Almost every Premiership club covered in first two weeks

PUBLISHED : Friday, 13 August, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 13 August, 1999, 12:00am

After last week's explosion of five live Premiership matches (plus one delayed), CABLE TV keep up the pace with four live plus one delayed this week.

That's possible because Manchester United v Leeds is an early kick-off (6.30pm coverage here) allowing for two live games on Saturday night.

It's a pity that the usual late slot for a delayed game has been given over to a repeat showing of the Old Trafford match, however. Admittedly it must be, even at this early stage, one of the key encounters of the season, but showing it twice within five hours is excessive.

There was plenty of action, incident and scoring in last week's offerings with Chelsea v Sunderland and Watford v Wimbledon delivering a total of nine goals on the opening day.

Manchester United's slip up at Everton was a rarity worth seeing because they surely won't make many mistakes like that.

And Monday's game from White Hart Lane gave us another four goals and the intimation that the great achiever George Graham may already be on the cusp of taking Spurs into the rarefied air of the UEFA Cup placings.

Tuesday's game from Pride Park featured not just an impressive first-half display by Arsenal but an excellent decision by the referee's assistant on Dennis Bergkamp's goal, the winner. On first viewing it looked blatantly offside. However, the video replay clearly showed Bergkamp several feet onside when Emmanuel Petit delivered his telling pass.

So far, CABLE's coverage has allowed fans to see 11 of the Premiership's 20 sides in action.

With Leeds, Southampton, Aston Villa and West Ham all to appear between tomorrow and Monday that becomes 15 out of 20 clubs shown in the SAR within the first 10 days of the season.

You would have to fork out a lot more cash to see such a variety of full-length matches in the UK.

Halfway across the world, meanwhile, England is becoming a battlefield for televised soccer with the losers being fans required to pay up more and more to watch games on the box.

The emergence of digital television firm ONdigital has shaken up the Champions' League rights picture in the UK. The company, backed by Granada and Carlton, has secured the rights to all 157 Champions League games.

The expanded Champions League will schedule games on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from now on (previously they were always on Wednesdays). One innovative aspect to the coverage will involve a director switching coverage between the night's eight matches according to where the drama is happening.