Advertisement

Barstool’s Weekend Soccer Preview – The “North-West Dærby” Edition

Sam’s Safe Space For Soccer Stoolies

1-EPL

Hi haters,

USMNT sucks. Arena is out. Gulati is trying to pull a Blatter and hang on (but it ain’t gonna work). American soccer is on life-support. Or so say the haters. We know better, and in case you haven’t been following the situation very closely here is the blog I posted this morning discussing where we go from here through essentially next summer’s World Cup: HERE.

But that’s (almost) all I am gonna say about that for a while. We’ve got more pressing matters to concern ourselves with. Namely watching some teams that do not suck, do know how to score, and know that the first and most sacred rule of soccer is if you really and truly fuck up then you really and truly get tossed out on your ass immediately (unless you have enough dignity to resign yourself)… though I won’t name names.

6-gulati

G

2-sunil

T

3-sunil2

F

4-sunil3

O

5-sunil4

!

Again, not naming any names. I’m too classy for that.

But enough of the bulllllllllllllllllsheyit, let’s start getting our minds right again for the return of European soccer, and MLS playoffs where the Chicago Fire is reportedly America’s last best shot at qualifying for Puty’s World Cup. Don’t let us down, boys! Let’s start though in England.

***********************************

ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE

Remember what happened last time the EPL played? Nope, me neither. Well here you go:

7-scores

In fact that was so long ago now that the good/bad performances will have little bearing on what happens going forward, so I’m gonna keep the “News and notes” section to a bare minimum:

Everton would lose 2-1 to Trinidad and Tobago… AT HOME.

– Death, taxes and Arsene Wenger finds a way to survive… that sumbitch and the cockroaches would be the only ones left if Lil Donny and Kim Dong start a nuclear holocaust. Arsenal didn’t hear no bell! (But if they look up they’ll still see the danglies – Sad! Very unfair!)

– My favorite story from the break was the one where Newcastle‘s Jonjo Shelvey broke a finger in his hand during a training ground fight where he was… wait for it… reportedly acting as the “peacemaker” in the situation. Yeah okay guy, ooooooooooookaaaaaaaaaaaaay.

– Biggest story from the international break (from an EPL-centric perspective): INJURIES. A number of hugely influential guys picked up knocks that will mean missing games, including Liverpool’s Sadio Mane and Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante. On the plus side though it is somewhat comforting to know that Kante is made out of actual flesh and blood rather than some sort of robot sent from the future by SkyNet to report back on how to dominate humanity. So that’s nice. (Other slightly less influential injuries include United’s Marouane Fellaini and Phil Jones, Arsenal’s Shkrodan Mustafi and Laurent Koscielny, and Stoke‘s Joe Allen.)

***

POWER RANKINGS

TOP 4
1. City
2. United
3. Chelsea
4. Spurs
Honorable mention: Arsenal

BOTTOM 3
20. USMNT
19. Palace
18. Everton
Dishonorable mention: Bournemouth

***

Table as it stands now:

9-table

And games on deck this weekend:

10-schedule

***

PICKS OF THE WEEKEND

Liverpool [+160]
United [+160]
Draw [+220]

United is a more complete team than Liverpool, however, not only is this a rivalry game but the Reds have this impressive-yet-frustrating habit of playing their best soccer against fellow top six teams (that’s the impressive part… the frustrating part – from a fan’s perspective anyway – is that they then tend to play like dogshit against everybody else).

As impressive as United has been so far this season, there is one thing that a lot of people seem to be overlooking: the club has played precisely ZERO good teams thus far, and that even includes their Champions League opponents.

11-utd

Cupcake central

Fun stat: the Red Devils have played seven games against seven teams, ALL of which are in the bottom half of the table. That is a borderline miracle, and yes it’s dumb luck that can’t be held against them… but still, you gotta at least take all those four-goal whuppings with a grain of salt (and is the main reason why I have City ahead of them in the power rankings up above).

So can Liverpool hang with United? If I set aside my pro-Liverpool bias for a minute, the answer is…….. no, not without Sadio Mane. The Reds are too weak in the back, and while Joel Matip could potentially do a good job of sticking with Romelu Lukaku its only a matter of time til the big Belgian finds a little space (ie, is being guarded by Ragnar Klavan) and puts the biscuit in the basket.

In fact, this may sound a bit weird but I think Liverpool may have matched up better against United if Paul Pogba was going to be in the lineup. Sure, United is more dangerous with PP out there but they also play a more freewheeling game that would have left them a little more exposed to a counterattack – which tends to be Liverpool’s specialty in games like this. But with PP out that leaves Matic and Herrera out there together, which is a tough duo (both conservative, defensive-minded midfielders) for a counterattacking team to break down.

So I don’t think that United is going to run all over Liverpool, but I do think they will have just enough to walk out of Anfield with all three points. United to win 1-0.

**

Watford [+390]
Arsenal [-160]
Draw [+300]

No Mustafi or Koscielny is going to be a problem for Arsenal, especially if Lexi Sanchez (who played for Chile on Tuesday) is held out for some or all of the game. On the other side, Watford will also be playing with a bit of a makeshift defensive unit, which at the very least should make for an entertaining game. I’ll say…….. 2-2 draw.

Do it to em, Per!

