Soccer Survival Sunday 2012

The Premier League, La Liga and Serie A seasons all come to an end on Sunday. Juventus will celebrate their 2011-12 Scudetto win, while either Manchester City or Manchester United will win the Premiership. Real Madrid have already been crowned La Liga champions. Championships are the only important spots up for grabs this Sunday though. Champions League and Europa League positions are also available in all three leagues. Teams at the bottom are fighting to avoid relegation as well. Here is the TV schedule for each league. I will also update with commentators as they become available.

Premier League
9:30am, Manchester City (1st, 86 points) vs. QPR (17th, 37 points) – TSN2
Ian Darke & Steve McManaman

9:30am, Sunderland (11th, 45 points) vs. Manchester United (2nd, 86 points) – SN
Jon Champion & Kevin Gallacher

9:55am, West Bromwich (10th, 47 points) vs. Arsenal (3rd, 67 points) – SN World
Gary Weaver & Trevor Francis

9:55am, Tottenham (4th, 66 points) vs. Fulham (9th, 52 points) – SN1
Tony Jones & Davie Provan

9:55am, Chelsea (6th, 61 points) vs. Blackburn (19th, 31 points) – SPEED*
Joe Speight & Dean Sturridge

5:00pm, Norwich City (13th, 44 points) vs. Aston Villa (16th, 38 points) – SN World
Jonathan Beck & Dean Ashton

9:00pm, Everton (7th, 53 points) vs. Newcastle (5th, 65 points) – SN World
Gary Taphouse & Garry Birtles

Midnight, Stoke City (14th, 40 points) vs. Bolton (18th, 35 points) – SN World
Daniel Mann & Tony Gale

For full highlights tune into Premier League review at 11:00pm ET on Sportsnet World. It will re-air the next day on the main Sportsnet Channels.

*NOTE: A blackout could occur for the game on Speed because Sportsnet/TSN hold exclusive Canadian rights.

Manchester City holds a goal difference edge on Manchester United, so all they need is to match what United does to win the title.

Arsenal and Spurs will clinch Champions League spots with wins; if they don’t win, Newcastle can catch either with a win. The lone remaining Europa League spot will go to the other of these teams.

Also, remember that if Chelsea win the Champions League, they will claim one of the four positions for next year. That would drop the 4th place finisher in the league to the Europa League. So 3rd is very important this season.

La Liga
2:00pm, Real Madrid (1st, 97 points) vs. Mallorca (6th, 52 points) – GolTV
Phil Schoen & Ray Hudson

8:00pm, Villarreal (16th, 41 points) vs. Atletico Madrid (5th, 54 points) – GolTV

For full highlights tune into La Liga 360 at 10:00pm ET following Villarreal vs. Atletico Madrid.

The live game is almost meaningless. Mallorca can only get a Champions League spot if Malaga lose and Atletico Madrid lose or draw. However, they will most likely need a win to hold onto a Europa League position with four teams within three points of them.

The second game is important for both teams. Villarreal are only safe by 1 point. So, a loss or draw combined with wins by Zaragoza and Real Vallecano would see them relegated. Atletico Madrid need a win and a loss or draw by Malaga to get the last Champions League spot.

Serie A
9:00am, Juventus (1st, 81 points) vs. Atalanta (11th, 46 points) – theScore
2:30pm, Catania (10th, 48 points) vs. Udinese (3rd, 61 points) – theScore
2:45pm, Lazio (4th, 59 points) vs. Internazionale (6th, 58 points) – Euroworld Sport

For full highlights tune into The Footy Show at 5pm ET following Catania vs. Udinese.

Juventis vs. Atalanta is a meaningless game for both; however, Juventus will have a trophy celebration at their new stadium following the match.

Udinese will clinch the last Champions League spot with a win. If they don’t win, the door is open for Lazio or Napoli to take that final spot. The other two, along with Inter, will play in the Europa League next season.

Although not on TV, Genoa would be relegated with a loss and a Lecce win.

Ligue 1
3:00pm, PSG (2nd, 73 points) vs. Rennes (5th, 57 points) – TV5

Last, but not least, is Ligue 1. PSG need a win and Montpellier loss to have a shot at the title (tiebreakers would come into play). PSG would at least have an equal goal differential if this happened.

Meanwhile, Rennes need points to hold off three teams for the last Europa League birth.

25 thoughts on “Soccer Survival Sunday 2012

  1. Very good recap of the day, although I wonder how many people on this side of the ocean get caught up in the relegation battles. I know it’s a big deal in Europe, but the idea that the bottom teams get relegated is still an odd concept to North Americans.

    One detail on the English race – you wrote that “Arsenal and Spurs will clinch Champions League spots with wins; if they don’t win, Newcastle can catch either with a win.” If Arsenal draws, Newcastle would have to win by 18 goals to overtake the Gunners. So Newcastle really needs for Arsenal to lose to overtake them.

    • I honestly don’t get that into the relegation battle unless there is a big team involved. When West Ham and Newcastle went down, that was big news. Bolton, Wolves, Blackburn and QPR, I’m kind of indifferent. I’d like to see QPR stay up because I love watching games at Loftus Road, but it doesn’t really matter.

      I much prefer the Champions League race. I may watch Arsenal or Spurs in the Champions League almost as many times as I watch a bottom team in the Premiership all season. I just didn’t want to get too technical with the details.

      • Relegation battles are often more interesting because you actually see the true agony of defeat vs the faux stuff we see in North America. Players will lose thier jobs, people will have their pays cut, everything gets downscaled as you face a potentially bleak future.

      • Yes, some of us captured that bug for big teams in relegation battles when we were young listening to the live second half radio commentary. But the great Birmingham City got a win on the last day of the season sending the minnows of Southampton and Manchester United down along with already relegated Norwich.

