EPL Week 4: Rummaging Through the Weekend

Doing a little lite league-hopping overseas this afternoon:

Poor ESPN and ESPN.com.

I’ve criticized them before for not promoting soccer enough across their site and externally and now they do it…..for Liverpool-Burnley. Did you really just do a match-up piece with a segment on Steven Gerrard vs. Graham Alexander? Apologies to Alexander, but if you think a 37-year-old who is in his first year of Premiership football is a “match-up” for arguably one of the top five players in the world…..are you kidding me?

Tune in Saturday and watch this image over and over and over....

Tune in Saturday and watch this image over and over and over....

There are banner ads on the ESPN site and even major promos during Sportcenter to add to the hype and hoopla….for Liverpool-Burnley and the Reds are at home. I’m not a gambler, but LadBrokes has the chance of Burnley (shellacked by Chelsea last outing) eeking out a draw at 12 to 1 in this one.

This is on a day when Arsenal travels to an Adebayor-led Manchester City and Manchester United travels to White Hart Lane (to face the white-hot Harry Rednapp-skippered Hot Spurs); this game after the Man U’s comeback last year is going to be a good one. The punishment should fit the crime…I mean the promo should fit the piece.

Look ESPN we know you don’t have the cream of the crop games yet, so let’s not pretend they are with the American fanbase. Shaun, c’mon, add something in here: Graham Alexander vs. Steven “I own the nighlife scene” Gerrard!

In other news, ESPN360.com is my new YouTube-Hulu.

Remember, 360 can’t get rights to many first rate games. Well checkout some of the matches that made the line-up this weekend:

Serie A: Livorno vs. Milan

— A Goochman cameo?, Milan coming of an embarrassing loss at an inferior opponent goal-plosion?

La Liga: Espanyol vs. Real Madrid

— Have I been able to see the New York Yankees of La Liga (Ronaldo, Benzema, Kaka) against a league opponent yet on cable? Nope.

Bundesliga – Werder Bremen vs. Hannover 96

– I’m a huge Hannover fan or…or.. I’d like to see the USMNT’s very own Steve Cherundolo finally get on the pitch this week

Adu, only getting a little photo on TSG right now

Adu, only getting a little photo on TSG right now

Belenenses vs. Benfica

– I hereby dub you, start or no start, sub or no sub, the Renewed Freddy Adu. Now make it happen.

Well done ESPN 360…ESPN and ESPN.com, not so much.

The Bill Simmons Classic

Before the Battle for America between Fulham (now only 2 US players) and Everton (3 US players) on Sunday, you’re going to want to watch that Manchester United – Tottenham game.

Will Simmons,  a professed Tottenham fan tune in for this or is he rewinding reruns of Inside the NFL with features on Steve Grogan and Irving Fryar on Saturday? We’ll find out Monday I guess.

Tottenham, everybody’s favorite top four bandwagon crasher pick last year, is off to a stunning start to begin the EPL campaign with four victories against zero defeats, including the season kickoff against Liverpool. Manchester United is off to their typical slow start and is one Rooney penalty away from some harsh words from the press.

Beyond this year’s results, who can forget the galvanizing come-from-behinder by the Red Devils last year. Sadly, Luka Modric is out for the home side after breaking his leg–Modric is an exciting central midfielder who can both manage possession and attack. I hear you salivating USMNT fans and a tear is now rolling from my eye.

Break out the Amber jersey

Folan, feeling a little Brian Ching-ish?

Folan, feeling a little Brian Ching-ish?

Next up Jozy Altidore, we’ll spare you some angle on the story about JZA going up twice this week against T&T striker Kenwyne Jones, how about Hull manager Phil Brown looking to loan out his most featured striker Caleb Folan.  Folan is rumored headed to Premiership-estranged mates Middlesborough or Newcastle. This should at least give JZA some more running room.

I will now not talk about Gareth Southgate’s (Middlesborough) splendid history with importing strikers.

Wow, just used the Google-a-tor and image search for “Caleb Folan” and though I mistakenly typed “Damon Wayons.”

Fulham vs. Everton, what’s the TSG angle here?

We’ll depart our Deuce focus for once.

How about new defensive signee John Heiteinga covering in front of Tim Howard for Everton. About time Timmy got some more help.

Heitinga, who's previous works were opposite Maxi Rodgriguez at Madrid and Ewan McGregor in Trainspotting

Heitinga: Previous works include backing up Maxi Rodgriguez at Madrid and Ewan McGregor in Trainspotting

Ironically, Heitinga made his international debut against the USMNT way back in 2004 in the last friendly between the two squads–Tim Howard took that match in too, admiteddly from the American bench.

Welcome to Goochville, Milan. Population: Zero thus far

We mentioned in our last Americans serving time abroad column, that the Gooch was not likely to play tomorrow’s A.C. Milan game against Livorno.

However, with an absolutely horrendous defensive display (Final: 0-4) in the Milan derby against Inter, might we see the pride of Silver Spring, Maryland take the field? Don’t bet on it. Defensive stopper Gennaro Gattuso–hands down one of the funniest players to watch and specifically, watch foul opponents–is out and Milan will need experience behind in the middle to right the ship.

Anything more we need to add from overseas for the weekend?

17 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Matthew N on 2009/09/11 at 4:19 PM

    My cable company gets all the ESPN channels, but we don’t get ESPN 360😦


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2009/09/11 at 4:25 PM

      ESPN360.com is there web video player. Just type in ESPN360.com — I watched the US game on it and they did a great job with it.


