Because of the vagaries of the Premier League schedule, we’re faced with something exceedingly rare: a massive, massive Wednesday night in the Premiership, featuring eight (!) games.
We’ll of course be focusing in on the biggest match of the day, the Manchester Derby, where United fans will, non-ironically, accuse City of attempting to buy the league, while City fans will of course wonder where in Manchester the United fans come from. And then there’s the football–a (literally) sick Manchester United side–here’s hoping they don’t have the same chef as Tottenham–comes into the Derby as the underdog to a City team led by Carlos Tevez. Tevez’s work rate, as well as his exceptional talent, has made him a bit of a folk hero in the blue half of Manchester. The fact that he’s a former United player, and has been a thorn in the side of United since his West Ham days certainly adds to his appeal. Also, Mario Balotelli will miss this match for City, as he picked up two yellow cards in last weekend’s match.
Key to the game: Tevez v. the United back four: While United’s back four, including Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, and Patrice Evra have been hit with injuries/illness, it’s important that they control Tevez if they plan on leaving the City of Manchester Stadium with all three points.
Prediction: Draw, 2-2. (ESPN2 (HD) , 2:45 ET)
Other big matchups:
Chelsea v. Fulham. FSC, 2:45 ET: The West London Derby features American Clint Dempsey for Fulham, who are coming off a 1-1 draw with Aston Villa. The league leaders Chelsea feature Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba, though it appears that Lampard may miss this match because of a nagging injury. Michael Essien is also expected to be in the lineup, having recovered from an injury as well. Prediction: Chelsea, 3-1.
Wolves v. Arsenal. ESPN3.com, 2:45 ET: The Gunners enter Molineux suffering two defeats in the last week. Could Arsenal be out of contention for the league by Christmas? A loss here puts into question their ability to compete in the harsh realities of the Premier League. For the sake of their fragile young keeper, Lukas Fabianski, this game is crucial. Arsenal won’t keep a clean sheet, but they will find a way to get it done against Mick McCarthy’s Wolves. Prediction: Arsenal 2, Wolves 1.
Other Games We’ll Be Following
-Newcastle v Blackburn, FoxSoccer.tv and FoxSoccer iPhone app
-West Ham v West Brom, FoxSoccer.tv and FoxSoccer iPhone app
-Aston Villa v Blackpool, ESPN3.com
-Everton v Bolton, ESPN3.com
-Wigan v Liverpool, Fox Soccer Plus and FoxSoccer.tv and FoxSoccer iPhone app
Please join me beginning at 2:15 PM ET right here.
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