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Stage Is Set for Champions League & Prem Matches

It’s been a busy few days in football with plenty of Premiership matches in addition to the final Champions League matches of the round. The highlight for me was seeing Marcos Nelson’s goal for Benfica against Man United. Supreme quality.Jose Mourinho didn’t get his wish, so there are now five British teams in the round of 16 draw for the Champions League (the draw will be made on December 15). This is the stage of the Champions League where it gets even more exciting (definitely more exciting than the Arsenal v Porto nil-nil draw).In the Premiership, meanwhile, I missed the Newcastle against Reading match but was blown away by the highlights, especially Emre’s winner. The sound of the ball hitting the net after the long range effort reverberated around St. James’s Park. It seems the spark is finally back on the Tyne.So the stage is now set for an interesting weekend of Premiership football. This Sunday is the Chelsea versus Arsenal clash (11am ET, Fox Soccer Channel), which you can follow via the EPL Talk chat with fans from around the world (from the homepage).Saturday’s fixtures include the Manchester derby (7:45am ET, Setanta), Portsmouth against Everton (2:15pm ET, FSC) and Liverpool v Fulham (10am ET, Setanta). With Sheffield United’s run of form, their Monday fixture versus Aston Villa (3pm ET, FSC) could be more entertaining than we thought. (The EPL Talk Chat will be open starting on Saturday at 7:45am ET throughout the day).You may want to take advantage of this weekend’s Premiership matches. The next BIG weekend isn’t until 20-21 January when Liverpool play Chelsea at Anfield and Arsenal battle Man United at Ashburton Grove.

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  1. Anonymous

    December 8, 2006 at 11:31 pm

    ESPN, ABC to Televise Euro Championship
    By Associated Press
    5:36 PM PST, December 8, 2006

    NYON, Switzerland — ESPN and ABC will televise soccer’s 2008 European Championship under an agreement announced Friday by the Union of European Football Associations.

    All 31 games will be televised in the United States: two by ABC and the rest by ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPN Classic. The tournament will be played in Austria and Switzerland from June 7-29.

    ESPN also has U.S. Spanish-language rights for ESPN Deportes and pay television rights in Latin America.

    “We will have coverage of the European Championship which we have never had before,” UEFA chief executive Lars-Christer Olsson said.

    ESPN/ABC also has rights to the 2010 World Cup and has held rights to the European Champions League since 1994-95. Last May’s final, broadcast at 2:45 p.m. EDT on a Wednesday, was watched by 573,000 homes on ESPN2. ESPN’s Champions League deal runs through 2008-9.

    “We continue to see the appeal of soccer in America growing, and particularly when comes in a time of the day that’s unique and not up against U.S. sports prime time,” ESPN International executive vice president Russell Wolff said. “This is a real nice product for us and our networks. We saw that with the World Cup and we see that in our regular broadcasts of the UEFA Champions League.”

    ESPN and ESPN2 broadcast 12 games of the 1996 European Championship, played in England. The 2004 tournament was available mostly on pay-per-view, with Fox Sports World televising five first-round games live and seven knockout-stage matches on tape delay.

    ESPN Star was awarded 2008 Euro rights in India. Al-Jazeera was granted rights for the Middle East and North Africa, while the Hong Kong rights went to PCCW.

    Well, at least we won’t be paying $200 to watch Euro’08. The bad news-retarded commentators on ESPN: Balboa and the baseball guy, and the annoying ticker at the bottom of the screen. Nothing is perfect, though. Plus, it will be good for the popularity of the game!

  2. The Gaffer

    December 8, 2006 at 4:30 pm

    I didn’t get a chance to see the FFF show on Tuesday, but if that’s what he said, that’s horrible.

    Liverpool fans were victims on that horrible day of the Hillsborough tragedy due to unfortunate mistakes made by the police, not by fellow Liverpool fans.

    To me, Hillsborough was the darkest day in football history, so for Steven to make those comments, that’s just *so* wrong.

    The Gaffer

  3. Simon Burke

    December 8, 2006 at 3:03 pm

    Just saw this elsewhere (the Nick and Steve bit) and am appalled. As an Arsenal fan I can honestly say this tool needs to be removed from his position. Those comments are dreadful and I am going to add my own comments to Fox as I hope everyone else does because that pratt might find it funny but those comments are way over the line. I never liked either of them to be honest as they are both muppets but this just cements it.

  4. Anonymous

    December 8, 2006 at 11:42 am

    Gaffer, what do you think of this?
    I didn’t see the whole show on tuesday night but this is quite interesting:
    (from the Liverpool fanclub website):

    We are currently urging all Liverpool fans, particularly those based in USA to boycott the Fox Soccer Channel’s “Fox Football Fone-In” show following comments made by one of it’s presenters on Tuesday’s show.

    Co-presenter and Chelsea fan Stephen Cohen accused Liverpool fans of “directly causing the worst two disasters in English football history.” He went on to say that he’s sick of Liverpool fans ramming their success down his throat and that “there’s a disgusting side of Liverpool’s history that I’ll be happy to talk about.”

    Cohen was of course relating to the Hillsborough and Heysel disasters, and apparently this it not the first time he has made such slanderous and ill-informed comments on national television. Seemingly he ‘joked’ Liverpool should have 39 coffins on their badge to go with the 5 stars.

    Cohen’s comments were aired live to a nation which is being educated about the game of soccer and particularly about the history of the English game. Most of it’s audience would be young Americans wanting to learn about English teams and their traditions – unfortunately many will instantly tarnish the Liverpool name due to Cohen’s comments.

    We have written to the show, and Fox Television for which it is broadcast and are yet to receive any reply. We hope they will take action and remove this ‘presenter’ from his prime time TV slot where he continually mis-leads his easily lead audience.

    We urge all Liverpool fans to email and with your comments, particularly those based in the USA and who may have seen this particular show or any others with Cohen.

  5. Anonymous

    December 7, 2006 at 10:06 am

    Newcastle-Reading was one of the most exciting games of the season so far. Passion, high pace, 5 goals, drama. Even if the technical quality wasn’t superb, EPL desperately needs more games like this!

  6. Yannick

    December 7, 2006 at 8:51 am

    Yup I can definitely agree that the goal Nelson scored was absolutely fantastic. It caught ManU off-guard too. But, it also helped to kick United into high gear after that and United definitely deserved the win.

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