The English Premier League (EPL) is coming off of its first international break of the season this weekend. The schedule has all 20 teams in action, either Saturday or Sunday, with one lonely game on Monday afternoon. There are matches on that will be interesting for everyone — regardless of how long you’ve been following the sport.
If you’re just getting into soccer, you should watch the EPL instead of MLS for two reasons. 1.) The EPL has some of the world’s best soccer players and they’re either just coming into their prime playing years or are in their prime. 2.) There is almost no comparison to the level of play in the EPL.
I’ve painstakingly gone through each of the 10 league matches happening between Saturday morning and Monday afternoon and have come up with three matches — one for novice fans, one for mid-level fans without a team, and one for experienced fans who have yet to settle on a team. This will ensure that you get the most out of your EPL experience this weekend.
Crystal Palace v. Manchester City — 10:00 a.m. ET NBCSN
Arsenal v. Stoke City — 10:00 a.m. ET USA network
I’ve picked these two matches for the novice viewers, not as a dig at Manchester City or Arsenal supporters, but because these matches are going to have the action needed to keep the novice viewer drawn in and hopefully hook them on the EPL. The Palace/City matchup is going to be the better of the two since it is the battle for the top of the table right now. If Palace takes all three points, then we’ve got a tie. But if City steamrolls them, they make it harder for everyone else. The Gunners are in a different position–especially after last season. They need points and they need them now, but the same can be said for Stoke City. Look for a high pressure attack from Arsenal all game long.
Everton v. Chelsea — 7:45 a.m. ET NBCSN
There is one point separating reigning EPL champions Chelsea from Everton in the table and that has a lot of Blues’ supporters stunned. This match is great for the mid-level supporter who doesn’t yet have a team because you’re going to see a lot of attacking and great tactical soccer from both Everton and Chelsea. Everton made some signings during the transfer window that they are hoping will pay dividends for them. Chelsea can’t play like they did last season — which was a very passive-style of soccer. This year they’re going to have to attack and score goals if they hope to repeat as champions.
Manchester United v. Liverpool — 12:30 p.m. ET NBC
There are rivalries, and then there are the rivalries that exist between soccer teams — and that doesn’t matter whether those teams are international or club sides. Mexico/USA, Brazil/Germany, Germany/England, Arsenal/Tottenham, Manchester City/Manchester United, Everton/Liverpool, Seattle/Portland, Tulsa/Oklahoma City; these are all great rivalries.
Then there’s the rivalry by which all other rivalries should be and are measured — Manchester United versus Liverpool! It doesn’t matter if the match is played at Old Trafford or Anfield (United and Liverpool’s home pitches, respectively). United are currently in front of the Reds in the standings thanks to goal differential. This game was picked for the experienced, yet unaligned viewer because there aren’t many games like a United v. Liverpool game.
There are seven more games in the EPL that are all broadcast live. For links to those streams thank the nice folks at NBC LiveExtra and select the match that you want. NBC LiveExtra means that the match can be streamed online only.
Here’s the run down minus the four listed (Note: Home team is listed first)
Watford v. Swansea — 10:00 a.m. ET NBC LiveExtra
West Brom v. Southampton — 10:00 a.m. ET NBC LiveExtra
Norwich City v. Bournemouth — 10:00 a.m. ET NBC LiveExtra
Sunderland v. Tottenham — 8:30 a.m. ET NBCSN
Leicester City v. Aston Villa — 11:00 a.m. ET NBCSN
West Ham United v. Newcastle United — 3:00 p.m. ET NBCSN