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Barstool’s Weekend Soccer Preview – The “Arsenal’s Day of Reckoning (+ FA Cup semis)” Edition

Sam’s Safe Space For Soccer Stoolies

1-EPL

Hi Haters™,

Holy moly. The Southampton/Liverpool game just ended.

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What an emotional journey. Soccer is the best.

Annnnnnnnnnnnyway, big weekend ahead. Let’s get balls deep in the previewing and prognosticating…..

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ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE

Results from last weekend and the midweek (and this afternoon):

2-results

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POWER RANKINGS

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

BOTTOM 3
20. Deaddersfield
19. Pooham

18. Brighton
Dishonorable mention: Bournemouth, Cardiff

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Table as things stand:

3-table

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[UPDATED] WHAT IS STILL TO PLAY FOR?

TITLE RACE: Liverpool, City – Reds are still up two points but City has a game in hand… against United (storylines galore!)

TOP FOUR: Spurs, Arsenal, United and soince I’m feeling charitable let’s toss Chelsea in there too – TWO all-important Champions League spots still very much up for grabs

EUROPA: Wolves, Watford, West Ham, Lester, Everton – City won Make-Belieague Cup and could still win FA Cup meaning there could be as many as three spots available this season (though still TBD)… alas, per usual, Big Six clubs are likely to snap up the first two leaving only ONE Europa spot to be fought for

SUMMER VACATION PLANNING: Bournemouth, Newcastle, Palace – an argument could be made that Newcastle and Palace are on the verge of being dragged into the title race but based on their form and talent there is no way they get caught (coincidentally they play one another this weekend)

RELEGATION BATTLE: Brighton, Southampton, Burnley, Cardiff – at least ONE of these buckeroos are going to face a fate worse than death… those horrendous reffing decisions that went for Chelsea and against Cardiff last week easily could end up being the difference between staying up and getting bounced, which is a damn shame

OFFICIALLY DEAD AF: Pooham, Deaddersfield – gone but not forgotten (if only because they still have some big games to play in the final weeks)

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And finally this weekend’s schedule:

4-schedule

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PICKS OF THE WEEKEND

Everton [+190]
Arsenal [+120]
Draw [+240]

Unai Emery deserves credit for what he’s gone with Arsenal this season. They have some (very) useful building blocks but (arguably) have the sixth most talented team in the league at the moment… yet they have put themselves in a solid position to snag a top four spot. They have three things going against them this weekend though: (1) Torreira is suspended plus Xhaka and Koscielny are doubtful, (2) Everton have proven to be surprisingly decent at home recently, including a recent 2-0 spanking of Chelsea, and most importantly (3) Arsenal have been TURRRRRRRRRRRUBLE on the road. A lot of people are going to blame this pick on bias, which is fine, they won’t get rich with the rest of us. Everton to win 2-1 draw.

5-walcott

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Newcastle [+145]
Palace [+190]
Draw [+220]

We have hit the point in the season where you gotta pay close attention to motivation. The clubs are on the verge of assuring themselves of another season in the big boy league. It’d take something extremely special for all four of the true relegation battlers to jump one (or both) of them, especially since Cardiff – the odds-on favorite to get the boot – still have to play Liverpool AND United coming down the stretch. Even so, they ain’t safe yet… but one point would increase the odds of safety by a lot. So with both teams relatively healthy and Palace a bit more talented but Newcastle at home… I’m splitting the baby. Gimme a 1-1 draw.

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More picks (so I eventually get one right – maybe):

BOURNEMOUTH vs BURNLEY – Cherries are clearly the more talented team. Their front line – notably Brooks, Fraser and Wilson – is all gonna attract plenty of interest from possible suitors this summer. Howeva, they have nothing to play for at this point – and looked like it on Saturday against Lester. Burnley still feels plenty of heat on its ass, and also looked like it coming up with a massive win against Wolves last weekend. (Note: that plus Cardiff’s undeserved loss means the relegation battle looks a hellllllllluva lot different right now than it could and perhaps should have.). If we are going straight motivation this has a win for the Clarets written all over it. I just can’t help thinking Bournemouth has a little too much firepower to bend over and take it. I’ll say 1-1 draw.

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DEADDERSFIELD vs LESTER – You really can’t be too hard on the Terriers. They are BY FAR the smallest club in the league and had to come up with an incredible final stretch just to stick around last season. It was a little disappointing to see them not put up more of a fight this time around but in the end soccer is usually about one thing and one thing only: money, something they ain’t got much of (relatively speaking). As if that isn’t enough they also have a bunch of guys listed as “doubtful” at the moment. In contrast, the Foxes are pretty healthy and still have a Europa League spot up for grabs. Lester to win 2-0.

CHELSEA vs WEST HAM – The Hammies also have an outside shot at snagging a Europa slot, and Chelsea’s incredible inconsistency means the Eastsiders certainly have a shot on Monday. I just have a hard time believing that Sarri – as bad as his player management has looked from an outsider’s perspective – will tempt fate against by going with as weak an XI as he did against Cardiff last weekend. Either way could be a very fun game to watch for neutrals. Chelsea to win 3-2.

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FA CUP – SEMIS

City [-800]
Brighton [+2000]
Draw [+750]

One team is a wagon. One team is draggin. City to win 3-1.

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Watford [+200]
Wolves [+150]
Draw [+220]

Quite possibly the most interesting matchup of the weekend. Both teams have been fighting it out to be “best of the rest” ever since the first ball was kicked this season, and quite possibly the clubs that have consistently caused problems for the Big Six, with Watford’s Javi Gracia and Wolves’ Rasputin deserving a lot of credit for the success. The Hornets won the only matchup this season, winning on the road 2-0, but there is a chance they could be without playmaker Roberto Pereyra (hip injury). I have a tough time separating them, and think it could very well go to extra time. I’ll say 1-1 after regulation with Watford eventually pulling it out and “winning” the honor of facing City.

6-spiderman

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LAP AROUND THE WORLD

GERMANY – DER KLASSIKER! BVBabyjesus-less Dortmund are up two points heading to Bayern on Saturday (11:30am on FOX) in a pivotal game in the Bundesliga race. So big in fact FOX got their shit together and actually put it on network television.

ITALY – Juventus welcome 4th place Milan on Saturday (11am CT on espn+) with the visitors four points behind Inter and only one point ahead of Atalanta. Youuuuge game.

SPAIN – 2nd place Atletico (eight points back) visit leaders Barcelona on Saturday (1:45pm CT on beIN) in a must-win game if they want any shot at catching the Catalans in La Liga title race.

MLS – Biggest game of the weekend BY FAR is DC United hosting LAFC on Saturday (2pm on FOX) in a battle between the first place teams in the East and West, respectively.

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So there we have it. Big weekend ahead. Check y’all again next week……

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Holler,
Samuel Army