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Barstool’s Weekend Soccer Preview – The “FA Cup Semis (aka Poch vs Jozay)” Edition

Sam’s Safe Space For Soccer Stoolies

1-EPL

Hi haters,

I still can’t believe he gone. Arsene Wenger could have been sitting on top of Tilted Tower when the meteor hits, and I’d still put my life savings on him surviving. I am still too emotional to put into words how I feel but I did put together a little heartfelt in memoriam for the man, the myth, the fallen legend: R.I.P.I.P. Arsene.

Sad day, indeed. Though it will be pretty funny when his replacement – Patrick Viera? Eddie Howe? ANTONIO CONTE?? – sucks a fat one for the first month or so next season and Gooners lose their damn minds missing the good old days of Good Old Uncle Wenger.

But that is another topic for another time. Let’s take a look at what’s coming up this weekend…

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ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE

Reminder of what is still out there to play for right now:

TITLE: City were crowned champions when United found a way to lose to Dead Brom last weekend.

TOP FOUR: City is in; United, Liverpool and Tottenham are close to safe; Chelsea needed a mega-miracle before Spurs settled for a draw against Brighton on Tuesday but now could potentially slip into 4th with your regular old run-of-the-mill miracle.

RELEGATION: Dead Brom is dead; Stoke and Southampton are in a bad, badddddddd spot; Swansea, Palace, Huddersfield and West Ham are too close to the drop zone to be comfortable while West Ham is in the conversation but would need to seriously implode to get the boot.

Current odds to be relegated:

2-odds

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Scores from last weekend:

3-PLscores

News, notes, observations, highlights & lowlights:

– In a shocking turn of events, City stomped Tottenham.

– Spurs followed that up with a lackluster performance that handed a precious point to Brighton, which an optimist would say was because the Londoners are saving energy for the FA Cup semifinal this weekend while a pessimist would argue is instead is a storm cloud on the horizon

United lost to Dead Brom because Jozay Mourinho is incapable of letting his players play unless or until they go down two goals. The Baggies took a 1-0 late on and wisely stopped going anywhere near United’s half of the field. Biggest result of the season for the visitors, and hopefully one they can stick in the old spank bank for those cold, lonely days and nights in the Championship next year.

Southampton put itself in a GLORIOUS position to at least get a sniff at staying up this season by going up two goals against Chelsea… before conceding three straight. Talk about a bitter pill to swallow. That loss for Saints fans is about as bad as it gets. T’s and P’s, kids.

– I’ll be honest, I really thought either Southampton or Stoke were going to sneak up and catch Huddersfield right at the death (of the season)… right up until they scored in the 92nd minute last weekend to beat Watford. As bitter as Southampton’s loss was, that goal and win by Huddersfield is the polar opposite. Sheer ecstasy.

Newcastle secured their mid-table muddler status thanks to a 2-1 win over Arsenal, which proved that it gives precisely zero fucks about league games at this point and will only expand energy in Europa.

– Willy Zaha is single-handedly keeping Palace in the EPL for next season.

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POWER RANKINGS

TOP 4
1a. City
1b. Liverpool^^
3. Tottenham
4. United
Honorable mention: Chelsea, Burnley, Arsenal

BOTTOM 3
20. Dead Brom
19. Southampton
18. Stoke
Dishonorable mention: Everton, Swansea, Huddersfield

^^I gave Liverpool their due last week moving them into the top slot, which was the first time virtually all season that City had been unseated… but let’s be serious, neutral field game right here right now, would you really take the Reds? I would not – sorry not sorry.

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Table as it stands now:

4-PLtable

And this weekend’s schedule:

5-PLschedule

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PICKS OF THE WEEKEND

Pretty tame domestic slate if we’re being honest, so I’ll keep it extra short (since most of the games really don’t matter a whole helluva lot) in order to move us right along to the FA Cup semis… most important game of the bunch is probably:

Stoke [+130]
Burnley [+210]
Draw [+200]

A loss would essentially seal Stoke’s fate as getting the drop. Burnley has all but secured a Europa League slot and have less to play for. I’m all about trusting that motivation. Stoke to win 2-1.

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Other picks (to increase the odds I eventually get one right):

• DEAD BROM vs LIVERPOOL: It would make so little sense for the Baggies – who have been dead for months now – to beat United and Liverpool, that it almost has to happen, right? Liverpool will inevitably have one eye on the first leg of CL semifinal against Roma just four days away (at least in the sense that they will be going out of their way to avoid injuries), so never say never. Still, I will say it is highly, highly unlikely. Liverpool to win 2-0.

• WATFORD vs PALACE: Nobody has checked out on the season harder than Watford. Tony Pulis would be proud of how quickly the club flipped the switch (to off) as soon as they had secured a spot in the PL next season. Palace is still hungry, and Zaha is a beast at the moment. Palace to win 3-2.

• ARSENAL vs WEST HAM: Will the lads come together and put on a good performance to honor Arsene’s imminent departure? My guess is no. Then again a win would take West Ham well clear of the relegation zone, which is a position that they would not feel particularly comfortable with. Gimme a 1-1 draw.

• CITY vs SWANSEA: The Swans need points in a bad way but this ain’t the game they are gonna get em. City will feel slightly aggrieved about the way in which they “won” the title (sitting on the couch watching United shit the bed) and will likely take it out on Swansea. City to win 3-0.

• EVERTON vs NEWCASTLE: Two clubs with nothing to play for at this point, but it is just about time for Big Sam to scare his boys into actually trying a little bit in order to help his bid for staying on as manager next season. Everton to win 2-0 (but, for the record, Big Sam will be out on his ass regardless).

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FA CUP – SEMIFINALS

6-FA

United [+230]
Spurs [+120]
Draw [+235]

Hoooooo doggy, can’t say I agree with the odds on this one. Spurs have been playing like poop lately and, most importantly, Harry Kane has looked like his ankle is about 85% healthy. United’s loss (at home no less) to Dead Brom was embarrassing, no doubt, but they showed in the second half against City the week before what they are capable of – but only if/when Jozay takes off the restrictor plates. Both teams have been solid defensively all season so in a winner-take-all one-off game like this it’s a good bet things will be pretty “tight” for the first half, if not more. I’m going with a closely fought 1-1 draw in regulation… and Spurs to win 2-1 after extra time on a goal from Dele Alli (who remembered how to play soccer this month).

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Chelsea [-215]
Southampton [+575]
Draw [+340]

Southampton will come in thinking they can play with the Blues based on how things went down last time. Unfortunately that could easily turn into false confidence if Chelsea come out fast (i.e. precisely the opposite of last game)… whether they are still capable of that at this point with everything that is going on in and around the club though is less clear. Chelsea is without Alonso (suspended) on the left, meaning Emerson will have to deputize, just not sure the Saints can take advantage of it. That and the fact that Southampton’s focus will inevitably be split between FA Cup and trying to save their ass (aka avoid relegation), I donno, just hard to put much stock in them. Chelsea to win 3-1.

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REST OF WORLD

Germany – BVBabyjesus welcome Bayer on Saturday (11:30am CT on FS1).

Italy – NAPOLI AT JUVENTUS for all the damn marbles on Sunday (1:45pm CT on beIN……………. Connect???????? Jesus effing christ get your house in order beIN).

Spain – [UPDATE] Sevilla vs Barrrrrrrrrthelona in Copa Del Rey FINAL on Saturday (2:30pm CT on beIN)

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So there we have it. I’m greasing up an updated excuse wheel for Jozay (just in case) as we speak. Should be a good weekend. Even bigger week coming up.

Hold on to your butts, kids!


Holler,
Samuel Army