***

Other picks:

• The question here is not whether Palace will win. They won’t. They suck. But maybe, jussssssssssssssst maybe they will be able to pack it in and keep Chelsea – without Morata (and Kante) – scoreless. I mean, probably not, but it would be hilarious if they got their first point of the season after eight games and still remain goalless. But sometimes misery begets more misery so I’ll say Palace holds the fort for the full 90 minutes but concedes on an own goal in extra time. Chelsea to win 1-0.

Advertisement

• Burnley is like a Big Ten football team – or at least what most of the country seems of when they think Big Ten football. Solid defense. Three-yard runs and check-downs on offense. Conservative play-calling. It’s ugly. It sucks to watch. But I’ll be damned if it is not effective (so far this season anyway). Don’t believe me? How about this: through seven games the Clarets have scored seven goals, conceded five, which is somehow good enough for 12 points and 6th – 6th!!! – place. West Ham is more like a MAC school, but not like Akron or Western Michigan. More like Miami(OH) or Ball State. Sure, they’ll try to air it out here and there, but it never works and their defense is comically bad. Having said all that, Burnley have been inexplicably bad at home so far this season and the Ham Sammies should benefit from the first start of the season for influential midfielder Manuel Lanzini. The only lock with this one is that it will probably be borderline unwatchable… but I’m going 1-1 draw.

• Sergio Aguero is reportedly somehow back and pushing for a spot in the XI only weeks after breaking a rib in a car crash. Not sure why Pep would want to risk rushing him back though given the ridiculous array of attacking talent at his disposal. Stoke should have their first choice back three in place, which should be well rested SINCE BRUCE ARENA DECIDED TO PLAY OMAR GONZALEZ AGAINST PANAMA AND T&T (not that I’m salty about it or anything), but this is a duck and cover game for the Potters. Leaving the Etihad conceding less than five should be considered a partial victory at the moment. City to win 3-1.

• Swansea is coming off a dismal 0-1 loss to the Hammies while Huddersfield came back to earth a bit right before the break when Spurs kicked their dick in 0-4. Striker Steve Mounie (likely though not definite) absence for the visitors may prove telling. Swans to win 1-0.

• Tottenham at Wembley is always a recipe for a possible upset, but if there is a club that could be able to help make their record look a little less ugly its Bournemouth. Spurs to win 4-1.

• Everton will turn it around eventually, though whether it will be soon enough to save their season (as opposed to simply save them from a relegation scrap) remains to be seen. So far this summer’s spending spree looks like one big case of caveat emptor, and the big question remains: where will the goals come from? Gylfi has been garbage, Schneiderlein has been schit and Rooney looks like an ollllllllllllllllllld 31-year-old. And the only reason Ashley Williams hasn’t caught more stick for his horrible start to the season is because it has been overshadowed by all the higher-profile disappointments. Suffice to say that everything that could go wrong for the Toffees has gone and seemingly continues to go wrong. (Though Jordan Pickford has at least been okay when not getting totally left hung out to dry. So you’ve got that going for ya, Blues. Which is nice!) Brighton have looked surprisingly competent at home, and its hard to put much if any faith in Everton unless/until they show at least some sort of sign of life… so 1-1 draw it is.

• Newcastle visiting Southampton is an interesting matchup. The Magpies were on the upswing for a minute before returning to the unpredictable form we know and love. As for Saints, Shane Long is hurt meaning that Manolo Gabbiadini will likely get the start up top, which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense since Long is crap and Gabbiadini is prone to far more frequent moments of brilliance that seemingly is the only way Southampton is apt to score these days. (This sometimes happens when you play a 7-3-1 formation.) Go, go Gabbiadini! Southampton to win 2-0.

• West Brom went up 2-0 in the first 21 minutes at home against Watford last time out… and a Tony Pulis-led squad ended up conceding two and settling for a draw, which makes me question everything I thought I knew about the game of soccer. This one feels like its gonna be one of those boxing matches where the fighters circle for 11 rounds jabbing every so often without ever really throwing a punch. My head is screaming scoreless draw… but I’ll give Jamie Vardy the benefit of the doubt (sort of) and say he flops in the box and wins a terribly weak penalty at some point, though nobody will feel bad for West Brom because it was Jonny Evans who got sent off. Lester to win 1-0.

Advertisement

13-evans

Grade A dick

***********************************

REST OF WORLD

MLS – Penultimate matchday of the season. Lots still to play for – especially in the west where playoffs spots are still up for grabs, whereas in the east its more about positioning behind Toronto (which already locked up the Supporters Shield).

14-MLStable

Game of the week goes to Seattle versus Dallas, the latter of which is fighting for its playoff life with RSL and San Jose are breathing up their ass (Sunday at 6:30pm CT on FS1).

Bundesliga – BVBabyjesus versus RB Leipzig on Saturday (11:30am CT on FS2).

Serie A – Dærby della Madonnina time, y’all! Inter host Milan in a must-win game on Sunday (1:45pm CT on beIN) for the visitors given how far they have already begun to fade behind the league leaders (including their hosts) despite the summer splurge on new talent.

La Liga – Atletico welcome Barcelona on Saturday (1:45pm CT on beIN) in a must-watch game.

***********************************

So there we have it. Not a bad little weekend of games ahead, which will be followed next week by……

Grade A dick

Featuring a heavyweight matchup on Tuesday:

Got me like, “Yiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiikes”…

“Yiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiikes” -Real Madrid


Holler,
Samuel Army