Premier League Saturday, Gameweek 23: Open Thread

If you think today is not a day for watching the Premier League, think again. I’ll give you three reasons:

1) Despite tomorrow being penned “Epic Sunday” by FOX Soccer, today has plenty of great matchups. Harry Redknapp returns to Upton Park to pit his QPR side against his old team, West Ham United. FIFA 12-loving Loic Remy may make his start for the R’s. Plus, there are always good, scrappy relegation battles — this time between Wigan and Sunderland, and Newcastle versus Reading.

Manchester City has a chance to move within four points of the top of the table if they can beat Fulham today at the Etihad Stadium. Meanwhile, Norwich has a chance to beat Liverpool at Anfield like they did last season, or will Luis Suarez shrug off the criticism by his gaffer and score another hat trick against the Canaries?

And then there’s Swansea-Stoke, which — if my predictions are correct — Michael Laudrup will field a very weakened team to rest several stars in preparation for next week’s League Cup semi-final match against Chelsea. Even as a loud and proud Swansea fan, I’ll be shocked if the Swans even get a draw today.

2) Weather conditions. I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love watching soccer matches that are played in the snow. While the groundsmen up and down the country have done a tremendous job keeping the snow off the pitch, there’s a good chance that there may be some heavy downfalls during some of the matches today. If that happens, the matches often become far more unpredictable (and thus more enjoyable to watch).

3) Last but not least, the final match of the day is the Midlands derby between West Brom and Aston Villa. While this wasn’t in the same Midlands derby, crazy things can happen when Midlands clubs face each other. The Baggies should win this one, but Aston Villa desperately needs to win, or at least get a draw today otherwise the vitriol that Paul Lambert will face from Villa supporters will be deafening.

Before, during or after today’s Premier League matches, join the conversation with football supporters around the world in the comments section below.

58 thoughts on “Premier League Saturday, Gameweek 23: Open Thread”

  1. It’s too bad Fox never shows any flexibility in their scheduling.

    Full disclosure… I’m a Hammer, but clearly WHU v QPR has more appeal than Newcastle v Reading.
    Harry’s return to Upton Park, the debut of Remy…

    And for what it’s worth, for the first time in ages, I have 7 home wins in my pool today.


  2. Swansea may have a chance to win today after all. Stoke is sitting back, off Swansea and not pressuring them when they have the ball. Strange tactics by Pulis since it plays right into Swansea’s hands.

    If Swansea can stop conceding goals from corner kicks and set plays, then they may win this one today.

    The Gaffer

      1. I can’t see anything other than a Swansea win. It seems to be that neither side can win away from home against each other.

        Surprised that Crouch is starting, headline on the local news billboard is that Crouch needs more surgery after that elbow to his face.

        Jones is probably discussing personal terms with Huw Jenkins as we speak.

        A point would be a fantastic result today.

  3. With do many games to choose from
    @ 7 why does fox soccer ALWAYS seem to choose Liverpool or Newcastle? Do they hey extra money? Liverpool I may as we ONLY pay for foxsoccer2go, k can’t stand watching LFC, so many passes, so little penetration….. Oh wait they’re playing Norwich, they’re a good team with a classy manager….. C’mon Norwich

    1. Yep, so little penetration. Only passing.

      Man United, Man City and Chelsea are the only clubs to score more than LFC this season, by the way.

  4. Looking forward to Spurs-United tomorrow. Always a good game. Watching paint dry is more entertaining than Man City or Liverpool.

      1. I’m going to book the Britannia Stadium out during the offseason. Form a square of chipboard about 8 feet high running around the pitch. I’ll get two 11 man teams of decorators from different cities across England painting it in 2 different colours for 90 minutes from 1.30pm. Then the crowd sit down at 3pm for 90 minutes to see which colour dries first.

  5. Remy scores on his Qng pr debut nice, nextweek the gaffer’s team would get the chance to enjoy their 90 minutes of FAME, hope you guys savour it cos you guys won’t probably have such occasion again in a long time

  6. bad start all around. Fulham going out like their weak usual selfs. Criminal thug suarez scores. Good thing we’ve got overrated Tottenham spurs to play tomorrow or I’d be depressed now.

