Bodog Nation - English Soccer
An ugly ownership battle, controversial signings
and the hiring of a high-profile manager.
Yes, it promises to be an enthralling Barclays
Premier League campaign for the Toon Army.
While Thursday's announcement
of the 2007-8 premiership schedule was met
with great fanfare from all clubs, most eyes
darted to the combustible affairs Newcastle
United will partake in, and for good reason
- given the relatively tame summers of the "big four" (Chelsea,
Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool) the
Magpies put forth a lion's share of tabloid
In the front office, a heated battle between
owners Mike Ashley and chairman Freddy Shepherd
(dealing from his hospital bed, the subject of
a punctured lung) turned ugly when Ashley launched
a takeover bid.
Things were just as rocky closer to the pitch,
as newly appointed manager Sam Allardyce cleaned
house upon his arrival, releasing six players
and signing two talented headcases in Joey Barton
and Mark Viduka. Thrown in the return of local
rival Sunderland to top flight football,
and Newcastle could produce more dramatic storylines
than a harlequin romance novel.
Key Magpie Dates:
Aug. 11th, @ Bolton
The Skinny:Sam Allardyce
returns to Reebok Stadium, where
he guided Bolton for eight successful
years. "Big Sam" oversaw Bolton's
promotion to the Premiership in
2001, and led the Wanderers to
their first ever UEFA Cup qualification
Aug. 25th @ 'Boro
The Skinny: Mark Viduka's
first game back at Middlesbrough
after four years at the Riverside.
Viduka turned down overtures from
'Boro to join their north east
rivals on a free transfer.
May 11th @ Man City
The Skinny: The Magpies'
final league match will also mark
Joey Barton's return to the Eastlands.
Barton's City legacy will not soon
be forgotten; his assault case
against former teammate Ousmane
Dabo is still pending while squabbles
over an unpaid loyalty bonus persist.
The Big Four
The 21st century has brought an undisputed powerhouse
quartet to the Premiership, occasionally infiltrated
by the likes of Everton and Newcastle. But in
large part, this foursome has defined what elite
English club football is.
Last season, Man Utd, Chelsea and Liverpool
made the semi-finals of the Champions League;
Arsenal and Chelsea competed for the League Cup
Final; Man Utd and Chelsea played for the FA
Cup. It should be noted that it has been 12 years
since one of the big four clubs did not win the
FA Cup - Everton's 1995 victory over United the
last time an outsider did the trick.
The fixtures (home teams listed horizontally):
||Apr. 26 @
|Nov. 3 @
|Dec. 15 @
||Sep. 22 @
||Dec. 15 @
|Aug. 18 @
||Apr. 12 @
|Mar. 22 @
||Oct. 27 @
||Mar. 22 @
The importance of local derbies has never been
lost on the Premier League. Despite an influx
of non-English footballers and the steadily-growing
divide between rich and poor clubs, geographical
and historical rivalries still breed contempt
amongst the clubs.
A look at some of England's key derby dates:
Manchester (United vs. City)
* Saturday Aug. 18th @ City
* Saturday, Feb. 9th @ United
North London (Arsenal vs. Tottenham)
* Saturday, Sept. 15th @ Tottenham
* Saturday, Dec. 22nd @ Arsenal
Tyne-Wear (Newcastle vs. Sunderland)
* Saturday, Nov. 10th @ Sunderland
* Saturday, April 19th @ Newcastle
West London (Fulham vs. Chelsea)
* Saturday, Sept. 29th @ Chelsea
* Tuesday, Jan 1st @ Fulham
Merseyside (Everton vs. Liverpool)
* Saturday, Oct. 20th @ Everton
* Saturday, Mar. 29th @ Liverpool
New Kids On The Block
Three teams make their return to the Premiership:
Birmingham, Derby County and Sunderland.
Birmingham will open the campaign against FA
Cup winners Chelsea, while the 2007 Coca-Cola
Championship winners from Sunderland will start
with a home date versus Tottenham. Derby - who
scratched its way into the top flight via a play-off
final - will also begin at home, taking on Portsmouth
in what will be County's first Premier League
Match since 2002.
Our live sports odds partner are a College Football
lines, NFL sports betting, Football sportsbook
and multi-sport parlay entertainment company
with great Football betting odds, College Football
lines, fantastic customer service and fast payouts.
Click the link to go to Bodog.com and Football
Bet online in their NFL + College Football sportsbooks