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Premier League’s early ‘must sees’ from NBC Sports’ U.S. TV schedule

Jul 29, 2013, 7:56 PM EDT


The initial Premier League schedule was announced on July 11, but without solid dates and kickoff times, it was difficult to get too excited. You knew which teams had tough starts (Manchester United), which teams had it easier (West Ham), but in a double round robin league format, those quirks only matter so much. You didn’t know which early kickoffs would force you to set your alarm. You didn’t know which late starts would allow you get to the local bar. And you didn’t know which Monday games would leave you closing your web browser lest something spoil the match before you got to your DVR.

Now there are no such ambiguities, which means you not only know when you’ll need your iPhone to wake you up but also which games will be on “big NBC” (10 in the first three months) and live on NBC Sports Network (57).

All of which plays into this: Our dozen “Must See” games of the season’s first three months. Of course, depending on where your allegiances lie, you could see this list as flawed, biased, what have you. Regardless, these match highlights are sure to be near the top of each Premier League Live post-game show:

Saturday, August 17: Swansea City vs. Manchester United (NBC) – The Premier League on NBC debuts with Manchester United’s first Alex Ferguson-less match in 26 years. It will also see a Swansea team that’s added Wilfried Bony and Jonjo Shelvey try to replicate Everton’s success last season, with the Toffees handing United an opening weekend loss.

Monday, August 26: Manchester United vs. Chelsea (NBCSN) – José Mourinho returns to the place where he first made his mark in England, his slide down Old Trafford’s sidelines helping to bring his eventual Champions League-winning Porto team to the Premier League’s attention. In his second match back with Chelsea, Mourinho gets an early chance to flash the Blues’ title credentials.

source: Getty ImagesSunday, September 1: Liverpool vs. Manchester United (NBCSN) – See what I mean about United’s tough start? At Swansea, then home to Chelsea, then to Anfield for the season’s first North West Derby? David Moyes (right) has been on this side of a rivalry with Liverpool before, having just finished a long tenure at Everton, but given the Reds host Stoke and visit Aston Villa in the season’s first two rounds, the new United boss may meet a  particularly hyped Reds team on his return to Liverpool.

Sunday, September 1: Arsenal vs. Tottenham (NBCSN) – Another of the league’s most famous derbies completes this Sunday doubleheader, with the league’s North London rivals positioning themselves for another fight for fourth (and the league’s last Champions League spot). Arsenal could still buy this summer to try to distance themselves from Spurs, but in the second season of André Villas-Boas’s tenure at White Hart Lane, Spurs may be ready, should Arsenal up the ante.

Sunday, September 22: Manchester City vs. Manchester United (NBCSN) – They finished one-two in each of the league two seasons, and with Manchester City adding Manuel Pellegrini as well as Jesus Navas, Fernandinho, Stevan Joevtic and Álvaro Negredo, the Sky Blues may have closed last year’s gap. Regardless, this is becoming the preeminent intracity derby in world soccer, with a Sunday affair at City of Manchester stadium sure to give both new coaches a taste of what’s currently be the league’s most-heated rivalry.

Saturday, September 28: Tottenham vs. Chelsea (NBCSN) – In the last three meetings between these London rivals, the teams have combined for 16 goals. The last two at White Hart Lane have each ended with six goals scored, nine of them by Chelsea, a symptom of the Blues’ dominance over Spurs. We’re now going on three years and seven meetings since Tottenham last upended their rivals, though in that time, only one game’s featured a clean sheet. With Gareth Bale juxtaposed against one of the most talented attacks in the league, we’re unlikely to see that March 2012, 0-0 replicated this September. Tottenham breakthrough or no, expect goals.

Sunday, October 27: Chelsea vs. Manchester City (NBCSN) – These are the two teams aspiring to dethrone Manchester United, but how they perform against each other may prove as crucial to their title hopes as their fortunes against the Red Devils. Of late, however, Chelsea have failed miserably against the Citizens, taking only one point from City over the last two seasons, failure compounded by a loss in last year’s FA Cup semifinals.

source:  Sunday, October 27: Sunderland vs. Newcastle (NBCSN) – The season’s first North East derby also serves as Jozy Alitdore’s (right) highest-profile match of fall. By late October, we’ll have a good idea of how the U.S. international’s settled under Paolo Di Danio, and if that transition proves successful, he’ll lead the Black Cats’ attack when Fabricio Coloccini and the Magpies visit their fiercest rivals.

Sunday, November 3: Cardiff City vs. Swansea City (NBCSN)  – For the first time, two Welsh teams will compete in the Premier League, with Cardiff City’s promotion bringing the South Wales derby to the top flight of English soccer. After a series of close calls in the second division, the newly red-laden Bluebirds finally earned promotion, though with their rivals expected to compete at the edges of the league’s Europa League spots, a Cardiff side that will define success by avoiding relegation is a completely fighting different battle than their rivals.

