do Spurs want 5th? Some of their supporters say not to have any European football next year would be unthinkable — others do not relish the Thursday/Sunday fixtures every week.
Sunday, May 8
**** Wolverhampton v West Brom, 7 am, FS+ & foxsoccer.tv [Dean]
This is a must watch match. It would be the biggest win of the season for Wolves if they can beat their arch-rivals in this derby and possibly climb out of the drop zone with some help from Spurs and Villa. Albion were the one side in the relegation battle to make a brilliant managerial change, and are now safely mid-table. Gold & Sullivan must be thinking ‘if only’.
*** Stoke v Arsenal, 9:05 am, FSC/FD [Halsey]
We all thank Arsenal for finally putting in a great, all-around team performance last Sunday. A terrific win and one that invariably leads us to recall what might have been. Having said that, there is still a rather simple scenario where United, Chelsea & Arsenal all finish on 76 points, so Arsenal should be thinking of pumping in some goals as they trail in goal differential right now. And scoring many may be possible with Stoke thinking ahead a week to Wembley.
**** Man Utd v Chelsea, 11:10 am, FSC/FD [Webb]
THE MATCH OF THE SEASON. And Ferguson knows it too — just look at his lineup choice for Schalke, though obviously beating the German side at home with his Carling Cup roster was a lot easier than playing at Upton Park. Howard Webb draws this humongous match. We can all predict the United lineup based on who didn’t play Wednesday; it will be very interesting to see if Ancelotti again goes with the Drogba-Torres pairing. Arsenal’s 5-man midfield dominated United’s 4 men — will Ferguson stick with Hernandez & Rooney up top if the Blues drop one of Drogba or Torres? Chelsea climb ahead of United on goal differential if they manage any sort of victory — then it would come down to how many goals each side could pump in, with United’s last 2 fixtures against relegation threatened Blackburn and Blackpool, while Chelsea face the less bothered Newcastle & Everton. Would be interesting to see which has the advantage, but we get ahead of ourselves. United only needed a draw against Schalke but pounded them. A win all but gives the title to United, while a draw means United will have to beat the relegation sides to ensure the title. Let’s hope for a great 90 minutes!
Monday, May 9
*** Fulham v Liverpool, 3 pm, ESPN2/ESPND & espn3.com [Mason]
Liverpool will want European soccer and will feel happy about it given their start.
Tuesday, May 10
*** Man City v Tottenham, 2:45 pm, FSC [Dean]
Not what we neutrals had hoped for. Remember last season’s showdown and Spurs victory? Spurs can keep very slim hopes alive with an away victory.