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Barstool’s Weekend Soccer Preview – The “Big Cat Met Adriana Lima And Was Speechless So I Officially Failed As A Soccer Mentor” Edition

Sam’s Completely Craptastic Weekend Soccer Pick’em

1-EPL

Hello-est thou haters,

2-Dan

I’ve never felt like more of a failure than when I saw this tweet. There are two things everybody knows about Adriana Lima: she is painfully attractive and she is Brazilian. The first one doesn’t necessarily lend itself well to non-awkward conversation topics, but after spending the last 18 months tirelessly prepping Young Daniel such that if he ever found himself face to face with a South American super model he could instantly break out some panty-dropping Neymar knowledge on her and…….. he completely dropped the ball — but more important I completely dropped the ball by not making sure he was mentally prepared to handle that situation. Oh well, I’ll make sure it goes down better next time, believe you me.

That look when you realize you’ve failed as a sissy sport spirit guide

That look when you realize your sissy sport spirit guide has failed miserably

So annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnyway, guess what time it almost is, boys & girl???? That’s right, it is the time of year when football season is officially laid to rest, the NHL and NBA have hit the midseason doldrums when we already know who is alive for the playoffs and who is dead – thanks Chief: “Official D.O.A. list” – and it’s not March yet so college basketball has not officially taken center stage…. which means that it is time for all the passive armchair European soccer fans to start catching up on what they have missed so far this season, and preparing themselves for the home stretch.

So here is the real quick, real dirty recap of what has on so far this season for those of you interested in the CliffsNotes version:

- PSG won Ligue 1 in October
– Bayern Munich won the Bundesliga in December
– Two-horse race in Serie A (Napoli & Juve)
– Three-horse race in La Liga (Real, Barça & Atleti)
– And finally a four-horse race in EPL (City, Arsenal, Spurs, Leicester… no soup for you United)

Also a few things you should probably know if you don’t want to sound stupid when talking to all the really hot ladies at the bar who also love EPL:

- Chelsea kinda sucks… which is an improvement from before when they REALLY sucked
– Leicester is good
– Tottenham is also good, as much as it scares the shit out of me to say that out loud
– Louis Van Gaal still has a job because sometimes miracles happen (31 goals in 24 games are what dreams are made of)
– Everton games are must-watch TV
– Few clubs have ever shit the bed with quite as much aplomb as Aston Villa this season (though relative to expectations, Chelsea was giving them a good run for a while)
– West Ham had a helluva first half of the season, which should make their inevitable second half fade slightly more tolerable.
– Southampton is having the quietest season ever for a 7th place club
– Liverpool vacillates between a top 4 threat and mid-table muddler with every goal scored and conceded, respectively

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So there you have it, we are all caught up on what’s gone on this season! Yay! Now let’s move right along to this weekend because my gawwwwwd do we have some good games on deck…

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ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE

The soccer gods were kind enough to provide us with a full slate of games on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week but in case you have already forgotten what happened, here you go:

4-scores

And here’s a couple video highlights for the picture readers (and world class goal appreciators) in the group…

Vardy being Vardy

Highlights from Arsenal/Southampton and Watford/Chelsea
5-boring

Tottenham versus Norwich
6-norwich

After not scoring a 1H goal at Old Trafford since SEPTEMBER, United put two away against a surprisingly listless Stoke
7-LVG

Heading into this weekend, this is the current table:

Ballllllllls in yo face, Arsenal

Ballllllllls in yo face, Arsenal

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

9-schedule

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PICKS OF THE WEEK

You’ll notice the two best games of the weekend are bright and early (as helllllll) on Saturday and then the late game on Sunday. Not a bad way to bookend your weekend.

Before we get to the picks, live look at the #MoneyTrain:

Choo choo => poo poo

Choo choo => poo poo

Make no mistake, your boy Samuel has been getting his ass handed to him recently. Gracias a dios though, according to the rules of gambling that just means I’m due!

City (-185)
Leicester (+475)
Draw (+300)

I’ve been guilty of underestimating the wee Foxes on many occasions this season, although thankfully I’ve been far from alone in that. With that in mind, and based on the fact that Leicester has yet to face the spate of injuries that may end up being the biggest threat to them being a legitimate threat, this line strikes me as slightly ridiculous. City is still missing Kompany and Mangala at the back, meaning the likes of Otamendi and Demichelis will be given the task of dealing with Vardy, Okazaki and Mahrez. YIIIIIIIIIIIIKES. Suffice to say that is NOT a good situation for the Sky Blues.

City’s line-up at the moment

City’s line-up at the moment

On the other hand, Sergio Aguero is rounding into the form that has made him the most dangerous striker in the league (when healthy) the last few seasons. Also, you’re a crazy person if you think Pellegrini is not going to tell guys like Sagna and Clichy, along with Fernandinho and Delph (remember me!) to hang back a little bit more than usual to help cut off Leicester’s counter attacks – a.k.a. the only way they score (apart from set pieces), and double a.k.a. the thing Liverpool still couldn’t stop on Tuesday.

