5 to Watch This Weekend
NBC Triple Header Should Feature Your USMNT Faves
Sunderland, Fulham, and Aston Villa are all coming to your big screen this Saturday, providing a back-to-back-to-back U.S. flavor to your weekend soccer viewing.
January 17, 2014
SHARE THIS STORY
Sunderland vs. Southampton
7:45 a.m. (all times Eastern)
Get an early start to your soccer consumption by watching Jozy Altidore and Sunderland go up against Southampton in the Premier League's early tilt. The Saints have lost three of its last five and will have to make do without Pablo Osvaldo, who is suspended. Sunderland is on a bit of a tear, having one three matches in a row including a 4-1 trouncing of Fulham last week and a 2-1 win over Manchester United in the League Cup. The club has even done well to climb past Crystal Palace on goal differential, and no longer occupy last place in the Premier League table. In fact, despite all of Sunderland's struggles this season, it is only one win away from escaping the relegation zone.
Arsenal vs. Fulham
London derbies are always fun, no matter how bad Fulham is this year. With the way things are shaping up of late, Clint Dempsey might soon supplant Jozy Altidore as the American on England's last place team. Nevertheless, Dempsey has never been shy about scoring goals against superior opponents, and with the symbolic significance of this game, maybe he can find a spark for himself and the Cottagers. Fully expect Arsenal to run roughshod though.
Liverpool vs. Aston Villa
Completing Saturday's Triple Header, Brad Guzan gets the monumental task of trying to keep Luis Suarez off the score sheet. Suarez was not on the field early in the season when the two faced each other to a 1-0 Liverpool win (on a Daniel Sturridge goal), and since re-joining the team after the first month, he has pounded in 22 goals. As NBC's featured game this weekend, you have the chance to watch a shootout between one of the world's best strikers against one of the Premier League's best goalkeepers.
PSG vs. Nantes
beIN Sports Play
There are two reasons to watch this game: Alejandro Bedoya and Nantes are still only two points out of Europe midway through the season, hanging in at sixth place. Bedoya has four goals in all competitions this season, making him the team's second-leading scorer. Since it's France, Bedoya and company are seemingly unheralded in their pursuit of success, finding themselves in the uncomfortable sandwich of publicity between England, Germany, and Spain. As for the second reason to watch: it's the Ibra and Edinson Show. Together, they've combined for 32 goals in all competitions this season.
West Brom vs. Everton
If you've got Martin Luther King Day off, you can spend a portion of it watching Tim Howard help Everton keep the pressure on the top four. The Toffees are still sitting in fifth place, good enough for the Europa League but still shy of snagging a coveted Champions League slot. Last week's 2-0 win over Norwich City meant another clean sheet for Howard, his ninth of the season. On paper, Everton would seem to have a clear advantage over West Brom, but anything can happen, and often does, in Englands top tier.
NO U.S. ANGLE, BUT...
England: Chelsea vs. Manchester United
(11:00 a.m., Sunday, NBCSN)— Will this game be the nail in the coffin for Manchester United's season? Likely not, but it can certainly go a long way to casting a darker pall over the seventh-place Red Devils. United has been severely hit by the injury bug lately, so it has a chance to get ugly.
So what are you watching this week? Let us know in comments section below.
Christopher McCollum is a New York Citybased writer and an ASN contributor.