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Barstool’s Weekend Soccer Guide – The “Davids Vs Goliaths” Edition

Sam’s Soccer ex-Stravaganza!

1-EPL

[Note: apologies for not getting this up until Saturday morning rather than Friday afternoon. Technical difficulties, dog ate my homework, yadda yadda yadda… I tried to make up for it by including some extra picks this week – free of charge.]

Hi haters,

First for the bad news: this weekend is sneakily one of the worst all year with college football taking a breather (Navy’s annual ass-whupping of Army notwithstanding) and nobody in their right mind caring about college basketball for another couple months. Sure, there will be some NHL games to help ease the pain, and hopefully the NBA will serve as an excuse for letting Charles Barkley discuss politics and bash his employer on national television, but all things considered this weekend – and Saturday specifically – is going to suck.

But wait, now the good news: SOCCER is here to fill the void in your soul, and in your schedule!

Before we get to the good stuff though I should apologize for not giving you – loyal readers/haters – a participatory mention in the proceedings, so without further ado it’s time for the long-awaited return of a little Commenter Q&A…

2a-CMT-read

Nope. They just keep me around to troll you.

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2b-CMT-RIP

Here lies 420fatjibs. Murdered by a mall cop.

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Same.

Same.

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It’s Lester, dumbass.

It’s ‘Lester’, dumbass.

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You seem upset. Let’s make a deal: I’m going to keep failing to mention them as a top 4 candidate and then you’ll apologize this spring. Deal? Cool.

You seem upset. Let’s make a deal: I’m going to keep failing to mention them as a top 4 candidate and then you’ll apologize this spring. Deal? Cool.

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I have tons of money and huge muscles and bang all the hot chicks… simply saying it makes it true, right?

I have tons of money and huge muscles and bang all the hot chicks… simply saying it makes it true, that’s apparently how this weeks, right?

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I saved the best for last because this comment legitimately fascinated me. So you know enough about soccer to realize that Tottenham is not exactly a “mainstream” club, and yet the concept of your/you’re is beyond your comprehension.

I saved the best for last because this comment legitimately fascinated me. So you know enough about soccer to realize that Tottenham is not exactly a “mainstream” club, and yet the concept of your/you’re is beyond your comprehension.

Anyway, without further ado, now on to the soccuh…

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ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE

A quick reminder of what happened last weekend:

3-EPLscores

Some news, notes and observations…

– Vardy didn’t score for once but the Lester’s other, slightly more hidden gem Riyad Mahrez did – three times, no less. Yes, one was probably a handball and another was definitely offsides, but that’s just how the soccer cookie crumbles sometimes (and the third was pure class).

Bro, talk to your boy lindaportnose

Bro, talk to your boy lindaportnose

– Swansea was on the luckless recipient of Lester’s good fortune (and skill), and the 0-3 home loss ended up being the final straw for Gerry Monk who got Brandan Rodgers-ed.

Unemployed? Me too. Let’s go get some of that Obama money

Unemployed? Me too. Let’s go get some of that Obama money

– Every time you think Chelsea has hit rock bottom this season they find a way to break through, fall some more, and slam into another hard surface. For their sake, let’s home losing to a weakened Bournemouth side at Stamford Bridge is as low as they can go.

– There is a LOT to get excited about with Spurs right now, but until they find a way to win drawable games rather than draw winnable games it would be very premature to even consider discussing them being in the title race. (One loss in 15 games is good. Only 6 wins and 8 draws, however, is not.)

– Speaking of the title race, remember when Liverpool was in it (according to Liverpool fans)? Man that was a fun three days.

6-nufc

Jugs for days

– Everton could have beaten Palace by three or possibly even four goals, but the post proved unkind over and over, and over, and over again.

– In most seasons, Watford would be the league’s biggest Cinderella story. Alas, just like the pretty girl standing next the really pretty girl with great tits, Lester is stealing all their shine.

So despite how “crazy” and “insane” pundits are calling this season, one thing you’ll notice when looking at the league table is that it looks almost exactly how you would have expected it going into this season – with two glaring exceptions (and a slightly smaller one in Swansea):

7-EPLtable

As for the games coming up this weekend, here’s what we got…

EPLschedule

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PICKS OF THE WEEK

As mentioned waaaaaaay up top in the headline, there are a number of matchups involving haves and have-nots: Tottenham vs Newcastle, Arsenal vs Aston Villa, Liverpool vs West Brom and Unite vs Bournemouth. But let’s start out with the last of the bunch as it is shaping up to be the most interesting…

Lester (+200)
Chelsea (+130)
Draw (+230)

Mighty Lester welcome wee Chelsea to the King Power Stadium on Monday afternoon. One of the clubs is in 1st place, playing at home, and almost never loses. The other is in 14th place, playing on the road, and almost never wins. No, for real though.