        • You must be a lot older than me then.

          And really, “the minnows Manchester United”? They’d won the European Cup and Football League only a few seasons before.

          • That made it all the sweeter. Thanks for reminding me.

          • And as for age, let’s just say that some of us that had our 25th birthday before United won the league in our lifetime …

            • You must have a very good memory to remember when you were very young then (referring to the year they were last relegated). Either that or you’re approaching 115 years old by my quick math ;). Either way, impressive, haha.

              And as for promotion/relegation, its happened to just about every team. I’m betting whichever team you like has been out of the top flight in the past 60 years too (unless you like Arsenal or something).

              • Thank you for the compliment.

              • I know that as a United fan you must disparage all that is the Arsenal, but only 60 years? No no no… Arsenal was promoted in 1915 and not been relegated since… so that would be NINETY-SEVEN straight years in the top flight. That’s Chicago Cubs territory there! (well, in reverse… you know what I mean)

                • That was my point. Everyone in the Premier League has been relegated in the past 60 years except Arsenal.

                  Of course not as impressive as Inter, who have never been relegated from Serie A in its 100+ year history.

                  • To say that Inter “has never been relegated in its 100+ year history” is misleading, since relegation didn’t even exist in Italian football in the first years of Inter’s existence. Back then, each region had a tournament, with the winners playing for the National Championship. By around the late 1910s, you could get relegated from your regional group. Serie A only came into existence in 1929.

                    Every season since 1915 (really 1919, the first season played after WWI), Arsenal got through the season without relegation. I think we must say that Arsenal’s non-relegation streak surpasses Inter’s streak. On the other hand, Inter is certainly the better-honoured of the two clubs.

  2. Huge Premier League fan here The relegation battle is one of the best things about european football. it makes it a sport where every game does actually matter, unlike north american sports where they have 82 to 162 games a season with over 50% of them meaningless. Every game counts in the premier league. have to admit though, this seasons survivial day is a little less exciting than usual as it’s only down to 2 clubs, compared to other years when 4 or 5 clubs were involved up until the final whistle. Still should be an exciting day with the 2 Manchester clubs going for the title.

    • I disagree with meaningless games in the NHL and NBA where more than half the league makes the playoffs. 18 of 30 NHL teams (60%) were within 5 points of the playoffs this year. Let’s be honest, everyone from Everton though Stoke City has been playing meaningless games for the past month or two. The ratio of team’s playing for something in the last two weeks of the season is about the same.

      • Maybe meaningless was a bad choice of words. I do get what you mean about the races for playoff positions coming down to the wire. Just with north american sports having playoff systems the regular season to me doesn`t really mean much for alot of teams. the fringe teams fighting for 7th or 8th yes have important games right down to the wire, but top teams are usually coasting for the last few months of the season waiting for the playoffs to bbegin.

        on a side note i love your website. its a great resource. and a big clap to you for the amount of oasis songs you`ve included in the past.

        cheers

        • That’s true. Not really uniquely American since rugby has playoffs too. In fact, soccer is the only sport that comes to mind that doesn’t. I love it for that reason though. It’s different.

          Glad you love the blog. I’ll try to throw in another Oasis song sometime soon.

  3. It’s insane to think that just 10-15 years ago, we had such little live soccer coverage from all around Europe. North American soccer coverage has come a long way and networks such as ESPN, Fox Sports, GolTV, TSN, Sportsnet, TLN and TheScore deserve a lot of praise.

    • Agreed. Nice to see that opinion. All I’ve heard all week is people complaining there aren’t more than 4 live EPL matches on.

      As much as TLN deserve praise, they have effectively ruined me from liking them by taking Serie A off TLN and putting it on Euroworld Sport, a channel I can’t get.

      • It’s true. i think it’s fantastic the amount of coverage soccer is getting these days in Canada. We’re very lucky in that way. I usually watch 4-5 Premier league matches a weekend. It’s become of big part of saturday and Sunday for me. My wife has even told me she doesnt look forward to when the season ends because i’m “noticibly bored” during the weekend mornings.

        • Many Canadians don’t get that we already have more live Premier League football here than they do in England. We get the same 138 live matches that the English get, plus a live Saturday 10am ET game that English viewers are not allowed to watch live by law. Even on Survival Sunday, as Josh points out, we get 4 live games in Canada, English viewers only get 2 live games – the two for the title.

          Imagine if American viewers were not allowed to watch Sunday 1pm ET NFL games live on TV, but Europeans were – that’s what the English have to deal with, to watch the EPL.

          • I tried offering that explanation to some and was told that since there are no Canadian laws against showing more than 4 games, then Sportsnet had no reason not to. As a result, Canada isn’t comparable to Britain.

            The thing about the NFL is there are blackouts if games don’t sell out. And the NFL can’t play on Fridays and Saturdays because of high school and college games. When you think of it, both leagues/laws aim to do the same thing, just in different ways. If having every game on Sky didn’t impact attendance, of all levels of the game, then they probably would be. Of course it does, just look at Italy where Sky is cheaper/better alternative than going to matches for many. Germany has the winning combination of low satellite penetration and low ticket prices that allows many games to be on TV, while still selling out matches.

  4. I don’t watch soccer (unless it’s a Euro or World Cup tournament) though was the Chelsea vs Blackburn game available for those on Shaw Direct & Rogers? It was blacked out on Bell TV.

    • I have Bell TV too but a friend of mine said it was blacked out on Rogers. Speed aired alternate programming; an episode of Mobil 1 The Grid and what appeared to be a Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race although the “Speed” logo was not in the top right corner of the screen as it normally is. US based F1 fans are fuming on the Speed message boards as the Spanish GP post-race and interviews got truncated for the soccer. Normally that kind of treatment is only reserved for Canadian viewers on TSN…

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