      • Posted by Matthew N on 2009/09/11 at 4:45 PM

        like I said, my cable company does not get ESPN 360…. I don’t know how this could be any clearer…


        • Posted by Matthew N on 2009/09/11 at 4:54 PM

          Maybe it auto-detects your ISP or something, but whenever I try to click on anything it asks me to select my ISP. Time Warner does not subscribe to ESPN 360, so I can’t get access. It sucks because I’d probably watch it all the time. I wish they’d make it so I could pay $15 a month or something😦 I don’t think Time Warner cares about their customers choices anyways… after all.. we still don’t have the NFL Network (probably one of my favorite channels of all).


        • Posted by matthewsf on 2009/09/12 at 6:19 AM

          Ah, you’re web connection is cable — got it.

          Stay away from P-to-P or you might be in the middle of game and poof, bye-bye signal.

          You can always watch tennis or bowling or poker on the main ESPN channels–kidding.


  2. Posted by Antonio H. on 2009/09/11 at 9:12 PM

    for all planning to watch the werder bremen game, pay attention to Mesut Ozil. He’s a 20 year old german and he runs the show alongside Diego(wait. . didnt he leave?) He’ll be leaving werder for a top tier epl team in a few years and expect him to see time @ the WC.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2009/09/12 at 5:51 AM

      This is why I enjoy reading the comments on this blog. I have no idea who Mesut Ozil is and now I’m going to tune in to see the guy play.

      Thanks Antonio.


  3. Posted by kaya on 2009/09/11 at 9:34 PM

    LOL. I was laughing when I saw the Liverpool v Burnley being featured during the US v T&T game. What’s the holdup in getting some decent matches? Didn’t they take over the rights from Setanta?
    You might be able to use a proxy to get espn360, Matthew. Likely won’t be too fast, though.
    There apparently are some streaming peer to peer networks that allow you to watch most european games, but I haven’t gotten much into that.
    Anybody know anyplace online to watch the 9/9 Mexico v Honduras game?


    • Posted by Matthew N on 2009/09/12 at 5:12 AM

      I have a lot of experience watching p2p streams and I will really only watch them if I have absolutely nothing else to do. They go down, you need to find a new one, they slow down, you find a new one but so do 9999 other people and that one slows down too, etc. I just wish there was an easy way to watch what I want to watch.

      I think ESPN gets the rights to the noon kickoff matches (there isn’t one every week), so they don’t really have much choice in what they show. I’m not sure who gets to choose what match they get when there is no noon kickoff.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2009/09/12 at 6:17 AM

      Thanks for the comments Kaya.

      ESPN gets the early Saturday game and the Monday game from Setanta. A number of reasons beyond money that ESPN can’t get the games at least this season. Including:
      Quality review by the EPL who want to make sure ESPN (who had to get cameras, production teams, etc. in place) does a good job.

      BskyB actually owns the most games and would have owned more I believe but the EPL didn’t want all their TV rights commanded by one network.

      Good question on Honduras–we’ll check around.

      The problem with this game online is someone online can’t just bogart the signal and put it online unless they pay the bucks. We’ll dig around.


  4. Posted by Mark T on 2009/09/12 at 7:55 AM

    Watch Drogba’s stoppage time goal for Chelsea this morning and you can see why Matt refers to Jozy as Drogba Jr. at times.

    By the way that game had EIGHT minutes of stoppage time.

    Update on US-Honduras TV situation….not good. If this is true, USSF should get Nike to pony up the money or just buy it themselves. Then sell it to ESPN at half that if they agree to put in on ESPN or ESPN2.

    *Following up on the Insider’s exclusive report that the USA-Honduras qualifier might appear on pay-per-view or closed circuit TV only, the company that owns the U.S. rights to the match is Media World, an American firm partially owned by MediaPro of Spain. A company official said the game was made available to ESPN and other outlets and that they all passed on it. The asking price was less than a million dollars, the official said. As a result, live coverage will be shown on closed circuit only in bars and restaurants. Pay-per-view in homes is not going to be offered. The official, Roger Huguet, CEO of Imagina U.S., which oversees Media World, said there is a possibility that a third party will purchase the rights to show the game on tape delay on a standard TV outlet.

    “We gave everybody the opportunity to buy the [live] rights and they not only passed, but they didn’t even want to negotiate,” Huguet said.



  5. Posted by Mark T on 2009/09/12 at 8:38 AM

    SPOILER ALERT – HULL CITY…in case you are planning on watching the delayed broadcast on FSC later today.

    Jozy’s squad is getting blown out 4-1. Altidore came on as sub in the 64th minute.


    • Posted by Mark T on 2009/09/13 at 8:01 AM

      Watched Jozy’s 25+ minutes versus Sunderland. Nothing much to report. He used his body well to win some corners and took one shot that sailed wide from just outside the 18. And the announcers remarked that he played well.


  6. Posted by Antonio H. on 2009/09/12 at 9:24 AM

    you could always watch the USA-Honduras game on the spanish channels. . .or if you dont want that there’s always justin.tv


  7. Posted by kaya on 2009/09/12 at 11:08 AM

    Hey, I actually found this linked from a youtube video they uploaded last night:
    Antonio: I meant an archive. I wasn’t able to either the T&T v US or Mexico v Honduras on Wednesday. I get espn360.com, so if I wanted to punish myself, I could go back and watch the former😉
    When I looked on Thursday, I couldn’t find anything for the latter, but obviously I had better luck yesterday!


  8. Posted by kaya on 2009/09/12 at 11:19 AM

    Oh, I also went to the trouble of googling: “setanta espn” and read that espn bought the 46 games from setanta’s contract. I’m not familiar with british tv networks let alone the distribution arrangements… but apparently sky has the rest. ESPN so far has only bought 23 games for next year, so I’m not really sure how the situation will much improve!


  9. […] L.A. Times reported yesterday of an upcoming friendly for the U.S. team in the Netherlands (we knew our Heitinga comments would come to pass!) in March of next year. U.S. Soccer should be able to have a say in how […]


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