We choose a handful of matches to tune in for, out of the hundreds being televised this weekend, highighted by the early kickoff today at Anfield:
Saturday, Oct 15
England, Liverpool vs Manchester United (7:30amET; ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, ESPN3.com): Read John Lally’s Political Footballs post on this heated rivalry, which ranges from the Industrial Revolution to the current Premier League era.
Netherlands, Ajax vs AZ Alkmaar (12:45pmET; ESPN3.com): AZ Alkmaar has been pushing over the past few seasons to be counted among the Eredivisie’s elite (traditionally Ajaz, PSV, Feyenoord, although lately FC Twente must also be considered). Indeed, AZ sit atop the Eredivisie table with 21 points after 8 games played, followed by PSV (17), Twente (17), Ajax (15), and Feyenoord (14). Among the players to watch: American striker Jozy Altidore has been lighting it up for AZ, and resurrected his career in the process. For Ajax, Dutch international defender Gregory van der Wiel, young Danish midfielder Christian Eriksen, and Serbian striker Miralem Sulejmani have all been tapped as the next Ajax products to make big money transfers to the big clubs of Europe.
Sunday, Oct 16
England, Arsenal-Sunderland (8:30amET; Fox Soccer Plus, foxsoccer.tv): Both teams need to win–Sunderland to keep from falling towards the relegation zone, Arsenal to try to climb back to the top half of the table.
England, Newcastle-Spurs (11amET; Fox Soccer, Fox Deportes): Also via the above-linked-to Political Footballs post: “Spurs have won their last four games, having started the season with two defeats to the Manchester clubs, and will be looking to strengthen their own quest for a top four spot this weekend in the North-East”–against a surprisingly successful (so far) Newcastle side which currently sites 4th in the English table.
Italy, Lazio-Roma(2:30pmET; Fox Soccer, Fox Deportes, ESPN3.com): Just in the nick of time, we received some notes on today’s Derby della Capitale from nostro amico romano, supplemented with some links of our choosing:
Ciao amici miei!!!
Struggling to meet a deadline for a grant right now and trying not to think to Derby….
1) I hope no fights between fans, especially after what happened yesterday in Rome
2) not having Totti can be an advantage, he feels the game too much, like De Rossi
3) Lazio is the favorite for me, not a good thing when u play the derby
4) I like Bojan, young and talented, the fans like him….Osvaldo is also potentially devastating…but it will be a battle of nerves and Luis Enrique should set up the team to press very high but not too high because Klose and Cisse can hurt with counterattacks
5) hey, how about the Tigers? I don’t know what happened yesterday…
Forza Magica Roma!