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Weekend Soccer Preview + Picks – The “North London Dangly Dærby” Edition

Sam’s Safe Space for Soccer Stoolies

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Hi Haters™,

Monday! Monday! MONDAY! The day Manchester City learns the fate of its appeal against a two-year Champions League ban.

We already got “unbiased big J journos” out here scoring internet points by "revealing" the possible outcome already

…not that I put much faith in guys with twitter avatars of themselves holding a trophy with Vincent Kompany. But needless to say the results of that court case will have MASSIVE ramifications for this season’s Top 4/5 battle in the Premier League, as well as for storylines heading into the modified finish to the 2019-20 edition of Champions League that will take place in August.

Always something to keep you on your toes around here!

Anyway, I’m gonna try to keep this blog short and sweet because I have already pinched off a rather comprehensive weekend preview in audible form, but for the visual learners in the crowd let’s run through all the games worth caring about this weekend in the land of the lawnfaires…



ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE

Quick reminder of the midweek scores:

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POWER RANKINGS

TOP 4
1. Liverpool
2. United
3. City
4. Chelsea

Honorable mention: Arsenal, Sheffield Utd, Wolves, Newcastle, Burnley

BOTTOM 3
20. Norwich
19. Bournemouth
18. Aston Villa

Dishonorable mention: Watford, Lester, West Ham, Palace

As for where that leaves us with four games to play:

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And finally the schedule for this weekend:

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PICKS OF THE MIDWEEK

Tottenham [+165]
Arsenal [+160]
Draw [+240]

Talked about it on the podcast but this has been little short of a traveshamockerous season for both these clubs, but especially the ol’ Cock n Ball. Arsenal still have a chance to turn things around by winning the FA Cup but – barring some sort of miraculous turnaround – things look mighty dire for Tottenham who has only two things left to play for: Europa and avoiding St Totteringham’s Day. I may be speaking just for myself when I say this but I care a LOT more about finishing ahead of Arsenal than about securing a spot in next season’s NIT Tournament. Given that, Sunday’s game is EEEEEYouge.

There are two big problems for Tottenham at the moment. (1) The defense is trash and (2) Jozay appears intent on pouring gasoline on said trash and lighting it on fire.

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The team has been awful lately, settling for a scoreless draw against 19th place Bournemouth this past week. Arsenal, on the other hand, have looked remarkably competent since the restart and won four of five that has included wins over Sheff Utd and Wolves, and a (10-man) draw versus Lester. In fact, the Gunners’ defense – once much-maligned – has conceded more than one goal precisely zero times over that stretch.

There is really only one reason to think that Spurs might get some sort of result from this game and that is that soccer is an unpredictable skank sometimes (unless David Luiz plays, in which case there are two reasons). I’m not buying it.

Prediction: Arsenal to win 3-2 [sidenote for people who like money: OVER just might be the bet of the weekend]


Sheffield Utd [+480]
Chelsea [-160]
Draw [+290]

Guilty! I am guilty! I lost pretty much all faith in the Blades coming out of the break. I thought their spirit had been broken when Hawk-Eye cost them a win versus Villa in the first game back and then they got absolutely pounded by Newcastle and This Manchester United – not to be confused with That Manchester United (which sucked) – in their next two games. But after dropping a close one to Arsenal, the Blades have bounced back with wins over Tottenham and Wolves… and yes, haters would be correct in arguing that both of those victories sound more impressive than they really are given how those opponents have been playing lately, but damit I’m over here trying to give the wee buggers some shine so stop trying to ruin it.

Chelsea are definitely a clear step up in class. Turning water into wine is nice but The Babyjesus has been turning nothing into goals. Which is more impressive? I donno, you tell me. In fact a lot of things have been clicking for the Blues recently, including Willian who seemed halfway out the door a few months ago but may be playing himself into a new contract. Should be an interesting game and one that has major implications for the top five (assuming City doesn’t buy their way out of a UCL ban). Chelsea are heavy favorites, and rightfully so, but I am not sold on their defense and have more importantly seen the light and am done sleeping on Sheffield Utd.

Prediction 1-1 draw


A few more predictions (to increase the possibility that I possibly get one right – maybe):

• Norwich 1-1 West Ham

• Watford 1-2 Newcastle

LIVERPOOL 2-0 Burnley

Brighton 1-3 CITY

WOLVES 3-2 Everton

Aston Villa 2-1 Palace

• Bournemouth 2-2 Lester

UNITED 3-1 Southampton [note: another lovely OVER for people who like money]

CHELSEA 2-1 Norwich



REST OF WORLD

La Liga: crap weekend but Barcelona heading to Valladolid on Saturday (12:30pm CT) is must-win for the suddenly vulnerable visitors who have to win to keep pace with Real VARdrid

Serie A: big big biggggggggggg weekend in Italy where Atalanta travel to Juventus on Saturday (2:45pm CT) in a game that could put the league to bed once and for all… or make things a lot more interesting of the visitors can win since Juve still has to play Lazio. 

MLS: games galore over the next couple weeks as we get balls deep in the group stage but here is the schedule for the next few days:

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NWSL: to the shock of precisely nobody the NC Courage have been spanking everybody thus far in the group stage.

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As a quick reminder, everybody makes the playoffs so these games are just for seeding purposes but it’s tough not to notice a grand total of zero wins for Chicago and Portland so far with only one more game to go before the playoffs. Time to get your butts in gears, ladies. Schedule for the next few days:

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Big weekend ahead. Thanks for stopping by. Seasons really coming down to it. Back with another post next week.

Holler,
Samuel Army