Sunday, November 10: Manchester United vs. Arsenal (NBCSN) – There’s still something special about this rivalry, one that served as the league’s marquee battle from the late nineties into the early oughts. Every year since the league began play in 1992-93, one of Arsenal or Manchester United have finished in the top two. Today, Arsenal has fallen a step behind, going eight years without a trophy, but for a generation that was brought up on Premier League soccer, United versus Arsenal will always be a must see matchup.

Saturday, November 23: Everton vs. Liverpool (NBCSN) – We have to wait over three months for Liverpool’s rivals to meet, but when they rekindle their derby at Goodison Park, the managers may garner much of the focus. New Everton boss Roberto Martinez will be facing Liverpool for the first time as Toffees’ manager, and although he faced the Reds many occasions while managing now-relegated Wigan Athletic, center stage in this rivalry will be completely different. That the coach on the opposing bench is Brendan Rodgers, a man who also used Swansea City as a springboard, adds another thin layer of intrigue to this Merseyside Derby.

Monday, November 25: West Brom vs. Aston Villa (NBCSN) – No survey of Premier League rivalries would be complete without nothing what’s happening in Birmingham, where West Bromwich Albion is redefining the West Midland’s pecking order. When they were promoted two seasons ago, it had been 32 years since the Baggies had finished about their rivals in the league table. Now they’ve done it two years in a row. After battling relegation, Aston Villa have bigger things to worry about West Brom’s success, but that success does highlight how much things have changed in Birmingham.


  1. charliej11 - Jul 29, 2013 at 8:28 PM

    Would it be possible to seperate out the leagues from each other…for instance the US soccer items on one site and the foreign, mainly British on another ? If the story overlaps, like a US nat team player playing for a foreign team, you could have it in both.

    Just very annoying wading through transfer rumours and other Euro gossip, when you want to read about US soccer…….please ?

    I understand that NBC paid (over ?) for the foreign league they thought would be followed the most, but that might be better for NBC too. Some foreign guy living here might not want to search though MLS stories either to find out his team lost to Man U again this year ( sorry couldn’t resist ) and quite frankly you couldn’t have fewer comments on the foreign leagues.

    • geminitactic - Jul 29, 2013 at 9:11 PM

      If it bothers you that much, there are other websites you can visit. What’s the point of whining about something so insignificant?

      • charliej11 - Jul 30, 2013 at 10:06 AM

        I am not trying to whine, I am asking. I like the site, so I am not going anywhere, and it is a legit question.

        I should whine on all the foreign soccer coverage, most comments they have ever recieved. 😉

      • charliej11 - Jul 30, 2013 at 10:08 AM

        In addition, I have a feeling the coverage is going to explode when the English season starts and MLS is going to get lost in barrage. I hope I am wrong, but I am probably not.

      • charliej11 - Jul 30, 2013 at 2:51 PM

        And then 12 out of 14 of the next articles are about non American soccer…..ok 11 out of 14 if you count Beckham.

        Like I said MLS is going to get lost. I don’t have time to count, but when you start to debate whether is it higher or lower than 10%, you might just want to drop it/move it or it will get lost.

    • scottp11 - Jul 30, 2013 at 1:58 PM

      No, I disagree. The disparity of MLS v Prem coverage has already been heightened this summer here on this blog. I do think some of it is a bit redundant or tedious, yes. But I enjoy more coverage.

      I would take the time and google up some of the writers, there’s a fantastic staff here. And I do think they’re a bit limited by the whole “blog” aspect where the articles are short blips. I’d rather to get a bit more in-depth writing, which I know all are capable of.

      • 21stcenturybluesvues - Aug 8, 2013 at 2:51 PM

        I enjoy all the coverage as well. I love MLS – although it has a ways to go to get to the level of the premiership. Really glad to see that Clint Dempsey is now with Seattle – although more’s the pity for Tottenham. I like it all – thanks so much!

  2. Scott Ludwig - Jul 29, 2013 at 8:40 PM

    Reblogged this on Minnesota KICKS Soccer News.

  3. thememyselfandiguy - Jul 30, 2013 at 6:13 AM

    no, not seperate the us and the english soccer news. the match perfectly. both systems are not on a top level.

    • 21stcenturybluesvues - Aug 8, 2013 at 2:52 PM

      The premiership is definitely one of the best leagues. I wish NBC could get La Liga as well – then I wouldn’t have to sully my television set with anything Fox!

  4. adiaz9201 - Jul 30, 2013 at 8:33 AM

    I have no problem with this, they only doing this to help MLS which makes perfect sense, one day they will give MLS the 250 million they gave EPL. Obviuosly we cant compare MLS to EPL, but MLS is competitive unlike EPL that only has 4 teams contention for the title. GO MLS!!

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