Barstool’s Weekend Soccer Preview – The “LET LIVERPOOL LIVE, CUZ” edition

Sam’s Safe Space For Soccer Stoolies

1-EPL

Hi Haters™,

Every week at Barstool is interesting. Some weeks are extra interesting. The last couple around here have certainly been the latter. Swirling controversies and blue checkmark brigades aside, as some of you may know, Jimmy took a job as the technical director of a USL club and decided to step away from the podcast – and we wish him well. But don’t you worry even a little bit because the show will go on. The haters won’t win that easily. I’ve worked my tiny little balls off behind the scenes for years (literally) to get soccer established enough around here to get the green light for a podcast, and I’ve got some really cool things – eg, great interviews and merch – that I’m excited to introduce in the very near future. So bear with me and/or smash that SUBSCRIBE button post haste because this train is just starting to roll.

iTunes

Spotify

Note: USMNT break is coming up starting Monday so, if you haven’t, check out the Dave Sarachan interview:

Aright, thanks for putting up with all my promotional mumbo jumbo. Now let’s move right along to what it on deck this weekend…

***********************************

ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE

Scores from last weekend (and Friday afternoon):

2-scores

***

Rapid fire news, notes, highlights, lowlights and observations:

– 1-1 is typically the kind of score line that indicates a total yawnfest. Not so with Chelsea/Liverpool. Two good teams that came out swinging and went down swinging. All in all I would say that the Reds looked like the better team on the day, but credit to Chelsea for getting the first goal and successfully sitting on it for much of the game. That hit by Sturridge though… MA LAWD!

Arsenal have been feasting on bad teams lately, but Watford was a bit of a step up in competition. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it was an impressive win for the Gunners, but they once again ground out a close win (scoring twice after the 80th minute), and tough to argue with their recent record.

3-arsenal

– Big shouts to West Ham for a solid performance last weekend (somewhat undone by their comatose effort against Brighton on Friday) but the story of that games was – as it always is – United… WOOF.

UPDATE: reports circulating that Jozay is going to be fired this weekend win, lose or draw. I am beside myself with latent grief.

– Much better performance from Cardiff……. and yet they still got beat at home by Burnley. As far as “signs” for the future go, that is a “no bueno” one.

– Solid win by Everton. Haven’t said that too often lately.

***

POWER RANKINGS

TOP 4
1. Liverpool
2. City
3. Chelsea
4. Tottenham
Honorable mention: Arsenal

BOTTOM 3
20. Huddersfield
19. Cardiff
18. Newcuckstle
Dishonorable mention: Palace, United

***

Table as it stands now:

4-table

And this weekend’s schedule:

5-schedule
Note: all kickoff times in CT

***

PICKS OF THE WEEKEND

Liverpool [+150]
City [+175]
Draw [+250]

Huge game. Winner comes away the clear leader coming around the first turn in the race for the title. However, it feels like a game that matters more for Liverpool. City has been there done that as defending champs. Liverpool, on the other hand, have been an exciting team to watch for the better part of a year now but they got squadoosh to show for it – not even any banners… SAD! – and thus have everything still to prove. The Reds played well against PSG in the Champions League but have looked slightly off, particularly offensively, in almost every other game so far this season, including the loss at Napoli this week.

This game should be a TON of fun (kinda making up for what looks on paper like a pretty tame weekend of games heading into the two-week international break, if we are being honest). Both teams come in with a good defensive record, but – with exception of PSG – neither has played against an opponent as dangerous as the one that are about to face. I hate predicting a shootout because my powers of jinx are legendary… but I’m doing it. Liverpool to win 3-2 based on the little extra motivation that comes with being the wannabe usurper of City’s supremacy.

**

United [-250]
Newcastle [+675]
Draw [+320]

Anonymous reports say Jozay is a dead man walking.

Based on Dear Leader’s lifelong commitment to controversy and drama, only one result makes sense: the king of open, entertaining, impressive win by the Red Devils that their fans have been THIRSTING for. United to win 3-0.

