Barstool’s Midweek Soccer Preview – The “There’s No Way Liverpool Loses – Right?” Edition

Sam’s Safe Space For Soccer Stoolies

1-EPL (2)

Hi Haters™,

It’s Tuesday. You just froze your NUTS off on the way to work/class. TPS reports are stacking up on your desk faster than snow on the pavement. The weekend is somewhere off in the very far distance. Life sucks.

But wait.

What’s this?

Like a beacon of light in the dark, dark week here comes some midweek soccer to lift your spirits and (more importantly) give you an excuse to sneak away for an extended liquid lunch… bless your hearts, jogo bonito gods!

SCORE MURAL_07202v4.indd



Scores from a week and a half ago when the last slate of league games were played (look away Chelsea fans!):




1. City
2. Liverpool
3. Arsenal
4. United
Honorable mention: Chelsea, Southampton

20. Huddersfield
19. Cardiff
18. Everton
Dishonorable mention: Lester


Table as it stands now:


And the schedule for Tuesday and Wednesday:




Liverpool [-425]
Lester [+1200]
Draw [+525]

There is no way someone would be stupid enough to call this an Upset alert!, right? I mean, no heckin way. Liverpool are too damn good. In fact, there is no need to extoll their virtues all over again. I picked them to win the league in August and I’m sticking with that. And, yes, they are BIG favorites in this game for a good reason. They could easily mop the floor with Lester,m a team that earned a dishonorable mention in the power rankings… at Anfield no less!?

Well, here’s the thing: it is hard not to see a few faint hints that they could have some trouble against the Foxes on Wednesday. For one thing – and in fact the most important thing – is that Virgil Van Dijk is allegedly very doubtful. His absence changes everything. Dude has been lights out this season and is the driving force behind Liverpool’s defensive revolution. No VVD is a problem. That could prove particularly problematic against a Lester team that has zero qualms with letting Liverpool control 90% possession and try to hit them with a sucker punch on the counter attack with Jamie Vardy. I’m not say it’s a lock, because it sure as shit isn’t, but you gotta ask yourself one question:

I’m not – not really anyway – but I am going to buy a lottery ticket anyway. The size of my testicles suggest I should play it at least a little safe and go with a draw. Nope. Go big or go home, boys and girls. Lester to win 2-1.

Ps: that .gif will be extra spot in if Liverpool win 4-0 as they very well could


Bournemouth [+420]
Chelsea [-160]
Draw [+310]

I’d say the big question coming into this one is whether Bournemouth’s recent 2-0 win over Everton – a shutout? For the Cherries??? – is an indication that Eddie Howe has begun to sort out the beautiful catastrophe that was their defense…. or if instead it was simply a reflection of Everton’s season circling the toilet bowl with a quickness. It may have been both, but if Bournemouth can sort out their backline problems they will again be a problem for a lot of teams.

As for Chelsea, I think that Gonthalo Higuain will be just fine for them this season. I don’t think he will be great. I’m not even sure he will be good. There is a very solid chance that he is going to miss a few easy chances and fans are going to get a little upset here and there.

But Higuain knows Sarri’s system and like any striker worth his salt he has a serious knack put himself in dangerous positions, meaning it is up to Chelsea’s midfielders and left back-just-kidding-strikers Marcos Alonso to feed the beast in front of net.

I can’t help thinking there may be a little acclimation period for Higuain to get used to his new surroundings and teammates though, and my goodness the bookies are being pretty generous with the odds for Bournemouth at home… so call my crazy but I’m leaning towards yet another upset (of sorts). I’ll say a 1-1 draw.


Additional picks (so I eventually get one right maybe):

ARSENAL vs CARDIFF – Tough week for Cardiff as the club is no doubt still working through the uncertainty surrounding the (presumed) tragedy with Emiliano Sala. Arsenal are ripe for the picking giving their defensive injury woes, but I think the Gunners will end up packing too much punch up front for the Bluebirds to keep up. Arsenal to win 4-2.

FULHAM vs BRIGHTON – I was perusing one of the statistical websites this week trying to do a little background research to complement the observed learnings bouncing around my head from watching way too many games and I came across perhaps the meanest thing I’ve ever seen on a page outlining Fulham’s “team characteristics”:


Jesus. Don’t sugar-coat it or anything. Well you know what Fulham? I’m on your side this week. The Cottagers showed at least a little backbone on defense, and the addition of Matchstick Head Babel should give them a little extra oomph up top.


Plus Brighton are weak af on the road. This is your time to shine America’s Former Second Favorite Team (Until You Sucked Horribly To Start The Season)! Fulhamerica to win 2-1.