Oh, right, you guys probably want a prediction. I’m at a bit of a loss, if we’re being honest. I still can’t wrap my head around Leicester sticking around long enough to be a Champions League club next season, yet I can’t help thinking that based purely on the X’s and O’s this game sets up well for them, and if you pick them to beat the 2nd place team at the 2nd place team’s home field you are basically admitting that they are absolutely a threat for top 4. But enough with thinking out loud. If you want me absolute lock of the game it would be to go with the over (2½), or both teams to score, or one of those fun little bets… as far as scores go though I am going against my better judgment and saying City pull it out 2-1.

[Note: I just got done type it and already haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaate that pick…]

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Next up: the Jose Mourinho Dærby!

Chelsea (+100)
United (+290)
Draw (+220)

So here we have Jose Mourinho’s previous club (the one with which he couldn’t beat ANYBODY and yet since his departure has not lost to anybody) facing out with Jose Mourinho’s future club (probably sooner rather than later if Louis Van Gaal’s Arrrrrrrrrrmy loses this weekend).

“Just please no face slapping, k?”

“Just please no face slapping, k?”

United took advantage of a Stoke squad that had a defense put together with twigs and chewing gum, so methinks the Red Devils’ three-goal ‘onslaught’ was more likely a red herring than it was a sign that they’ve found their scoring touch. Chelsea, on the other hand, seems to have legitimately found a semblance of form lately, and it’s hard not to like the combination of Costa, Willian, Oscar and even Eatin’ Hazard

Skinny Soccer fat

Skinny Soccer fat

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running at the likes of Darmian, Borthwick-Jackson and Daley Blind. Chelsea to win 2-0.

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Other games:

• Oddsmakers are just daring you to live a little with the Tottenham [-210] hosting Watford [+660] line, and you’d be silly not to at least think about sprinkling a little something on the visitors. I’ve been nervous the last few games for Spurs because the defense, which has been the lynchpin of the club’s performance this season, had not looked nearly as good without Vertonghen in the months right up until his injury. They have been looking solid enough though (granted, against a First Division club and Norwich), so I’m willing to put a little trust in them against a formidable Watford squad. Spurs to win 3-2.

LOCK OF THE WEEKEND: Crystal Palace [+240] is a club that has lost its way at the moment. Nothing – and I do mean nothing – screams “desperation” quite like taking a gamble on Emmanual Adebayour. The Eagles have dropped from 5th to 12th and they ain’t getting any healthier. With Johan Cabaye likely still out with an ankle injury, I’d say their chances of taking points off a resurgent and surprisingly healthy Swansea [+120] team are about as good as Portnoy getting twitter verified. Swansea to win 2-0.

Feeling footloose and malaria-free!

Feeling footloose and malaria-free!

• Southampton [-130] has evolved into a different club to play, and while it was a pretty shoddy performance by Arsenal on Tuesday, the Saints deserve plenty of the credit as well. Combine that with a West Ham [+370] team that is just dying to start fading away a bit (I say that while acknowledge that Dimitri Payet… would look damn sexy in a Tottenham jersey) and you are left with Southampton to win 2-1.

• How fantastic would it be for Arsenal [-105] to lose yet another game on the trot? I know, right? The besssssssst. But if only because that would make me happy, I know it’s not going to happen, much as I like those pink get-ups that Bournemouth [+275] has been sporting lately. Arsenal to win 3-1.

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REST OF WORLD

La Liga: 5th place Sevilla just got done curb-stomping 7th place Celta Vigo in a midweek Copa game, so the latter club will hope to earn a little bit of self-respect back on Sunday (11:15am CT on beIN Sports En Espanol).

Serie A: NOTHING… there is literally no game worth watching in Italy. Sorry, but facts are facts.

Bundesliga: Champions-elect Bayern face 5th place Bayer Leverkusen in what could actually be a good game… plus its on the FOX mother-station so that’s something (Saturday at 11:30am CT).

USMNT: Last but not (not) least, we’ve got the second friendly of the year for Klinsmann & Co, who face our little brother to the north TONIGHT (9:15pm CT on FS1). For those who missed it, we beat Iceland 3-2 in a sloppy game – to be expected considering the circumstances – that at least featured some well worked goals by our boys. JK has said Lee Nguyen is a player that has been standing out in camp, so seeing how he is used and fits in will be something to keep an eye on.

15-klinsmann

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So there you go, the best (and worst) weekend soccer preview you are liable to find on Barstool this week. Got a smattering of FA Cup replays to bother you about on Tuesday and Wednesday, but until then…

Well that escalated


Holler,
Sam U. L. Army