EPL Weekend Viewing Guide, Gameweek 36

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.

13 thoughts on “EPL Weekend Viewing Guide, Gameweek 36”

  1. Chelsea v ManU on Mother’s Day is a KILLER!! This will take some serious husband skills to pull this off!

  2. United win would mean 1pt needed from last two matches (if Chelsea doesn’t drop)

    Draw would mean United would need a draw and a win (4pts total) against Blackburn/Blackpool (if Chelsea doesn’t drop)

    Will leave it to Chelsea fans to say how much of an advantage being level on points and some sort of greater GD would be (if Chelsea wins on Sunday)

  3. West Ham play much better at home and with Scott Parker back in the lineup I see them winning against Blackburn. Not sure if it will be good enough to keep them up but it’s a huge step in the right direction.

    Aston Villa vs Wigan is a tought one to call. Both teams are capable of winning and just as capable of losing. Villa are without Houllier on the touchline and last week’s loss was a bad one. Wigan could steal this game but I think it’s more likely to be another draw for them.

    Wolves must beat West Brom of having any chance of staying up. It will be tough as West Brom are the in-form team at the moment. I just don’t see Wolves winning especially since Hodgson has improved West Brom’s defence.

    Everton always well at home and are tough to beat there. I can see them beating a City side with one eye on the FA Cup final. City players will be afraid of getting injured so I can see Everton getting a draw at worse.

    Spurs will have known of City’s result and as i think City will get a draw at best at Everton Spurs will go all out to win this one whcih is bad news for Blackpool. Blackpool have really struggled of late and I just don’t see them getting anything from this game.

    United vs Chelsea is the big one and I just don’t see United losing at home in a game they know will win them the title if they win or draw. In front of their home fans United are unbeatable and I think they will win this one. Chelsea haven’t really played that well even if they have got the results of late. They will become derailed at old Trafford. Title race will practically end here.

  4. The biggest game of the season has already been ruined with Howard Webb as referee. Thank god it’s mother’s day so I will be able to enjoy the day with family rather than a game ruined by Webb who likes to make decisions that will talked about. Besides he is so pro-United I cannot see Chelsea winning this one.

    Of Saturday’s games, I’m looking forward to the West Ham – Blackburn game and hope West Ham win. I think Manchester City might stumble against Everton away and that will give Spurs the opportunity to take advantage by beating Blackpool. Bad news for Blackpool.

    On Monday Fulham vs Liverpool should be a very even game with both teams on good form. Liverpool do struggle at Craven Cottage so it will be interesting to see if Daglish’s tactics and motivation can do better than his predecesors.

  5. Man Utd vs Chelsea with Webb as ref, lets just give it to Man U already. Webb has already decided it.

  6. Manchester United vs Chelsea is huge not just for the title race but also for the relegation battle. A United win will be greeted warmly by Blackburn and Blackpool as they are United’s next opponents and both are fighting relegation. United will then rest and rotate their players to prepare for the Champions League final against Barcelona who will begin resting some of their players as they have practically won the La Liga title. A Chelsea win can still win United the title if they score more goals than Chelsea so United will try to score as many goals against Blackburn and Blackpool. That will be good news for the other relegation-fighting teams like Wigan, Wolves and West Ham.

    Even a United loss is not the end of the world for them as they are well capable of scoring lots of goals against Blackburn and Blackpool giving them the title. Goal difference could also come into play at the relegation end as well.

    I’m hoping for a Chelsea win to keep everything alive till the very end. My only concern is that Howard Webb, the referee, might spoil the game with a bad decision as he is sometimes does. Not sure why the FA chose him knowing the impression people have of him as favoring Manchester United. Let’s hope the referee isn’t the story.

  7. Howard Webb?

    David Gill: Chief Executive of Manchester United F.C. and a board member of The Football Association.

    That’s why!

  8. West Ham vs Blackburn is the must-watch game on Saturday. If West ham win they have hope of staying in the EPL next season. It will also drag Blackburn down further and they could be in real trouble with Manchester united their next opponents. Blackburn will go all out to win this knowing they have a better chance of a win against West ham than against Man U next week. Glad ESPN2 is showing it. By the way, David the Yank, Disney still has Fulham on Monday (Dempsey factor still in play).

    Also, David, when have you ever seen Sunderland play attractive football? They’ve done well for most of the season except recently, but not by playing attractive football. Good football maybe. Bolton vs Sunderland is the game we all wish were on Mother’s Day so we could skip it.

    Spurs Blackpool looks like a decent game to watch if the old Blackpool show up. Recently they have looked tired and out of ideas. A loss to Spurs could well mean they will be going back to the Championship next season. Spurs cannot decide if they want to play in the Europa League next season or not. If Manchester City lose earlier in the day then I can see Spurs go all out to win and a win against City on Tuesday will mean they are back in contention for 4th.

    I agree that Wolves vs West Brom is a huge derby and Wolves cannot afford to lose any points here. Derbies are always difficult to predict. This one is no different except Wolves must win to have any chance of staying up. This game might just be better than the Man U – Chelsea game.

    Man U vs Chelsea is so hyped I’m afraid it might not live up to expectations. Couple that with Howard Webb refereeing and we might be in for a disappointment. However, the points in this game is most important rather than the kind of game we see played and given how difficult United are to beat at home I have to think Chelsea will not win this one. Hence the title will be United’s.

    Fulham vs Liverpool is an interesting game as Liverpool do want to play in the Europa League, not sure why as those Thursday and Sunday games can be a problem if you’re trying to challenge for the title. Fulahm have begun to get points especially since Zamora has been back and I think the Liverpool revival under Daglish might come unstuck here. Fulham are hard to beat at Craven Cottage but if Liverpool can get a win it will go a long way getting them to be once again a force to be reckoned with. Their game against Spurs next week will also be a very big test for Liverpool.

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