Week 27 of the Premiership brings a slew of interesting games for Americans, starting with Landon Donovan, Tim Howard and Everton hosting Howard’s old team, Manchester United, on Saturday. The Toffees will look to avenge their 3-0 loss at Old Trafford in November.
ESPN2 has that one, in high-definition so vivid you will be able to see within the souls of the players. Kickoff is at 7:45 a.m. EST.
Man U stands in second place, one point behind top-of-the table Chelsea, which will pay a visit to Wolverhampton Wanderers and their American keeper, Marcus Hahnemann. That game is also on the tube, on Fox Soccer Channel at 10:00 a.m. EST.
Jozy Altidore and Hull City will travel to London to face Jonathan Spector and West Ham. The two teams are tied with 24 points, just one point above the drop. Unfortunately, this steel-cage relegation match between Amerks will not be televised.
U.S. midfielder Stuart Holden did not dress for Bolton’s midweek nil-nil draw with Wigan, so will he make his long-awaited Wanderers debut on Sunday at Ewood Park against Blackburn? Well, as of this writing he’s not listed in the squad, but that could change between now and kickoff. Bolton is tied with Burnley in second-to-last place and could obviously use three points in this one. Blackburn, currently in 12th place, won the first meeting, in November, 2-0.
Aston Villa’s Yank keepers, Brad Friedel and Brad Guzan, will be at Villa Park when 19th-place Burnley comes calling. As for which Brad will be on the bench and which between the pipes, hey, maybe Martin O’Neill will call Guzan’s number this week, since Friedel got the FA Cup start last week. Then again, Villa is only three points out of the fourth spot in the table, so O’Neill may stick with the veteran. In any case, this is the kind of game Villa needs to win to keep its Champions League hopes alive.
The injured Clint Dempsey—whose recovery is going well, according to this AP report—will watch his Fulham teammates take on surprise-team-of-the-season Birmingham at Craven Cottage.
Fulham is in tenth place, three points behind eighth-place Birmingham, which was promoted to the Prem after last season and has used a stingy D to attain its lofty perch in the table. The Blues have given up fewer goals (26) than every team in the league except Chelsea (22), Man U (21) and Aston Villa (19).
Saturday’s other games have third-place Arsenal (which sits six points behind Chelsea—down, but not totally out of the title chase) hosting 13th-place Sunderland, and last-place Portsmouth hosting 11th-place Stoke City.
The other games on Sunday feature the biggest matchup of the weekend, fourth-place Manchester City welcoming fifth-place Liverpool (Fox Soccer will televise it at 10:00 a.m. EST), as well as sixth-place Tottenham traveling to 14th-place Wigan.
Wigan will be playing for Premiership survival—with 25 points the team is only two above the drop zone—as well as pride: Tottenham humiliated Wigan in their first meeting on Nov 22, winning 9-1 as Jermain Defoe bagged five goals.
How about all ten goals from that game compressed into a two-minute clip? Bam:
Below is the complete U.S. TV schedule, all times EST:
Saturday, Feb 20:
Everton v Manchester United, ESPN2, 7:45 a.m.
Arsenal v Sunderland, Setanta Sports, 9:30 a.m.
Wolverhampton v Chelsea, Fox Soccer Channel, 10:00 a.m.
Portsmouth v Stoke City, Fox Soccer Channel, 12:30 p.m.
Sunday, Feb 21:
Aston Villa v Burnley, Setanta Sports, 8:25 a.m.
Manchester City v Liverpool, Fox Soccer Channel, 10:00 a.m.
Wigan v Tottenham, Fox Soccer Channel, 12:00 p.m.
Enjoy the games.