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Barstool’s Weekend Soccer Preview – The “North London Dærby + Mourinho's Missing Marbles” Edition

Sam’s Safe Space For Soccer Stoolies

1-EPL

Hi haters,

Good news, bad news.

Let’s go ahead and rip the Band-Aid off by starting with the bad news: after this weekend we’ve got another dreaded “international break” to deal with, meaning no more EPL for roughly two years/weeks.

Now for the good news: this ain’t just your average every day boring ass international break. This is November 11. This is Columbus, Ohio. This is Dos a Cero. This is Pulisic versus Chicarito. This is The Great White(ish) Satan versus everybody’s favorite neighborhood narco-state.

Tell’m Yeddy

Tell’m Yeddy

Nothing gets the juices flowing quite like beating Mexico. We comin’ for that ass, muchachos.

Mark your calendars for next Friday night. For now though let’s get back to the task at hand: getting your mind right for a HUGE weekend ahead.

A little aggressive, perhaps, but understandable nevertheless.

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ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE

Reminder of last weekend’s results:

3-EPLscores

News, notes, observations and highlights:

– It’s time for Jozay Mourinho’s friends to all wait around in his living room until he comes home one day and have an intervention with him. Guy is losing his marbles. After the loss at Fenerbahçe on Spursday, he threw players under the bus and made excuses galore. It was classic Mourinho-in-year-three stuff – and yet we are only a couple of months into YEAR ONE. We all know how things typically go with Mou-Mou:

– 1st year: steady improvement
– 2nd year: trophies and glory
– 3rd year: losses, temper tantrums, sexual discrimination and angry exit

It appears as though the timetable has been accelerated this time around though, with the “steady improvement” seen in United’s 4-match win streak in August, the glory being the club’s 4-1 ass-whooping of defending champion EPLeicester, and November witnessing the start of Mourinho’s long, painful goodbye.

Or perhaps Jozay is simply worked up about the global socioeconomic ramifications of a Trump presidency and by this time next week his panties will have unbunched, the mess in the midfield will have magically sorted itself out, some world class centerbacks will suddenly emerge from the academy (“What’s an academy?” –Jozay, probably) and everything at United will be all honky dory! Perhaps.

– Solid win for Middlesbrough over a determined Bournemouth. Precisely the kind of result that differentiates between mid-table muddler and relegation battler come April.

– Liverpool was in first place for a minute there but you never would have known it by the muted reaction from their fans. Psyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyche. (Now that I got that jab in I feel more at peace with saying something nice about them.) The club is playing well, particularly going forward where Coutinho and Firmino are in incredible form. Klopp is an A+ manager and his pressing style seems to have finally clicked with the players. Will they make a push for top four? Yep, they’ll probably be in the mix. But here’s why I still don’t see Liverpool as a legitimate title contender (hint, I have been saying the same thing all season): Defense. Loris Karius looks like a modest step up from Simon Mignolet and Dejan Lovren has improved, but I’m not sold yet on Joel Matip and no team will ever win the league if this thing has to play serious minutes.

4-moreno

– Tottenham’s offense without Harry Kane boils down to hoping, begging and praying for referees to award PKs. That’s pretty much it. I do have some good news for Spurs fans though as we have finally have an answer to the question that has been bugging every single one of us:

– Solid, efficient and at times pretty damn impressive performances for both Everton and Chelsea. You know what would be cool? If these teams played each other sometime soon…

[Foreshadowing alert]

[Foreshadowing alert]

- Big bad bald Bob has had a rough initial run of matches (at Arsenal, vs solid Watford and at resurgent Stoke) but the scheduling gods have finally smiled on our boy, handing him a home game against Jozay’s UniteDERP.

– City wiped the floor with West Brom, as well they should, but the game could have ended up going muuuuuuuuuuuuch differently if Nolito – fresh off a suspension for head-butting an opponent – had rightly seen red early in this one after… take a guess… YEP, head-butting an opponent! Why does Luis Suarez’s predilection for biting make him an international pariah while Nolito’s obsession with banging his freshly gelled noggin against other people’s heads is all but ignored? Really makes you think.

Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnyway, after 10 games here is how things look:

6-EPLtable

As for the big biggggggggg weekend, here’s what is on deck:

7-EPLschedule

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PICKS OF THE WEEK

One game will receive all the attention, and rightly so, but there are some lower key great games on the schedule… but with all due respect to Chelsea/Everton, Liverpool/Watford and U.S.A./UniteDERP, there’s only one place to start:

8-NLD

Arsenal [-105]
Tottenham [+300]
Draw [+255]

Would it kill the EPL to schedule a NLD for the 12:30pm CT slot on Saturday once – just once – is that too much to ask? I guess it is, so once again they are gonna make us work for it with a 6am CT kickoff. There is nothing worse than losing a North London Dærby… except, that is, for waking your happy as up at the buttcrack of dawn and having your entire day ruined by losing a NLD.

As for the game itself, this one is shaping up to be a case of horrible timing for Arsenal. Tottenham has spent the last month saving up all its goals rather than waste them in other games, so they should have plenty ready to go this weekend.

