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Barstool’s Weekend Soccer Preview – The “Who Is King Of The North?” Edition

Sam’s Completely Craptastic Soccer Preview & Pick’em

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Hello haters & non-haters,

The time has come for you to take a good long look in the mirror ask yourself what kind of person you want to be when you grow up. Do you want to be rich and successful, attractive and girthy-phallused, smart and worldly… or do you plan to root for Arsenal to win tomorrow morning?

These are the types of difficult questions that we all must face on the long difficult journey towards determining our respective stations in life.

2-NLD2

I trust you will make the right decision. (Please note: I am going to be in Seattle for this game, meaning kickoff is at 4:45 AM… so even if you hate me, please pray for me anyway. Tsym.)

Now on to the weekend.

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ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE

We are at the tail end of a glut of domestic EPL games at the moment, including those played on Tuesday and Wednesday that ended up finishing like this:

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Live look at clubs fighting it out at the top of the table:

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Leicester is held to a draw against West Brom, and yet ends up adding a little distance between itself and the other three title contenders. Amazeballs.

A few other observations from the (mid)week that was…

– Tottenham AND Arsenal earned a cumulative total of zero points in their games on Wednesday ahead of tomorrow’s North Loser Dærby. As unfortunate as Spurs’ loss was, it was away to surprisingly resilient 6th place West Ham squad, which is about 70 billion times less embarrassing than Arsenal’s home loss to 16th place Swansea. Really just no excuse for that one.

– Liverpool ran a train on City’s face.

“So what do you think about City’s title chances, Jurgen?”

– Aston Villa showed up with 11 guys in full uniform, so that was pretty cool.

– United capped off a no good very bad day for ya boy Samuel (personally and professionally/predictionally) by snagging a late winner, grabbing three points and submarining my “Watford to draw” pick, thus forcing me to leave Chicago for “a little while” as I move some money around in order to keep my kneecaps.

Me no horny

Me no horny

Annnnnnnnnnyway, heading into this weekend, here is the current table:

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And the full slate of games on deck this weekend:

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PICKS OF THE WEEK

As mentioned above, ya boy got his a$$ handed to him on Wednesday. Based on Newton’s First Law of Gambling, that means I’m due. So let’s get to getting, starting with the BIG’UN:

WHO IS KING OF THE NORTH (LONDON)?

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Tottenham (+130)
Arsenal (+200)
Draw (+240)

With the exception of the Artificially Manufactured Importance Cup game earlier this season, which pretty much everybody agreed doesn’t really count, every single North London Dærby is a youuuuuuuge game. For comparison’s sake though, all those games put together are roughly as big as Donald Trump thinks his dick is, and this weekend’s game is a blue whale’s.

Okay, ya, that’s youge

Okay, ya, that’s youge

Both clubs have a legitimate shot at the EPL title for the first time since humans were hunting dinosaurs, and assuming Leicester lose a game or two here and there (which is starting to look like a bigger assumption by the day) this matchup could go a long way towards deciding who lifts the trophy at the end of the season – and almost as importantly, whether the world will be mercifully free of the creepy little St Totteringham for a year.

As for the game itself, Petr Cech strained a labia minora at the very end of the Swansea game, meaning he will join the newly injured Laurent Koscielny on the bench for this one. They’ve only been two of Arsenal’s more consistent performers all season, so I’m sure it won’t have any impact on the game… Spurs are still missing Jan Vertonghen and Mousa Dembele is in doubt, but otherwise the club is remarkably healthy.

This is the type of game though that in (most) past years Arsenal would find some way to win, and even if they didn’t then Spurs would find some way to lose. Unfortunately the Gooners have proven on numerous occasions this season that they are quite simply lacking in testicular fortitude, perhaps on account of no talismanic leader the way Patrick Viera was or even just plain leader like Cesc Fabregas had been. Don’t get me wrong, they have tonnnns of talent with guys like Mesut Ozil and Lexi Sanchez, but performances like the loss to Swansea (and the spanking from Southampton earlier in the season) suggest the club is a bit rudderless.

Also don’t be confused by Tottenham’s recent loss to a West Ham club that is better than everybody thinks, Spurs were likely a bit distracted by this weekend’s game but are still in form, healthy and at home.

In fact – BOLD & MEDIUM-LEVEL SPICY PREDICTION ALERT – the winner of Saturday’s game will end up being crowned champions of the EPL this season.

So who dat?

10-walcott

Nailed it Theo. Tottenham to win 2-0.

