Chelsea vs Manchester United, Super Bowl Sunday Edition: Open Thread

The latest news from Stamford Bridge is that Chelsea is saying that the snow is no major problem, and that the match today will go ahead as planned at 11am ET/4pm GMT. FOX must be breathing a huge sigh of relief right now with it being the “Greatest live Premier League match in US television history,” after all.

Before we get to Chelsea against Manchester United, there is a big match on earlier today with Newcastle United at home against Aston Villa. Newcastle will see the return of Demba Ba to the team after his time with Senegal in the Africa Cup Of Nations. Demba Ba will start today, while new signing Papiss Cisse is on the bench. Aston Villa, meanwhile, will be buoyed by their inspired comeback mid-week against Queens Park Rangers. Kick-off is at 8:30am ET on FOX Soccer.

The conclusion of the match at St. James’s Park will lead us nicely into the pre-match discussion for Chelsea against Manchester United. If you live in the United States and your local FOX station is showing the game live, the coverage begins at 10:30am ET with analysis from Eric Wynalda and Piers Morgan. Manchester United needs a win to level with Manchester City, while Chelsea needs a win to gain some sort of respect for the club in the league this season. So far, Andre Villas-Boas has been very underwhelming whenever Chelsea has come up against Manchester United or Arsenal.

Chelsea team: Cech, Ivanovic, Cahill, Luiz, Bosingwa, Essien, Meireles, Malouda, Sturridge, Torres, Mata

Manchester United team: De Gea, Rafael, Evans, Ferdinand, Evra, Valencia, Carrick, Giggs, Young, Rooney, Welbeck

Meanwhile, on FOXSoccer.com, FOX Soccer writer Ives Galarcep writes about Soccer’s Quest to Convert New Followers, which I would reword as “FOX’s Quest to Convert New Soccer Followers.” The sentence in the article that immediately jumped out at me was this:

“As recently as the mid-90s, catching some soccer on your television [in the US] was a pipe dream.”

That’s simply not true. Premier League games have been shown live on US television since 1996.

Ives also adds:

“Sundayโ€™s Chelsea-Manchester United match on FOX will serve as another rung in the ladder for a sport that had virtually no television presence in this country just two decades ago.”

Virtually is a poor choice of word, in my opinion. English football coverage has been shown on US television for more than two decades (since 1990, in fact).

To me, this smells like a bit of revisionist history on the part of FOX (or poor research by Galarcep). Just because English soccer was shown before FOX became involved, that doesn’t mean it didn’t exist.

One more thing. Galarcep’s article would have been a perfect opportunity to include a sidebar or a callout to let readers know that the Chelsea against Manchester United game isn’t being shown live on 16 FOX stations nationwide. But there’s not a word about that. It’s almost as if FOX doesn’t want people to know that some stations aren’t carrying it.

Before, during or after the match today, post your comments, questions, observations and rants or raves in the comments section below.

70 Comments

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