Matches to Watch This Weekend – New Year’s Edition (Jan 1-2, 2011)

December 31, 2010 — by Sean

As you sit nursing your hangover, why not turn to the headache-soothing action of Premier Leauge play? We know of no better way to pass through the haze of the year’s first day into the clarity you’ll need to fight the future’s impending troubles. You know the sort of things we mean: climate change, declining standards of education, goal line technology, and so forth.

Saturday, Jan 1

West Brom-Manchester United, 7:45am ESPN2, ESPND The Baggies are a fun side to watch, and at home they’ll be less inclined to sit back and defend against the current table-toppers. Not that they know how. The team likes to attack, and since they’ll be missing two starting backs their best bet is to keep the ball in the offensive third. United are heavy favorites, but they may find themselves on the back foot now and again.

Liverpool-Bolton, 10am FSP Anfield is not the fortress it’s been for so, so long, and the home fans have taken to booing the squad’s crap performances of late. Bolton, with our boy Stu Holden firming up the center, have been the mid-table team done well this year and are pushing to secure their place in Europe (let’s not forget they were in danger of relegation this time last season). Liverpool will be hard pressed to deal with the Wanderers’ quick counterattack, and unless Torres can get his head screwed on right they’ll never pierce the Bolton backline.

Birmingham v Arsenal,  12:30pm FSC Birmingham have an excellent home record, and have drawn Manchester United & City, Spurs and Liverpool at home, while handing Chelsea a defeat. Arsenal come in after a poor performance by their second squad got them but a draw against Wigan, and they’ll need to put forward a tougher side while balancing the starters rest, what with the big clash with City coming four days later.

Tottenham-Fulham, 2:30pm FSC, Fox Deportes (tape delay) The Cottagers should pose no problem for the Spurs, seeing as the home side is flying, and the visitors are floundering. We like Mark Hughes for his classy ways, but how long will this guy get to keep his post? Too bad for Hodgson as well, maybe he should’ve stayed with the boys from London.

Sunday, Jan 2

Chelsea-Aston Villa, 8:30am FSC, Fox Deportes Have Chelsea gotten their season back on track? Probably not just yet, but the gutsy win against Bolton have them headed in the right direction. Lampard is back and though not up to speed just yet, his vision has been sorely missed. Villa have had a mediocre showing this season, but we’ll tune in anyway for a chance to see if one of our next generation US backs can make it in the top flight

Wigan v Newcastle, FSC 11am We’re not terribly interested in this game, though Carroll has been a lot of fun to watch as he torments defenses Drogba-style. Still, the 11am slot is just right as it’s the perfect time to turn on the game and let the gruelingly slow pace of this one lull you into a late morning nap.