    1. Well I’m watching City play like crap so if I were a rag I’d be a little less depressed about that part.

      They’re just begging to let Fulham get back in this.

  7. Liverpool are not pressing nearly as much as they did early in the season, in this game at least. Despite what the commentator said late in the half about “snapping at every ball” they are not instinctively running at opposition players as soon as the ball lands at their feet. I think this is actually helping them by conserving energy, maintaining shape, and forcing Norwich to come out of their shell.

    w/r/t Norwich they packed the midfield with five men but they look virtually useless. Multiple times what seemed like casual passes by Liverpool players have sailed by 3,4,5 Norwich players, they look like pylons.

    1. Thats why I gave up on away games about 3 seasons ago. Not worth the effort under Pulis.

      I’d like to see us innovate and employ a second manager who’s job is to work with the team for away games, stick with Pulis for home games. Whoever it was they couldn’t do much worse!

  8. Stoke in very poor form right now (I know, I know, that’s a relative thing), mirroring exactly what they did last year after the midpoint.

    The only thing keeping them where they are in the table is the absolute ineptness of the teams below them. *sigh*

    1. Tends to be the case with Stoke, usually between Boxing Day and mid February. It’s been like that in pretty much 18 years of watching them regularly for me, doesn’t matter what the level or manager in charge. Dunno why.

  9. Fair play to Reading today.

    Adam Le Fondre, another example of lower league talent ignored because he plays for Rotherham or Rochdale (where’s the glamour in signing a player from the provincial north?)

  10. What is going on at Newcastle? Real bad case of second season syndrome for Pardew after manager of the year last season. Hate to see him go the same way as Adkins but its squeaky bum time for him now.

    1. The Toon is perilously close to the drop zone. Not like they’re going to, but if Villa conjures up 3 against the fading Albion here then its 17th for the Castle.

      I really never enjoy seeing anyone get sent down, but if it somehow happened the Castle that would be a real shame. Great and tenacious supporters for them. Travel in huge numbers up and down the country in a way putting most clubs to shame.

  11. Well in my opinions all matches are good to watch, but this late one here seems a bit of a short-changing. Oh well, two good ones on order tomorrow.

  12. I missed the WBA-Villa game, but from the reports on the radio, it was a brilliant match to watch.

    Villa have got to be hating themselves in this one. They ended up almost losing the match at the end.

    In other news, I have a feeling that Pardew is going to be the next one sacked.

    The Gaffer

    1. LoL 8 year contract HA!

      I think they would go down for sure if he did get fired, he could rescue it.. I hope he doesn’t but I think he will.

  13. How villa have thrown away a 2 goal lead is beyond me, they make it look almost as if they were not expecting that lead.
    As a sidetalk, the “ALMIGHTY BARCELONA” have finally lost for the first time in the league, that news alone makes my day
    I’m coming

  14. Aston Villa’s lack of quality showed as they had many opportunities to score more goals but poor decision-making, bad shots and poor defending allowed WBA to get back into the game and almost win it at the end. Villa look like they will be fighting till the end to avoid relegation.

    WBA still look like a side struggling to get back to the way they’ve played at the beginning of the season. Their chances of finishing in the top half look bleak. Their great start to the season means they will avoid being dragged into the relegation battle.

  15. A day of English football at its most basic. A fans fans day so to speak. Nothing that jumps out but its why we watch. Missed having an early start which always upsets my timetable.

    I decided to follow the Swansea game because I think they are the best story in the EPL this year( plus it makes the Gaffer happy if you do lol ). They did not disappoint after things warmed up in the second half.

    Looking for some fireworks tomorrow.

    1. Thanks Lou. I really enjoyed the Swansea game today especially the first and third goals.

      Lots of other good highlights today including Benteke’s goal, Cabaye’s free kick, Loic Remy’s first goal for QPR and Fletcher’s shot to corner.

      The Gaffer

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