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Barstool's Weekend Soccer Guide

Sam’s Weekend Soccer Guide

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Holy shit you guys! Those other, lesser, underappreciated London clubs are playing one another this weekend!

WEEKEND PREVIEW SPLIT:

Thaaaaaaaat’s right, boys and girls, we’ve got a tasty little #1 vs #2 matchup in the EPL on Sunday, which might have been the biggest game in the league all season if not for a couple crucial Chelsea goals, but should be a helluva game either way and – should the Blues win – will officially (says me) ice the (already dead) race for the premiership title.

Not to be outdone, there are great games to tell you about in Italy, Portugal (Portugal? Portugal!) and – last but certainly not least – right here in our own backyard in MLS. Plus, as a special FREE bonus, I’ve got a few choice words to say about the just-released Nike kits jerseys the US Women’s National Team will wear at this summer’s World Cup. Actually, make that just one word.

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Impossible to screw this up, right?

Let’s get to it…

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ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE

Quick reminder of last weekend’s results:

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FAscores

Now that we’ve reached the “sharp end” of the season, the results make a lot more sense when viewed in the context of where clubs are in the standings, which look like this:

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News, notes and observations:

– No better illustrations of the motivating force of (potential) relegation than the performances by West Brom and Lester last weekend. The results put WBA on the verge of the traditional 40-point safety mark but, alas, Lester has a lotttttttttt of work left to do.

– Chelsea needed a win to all-but secure this season’s title and snake out a win they did. Not a bad performance by United, it should be said, but the Blues earned the win

– City (finally) managed to stop the bleeding

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– Newcastle began saving itself for next season in January. Bold move, Cotton.

– Liverpool: smdh. Villa: GET IT BOY!

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WHAT’S STILL ON THE TABLE

You may be asking yourself which clubs are really still playing for what at this point in the season… in which case, here you go:

Title contenders: Chelsea

Champions League contenders: Chelsea, Arsenal, United, City

Europe League contenders: Liverpool, Tottenham, Southampton

Golfing: Swansea, Stoke, West Ham, Palace, Everton, West Brom

Purgatory: Aston Villa, Newcastle

Relegation contenders: Burnley, QPR, Lester, Hull, Sunderland

Note: some people will argue that City’s grasp on the fourth and final UCL slot may still be hanging in the balance, but they probably think “Two and a Half Men” is funny and are too dumb to procreate. (Thank god.)

As for this weekend, we’re looking at the following games:

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PICKS OF THE WEEK

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“United is going to spank Chelsea,” they claimed. “Aston Villa has no chance against Liverpool,” they screamed.

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Unfortunately, picking nothing but winners last weekend means I’m due to get absolutely everything wrong this weekend. I ain’t trying to hear that noise though, so let’s so make some more damn moneys!

Arsenal (+140)
Chelsea (+200)
Draw (+230)

I am making a call on this only because I’ve made a point of doing so on the games of the weekend all season, but if we’re being honest I don’t have a great read on this one. These are the two hottest clubs in the EPL and, in a not unrelated observation, are have amassed two of the highest goal totals as well, but Arsenal comes in off a rather unimpressive performance against Reading last weekend while all Chelsea does is win, win, win, win, win – but never looks particularly dominant in doing so.

The wildcard in this game may end up being the injuries to Diego Costa and Loic Remy, who are both listed as doubtful, which will put a serious crimp in Chelsea’s offensive firepower. Didier Drogba is a lot of things, including both an absolute legend and a shadow of what he once was, meaning a lot of responsibility will (as it has all season) fallen on Eden Hazard. Arsenal, on the other hand, are as health as they possibly could be, boosted by a recent injury to Per Mertesacker that should keep the world’s first two-legged giraffe on the sidelines for this one.

Tough call on this one, and at home Arsenal will likely control a lot of the play, but with Chelsea’s full complement of defenders (plus Courtois) out there it will be tough sledding anytime the Gunners get a sniff at net. Not terribly excited about doing this, but I’m going with 1-1 draw.

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David Moyes Dærby

Everton (+250)
United (+110)
Draw (+245)

Chelsea loss aside, the Red Devils have been killing it lately – particularly at OId Trafford. Alas, that’s now where this game is being played. At home, Everton has been a different team and should give United some trouble this weekend. In fact, the only thing keeping me from calling this some sort of lock is the fact that Everton – middling along in an embarrassingly low 12th place – have very little to play for at this point. Nevertheless, I’m counting on Roberto Martinez to get his boys up for this one. They’ll need a few fortunate bounces, but I’m going Everton to win 2-1.

