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Reviewing Sky’s 1st Weekend Coverage: New Season, New Tricks



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So, the new Premiership season started this weekend (because I am writing this on Monday evening, it still hasn’t finished yet – thanks “Monday Night Football”). Hurrah! Thank goodness the Premiership is back, I mean, we haven’t had any decent football in a month. A whole month!

Build up to the Premiership has been a bit more subdued this season; it may be because we have had a bit of football fatigue with the World Cup, or to be more precise the failings of the England team. And because the Premiership format hasn’t really changed for a while there is nothing new to advertise; Super Sundays and Monday Night Football are all pretty standard, the latter only recieving hyped pressed due to the change of channel from ESPN to Sky.

Rather, the pre-season advertising hype wasn’t so much of what you were going to watch, but rather what television provider you would be watching it on. Now that BT can offer Premiership football aswell as Sky, it has lead Sky to adopt a campaign highlighting the benefits of having their five sports channels compared to BT’s two. A big fuss was made over High Definition channels too, especially the launching of Sky Sports News HD. This means you can see the lines on Jim White’s forehead like never before. An attractive offer, eh?

Saturday morning was like any other Saturday morning thanks to Soccer AM, the football show which never truly recovered when Tim Lovejoy left to do “Something for the Weekend” on the BBC. Soccer AM, with its pun-filled jokes (“I heard he was a dirty player, that Robbie Fowler”) and the Soccerettes mean it is a visual equivilant of Nuts or Zoo. All it is missing is Danny Dyer to replace Tim Lovejoy, in all honesty.

Coverage of the first televised games, Spurs vs Man City on Sky and Chelsea vs West Brom on EPSN were as per but for two things; firstly, the use of these incredibly super-slow replays of studs landing into turf or somebody heading the ball. They were over-used in the World Cup (New Zealand vs Slovakia didn’t need these replays to feel like time was at a stand still) and, if you don’t have the wonderful HD television we are told to buy, the brilliance is kind of lost on you.

Secondly, the little chunks of statistics that accompany the scoreboard during the game (possession, shots on goal, etc) were sponsored by EA Sports. I only mention this because it further blurs the lines between reality (live football) and fantasy (FIFA 10), because when you are watching the match these EA adverts just pop up, just like when playing the game. It’s almost as if they can’t make the console game more realistic, so instead they’ve made real life more like FIFA. This might explain why Wayne Rooney isn’t running faster when I hold down right trigger..

As for the football itself, Chelsea looked strong with their six goal victory over West Brom, meaning they have scored 20 goals in their last three home matches. An impressive statistic, until you realise the opposition was West Brom, Stoke and Wigan, which slightly takes the shine of it. As for Wigan, er, I take it you won’t probably want to talk about it? Times are bad when you begin to miss Titus Bramble. The Times were kind, refusing to use photographic evidence but instead use cartoons. Yeah, it’s a broadsheet.  The growing relationship between Arsenal and Pepe Raina has probably improved following his last-minute own goal. Raina, who pulled a Barcelona shirt over Cesc Fabregas in the summer, was probably a bit more diplomatic than Roy Hodgson would have liked.

Highlights of the weekend; The return of Mark Halsey, who refereed the Wigan vs Blackpool after recovering from cancer. Great to see, as was the away section of the DW Stadium on Saturday.

Lowlight of the weekend; BBC’s hallucinogenic intro credits for Match of the Day which merges footage from previous decades all into a thirty second clip. Not only confusing on the eyes, but it looks largely like what John Motson would think if he was “tripping”.