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Watford (+200)
Leicester (+140)
Draw (+215)

Leicester fans are probably a little salty about me implying a moment ago that their mighty Foxes aren’t going to lift the trophy this season, and rightfully so given how good they are combined with how many things are going right. What’s more, the club has what appears to be an extremely manageable run of games to finish the year.

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The one potential bugaboo that has reared its head in both Leicester’s recent games though is that it may actually be more difficult for them to generate offense against clubs at the bottom that are willing to pack it in on defense since it makes counter-attacking that much more difficult, putting an even greater emphasis on Leicester’s ability on set pieces. For me, Watford presents a pretty tough matchup for the Foxes since it has one of the stouter defences in the league plus a counter-attack of its own led by (the admittedly ice cold) Odion Ighalo with help from Troy Deeney. The Hornets deserved better than the loss to United during the week and I can’t help thinking that they will pull out a draw or better in this one. Watford to win 2-1.

Vicarage Road gon' be BUZZING on Saturday

Vicarage Road gon’ be BUZZING on Saturday

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Other games:

• If you are planning on betting on Aston Villa [+1400] the rest of this season do me this one favor: give me your money. I’ll hold onto it, and yes I’m going to spend most of it, but give I hereby swear that I will give a little back to you in June. I promise you’ll come out ahead of where you otherwise would be. Who is the lucky duck this week? MAN CITY [-500), COME ON DOWN! You’ve won… three important points! City to win 4-1.

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City be like

• Classic letdown game for Bournemouth [+160], which is fresh off an impressive win over (formerly anyway) resurgent Southampton at home, but must now visit a Newcastle [+160] club that, despite being one of the big spenders in the January transfer window, has somehow gotten worse. Desperation is the mother of invention, and inventions are made possible by magic – which is precisely what Steve McClaren’s unicorn hairstyle is. Thus, by the transitive property, Newcastle to win 3-2. [Note: these two clubs have conceded a combined 94 goals between then… so yeah, expect a few goals in this puppy.]

mcclaren

Do the math.

• United [+105] is on a roll! Yay! Congrats! However, I don’t buy that something suddenly clicked, meaning the recent 4-game winning streak (which includes wins over Shrewsbury, Myjjtj;lijj!lland and Arsenal in the midst of a massive mental midget meltdown) is likely more smoke and mirrors than a sudden change in trajectory. West Brom [+320] has recently been playing some shocking un-Pulis-like soccer, scoring and conceding buttloads of goals, but its only a matter of time until the club reverts to the defense-first mentality that has kept them in the Premier League so long. Goals for Martial and Berahino will see this one finish in a 1-1 draw.

Voted most likely to fly in high school

Voted most likely to fly in high school

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REST OF WORLD

Bundesliga: BVB host Bayern in the second biggest game this weekend in the world of soccer. Fox decided to not be a YOUGE douchebag and instead be just kind of a douchebag when, on Friday after a lot of criticism, they switched the game from Fox Sports Plus to FX (Saturday at 11:30am CT). Gee, thanks, only the biggest game of the year in the league you just bought… “kudos”!

La Liga: Suddenly reeling Real welcome Celta Vigo on Saturday (9am CT on beIN Sports) in a game that the hosts need to win to stay in the Champions League hunt for next season. Yikes. Not a good look, GalacticNOs.

Serie A: AC Milan host Sassuolo on Sunday (8am CT) in a matchup of Italian clubs that are on the edge of relevance but not quite there. Kinda like MLS, which brings me to……. [cue professional-level segue]

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MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER – IS BAAAAAAAAAAAACK

“But wait, I thought MLS died a couple days ago?”

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Technically, yes, the league was murdered by Liga MX in the CONCACAF Champions League just this week. But nothing ever truly dies in the world of soccer, just look at Mario Balotelli’s (or, closer to home, Jonathan Bornstein’s) career.

In truth, MLS was at a serious disadvantage in the CCL since games were played before the regular season had even started does, though it could be argued that that is a self-inflected problem. Anyway, dead or not, the league is still headed [slowly] in the right direction and – assuming China implodes sometime soon and/or at least stops overpaying for all the players MLS would otherwise be getting – continues making strides down the long, windy path to legitimate relevance. So do yourself a favor and watch some games rather than deciding offhand that it is not worth your time.

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NOTE: GAME TIMES ARE IN PACIFIC TIME! (Sorry, just got off a plane in Seattle. Derp.)

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So there you go, the best (and definitely worst) weekend soccer preview you will ever find on Barstool today. Don’t miss me too hard cause I’ll be back on Tuesday with…. the CHAMMMMMMMPIONNNNNNNNNNNS. Get pumped.

STILLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL:
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Holler,
Sam U. L. Army