Live football on TV on a saturday afternoon – and Arsenal’s team this afternoon

By Bulldog Drummond

Years ago we had a bash at trying to raise support for having live football on TV on a saturday afternoon, on the grounds that Arsenal’s matches were always sold out, so why not let those who can’t go to the game watch it live?

Nothing came of it of course, but today, because of “circumstances” we all of us can watch football through the afternoon and on to the early evening.  (Unless of course you are in the Americas or Australia or similar around the world places.

While of course the wretched BT Sprout are charging people to see the games they are covering in their normal mathematically challenged way, the BBC programmes for people in the UK with a TV licence are there for all to see…  (Actually not sure if you need a TV licence to watch the FA Player,  but you do for BBC i player).

  • Blackburn Rovers v Doncaster Rovers (15:00 GMT) – Live on The FA Player
  • Burnley v MK Dons (15:00 GMT) – Live on The FA Player
  • Stevenage v Swansea City (15:00 GMT) – BBC Sport website/BBC iPlayer
  • Queens Park Rangers v Fulham (15:00 GMT) – BBC Sport website/BBC iPlayer
  • Stoke City v Leicester City (15:00 GMT) – BBC Sport website/BBC iPlayer
  • Wycombe Wanderers v Preston North End (15:00 GMT) – Live on The FA Player
  • Arsenal v Newcastle United (17:30 GMT) – Live on BBC One
  • Huddersfield v Plymouth Argyle (18:00 GMT) – Live on The FA Player
  • Brentford v Middlesbrough (18:00 GMT) – Live on The FA Player

Incidentally the FA Player is also the place to watch women’s league football live, but for this afternoon it is five hours straight football on the box if you a) live in  the UK and b) have a TV and a licence where required and c) have nothing else to do.

And incidentally there is plenty more on tomorrow as well.

Sports Mole give us for the line up


Cedric, Gabriel, Luiz, Maitland-Niles;

Partey, Ceballos;

Martinelli, Willock, Pepe;



The Evening Standard has some “confirmed early team news” (whatever that means) and offers


Mustafi, Chambers, Luiz, Cedric;

Maitland-Niles, Elneny;

Pepe, Willock, Willian;


The inclusion of Mustafi is interesting.  If he doesn’t play it would suggest he has a club lined up – for playing him would leave him Cup-tied which reduces his value to any team still in the cup.

The Hard Tackle goes with


Cedric, Mustafi, Luiz, Maitland-Niles;

Elneny, Ceballos;

Pepe, Willock, Martinelli;


So we are beginning to see some patterns.  Certainly I will be very disappointed if Martinelli doesn’t get a start, but if not he really ought to come on for the last half hour.

The Independent tries out this approach…


Maitland-Niles, Luiz, Gabriel, Tierney;

Elneny, Ceballos;

Pepe, Smith Rowe, Martinelli;


By and large most of the other predictions are the same as those above, or very, very similar.  So can we get a team out of that?  Putting it all together we would get…

Runarsson or Leno

Cedric, Gabriel, Luiz , Maitland-Niles,

Elneny, Ceballos;

Martinelli, Willock, Pepe;


And here to round it all up are a few facts from the BBC

  • Newcastle’s last three away games against Arsenal in the FA Cup have all ended in 3-0 defeats – in a fifth-round replay in 1936, quarter-final replay in 2002 and a fourth-round tie in 2008.

As we noted recently the only time we have been knocked out in the third round in the last 24 years was in Mr Wenger’s last FA Cup game, which was indeed sad.  That was 2018 against Nottingham Forest, and the BBC have that listed in their fact list.

And finally from the BBC

  • Newcastle have been eliminated in 10 of their last 11 FA Cup ties against fellow Premier League opposition, with the exception being a 2-1 win against Blackburn in January 2012.

So may the run continue.

To me, it feels like the team is really picking up the pace now, and the injuries have declined, so we really ought to meander through this without any problems.

Arsenal v Newcastle

Referee Analysis, the 2021 series