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EPL Weekend Viewing Guide, Gameweek 5

Mar. 21, 2010 - 05658347 date 21 03 2010 Copyright imago BPI Wayne Rooney of Manchester United Lake His Penalty saved by Pepe Reina of Liverpool Before Putting in The Rebound for The Equalizing Goal PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxUKxFRAxNEDxESPxSWExPOLxCHNxJPN men Football England Premier League 2009 2010 Manchester Action shot Vdig 2010 horizontal premiumd Football.

A four-star game is back, and I suppose Manchester United v Liverpool will always be a four-star match, no matter what troubles one team or the other are having. I know the debate will start anew regarding why this match is on Fox Soccer Plus, or how well the web site can handle the increased traffic. But live, via DVR or on demand, this is still must-see TV. The pattern of 6 live matches and 4 delayed (with one delayed from Saturday to Sunday) continues.

**** 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, 18 September 2010 (all times EDT)

** Stoke v West Ham, 7:45 am, ESPN2 &
An early-season “6-pointer” in the prime ESPN spot? That was a huge come-from-behind win for Tony Pulis’ gang upon his halftime arrival against Villa last week. There’s virtually nothing positive to say about the Hammers’ early start. Avram Grant hands over the reins of the league’s worst team for 1 match due to Yom Kippur. Stoke won both fixtures last season. At least they’re each trying to play attractive soccer, which along with the ESPN2 hi-def picture just nicks a second star.

*** Everton v Newcastle, 9:55 am, FS+ &
Everton’s amazing last-minute draw against Man Utd (I knew I should have given that match the 4th star!) didn’t improve their league standing, but it will give David Moyes’ team belief. Now they have to start winning their home games.

** Tottenham v Wolverhampton, 10:00 am, FSC
Wolves won both of these fixtures last year, each by a 1-nil score. Spurs played an extraordinary half of soccer away from home Tuesday night in their first Champions League match, but were let down by poor defending by Assou-Ekotto & Corluka in conceding the two goals.

* Blackburn v Fulham, 10:00 am, & 5 pm (delayed) FSC
** Aston Villa v Bolton, 10:00 am, & 6 pm (delayed) FS+

* West Brom v Birmingham, 10:00 am, & Sunday 12:30 pm (delayed) FS+
I took all kinds of flak from 2nd city die-hards last year for giving only 2 stars to the last 2nd city derby (Villa v Birmingham). I watched that match last April and I admitted I was wrong. Tackles were flying in from everywhere, the fans were at top decibel and the players were as intense as I’ve ever seen for what I called “a meaningless match” (or words to that effect). So I probably risk significant ire for giving this derby match a low rating. But there are dozens of London derbies that aren’t like Villa v Brum or West Brom v Wolves. So, again, 2nd city die-hards, or those who love any derby, have at it. For neutrals, enjoy the Sunderland v Arsenal match.

*** Sunderland v Arsenal, 12:30 pm, FSC
Sunderland won this fixture 1-nil last season, and Gyan got off to a nice start last week, even if they couldn’t hold the lead.

Sunday, 19 September 2010
**** Man Utd v Liverpool, 8:30 am, FS+ &

United’s dropped points mean they need to win the big fixtures, including the Chelsea matches, to stay in the title hunt. Nothing about Liverpool has looked good this year. Joe Cole should be back for his first of these showdowns. Can Torres fend off his critics and start scoring in this critical fixture? Vidic has always had trouble marking him, with Torres scoring at Old Trafford and Anfield last season. All is not perfect at United either, as evidenced by the two late goals at Everton and the inability to score against Rangers.

*** Wigan v Man City, 10 am, & 3 pm (delayed) FSE
It’s Wigan as much as Man City that makes this a surprisingly compelling fixture, as Wigan have Jekyll & Hyde offered nail-biting late equalizers and a huge win at White Hart Lane along with disastrous defending in conceding 10 to Chelsea & Blackpool. Which will we see Sunday? Meanwhile, City have only 5 points from 4, heading into the Europe match in Austria Thursday night. They certainly have not quite gelled as a team and we remain far away from considering them title contenders in anything other than pounds spent. If you haven’t watched a match on FSE yet, they show the international feed 99% of the time, but mix in special close-ups of featured Latino players. So Tevez & Alcaraz could be featured for the Latino audience.

** Chelsea v Blackpool, 11 am, FSC
Notwithstanding Blackpool’s strong start (think Burnley last year), they should not put up much of a fight against the league champions.