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Note: I’ve said all season that I don’t have any sort of grudge against United, but I’m starting to think may actually be lying to myself about that… whevs.

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Bonus picks: I haven’t done much research on these two but Lester (+175) has been (relatively speaking) killing it of late, collecting the 7th most points in the EPL over the last six games, while wee Burnley (+155) has been diarrhea on a stick. Sometimes things don’t make sense though. Burnley to win 3-2. Also, people have all but written City (-400) off this season – and for good reason given that their engine in the midfield, Yaya Toure, basically has one foot out the door. Villa (+1000) is playing their best soccer of the season, coming off the win over Liverpool in the FA Cup semifinal. The lines on this game strike me as slightly ridiculous, but guess I can’t really argue with them since City is going to win 3-1 (not least of which because Villa will be saving up every little bit of strength it has for the FA Cup final on May 30).

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REST OF EUROPE

Serie A: In last week’s post I sort of offhand predicted that 3rd-place Roma would catch 2nd-place Lazio and wouldn’t you know it they’ve almost done so, only losing out on goal differential at the moment. Lazio has a bit of a creampuff in 13th-place Chievo at home this weekend, whereas Roma face a real test on the road at 10th-place Inter on Saturday (2:45pm ET on beIN Sports).

As an aside, what the hell happened to Roman soccer? Inter in 10th and [AC] Milan in 9th… just don’t feel right. Two of the teams that have superseded the historic heavyweights this season are Napoli and Sampdoria, which sit in 4th and 5th place respectively, and face off on Sunday

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La Liga: Rather disappointing weekend of games in Spain with no clubs in the top eight playing one another. Given that the race for the title is still on, no choice but to highlight the two contenders – both with potentially tricky road games. 2nd-place Real visits 9th-place Celta Vigo on Sunday (3pm on beIN Sports) and can’t afford to drop any points in sitting two behind Barcelona with 6 games to play. For its part, Barça travels to 10th-place Espanyol on Saturday (10am ET on beIN Sports).

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Spanish enough for me!

 

Bundesliga: Everybody’s second favorite team 2nd-place Volfsburg travel to 4th-place Mönchenpenisgladbach on Sunday (11:30am on GolTV). A win by the hosts would pull them within four points of Volfy so they will probably try real hard to scores enough goals to win.

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Primeira Liga: They play soccer in Portugal? Yep! And pretty well, too. Unfortunately there’s just not room on the airwaves for it what with the EPL, La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga and (sometimes) Ligue 1 hogging all the limelight. But great game this weekend pitting #1 Benfica vs #2 Porto, which could draw even with the league leading hosts with a win.

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MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER

Lotttttttttttttttttttttttttttts of great games this weekend in MLS, and a big thumbs up to ESPN and FOX for bringing a lot of the action right to our eyeballs on a nationwide basis. In fact, it’s such a big Sunday slate of games that you’d be hard-pressed to pick a “game of the week”… so instead get some popcorn and settle in for a nice little evening (with an hour of “Game of Thrones” thrown in for good measure).

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Chicago Soccer Watch

As a resident of the Windy City, I can’t help but feel it’s my duty to keep my fellow locals apprised of what’s on deck here in our own backyard. This weekend’s games include:

Chicago Fire host NYCFC on Friday (8pm on Univision Deportes)

Chicago Red Stars host Portland Thorns (7:30pm at Benedictine University)

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USWNT

So Nike just rolled out the jerseys that the USWNT will wear for this summer’s World Cup (roll your eyes if you will, but just wait a couple of months and the Sydney Leroux’s of the team will be household names — #2 below), and I can assure you that you never have and never will see a more try-hard uniform:

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This seems like an appropriate place to remind everyone what our beloved flag looks like:

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Gotta give it to Nike, they absolutely NAILED the white. Seriously, killed it. Where the hell are the other colors? And yellow? The fuck? Did we invade Jamaica or perhaps get peed on by a fluorescent dog?

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I’m gonna be all in on rooting for the team when the tournament rolls around, but my assessment of the jersey: No.

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Aight din. See ya’ll next week. Go Hawks.

One for the road

One for the road

Note: if you ever are DYING to read words about soccer, the link to my latest post can always be found on my twitter homepage (just an FYI)


Holler,
Samuel F. Army