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Barstool’s Champions League Preview – Group Stage Matchday 4(a)

Sam’s Soccer Safe Space For Stoolies

Hello haters,

Will an EPL team ever lose a game in this season’s Champions League*? Well, it’s tough to say. Logic suggests the answer is “probably” but I’m not so sure given the confident manner with which they have been dropping their collective danglies on the rest of Europe’s forehead of late. Before we get to the good stuff though one important bit of housekeeping: until you hear otherwise, be advised that GAMES WILL BE KICKING OFF AN HOUR LATER THAN USUAL (meaning 2:45pm CT for people cool and smart and rich enough to live in flyover country) because of the wild and wacky daylight savings time rules in the UK. So please plan you liquid lunch accordingly.

Now, though, it’s time to start getting your mind right for the sumptuous sissy sport spectacle in store for us soon:

*Champions League doesn’t start until the group stage. Everybody knows that.

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CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

Updated standings for the eight groups:

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3-tables2

And games on deck today and tomorrow:

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Briefly, a few things to watch for this week:

– Was I exaggerating about EPL never losing a game? I’ll let you decide for yourself. But the fact is that unbeaten through 15 cumulative games, not to mention in first place in all five groups, is at least a step in the right direction for a league that punched waaaaaaaay below its weight for several seasons in a row now. Perhaps all that TV money is – slowly, ever so slowly – starting to have an impact. Or maybe that’s just the way the cookie has crumbled so far this season, who knows.

La Liga, on the other hand, has not started out nearly as well. Barcelona is the only club (of four alive) in first place at the moment, and both Atletico and Sevilla would be on their way to some Spursday soccer if the group stage ended now.

– Not bragging but I said prior to the group stage to look out for Besiktas, but totally not bragging though.

– Clubs desperately in need of results coming into the fourth matchday (that many people likely predicted would not be in such dire straits): Atletico, Sevilla, Napoli and (arguably) Dortmund.

– DEAD clubs: Benfica, Anderlecht, Karabakh, Olympiacos, Maribor, Feyenoord, APOEL

“I’m not dead yet!”

– DEATH’S DOOR: Celtic, Monaco, Dortmund

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Roma [+170]
Chelsea [+160]
Draw [+235]

Something is off about Chelsea at the moment. There are the talk about Conte wanting out (and, even more inexplicably, some fans wanting him out), then there are the whispers about Morata being unhappy, and most importantly there are the results: three wins on the trot (Watford, Everton, Bournemouth) – none of which have been particularly impressive. The Blues have a badddddddd habit of putting in a fantastic performance just when I think they are in a bad spot, so perhaps they will make me look like a fool (again)… but I don’t see it (especially if N’Golo Kante is still not fit enough to play). Roma to win 3-1.

Italian for “god”

Italian for “god”

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United [-330]
Benfica [+900]
Draw [+430]

Can you imagine being drawn into a Champions League group with Basel, CSKA and Benfica? Must be nice. Must be reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeal fuckin nice. United to win 2-0.

Portugal’s Davey Pageviews

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Celtic [+800]
Bayern [-315]
Draw [+445]

Death, taxes, Arsene Wanger and Celtic coming out of nowhere to get one – but unfortunately only one – unexpected “famous” result per year in the Champions League group stage. Fresh off a 1-1 draw against Mighty Kilmarnock, it’d only make sense of the Bhoys somehow some way finagle a similar result against Bayern, which (by the way) has turned things around under new coach Syrup Pancakes and in no way, shape or form should do anything but murder the hell out of the giant Scottish minnows today… so – upset alert – gimme a (FAMOUS) 1-1 draw.

Syrup Pancakes

“Hi, I’m Syrup Pancakes”

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Bonus winners (to increase the chances I get actually one right): Atleti is gonna go all medieval on whatever the hell a Qarabag is, PSG and Barcelona to dirty things to Anderlecht and Olympiacos… and, in another potential upset special, Juventus better be on their game today because Sporting is no joke. In fact, I’m sticking with my Rule #1 of Champions League (“when in doubt, go with the Portuguese team”), and going with Sporting to win.

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Reminder: got another biggggggggg slate tomorrow including Liverpool, City and Spurs and Arsenal.


Holler,
Samuel Army