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EPL Weekend Preview: Sunderland, Chelsea, Tottenham, Arsenal and More

A question of ethics -- can you get mad at your 90-year-old Grandmother for getting you sick on Thanksgiving when you spend 40 minutes in the car with her driving her back to her home?

A question of insanity -- can you start snorting the crystals in Thera-Flu packets in Kenny Powers fashion?

A question of practicality -- can you try to assemble a weekly EPL preview-o-rama when every three seconds you're hitting the backspace key?

You guys do the math.


* Newcastle United v. Chelsea -- (Live, ESPN2, 7:45 a.m.) If the Magpies win this one, is Andre Villas-Boas fired, leaving him time to work on his Rick Astley karaoke impression? Perhaps the better question, if Roman Abramovich deems AVB's time is up, who to replace him? And who would be crazy enough to want the Chelsea job any more? Hell, working for Mike Ashley seems like a more prudent idea at this stage. And wouldn't you rather rather Tim Krul (to be kind) in goal over Petr Cech? ... Newcastle 1, Chelsea 1

* Blackburn Rovers v. Swansea City -- I was almost going to write that Blackburn aren't that out-and-out awful, then I looked at the table and saw the club has one win -- remarkably enough against Arsenal back when the Gunners were in full-on crisis mode. Blackburn can score goals, but it can't stop them with without a single clean sheet, heck Rovers have only allowed one goal in four league matches. Not good. Meanwhile the goals have dried up for Swansea as the club went scoreless in Premier League action in November. Danny Graham might not play this one, meaning Premier League re-tread Leroy Lita could see minutes. Ugh. ... Blackburn 2, Swansea 1

* Manchester City v. Norwich City -- (Live, FSC, 10 a.m.) Manchester City did right the ship in in the midweek against Arsenal in the Carling Cup, despite being outplayed it got a result against the run of play. It's weird, isn't it, City isn't even playing well -- but who is aside from Tottenham? -- so they can coast on a five-point lead week-in, week-out. ... Man City 3, Norwich City 0

* QPR v. West Brom -- This is a good game for teams with acronyms. QPR vs. WBA. In other words, a game perfectly suited for ESPN's Bottom Line ticker. ... QPR 2, WBA 0

* Tottenham v. Bolton -- Again, this would be a typcial game for Tottenham to screw up, on the heels of a listless performance midweek in the Europa League. Bolton have 10 losses, which is the second-highest result of any team in the table, aside from Manchester City's 11 wins. Again, it's crazy, isn't it, Spurs' only real move of the summer was signing Brad Freidel (before grabbing Emmanuel Adebayor and Scott Parker at the last second) and look how much a stable person between the sticks means. Crazy. ... Spurs 3, Bolton 1

* Wigan Athletic v. Arsenal -- (Live, FSC+, 10 a.m.) If Robin van Persie is ever going to get hurt, its setting foot on the JJB/DW Stadium turf, which may or may not be lined by bear traps Friday night by Roberto Martinez. ... Wigan 1, Arsenal 2

* Aston Villa v. Manchester United -- (Live, FSC, 12:30 p.m.) A progressive manager might think, hey, Manchester United is reeling. They're not playing great. They really can only win games 1-0 these days. Why not inspire the home crowd and go for a win that would really get people talking. When you're Alex McLeish, that doesn't happen. You bend over, bite your lip and take whatever Sir Alex Ferguson serves in your direction. ... Villa 0, Manchester United 2


* Everton v. Stoke City -- (Live, FSC+, 10 a.m.) Everton? Same story, different week. The Tofs have to fight and claw with every ounce of energy to win a game. Stoke City finds itself in the ultimate English soccer version of "You're a Winner and a Loser," as it advanced to the knockout stages of the Europa League. ... Everton 2, Stoke City 0

* Wolves v. Sunderland -- (Live, FSC, 11 a.m.) Mick McCarthy probably pulled out his rosary beads on the news of Steve Bruce -- finally -- being fired by Sunderland. Better him than me, right? The thing is, Sunderland does have a nice assortment of players, assuming the next manager finds a combination that works. There is a decent XI at the Stadium of Light, aside from any defenders who can actually mark on set plays. Doubt too many players or fans mourn the loss of Bruce, well, maybe Darren Bent via Bruce's daughter. Or something like that. Martin O'Neill -- the strongly rumored candidate -- is an okay option, as in he'll get Sunderland above relegation fodder but not much else. Problem is for Sunderland, Bruce spent so much money on all the player comings and goings, it's likely O'Neill will want his own "guys," so where is that money coming from? American owner Ellis Short isn't made out of money, is he? ... Wolves 1, Sunderland 2


* Fulham v. Liverpool -- (Live, ESPN2, 3 p.m.) Pray for Lucas. ... Fulham 1, Liverpool 1

Last round: 3-7Season: 67-62


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