Ah. Time for the best time of the year to be a soccer fan in the U.S.: Major League Soccer finally starting to wind its way toward the playoffs, World Cup qualifiers looming and European soccer returns.
And, to be honest, we're quite spoiled here in America. With a good cable package, a high-speed internet hook-up and an understanding family, you could binge on, easily, 40 hours of soccereach weekend
ESPN carries multiple Premier League games each week. ESPN Deportes has the Mexican league covered. ESPN3.com gives you La Liga, Bundesliga, Brazil and more.
That's just one network. There's also Fox Soccer (EPL, Serie A, Champions League), Fox Soccer Plus (Scotland, France, England Championship) and foxsoccer2go.com (all of the previous leagues). The NBC Sports network (and ESPN2) brings you weekly MLS matches. The Univision Deportes Network and Telefutra have more from Mexico.
GolTV gives you German, Brazilian and Colombian games. And there's a new kid in town (if you've got DirecTV or Dish) in BeInSport which is owned by Al Jazeera and has the rights for many Ligue 1, La Liga and Serie A games.
That's, at least, 11 different channels to cherry-pick from.
I don't know if any other country in the world has that much soccer (and that much diversity of leagues) accessible so readily.
Please, binge responsibly.
With that prelude over, here are Five Games To Watch This Weekend.**Apologies in advance that this is so England-specific this week. When Germany and Italy kick off properly in a few weeks, we'll diversify a lot more in this space. Arsenal vs. Sunderland, 9 a.m. Saturday, ESPN (ESPN Deportes/ESPN3.com)
The first league game of the season will be the first for Arsenal without the services of Robin Van Persie.Manchester City vs. Southampton, 10 a.m. Sunday, Fox Soccer
The Blues begin defending their EPL crown against the newly-promoted Saints to kick off an outstanding Sunday of soccer.A.C. Milan vs. Juventus, 2 p.m. Sunday, ESPN3.com
This one is a curtain-raiser for Serie A and it's for the Luigi Berlusconi Trophy. Lots of firepower on these two teams.Women's U-20 World Cup: USA vs. Ghana, 2 a.m. Monday, ESPN3.com (with a 9 p.m. tape delay on ESPNU).
Watch the future of the U.S. women's national team compete in Japan. The U.S. group features Ghana, China PR and Germany. Mandy Laddish, of Lee's Summit, is a midfielder for Team USA.Manchester United vs. Everton, 2 p.m. Monday, ESPN2 (ESPN Deportes/ESPN3.com)
The United debut for Van Persie comes in the last big match of the weekend.
Also worth keeping an eye on: Barcelona vs. Real Sociedad (2 p.m. Sunday, BeInSport), Wigan vs. Chelsea (7:30 a.m. Sunday, Fox Soccer), Montpellier vs. Lorient (1 p.m. Saturday, Univision Deportes Network), Newcastle United vs. Tottenham Hotspur (11:30 a.m. Saturday, Fox Soccer) and D.C. United vs. Philadelphia Union (4 p.m. Sunday, NBC Sports Network).