This is the second of a weekly series to be posted each Sunday, highlighting select events from the first part of the upcoming week in sports.
Manchester City vs. Newcastle United, 3 PM ET/12 PM PT (NBCSN – International feed)
The final match of the first round has been much anticipated, certainly by myself, as the Manuel Pellegrini era will begin in earnest at the Etihad on Monday. Pellegrini’s new style and tactics will be on display, as well as his new additions, from Fernandinho and Navas, to Jovetic and Negredo, as well as the return of some of the EPL’s best in Sergio Aguero, Joe Hart and Vincent Kompany. For Newcastle, this is a tough fixture early as Alan Pardew and the boys look to bounce back from a largely disappointing season this past year. Not having Gutierrez and Remy will hurt, but with Cabaye, Krul, Cisse and Ben Arfa still suiting up, this fixture should still be a competitive one.
Chelsea vs. Aston Villa, 2:45 PM ET/11:45 AM ET (NBCSN – Commentators TBD)
Both teams are coming off quality victories, and both teams possess the capability to score. One could argue though that the similarities end there, and it doesn’t take much to remember last year’s 8-0 complete drubbing of Villa by the Blues. Chelsea still has a very balanced squad and is certainly expected to get three points, but this will not be the same walk in the park as the same fixture. Villa made Arsenal (still not a bad team) look relatively dreadful on Saturday, and Benteke and Agbonlahor make for one of the more underrated attacking duos in the league.
Atletico Madrid vs. Barcelona, 5 PM ET/2 PM PT (ESPN3)
This is the first of a two legged matchup between Copa Del Rey champions Atletico Madrid and La Liga champions Barcelona. Everyone loves David vs. Goliath, and this is more of that than the matchup has been recently, as Falcao has departed for Monaco. But they still have some talent and with silverware on the line, this’ll surely be one to see.
– Dodgers at Marlins, 7:10 PM ET/4:10 PM PT
- This one pits a Cy Young candidate in Hyun-Jin Ryu (23 starts, 148.1 IP, 2.91 ERA, 121/43 K/BB) against one of the best young pitchers in baseball, the Marlins’ 20 year old Jose Fernandez (23 starts, 139.2 IP, 2.45 ERA, 149/48 K/BB). Outside of that, and the chance to see a star of the game in Giancarlo Stanton, there’s not much intrigue in this series (outside of seeing Clayton Kershaw pitch in some matinee action Thursday). The Dodgers are very good, and the Marlins are very bad. That’s the long and the short of it, folks. Oh, and with LA on the road, no Vin. Though it should be noted that Rich Waltz, play by play voice of the Miami Marlins, is one of the more underrated voices in baseball today.
– Diamondbacks at Reds
- Monday – Wednesday: 7:10 ET/4:10 PT (Tuesday on MLB Network – Local Broadcast)
- Thursday: 12:35 PM ET/9:35 AM PT (MLB Network – Local Broadcast)
One of the few intriguing series in baseball the next few days, both teams are 7-3 in their last 10, with the Reds holding the second wild card spot and the Diamondbacks just 5.0 games behind, entering Monday. On display in this series are guys like Joey Votto, who leads the league with a .432 OBP and ranks among the Top 5 in position player WAR, OPS, Hits, Runs scored and Walks, and the flame throwing closer Aroldis Chapman (55 games, 49.1 IP, 3.10 ERA, 86/21 K/BB, 7 home runs allowed – all entering Monday) for the Reds. And for their opponents from Arizona, look no further than Paul Goldschmidt. To say he’s had a breakout season would be an understatement (5.4 WAR, .296/.391/.551, .942 OPS, 25 doubles, 30 HR, 96 RBI, 13 SB), but Gerardo Parra’s glove and the pitching of Patrick Corbin have also helped the Diamondbacks post a 64-58 mark so far.
– Rays at Orioles, Monday – Wednesday 7:05 ET/4:05 PT (Monday on MLB Network – Local Broadcast, Wednesday on MLB Network)
The Rays have cooled off slightly but are still one of the best teams in the American League, with balance, pitching and a great manager in Joe Maddon helping lead them to a 0.5 game lead in the Wild Card race. The Orioles are no lock for the playoffs, but certainly still have a shot as they’re only 5.0 GB in the AL East and 3.0 back in the Wild Card race. Chris Davis has cooled off significantly since the All-Star break but is still one of the best hitters in baseball this season and always a threat at the plate, as well as fellow All-Star Manny Machado (.297/.325/.453, league leading 43 doubles, 11 HR, 58 RBI). The Rays’ Wil Myers though has made Kansas City look like complete fools for giving up the 22 year old, who is putting up numbers eerily similar to those of Mike Trout through as many career games and has put up 9 HR in 49 games as well as a .868 OPS.
Fox Soccer Daily – Series Premier August 19, 4 PM ET/1 PM PT on Fox Sports 1
Fox Soccer’s life will soon be coming to a close. We will mourn, sure, but FS1 has promised the “power of Fox Soccer” in this half hour long program. It’ll be a relatively similar cast to that which we are familiar with (Barton, Jones, Wynalda, Stone, McBride, et al) with the addition of Julie Stewart-Binks as host. ESPNFC is also in its infancy, so it’s only fair to give these two programs a few weeks to get their footing, and as such we will withhold our reviews until the shows have a chance to get into midseason form. But by taking Sky Sports News away from us and with all the hype they’ve supplied, FS1 has set the bar pretty high for this darn show.