There are no Americans involved in it, but we’re going to go ahead and start with tomorrow morning’s Chelsea-Manchester City clash—for the obvious reasons, and because the game’s incredible subtext could have an impact on the U.S-England game on June 12.
Wayne Bridge’s decision this week to remove himself from consideration for the England World Cup team—in the wake of John Terry turning Bridge’s life into an episode of Dream Team—combined with Ashley Cole’s recent ankle injury, means coach Fabio Capello will be selecting his third-choice left back for England’s friendly with Egypt next week. And depending on how things shake out, Capello could be in a similar situation come June 12.
As for tomorrow’s game, ya think there’ll be a little tension in the air? Sheesh. Will Bridge even look at Terry? Will one of his teammates pack a little bone-crunching extra effort into a tackle on Terry? One Backpost reader wondered about this, considering the fact that Bridge’s Man City teammates all donned “Team Bridge” t-shirts in support of Bridge after news of the scandal broke.
Tabloid subtext aside, the game is important for first-place Chelsea, which hopes to go four points clear of Manchester United again, as well as for fifth-place Man City, which is in a tight race with Tottenham and Liverpool for the final Champions League place.
You can watch it all unfold on ESPN2 at 7:45 a.m. EST.
As for Americans in action, two of them could go head-to-head tomorrow, as winger Stuart Holden and Bolton host Wolverhampton and U.S. keeper Marcus Hahnemann. Holden started and played 90 minutes in Wanderers’ midweek FA Cup loss to Tottenham, and he’s listed in the matchday squad as of now, so perhaps he’ll see the field tomorrow.
On Sunday, Tim Howard, Landon Donovan and eighth-place Everton travel to White Hart Lane to face fourth-place Tottenham. Both teams are in good form, as Everton has won five of its last six, and Spurs are unbeaten in four of their last six.
Ninth-place Fulham and the injured Clint Dempsey visit 14th-place Sunderland, which has three draws and three losses in its last six, and hasn’t booked three points in 13 games. Fulham has three wins and a tie in its last six. On the bright side for the Black Cats, though, Fulham has only one away win all season.
Saturday’s other games have Birmingham City hosting Wigan, Portsmouth traveling to Burnley for a meeting of the league’s bottom two (Burnley is actually tied with Bolton for second-to-last place), and Stoke City hosts Arsenal.
There’s only one other game on Sunday—Liverpool vs Blackburn at Anfield.
Here is the U.S. TV schedule, all times EST:
Saturday Feb 27, 2010
CHELSEA v MANCHESTER CITY, ESPN2, 7:45 am.
BOLTON v WOLVERHAMPTON, Setanta Sports, 9:30 am.
BIRMINGHAM CITY v WIGAN, Fox Soccer Channel, 10:00 am.
STOKE CITY v ARSENAL, Fox Soccer Channel, 12:30 pm.
Sunday, Feb. 28. 2010
TOTTENHAM v EVERTON, Setanta Sports, 7:55 am.
LIVERPOOL v BLACKBURN, Fox Soccer Channel, 10:00 am.
SUNDERLAND v FULHAM, Fox Soccer Channel, (delay) 12:00 p.m.