It looks like I am being proved very accurate of my assessment on the Premier League live TV games.
Just under three weeks ago, the latest additions to the PL live schedule were released.
These covered games throughout April.
The stand out, and laughable, thing about them, was that only one of the 20 games didn’t involve at least one club from the ‘big six’.
West Ham v Stoke the only one, whilst Newcastle’s only live fixture was against Arsenal of the ‘big six’.
Back then (see below), I wrote that whilst it was a joke anyway to basically just go through and pick every match featuring those ‘big six’ clubs, to do so this season was really bizarre and stupid.
Firstly, even by the end of February it looked like there was going to be next to nothing to play for amongst those top six clubs.
Secondly, with at least half the PL clubs still involved in the tightest relegation struggle for years, the TV broadcasters’ decision was baffling, in all but totally ignoring it (apart from when ‘lesser’ clubs happened to be playing those at the top).
This is how the Premier League table looks now:
Back at the end of February, Manchester City led Man Utd by 13 points, now it is 16 points with only eight games left – the title race completely over.
Maybe the most pointless thing at the end of February was that all four of Arsenal’s matches were named as live games, back in February they were 10 points off the Champions League places and now 13 points off fourth with only the eight games left.
The only possible issue at the top that looked like it might still be live when April comes around, was whether Chelsea could make a fight of it for the Champions League places.
Back in February (see below) I expressed scepticism on that and predicted that by April it was likely Chelsea would be all but out of the running.
Chelsea actually play Spurs on 1 April (this game was picked for TV in the previous selection of games, with then the 20 in the rest of April revealed at the end of February) and if Tottenham win, they would then be eight points clear of Chelsea with seven games to play, so basically all the Champions League places could be sorted before any of the 20 Premier League live TV games in the rest of April go ahead.
Meanwhile, apart from West Brom who are well gone, you still have between seven and ten clubs still battling against filling the other two relegation spots.
There isn’t even anything to play for anymore when it comes to finishing third or fourth, as instead of the fourth club having to then play in a qualifying round for the Champions League group stage, all the top four now go straight into that group stage.
My article on The Mag – 28 February 2018:
The latest schedule of Premier League Live TV games have been revealed.
Sky Sports and BT Sport announcing the games they have chosen for April.
There were 20 matches revealed and after those April games there is only one more round of Premier League matches before then the final day of the season.
If you hadn’t heard already, Newcastle have just one live TV match in April, the home game with Arsenal moved to Sunday 15 April with a 1.30pm kick-off.
I’m really pleased that myself and other travelling Newcastle supporters have had some respite from difficult to get to matches being moved to awkward dates/times.
However, the Premier League Live TV games overall, are a total joke in that vital last full month of matches.
Of the 20 games selected (full list below), only one, West Ham v Stoke, doesn’t include a club from the top/big six.
All the other 19 matches include at least one team from that elite/favoured group.
It is almost as though they have gone down the list of games and selected every single one of the games that involve those teams, with only a limit on the total number permitted for live screening, stopping them selecting all of them.
This is how many times each of the top six are on in April:
4 Man City, Man Utd, Liverpool, Arsenal
3 Chelsea, Tottenham
When you consider that these are the same teams we will have on TV in the European competitions as well, if they survive that far, then it makes it all the more blatant.
The big joke though is that there is very little to play for at the top end this season.
Manchester City have already won the league and will probably have mathematically done so by the time April comes around.
Arsenal are already all but completely ruled out of finishing top four.
So that means the only real issue is which of four clubs (Man U, Chelsea, Liverpool, Spurs) will join Man City in the Champions League placings.
If say Chelsea lose a couple of games in March then even that issue could well be sorted by the time we reach April.
Meanwhile, at the bottom end, you have one of the most exciting (for those not involved) relegation fights ever. At least 11 clubs up to and including Bournemouth, are still involved, with most of them almost certain to be still stuck in that fight by April.
Yet only one potential relegation six pointer is to be shown live, that West Ham v Stoke game.
Yes we understand that as a general rule TV companies and viewers want to watch the clubs at the top rather than the bottom BUT only when they are playing/fighting for something.
I think they have missed a real trick this time and there would be far more interest in whether say Newcastle, or West Ham, could be winning a vital relegation six pointer, than watching Tottenham to see whether they will be third or fourth.
Current Premier League table:
Saturday 7 April
5.30pm: Man City vs Man United (Sky Sports)
Sunday 8 April
2.15pm: Everton vs Liverpool (Sky Sports)
4.30pm: Chelsea vs West Ham (Sky Sports)
Monday 9 April
8pm: Arsenal vs Southampton (Sky Sports)
Saturday 14 April
12.30pm: Southampton vs Chelsea (Sky Sports)
5.30pm: Liverpool vs Bournemouth (BT Sport)
7.45pm: Tottenham vs Man City (Sky Sports)
Sunday 15 April
1.30pm: Newcastle vs Arsenal (Sky Sports)
4pm: Man United vs West Brom (Sky Sports)
Monday 16 April
8pm: West Ham vs Stoke (Sky Sports)
Friday 20 April
8pm: Brighton vs Tottenham (Sky Sports)
Saturday 21 April
5.30pm: Bournemouth vs Man United (BT Sport)
Sunday 22 April
2.15pm: West Brom vs Liverpool (Sky Sports)
4.30pm: Man City vs Swansea (Sky Sports)
Monday 23 April
8pm: Arsenal vs West Ham (Sky Sports)
Saturday 28 April
12.30pm: Liverpool vs Stoke (Sky Sports)
5.30pm: Swansea vs Chelsea (BT Sport)
Sunday 29 April
2.15pm: West Ham vs Man City (Sky Sports)
4.30pm: Man United vs Arsenal (Sky Sports)
Monday 30 April
8pm: Tottenham vs Watford (Sky Sports)