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But wait, more fun stats!

Leading scorers:
Vardy – 14
Costa – 3

(Sidenote: Chelsea has scored a grand total of 17 goals all… friggin… season.)

And yet, after all this Chelsea still comes into the game as the odds-on favorite. Truly amazing. Even more amazing is the fact that I – after consistently being made to look like a god damn fool by Lester this season – have yet to learn my lesson.

As bad as Chelsea’s famously awful defense has been this season, they have given up only three more goals than Lester (24 vs 21), and despite the brilliance of Vardy and Mahrez, the Blues simply have too much talent. After getting benched for being a baby in the first half against Bournemouth last weekend, Costa will have a whole game to feast on likes of Wes Morgan and Robert Huth. Chelsea to win 3-1.

Jose’s celly-face

Jose’s celly-face

Special bonus: among Chelsea’s haul will be at least two goals for the world’s oldest looking baby.

Costa1

Body: 20-something… Face: 80-something… Mind: toddler

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Bournemouth (+230)
United (+130)
Draw (+235)

United not only can’t score but the club is suddenly missing just about every defender on the roster. No seriously, Smalling and Darmian were just added to a list of injuries that already included Jones, Rojo and Shaw. Plus Schweinie is (rightly) suspended for his forearm shiver against West Ham. On the other hand, Bournemouth will be playing with newfound confidence and has enough weapons in King, Stanislas and (off the bench) Murray to nick a goal or two. Bournemouth to win 2-1.

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Other games:

• Tottenham [-275] hosting Newcastle [+680] is precisely the type of winnable game that Spurs sides of yore – meaning as recently as last year – would have found some way to draw. I’m buying in on this being a brand new day, however, and expect that Newcastle’s refractory period after busting their nut against Liverpool last Sunday will last at least another week or two. Spurs to win 4-0.

• In a continuance of the “haves vs have-nots” theme, 99 times out of 100 Goliath curbstomps David, which is precisely what I expect Liverpool [-250] is going to do to West Brom [+825]. No Sturridge? No problem this weekend. Liverpool to win 2-0.

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• Crystal Palace [+160] welcome struggling Southampton [+190] in what sneakily should be a great game now that the clubs will have Wilfried Zaha and Graziano Pelle back from suspension and injury, respectively. I’ll be honest, these odds feel a little like a trap considering how poorly the Saints have been lately. But if so I’m walking right into that bitch. Palace to win 2-1.

• Finally, I don’t often advise waking up for the 6:45am CT games, but this weekend’s matchup between Norwich [+190] and Everton [+150] should be well worth the early wake up call. I’ll be honest, this one feels a little like stealing money. Everton deserved better against Palace on Monday, and will be much too much for Norwich’s porous defense. Everton to win 3-1.

[Note: I realize the post is not going up until after the above game is kicking off… however, because of that I posted the pick last night on Twitter. Apologies for those of you who aren’t rich enough to follow me:

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BUNDESLIGA

God bless Borussia Monchenpenisgladbach for taking it to Bayern last weekend, ensuring that the domestic title race in Germany remains relevant for at least a few more weeks. As for this week, here’s what FOX has got for us, which includes two particularly solid games on Saturday:

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BEST OF THE REST

LA LIGA: Real Madrid are in 3rd place right now behind Barrrrrrrrrthelona and Atleti, and have – despite multiple “appeals” – been bounced from the Copa del Ray for sheer incompetence, meaning the seat under Rafa Benitez’s considerable tooshy just might start to get a little warm if Los Blancos don’t start posting some domestic wins (though their fine form in UCL will help ward off some of the haters). This week Real travels to 5th place Villarreal, which is almost as offensively challenged as Manchester United. They’ll have to hope they can make this an ugly one, but don’t count on it based on Real’s recent form (albeit against mini Swedish fish).

SERIE A: Best games anywhere this weekend might just be in Italy on Sunday when 3rd place Napoli play 4th place Roma (11am CT on beIN Sports) and 5th place Juventus face off against 2nd place Fiorentina (tape-delayed at 6:30pm on beIN Sports).

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So there you have it: the best weekly soccer preview that Barstool will ever publish today. No mid-week games next week for the EPL, which takes a much-needed breather ahead of an incredibly busy couple weeks starting immediately after Christmas – as in the very next day. Sucks for the players. Great for us. Get pumped.

Ibra even fucks up better than everybody else

Ibra even fucks up better than everybody else


Holler,
Sam U.L. Army