EPL 2005: Day 2 (Arsenal 5 – Middlesborough 3)

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Football
August 22nd, 2004 • 4:06 am

Fox Sports World Canada is very cruel. After spoiling Canada-based English football fans for a couple of years with lots of English Premier League coverage for regular channel subscribers, things appear to have taken a turn for the worse.

We are still getting lots of games, thanks to the complementary coverage provided by both Sportsnet and FSW Canada, but now it looks as if FSW Canada has stopped broadcasting certain Sunday games that are only available through closed-circuit TV (i.e. in pubs in major cities) or via pay-per-view. I know that US viewers have had to purchase pay-per-view games for years, but so far in Canada we’d been spared. And I just don’t see myself buying a regular league game for $20 or more.

One such game was today’s clash between Arsenal and Middlesborough at Highbury. After much double-checking, I had to come to the conclusion that the game would not be broadcast on FSW Canada, as would typically have been the case last year. According to soccerTV.com, the game was available via pay-per-view in both the US and Canada, but whatever Canadian pay-per-view channel this refers to, I am not getting it through my satellite TV provider.

To make matters worse, Arsenal’s official web site no longer provides live text coverage of league games to non-subscribers. Here again, you have to pay a fair amount of money in order to become a “Plus” member and have access to the coverage. It’s kinda sad.

So basically I had to content myself with the bare bones live score updates provided by Yahoo! Sport. Even with such little coverage, however, the excitement was palpable. The statistics speak for themselves: Arsenal dominated the first half and opened the score with Thierry Henry on the 25th minute, only to see Job equalize with a wonder strike just before half-time. Then Middlesborough scored two additional goals in the beginning of the second half, and all of a sudden Arsenal were 1-3 down and in real danger of experiencing their first league defeat since May 2003. But then Bergkamp immediately got one back, and then two goals by Pires and Reyes in the space of 48 seconds put the Gunners back in the lead in the 65th minute. It stayed that way until the dying seconds of the game, when Thierry Henry was able to get a second one, and the game concluded 5-3.

Without having seen any of it, I can tell that it was a great game — and sadly, we didn’t get to see it here in Canada. I’ll try to catch highlights later on this evening, but it obviously won’t be the same.

In any case, the amazing statistics continue: After going unbeaten through an entire season, Arsenal have now equalled Nottingham Forest’s record of 42 unbeaten league games and look set to surpass it, if they can avoid defeat against Blackburn on Wednesday at Highbury (another game we won’t get to see). They top the league with 6 points and a nice goal differential (+5) after two games. And Thierry Henry, Reyes, Dennis Bergkamp and Robert Pires all have two goals each already.

Enough to please any fan of attacking, spectacular football! Except when you have to content yourself with a time-delayed highlight show… Oh well. I guess last year’s excellent coverage was too good to be true.

3 Responses to “EPL 2005: Day 2 (Arsenal 5 – Middlesborough 3)”

  1. Paul Robertson says:

    Hi Pierre,

    Some good news for you I think, for the first time this year BBC Radio 5 Live will be streaming its radio coverage of Premiere league football matches over the web. (previously it did not have the rights to do so).

    Currently the stream is not available as the BBC is providing extensive broadband video (5 different streams) and Radio 5 Live coverage of the Olympics.

    Here’s the BBC press release:

    You’ll be able to get the coverage from next week at:

  2. Paul Robertson says:

    Sorry Pierre I got this very wrong – found on


    That – non UK listerners will still be BLOCKED


    “There are Premiership games in this period too, so the start of the season is going to be available only in UK broadband homes.

    However, from August 30, all UK web listeners will be able to access Five Live and Five Live Sports Extra, whether on dial-up, broadband, office networks, or at home.

    We are using a different system to identify UK web listeners for the Premiership due to a difference in the contract. We are pleased to be able to offer both of these services for the first time ever. This is a fantastic new platform on which to access Five Live?s output.”

    Maybe someone out there will be able to figure out a way to get around the BBC’s blocking technology.

  3. Pierre Igot says:

    Thanks for the information, Paul. You can probably work around the blocking technology by spoofing an IP address, but that’s beyond my capabilities and, anyway, with a 28.8 kbps connection and a feed coming from the UK, I’d be stretching it.

    Besides, in this day and age, it’s hard to be content with an audio-only feed when it comes to football. :-)

    It’s just hard to accept it when the channels give you something for a couple of years and then take it away from you. It goes against the natural momentum, which is to have more and more games available, not fewer.

    Maybe one day we’ll be able to subscribe to our favourite club’s own TV station for a reasonable fee and get to watch all their games, which is the ultimate fan dream. Of course, it’ll probably happen in the UK before it happens over here, since football/soccer is still very far from being a mainstream sport on TV.

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