It’s the weekend. You’re ready to kick back and enjoy a little football. Considering the rest of the world has gone to shit, the easiest thing would be to just let go and scream at a television over something that isn’t world events. The only problem is that you’re a Liverpool fan and well… they chooped that one up nicely for you because the only (English) football on this weekend is the FA Cup. Which they crashed out of a couple weeks ago. So what does one do? There’s always the real world to explore - go meet some friends, read a book, be productive - but let’s be real, there’s football to be had and the fine tradition of hate watching.
“Hate watching” is defined as watching a tv show but simultaneously hating it’s subject. It’s not an unfamiliar term to most. Considering five of the teams playing in the FA Cup this coming weekend are top four contenders and therefore rivals (included the two of the most dastardly), it shouldn’t be hard to tap into that hatred and at least find something to enjoy in every match, and hopefully it results in a little bit of schadenfreude as well. Here we’ll provide a guide to the matches happening this weekend, their relative watchability, and how many drinks one might need to actually enjoy it.
Burnley FC vs Lincoln City
Kick Off - 7:30AM EST/12:30PM BST
Watchability: Meh. The fact is that Burnley stomped us, and rightfully so, early in the season, so this might be rough. They have Jon Flanagan right now, though, and that might be worth something? Sure, okay, he’s only made eight appearances for them during his loan spell and is unlikely to show up today but… hope and all that. This one is more of a “how much do you really need a football fix” kind of match, though. Better to sleep in and save your energy.
Drinks Needed: 1 Cup of Coffee (if you really want to get up and watch it).
Middlesbrough vs Oxford
Kick Off - 10AM EST/3PM BST
Watchability: Middlesbrough have put up quite a fight since getting promoted this season, and rightfully so. While their defeat at the hands of Liverpool was one of the Red’s only shining moments over the winter months, they’ve still stuck it out and are at least out of the relegation zone, and still in the tournament that Liverpool is missing out on. If you’re just waking up and realizing that there’s football on, this might be a nice one to wake up to. At least until you remember the real match going on at the same time.
Drinks Needed: I don’t know, probably a cup of tea to be honest. Don’t stress.
Huddersfield Town vs Manchester City
Kick Off - 10AM EST/3PM BST
Watchability: As one of three matches happening all at the same time, this one ranks probably highest (in this time block anyway) in Liverpool fans hate watching. Raheem Sterling does tend to stir the pot a little bit every time he shows up on the pitch, so if you’re willing to savor that feeling of betrayal all over again, there’s this. Liverpool and Welsh youngster Danny Ward also has the chance of making an appearance as he’s currently on loan to Huddersfield and has made a strong name for himself with the Championship side. Look for the youngster to start and hopefully deny some of Sterling’s touches. This could be one Liverpool fans might rightfully enjoy, so have at it and root for the underdog as you do.
Drinks Needed: 1 Pint of Guinness. Sit back and relax with this one.
Millwall vs Leicester City
Kick Off - 10AM EST/3PM BST
Watchability: This is probably the one Liverpool fans will most want to witness, considering our next match slightly hangs on the result of this one. If this match ends in a draw, forcing both sides to a replay, Liverpool’s league match against Leicester could possibly be moved to next Saturday, the 25th, as opposed to Monday, the 27th. That would be great for us because yay our football is back, but let’s be honest, this will probably come out with a definitive result and we’ll be back to a Monday game and no one wants that. Watch this for the punchability of Jamie Vardy’s face, also for the notorious atmosphere at Millwall’s home ground The Den.
Drinks Needed: 2 Ciders. Alternatively, one OJ mixed drink. (Might I suggest a tequila sunrise? For Jamie Vardy’s party? ….No? )
Wolverhampton vs Chelsea
Kick Off - 12:30PM EST/8:30PM BST
Watchability: Gather round, friends, because this is the hate watching main event. Here we have Wolves, also known as the team to kick Liverpool out of the FA Cup just a few weeks ago. Remember Liverpool plodding around the pitch, aimlessly? Bring that ire to a low simmer. They’re defending their home turf against current league leaders Chelsea. Now, remember Diego Costa doing anything and bring that hate fuel to a boil and you’re ready for a match. Chelsea are probably the clear winners to take this one, as they are with most things these days, but Wolves could shock and hold them back as they did with the Reds. If they employ most of the same tactics, they could come out victorious. Watch this for the possibility of an Eden Hazard wonder strike, John Terry pouting from the bench (or the stands!), and Wolves crushing Chelsea’s hopes for a double this season. Beware of a possible Chelsea win, though, and the hangover that might come from witnessing it.
Drinks Needed: Many. Of whatever you’re having, don’t skimp. Buy that pitcher. You’re gonna need it. Bonus: shot of tequila if Chelsea wins.
Fulham vs Tottenham
Kick Off – 9AM EST/2PM BST
Watchability: If there’s a match to watch without any rivalry hang ups, this might be it. While they may (currently) be a rival for a top four spot, Tottenham play some enjoyable football and are one of the least threatening London teams. They’re enjoying a current upswing and Mauricio Pochettino looks like the nice dad that always makes sure you have a snack with your homework. His style most closely matches Klopp’s and he’s had a bit more time to implement it with his boys. Fulham are also a club that have had their share of hard times, so for a good unironic dose of the magic of the FA Cup, maybe tune in to this one. Bonus points for the punchability of Harry Kane’s face but also Dele Alli!
Drinks Needed: Not necessary. I know, right? Grab whatever makes you happy.
Blackburn vs Manchester United
Kick Off – 11:15AM EST/4:15PM BST
Watchability: On the complete other end, we have this mess. Do you really want to waste your time watching a United match you have no real obligation to watch? Honestly? On the one hand, it means complete dedication to the whole hate watching idea, so kudos for that. Watch to root for Blackburn because you might as well. Bonus points for the punchable faces of Wayne Rooney, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and everyone else on Manchester United. But really. Find something else to do.
Drinks Needed: Enough to forget you’re doing this to yourself.
Sutton United vs Arsenal
Kick Off – 2:55PM EST/7:55PM BST
Watchability: This is really only doable if you’re off work on Monday. While it’s a federal holiday in the States, not everyone might have the luxury. The only things worth noting are Sutton United’s 280lb goal keeper and their manager who works for free and vapes on the touchline. Look for Arsenal to go all out Arsenal-y on them and maybe get saddled with a 0-0 draw and call for a replay. Bonus points for “remember when we could’ve had Alexis Sanchez” moments and Olivier Giroud hitting the post.
Drinks Needed: Maybe two, because it’s a holiday. Treat yo self, after all.
Clearly whatever happens, whatever is done, do it well. Enjoy it, revel in the misery of our rivals, in the joy of the underdogs. Please, do it responsibly, though. We’re going to need you in full voice for when Liverpool come back to take all three points from Leicester, after all, be that on Monday, February 27th or Saturday, February 25th. The Reds have been given a rare gift and they’re using it the best they can in sunny Spain (just in case you forgot). The least we can do is be there to watch, in full support of our dear Reds, after our exercise in hate.