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Barstool’s Weekend Soccer Preview – The “Mou vs Klopp & What About Bob?” Edition

Sam’s Safe Space For Soccer Stoolies


Hi haters,

International breaks suck, especially when the only games we Americans have to “care about” are friendlies against things like Cuba and New Zealand. Thankfully we had some surprisingly entertaining playoff baseball and Ken Bone to help keep up company. But with Kershaw’s arm about to fall off and the BoneZone’s 15 minutes about up, I am happy to report that soccer is BACK – and not a moment too soon.

Farewell sweet, sexually devious prince

Farewell sweet, sexually devious prince

This weekend we got storylines galore in the EPL, including the sudden emergence of Swansea as everybody’s second favorite club and a looming battle between two of the very best managers in all the world among teams that aren’t good enough to be playing in Europe at the moment:





Reminder of what happened waaaaaaaaaaay back before the international break hit:


News, notes, observations, highlights and lowlights:

– Best full 90 minutes of soccer by Tottenham in years combined by a rather poor performance by City and you get a comprehensive 2-0 win for Spurs.

Truth be told, City could have lost by more as they were lucky not to have seen TWO reds (Otamendi and Sterling both deserved to be sent off) and Lamela missed a PK. Just one of those days for the visitors.

– “Unfortunate” result for Burnley. Haters will say Arsenal sold its soul to the devil… but if the Gunners did that, then why haven’t they won the league in forever? (Hm, really makes ya think.)

Chelsea dropped some déjà doo-doo on Hull’s head:

– SUNDERLAND SYNDROME IS SPREADING! Draws, draws and more draws with six of the ten games (including last matchday ending up even… including:

Stoke mustering a desperately needed point against United, though tough to say they fully deserved it. Combination of fantastic goalkeeping by backup Lee Grant and poor finishing by the Red Devils ended up carrying the day.

Anyway, after seven games here is how things look:


As for this weekend, here’s what we got:


[Programming note: whoever decided to schedule Palace/West Ham as the featured game on NBC on a day featuring Chelsea/Leicester, Arsenal/USA, City/Everton deserves a swift kick to the dick region.]



Lots of interesting matchups this weekend but none more so than Monday’s North-West (aka “Maybe One Of Us Will Make Champions League This Season? I Mean, Probably Not, But Maybe!”) dærby…


Liverpool [+110]
United [+240]
Draw [+245]

Jose Mourinho has a solid record when traveling to Anfield (only three loses in 10 games), and do you know how much that matters in this game? Not even a little bit. What does matter is the Red Devils’ attacking players have looked like they are starting to gel, even if it has been partially overshadowed by poor finishing and solid opposition goalkeeping. (Paradoxically, the club’s best results came at the beginning of the season… but sometimes that’s how the cookie crumbles.)

As for Liverpool, it seems as though some of you Reds fans got a little butthurt when in the last blog I questioned the club’s offensive prowess.


Hello there cgtso. Thanks for stopping by. Unfortunately the bullwork of your thesis rests on games in which Liverpool “hung 4” on Arsenal’s D-team (Chambers + Holding as CBs, FTW!) and on a team in Leicester that I have been saying all season is far too weak defensively to be a contender (for Europe let alone the title).

Okay, there, now that I have said something mean about Liverpool I feel a lot better about making my pick: United is too inconsistent and Liverpool (even without Lallana and Wijnaldum in midfield) is going to press them to death.

If Rooney starts on the field: Liverpool to win 3-1.

If Rooney starts on the bench: Liverpool to win 2-1. (The latter is my base-case scenario.)


Arsenal [-380]
United Swans of America [+1100]
Draw [+500]

Rightly or wrongly, but mostly the latter, a lot of people who are going to judge every American coach based on the performance of Bob Bradley. It is dumb, it is nonsensical, but it is. So if you didn’t already have a soft spot in your heart for Swansea because Big Cat is the club’s owner-operator, you better make room for the plucky Wales club going forward out of respect for this great country for which our forefathers fought. Fact: a bet against Bob Bradley is a bet against our military. So think about that if you decide to lay money on Arsenal in Bobby Boy’s first game in charge. Will the Swans win? Mehhhhhhhh, probably not, especially not in the unfriendly environs of the Emirates, but the Gunners looked anything but impressive against Burnley last weekend so some sort of results isn’t exactly unfathomable. Gimme the 1-1 draw.


Because America, godamit


Other picks:

• Everton [+550] is coming off back to back poor performances for the first time all season (loss to Burnley and home draw with Palace), and things aren’t going to get any easier against Pep’s City [-225] side that is fresh off having their asses handed to them. I wish I knew whether Kevin De Bruyne was fit because the club is a different team with him in the squad. I am going to assume he starts on the bench and only plays (maybe) a few minutes, if that, meaning he wont be much of a difference maker. In that case it is hard not to want to dabble in the draw line [+355] given that these clubs are far more evenly matched than the odds might suggest. In the end though I think guys like Nolito, Sterling and Gundogan in the midfield are going to be too much for Everton to handle, and open up jusssssst enough opportunities for Aguero to squeak out three points. City to win 2-1.

LOCK OF THE WEEK: Yeah, yeah, I have made a lot of LOCK predictions over the years, but this time I actually mean it. Stoke [+135] hosting Sunderland [+300] is this weekend’s “Someone’s Oh Has Got To Go” Pillow Fight Of The Week. It’s a battle of awful defenses versus stagnant offenses. This one boils down to one thing: Stoke has the potential to be a top half club, while Sunderland has the potential to maybe – posssssssssibly get out of the relegation zone at some point (but probably not). So as much as I love my boy Gooch, Stoke to win 2-0.

Cap tie him, STAT

Cap tie him, STAT

• Burnley [+800] visiting Southampton [-250] is another intriguing matchup. If ever there was a game that is screaming “scoreless draw” it is probably this puppy. The Saints last two games have finished 0-0 while the Potters have been held scoreless in two of their last three and four of their last six. So the real question is do I have the balls to predict both teams find a way not to score for 90 minutes, and the answer is… no, no I do not. Southampton to win 1-0. [Note: I am not a fan of O/U in soccer but god help the person who picks the over in this one.]

• Other winners off the top of my head because I’m feeling frisky: Spurs over West Brom (like don’t love) and Bournemouth over Hull (love don’t like).



Spain: ARGENTINIAN PULISIC IS BACK FROM INJURY! Thus, you should probably watch – or at least DVR – Barcelona versus Deportivo on Saturday (9:15am on beIN Sports)

Germany: Hertha visited Dortmund on Friday in the game of the week, but since that (1-1 draw) already took place I’ll direct your eyeballs towards the surprising RB Leipzig versus everybody’s formerly beloved Wolfy on Sunday (10:30am CT on FS2).

Italy: #2 Napoli versus #3 Roma on Saturday (but only on RAI International vs Sassuolo on Sunday (11am on beIN Sports)

‘Merica: Things are reeeeeeeeeeeeally getting down to it in MLS, with a number of playoff spots still up for grabs.


Both nationally televised games have important implications, with Toronto fighting for a bye while Montreal is still hoping to seal a playoff spot on Saturday. On Sunday, defending champ Portland is fighting for its playoff life against Colorado, which is looking to sew up the Supporter’s Shield.



So there you have it. Have a nice weekend and I’ll check y’all on Tuesday. Why’s that? Well, this of course:


Sam U. L. Army