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Barstool’s Champions League Preview – The “Monaco vs Juve – Who’s Hungrier?” Edition

Sam’s Soccer Safe Space For Stoolies

Hi haters,

I’ll be honest, I’ve always been more of a Team Messi guy myself. Maybe it’s because I was the shortest kid in school, or perhaps because my muscle mass has never matured beyond prepubescence. Can’t pinpoint exactly why but something about the wee Argentinian NOT looking as though he possesses otherworldly ability – while being able to do things that mere mortals should not be capable of – has always struck a chord with me.

Ronny, on the other hand, has every physical tool in the toolbox. Speed, strength, agility. Dude looks more like an (extra tan) Greek god than the Greek gods themselves. He looks like he’s faster than you, stronger than you and just plain better than you… because he is faster, strong and better than you, and could probably bang your girlfriend if she wasn’t so ugly.

So you know where my biases lie. But that being said, godamit Ronny is good. Guy is 32 years old and scoring hat tricks in back-to-back Champions League games against Leicester and Benfica……… OOPS, nope, they were actually against Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid. I mean, r u srs brah? I want to hate on it/him but just can’t. Well, maybe I can a little bit

But not really. That’s just me lashing out in response to being in awe of his consistent greatness. Put it this way, here’s the ultimate acid test on your greatness… if KFC has tweeted about you – a soccer player – in relatively glowing terms, then you have officially been ushered into the pantheon of all-time greats.

So congratulations, Ronny, you made it.

Sure, you [allegedly] got dumped by Paris Hilton right around the time she [reportedly] left Valtrex prescription in a storage locker…

2-paris

…but, hey, life’s little trivialities don’t matter once you made it. ¡Parabéns!

Anyway, enough about Ronny. We got more soccer on deck today. Here’s some tunes to fluff your sports boner:

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CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

Schedule for the next two weeks:

3-schedule

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TUESDAY’S PICK

Monaco [+200]
Juventus [+140]
Draw [+220]

4-matchup

So what do you need to know about this game? Hmmm, let’s see.

First off, Monaco has been criminally underestimated time and time again this season by everyone but me (says the guy who picked City to beat them… derp derp), but it’s hard to imagine anyone being taken lightly in a Champions League semi-final so the “art of surprise[ingly talented]” is probably no longer in their favor.

Anybody who has been following along this season will know of Kylian Mbappé at this point, as the 18 year old has blossomed into the kind of talent that has clubs legitimately lining up to pay the £/€130 million transfer fee that Monaco is going to command this summer. You will hear and see a lot of him in this game, and rightfully so given his skills and lack of timidity on the big stage.

That Jozay, what a stinker

That Jozay, what a stinker

Monaco is also getting healthy (and/or otherwise available) at just the right time, with their midfield looking a lot stronger with the return of beastly DM Tiemoue Bakayoko – yet another guy who someone (likely an EPL club) is going to pay big money for this summer – from injury and CM Fabinho from suspension.

Everybody for Juventus is also more or less ready to go, with the exception of Sami Khedira (who, though this may be an unpopular opinion, I have been less than impressed with in recent Champions League games), with Claudio Marchisio likely stepping in for the German midfielder.

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SUMMARY: From 30,000-feet this matchup looks a lot like your classic contest between offense juggernaut (Monaco) versus defensive giant (Juventus)… but that’s not exactly the case – for one of the clubs anyway.

Monaco is dynamic af going forward thanks to Mbappé and Falcao’s younger, less sucky, more talented identical twin who showed up to play for him this season. But – and there’s really no other way to say it – they are prone to way, way, way too many mistakes at the back. Dortmund squandered a ridiculous number of chances in their quarterfinal games (while simultaneously getting its own defensive frailties exposed).

Juventus has no such weakness at the back. In fact, along with Tottenham (holler), the Italians like boast one of the best defensive setups in Europe – and likely the world – at the moment.

Some gratuitous danglies for the #haterz

Some gratuitous danglies for the #haterz

How about this for a stat: the Old Lady hasn’t conceded a goal in Champions League play since…….. NOVEMBER, including home-and-homes against Porto and a little team you may have heard of called Barcelona. So, yeah, they can park the bus like nobody’s business.

This could and likely will prove particularly problematic for Monaco because – as hinted at above – Juventus is much more than just a defensive specialist this season thanks to the likes of Paulo Dybala and, of course, Hungry Hungry Higuaín.

Feeeeeeed him

Feeeeeeed him

Definitely not saying Monaco doesn’t have a good chance to get some sort of result in this week’s home leg. Even Juventus makes mistakes here and there (they conceded twice in drawing 2-2 with Atalanta last weekend, for example), and I would actually be surprised if the Frenchies don’t snap Juve’s scoreless streak at some point today, but barring some incredible individual performances it is hard to imagine Monaco’s defensive weaknesses not being the difference – both today and ESPECIALLY in the return leg in Turin next week.

Something like a 1-1 or even 2-2 draw is not outside of the realm of possibility, in fact I was leaning towards the latter the entire time I was writing this. But in the end I can’t help thinking that Higuaín just looks a little too hungry at the moment. Juventus to win 2-1. (Note: the crystal ball originally suggested 3-2 for Juve but I made the executive decision to override it given the historically conservative nature of the first-leg in home-and-home knockout beast.)

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So that’s that. Bing, bang, boom. Kind of a big game tomorrow for United – kind of. Maybe I’ll even do a preview blog…….. hahahaha, just kidding, it’s Europa. Only poor people blog Europa. (But happy to discuss on the twitter dot com). Aight din, see y’all Friday.

In case you’re wondering, no, I’m not over this strike by Emre Can quite yet.


Holler,
Samuel Army