HUDDERSFIELD vs EVERTON – The Terriers can’t beat anybody these days. But – hypothetically speaking – if they were to beat somebody it would definitely be Everton who have been just plain awful since roughly Thanksgiving. This is a put up or shut up game for the Toffees. As bad as they have been they are only three points out of a possible Europa spot so there is still plenty to play for. If they lose this game, however, that’s it. Shut it down, turn off the lights, go home. The season would officially be over. I don’t hear no fat lady just yet. 3-1 win for Everton.

UNITED vs BURNLEY – For as fortunate as Ole has been thus far with United, facing a lot of cupcakes and somehow withstanding a barrage of should-be goals from Tottenham, things are about to get a lotttttttttt trickier.


Helps that PSG may be without Neymar for key Champions League games yet again, but that is still an absolutely BRUTAL stretch of games. Suffice to say we are about to find out what United – and specifically United’s defense – are really made of before long. Not this week though. Burnley have fought back to climb out of the relegation zone but it has been largely against fellow bottom feeders. The Bipolar Red Devils are currently in the midst of a serious manic phase and present way too many problems for the Clarets. United to win 2-0.

WOLVES vs WEST HAM – The good news for the Hammies is that Marko Arnautovic, after walking off the field and waving goodbye to the fans thinking he was off to China for a big huge payday, is not in fact off to China and is not in for a big huge payday. He is instead sticking around East London, which is “precisely” where he “wants” to be right now. He even “said so” himself!


Was it under duress? Never mind that!

More importantly though they have a game against a really gosh darn good Wolves team… and the Hammies come in having looked like poop against Wimbledon. I’m not sure which way to go on this one. These are two very evenly matched teams. Screw it. Let’s split the baby. I’ll say 1-1 draw.

NEWCUCKSTLE vs CITY – Rafa is a wily devil. He realized early on that Toon are about as dangerous as a stick of butter so he went to work battening down the hatches and trying to eke out draws on the road and 1-0 wins at home. He basically became a significantly more accomplished version of Tony Pulis. Doing so against Pep’s people is gonna be tough. Likely too tough, especially at home where Newcuckstle prefers to watch others pound it out. City to win 2-0.

SOUTHAMPTON vs PALACE – One of the more sneaky interesting matchups of the slate, Southampton have come on strong under Hasenhuttl while Palace have been all over the place but seem to have found form lately, finding a way to almost snake a point at Anfield last league game then handling a decimated Spurs side in the FA Cup. The Saints’ newly aggressive style will likely cause a lot of problems for Palace, and in the end could be the difference. Southampton to win 2-1.

TOTTENHAM vs WATFORD – There’s been a lot to process for Spurs fans lately, most of it bad news bears.


But on the plus side there is at least a glimmer of hope!

Enough to beat a strong, sturdy Watford squad? Never say never. By sitting Eriksen against Palace, Pochettino essentially took a dive in the FA Cup, and I think it was absolutely the right decision. Missing out on the top four this season would be catastrophic for the club. Spurs will look like a different team this time out with a rested Eriksen and (much less rested) Son next to him. At the end of the day though there is one issue that is hard to ignore:

For the record, bookies are outside their mind giving Spurs (-145) and Watford (+450). That alone makes me want to recommend you put your hard earned moneys on the Hornets who have a very good chance to beat a still-weakened Tottenham squad. In the end, though, I think both teams would be satisfied settling for a 1-1 draw.




We also got some good midweek cup action on the continent over the next couple of days so set your palm pilots accordingly…

ITALY – Coppa Italia quarterfinals are on deck this week (and can be found on espn+ for those of you who are too rich to slum it on reddit), starting with Milan hosting Napoli on Tuesday (1:45pm CT), followed by Fiorentina vs Roma on Wednesday (11:15am CT), and last but definitely not least Lazio visiting Inter on Thursday (2pm CT). That is a pretty damn tasty run of games if we are being honest.

SPAIN – Similar story in La Liga where the picks of the litter are going to be Barcelona [down 0-2] welcome Sevilla on Wednesday (2:30pm CT) in a Copa Del Rey quarterfinal second leg, and Real Madrid [up 4-2] head to Girona on Thursday (2:30pm CT).


So there we have it. Quick reminder that Sam’s Army Podcast isn’t not dead – just resting our eyes at the moment…. Sorry haters!

Working on some Super Bowl related stuff that I will hopefully be pinching off shortly so keep an eye out for that (likely tomorrow) and other than that I’ll check yous on Friday ahead of another big, big, bigggggggggg weekend of glorious SOCCUH action!

Samuel Army