6-jose

Editor’s note: the fact that this “report” leaked on Friday even before United’s game on Saturday is just plain ridiculous and goes to show that the “rot” (ie, horrible decision making) goes way, waaaaaaaaaaay higher than Jozay… not a good sign for the club if we are being totally honest, though they have more money than god so the good news is they will eventually – even if only on accident – sort things out.

**

Additional picks (to increase the odds I eventually get one right) going in order from most to least interesting:

FULHAM v ARSENAL – As much as I am rooting for Fulham, they are like an off-brand Arsenal (albeit perhaps with slightly less bad defense). Gooners have been playing well lately and seem like a bad matchup for the Cottagers, in part because Aleksander Mitrovic is precisely the kind of big, burly, not-terribly-fast striker that Mustafi/Sokratis should be able to handle. Arsenal to win 2-1.

SOUTHAMPTON v CHELSEA – The quant nerds would say that Chelsea wins this game 98 times out of 100, and they might be right. The Saints didn’t exactly look scary in rolling over and dying at Wolves last weekend. But the Blues are coming off a midweek game and there are some inexplicable parallels to splitting the points with Liverpool last weekend and doing the same against Southampton. Either way you can expect a low scoring game. Going out on a limb but I am going with a 0-0 draw.

WATFORD v BOURNEMOUTH – Credit to Eddie Howe and the Cherries for playing the game “the right way” but I’m going with Watford’s pragmatism, which has kept them in a lot of games against more talented teams lately (eg, United, Spurs and Arsenal) without generating any wins. Besides, it is still October so we are a good two to three months away from their annual collapse. Watford to win 2-0.

LESTER v EVERTON – both teams have been ridiculous up and down for a season that is only a couple months old, and yet both feel like clubs with enough talent to be in the Europa hunt come season end. Draw would not be terribly surprising but something about the way the Toffees have been playing lately – and the speed up top that to give the Foxes’ defense problems – leads me to go with Everton to win 2-1.

PALACE v WOLVES – Palace is only going to go as far as Zaha can take them on offense, but they quietly put together a very solid defense that is going to make things tough on Wolves. Still think the n00bs have enough in midfield to control the game and eventually find one – a la their recent win over a similarly determined but offensively challenged Burnley side. Wolves to win 1-0.

BURNLEY v HUDDERSFIELD – Fun fact: these teams played almost precisely 12 months ago when they were in 7th and 6th place, respectively. Now they are in 13th and 20th. Life comes at you fast (kinda). Anyway, bless the Terriers’ hearts… they always try hard. Real hard. Unfortunately there is more to success than effort (as my spotless track record of not getting laid can attest) and scoring three goals in seven games is a perfect recipe for not being taken seriously in the EPL. Burnley haven’t exactly been lighting the world on fire, and they got outplayed by none other than Cardiff last weekend, but I’m still going Burnley to win 1-0.

TOTTENHAM v CARDIFF – the Bluebirds are fresh off one of their better performances of the season… that still ended in a loss to Burnley. Spurs will still be without about half their starting squad, which could make this a bit trickier than you might think. Spurs to win 2-1.

***********************************

LAP AROUND THE WORLD

Spain – Valencia versus Barcelona on Sunday (1:45pm CT) should be fantastic.

Italy – Lazio host Fiorentina (8am CT) and Sassuolo visit Napoli (11am CT), and both would be well worth your time on Sunday – assuming you got ESPN+.

Germany – Bayern are kinda sorta floundering all of a sudden so should be interesting to see if they can right the ship on Saturday when Monchenpenisgladbach (11:30am CT) come to town.

France – PSG vs Lyon on Sunday (2pm CT) is about as good as it gets this year in Ligue 1.

MLS – RSL and Portland (Saturday at 8:30pm CT) are both in the playoffs as things stand but neither are playing well and zLAtan is charging hard… loser may find itself on the outside looking in.

***********************************

So there we have it, boys and girls. Have a spectacular weekend. We are staring down the barrel of an international break, which we all know sucks, but I’ll be back with another episode of Sam’s Army (with a guest I’m very excited about) so hopefully that and the USMNT games against Colombia (10/11) and Peru (10/16) will help soften the blow. xoxo


Holler,
Samuel Army