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  1. ozzie

    September 17, 2010 at 4:15 am

    sound quality sucks on fsc+ with dish,i have to raise the volume to 80+ and its equivalent to like 25,hope dish gets fsc+ hd and fixes this bullshit audio

  2. CA_backpacker

    September 16, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    Now that FS+ is showing some games in HD on DirecTV, I am now getting 6-7 games per week in HD. So nice! But yes, I so miss “Special 1 TV”!!

  3. Greg

    September 16, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    Whatever happened to Setanta? I miss the puppets 🙁

  4. Fargus

    September 16, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    Cough up the $$ for FS+ and stop complaining. What else are you going to spend it on per month? Take 5 less trips to Starbucks each month.

    • The Gaffer

      September 16, 2010 at 4:13 pm

      I agree. It’s definitely worth the money.

      The Gaffer

      • Chris

        September 17, 2010 at 1:14 pm

        It would be nice if cablevision gave the option to get FSC+. I would pay!

    • Niki

      September 17, 2010 at 12:37 pm

      Gotta love flippant responses.

      First of all, I already coughed up the extra money to add FSC to my cable package, which presumably should be airing all the soccer games instead of FOX greedily dividing them amongst two channels.

      Second of all, FS+ is not available to me via Comcast, even if I wanted to cough up the extra, extra bucks.

  5. Jason Gatties

    September 16, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    I’ll be watching Blackburn vs Fulham. COYW!!!

  6. Niki

    September 16, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    Hey, what’s up with Fox Soccer Channel or ESPN showing Arsenal every week? Does FSC/ESPN have a deal with Arsenal to show all of their games or is this just a coincidental happenstance?

    It is great for Arsenal fans since they get to see their team play every week. However, it is unfortunate for those who follow other teams and would like to see them play more often too. FSC/ESPN only air about four games per weekend, and this is now the fifth week in a row (I think) that Arsenal is occupying one of those slots.

    I am just curious because I don’t get FSC+ and I hate seeing Arsenal show up on the FSC TV schedule every weekend at the expense of seeing some other teams play. Is there some reason for the love affair with Arsenal?

    • VillaPark

      September 16, 2010 at 3:44 pm

      I think it’s more a coincidence than anything else. Looking back at the ESPN2 slate from last year, it doesn’t really seem that they favored a certain team…though I could understand any network choosing from Arsenal-Chelsea-Man U-Liverpool games over most of the other teams. Maybe add Everton for the Howard and/or Donovan effect last year.

      As of now, the rest of the ESPN schedule in recent times is:

      Stoke-West Ham
      Chelsea-Man City
      Arsenal-West Ham
      Blackpool-West Brom

      That’s 13 of the 20 Premier League sides in the next nine games (with one of them TBA). So the two Arsenal games thus far were more coincidence than anything else I think.

      • Niki

        September 17, 2010 at 12:28 pm

        Actually, it’s been more than two games, which is why I began noticing a pattern. With the exception of when ESPN aired the Arsenal game on 8/21, FSC has aired Arsenal every week, and will continue to do so at least up through the weekend of Oct 2nd, which is as far as the schedule has been completed.

        8/15 – 11:00 AM: Liverpool v Arsenal – FSC
        8/21 – 9:55am ET: Arsenal vs Blackpool – ESPN2/ESPND
        9/11 – 10:00 AM : Arsenal v Bolton – FSC
        9/18 – 12:30 PM: Sunderland v Arsenal – FSC
        9/25 – 10am: Arsenal v West Brom, FSC
        10/3 – 11am: Chelsea v Arsenal, FSC

        So it does seem like there is a bias towards Arsenal for some reason.

        Oh well, even though I pay to have FSC, I still find myself having to watch almost as many games online as I did before I got the channel. If only I were an Arsenal fan life would be good. Shame.

  7. eddie torres

    September 16, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    Darn it! Why is it the games I want to see are always on FS+?

    Sorry — rhetorical question. Just needed to vent.

    (PS – I don’t want to spend the extra $$ for FS+)

  8. toddmintz

    September 16, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    Last year when Wolves played Tottenham, that was the worst defeat by a top side in my opinion. It was played at White Hart Lane.

    This is a game, Tottenham, Particular Crouchie, bombarded shots all over the land with one sided pressure for 90 minutes, but toward the last few minutes Wolves defense did a good job and held on 1 nil. The fans booed Spur Boys off as ended. Little then did we know, Tottenham, would take off at end of city capped by big win Over City. No repeat this time, Spurs win but Wolves very resillient now defensively. I see 1 nil

  9. Kartik Krishnaiyer

    September 16, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    City have an extraordinarily poor record vs Wigan at the JJB/DW Stadium even though typically many City fans get tickets for this fixture just down the M62. Given City’s current form, and Wigan rallying the past two fixtures, I would be surprised, bordering on shocked by a City victory.

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