And that, unfortunately, was my best attempt at SpinZone-ing the fact Spurs can’t score (or win) these days, and is about to play a white hot Arsenal side while missing several key players. They say form goes out the window on dærby day. Let’s fucking so otherwise this could get ugly with Lamela and (especially) Alderwiereld out injured and Dembele and (especially) Kane in doubt. Tottenham’s stingy is legitimately the only thing going for it in this one, so perhaps they can play “bend don’t break” for 90 minutes and get gifted a PK in injury time. Never say never.

Arsenal to win 2-0.

Ozil on Tuesday. Disgusting.

**

Chelsea [-185]
Everton [+525]
Draw [+325]

Bookies have already penciled this in as a win for Chelsea, which perhaps shouldn’t come as a big surprise given that Antonio Conte’s new three-man defensive setup has not conceded a goal in four games and Everton’s road form has been straight poo-poo. BUT, and there’s always a bit, I’ll be damned if Romelu Lukaku, already playing about as well as ever, isn’t going to be extra motivated for this one against his old (but maybe new again?) club. The Toffees are missing a bunch of guys through injury, and the likes of Baines, Besic and McCarthy will be missed, and in fact that is the only reason I don’t like this more as an upset. As it is though I think Cost and Lukaku trade goals, and Everton hand on for a 1-1 draw.

9-lukaku

**

Other picks:

• Ruttttttttttttt-rohhhhhhhhh, City [-450] might just have remembered how to play soccer. Bad news for Middlesbrough [+1000], who does have the advantage of having rested all week while Pep’s boys are coming off a youge win over Barcelona. Can you say……. TRAP GAME? Nah, probably not. City to win 3-1.

• Who’s the winner of the Sunderland [+425] Sweepstakes? Congratulations to Bournemouth [-160], the proud owner of three beautiful new points. Cherries to win 2-1.

• United Swans of America [+400] catch UniteDERP [-170] at a pretty fortuitous moment, as the Red Devils are fresh off a loss on Spursday in Turkey, and Jozay Mourinho is in full-fledged mental midget mode. Not only that but Paul Pogba is in doubt and Eric Bailly is out. Can’t ask for a better shot at Big Bad Bald Bob’s first three-pointer than this. U.S.A. to win DOS A CERO. (Something like 2-1 seems more likely but who’s actually counting?)

>>>>>>>>>>>>>

>>>>>>>>>>>>>

• Liverpool [-400] welcoming Watford [+950] on Sunday is a sneaky good game, despite what the bookmakers apparently think. Solid defense may be at a premium in this one, and the Hornets finding a late leveler (on a corner kick, of course) makes a sense on a lot of levels… but I’m gonna puss out and say Liverpool wins 3-2.

• Weeeeee Burnley [+230] are fresh off a “famous” nil-nil draw against UniteDERP, though the result was a bit misleading as they got dominated only to get bailed out on numerous occasions by bad finishing and incredible goalkeeping by Tom Heaton. Palace [+130] tried to stick with Liverpool but ultimately fell short last weekend, but they did show that players not named Christian Benteke can actually score here and there. Goals are a foreign concept for Burnley, who are somehow even less dangerous in front of net than Tottenham. Palace to win 3-0.

And to increase the odds that I eventually get one right, here are a couple more picks free of charge: West Ham (with Ayew) over Stoke (without Shaq Jr.) (love don’t like) and EPLeicester get held to a draw by weaselly West Brom (like don’t love).

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MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER

Conference semifinal return legs time!

Fresh off winning the Community Shield, Dallas laid an absolute egg against Seattle and are now down three goals heading back home. Yikes.

Lottttttttta drama after the first legs in the east where the two New York sides took turns shitting the bed in road losses (with both managers coming under fire for pussyfooting the hell out things – particularly NYC’s Patrick Viera), but Red Bulls and NYCFC are only chasing one and two goals, respectively, which should or at least could be doable at home.

11-MLS

Recipe for a nice little Sunday on TV2.

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REST OF THE WORLD

Spain: After a pretty meh skate last weekend we got a good one in La Liga, starting with on-fire Atletico heading to 6th place Sociedad on Saturday (10:15am on beIN Sports) then Sevilla versus Barrrrrrrrrthelona on Sunday (1:45pm on beIN Sports).

Italy: 4th place Lazio visit 5th place Napoli on Saturday (2:45pm CT) but a word of warning in that you’ll need something called RAI Internationale (or beIN en Espanol or Connect) to watch it.

Germany: Big weekend in Ze Bundesliga with 1st place Bayern facing 3rd place Hoffenheim on Saturday (9:30am CT on FS2) followed soon after by a sneaky good one between 4th place Cologne and 7th place Eintracht (12:30pm CT on FS2).

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So there you have it. Have a nice weekend and I’ll check y’all next week for:

12-mex-usa

DOS A CERO, PUTOS GRANDES. Get pumped.


Holler,
Sam U. L. Army