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Barstool’s Weekend Soccer Preview – The “Jozay’s Past vs Jozay’s Future Past (employers)” + Interview with US/TFC GK Alex Bono edition

Sam’s Safe Space For Soccer Stoolies

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Hi Haters™,

We did it. We survived another international break.

It wasn’t easy, especially after the kick in the dick of not seeing Pulisic/McKennie/Adams play for the USMNT because of some last second injuries, but that light at the end of the tunnel has arrived and godamn it is glorious.

Before we get to the games ahead – and boy oh boy are there some sexy one(s) – I am legally obligated at this juncture to remind you that if you like soccer or me or neither but want to do me a huge favor anyway….. subscribe to Sam’s Army podcast because (a) I got mouths to feed and (2) every subscription is a big fat F.U. to all the haters and losers, of which there are many, who said that soccer would never make it at Barstool. So do your civic duty and SMASH that button:

iTunes

Spotify

Thanks fam. You’re the best. Now on to the soccer (great) previewing and (awful) prognosticating…

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ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE

Scores from waaaaaaaaaaaay back when last a ball was kicked in anger:

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Rapid fire news, notes, highlights, lowlights and observations:

Liverpool and City was a classic case of expecting filet mignon and getting Salisbury steak. It wasn’t terrible soccer but, relative to the games we got accustomed to watching between these two last season, it was a massive letdown. Tactically, Pep picked up the win as he strangled the life out of the game in an effort to make damn sure City didn’t get emasculated on the break like they did repeatedly the last few times the teams played… and yet even with his defensive approach City easily could have walked away with three points had Riyad Mahrez – on Pep’s orders – sent a late penalty into the stratosphere. Ball don’t lie though, and a scoreless draw was a fair result.

– Jozay was a couple of minutes from getting tossed out on his ass after United went down 0-2 at home to a Newcastle team that has beaten precisely nobody this season. That’s not even an exaggeration. Toon has zero wins on the season. Yet there they were up multiple goals going into halftime at Old Trafford. United never looked particularly impressive and strategically looked like a 34-year-old chick at a wedding for the last single friend she knows who had a few too many spiked seltzers and is now running amok on the dance floor alternating between belting out “I Will Survive” at the top of her lungs and trying find a husband… it wasn’t pretty but at the end of the night she went home with an ugly three points and god bless her for that because Jozay is alive to fight another day.

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– Waaaaaaaaaait a second, so you are telling me Arsenal doesn’t suck? Are we sure? Crunch those numbers again, damit, that simply can’t be right.

Bournemouth, you some sneaky little devils. The Cherries are playing some solid soccer at the moment and currently sit in 6th place after decimating Watford, a club that once was being called “the next Lester” by people who don’t have brains but has since fallen on hard times as their feast or famine set-piece-offense has hit a serious dry spell.

– Another game, another ugly one-goal win for Tottenham.

– Second solid win in a row by Everton. No way they follow this up with an inexplicable home loss to a crap team… no… freakin… way… that… happens.

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POWER RANKINGS

TOP 4
1. Liverpool
2. City
3. Chelsea
4. Tottenham
Honorable mention: Arsenal

BOTTOM 3
20. Huddersfield
19. Cardiff
18. Newcuckstle
Dishonorable mention: Palace, United

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Table as it stands now:

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And this weekend’s schedule:

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PICKS OF THE WEEKEND

Chelsea [-150]
United [+395]
Draw [+280]

The odds say everything that needs saying. I think Southampton had just as good odds to beat Chelsea last time out (albeit at home) as United have against Chelsea this weekend. It’s not a slap in the face if it’s absolutely true, and what is absolutely true is that United could play an absolutely perfect game this weekend and still might lose.

Jozay knows that an ass-whupping means he is done-zo, so if you thought United played too conservatively for the last 2+ season – whoa buddy – just wait’ll you see what they come out with on Saturday morning. The problem, as always, is that the Red Devils’ defense is shambolic, so even if they try to pack it in and play for a scoreless (or at least low-scoring) draw, it is unlikely they will succeed.

The only thing United has going for it is that Chelsea doesn’t have any strikers… but they have enough dangerous midfielders that it may not matter. I’ll give Jozay the benefit of the doubt and say he keeps a lid on things and avoid losing by an ugly number. Hard to imagine them finding a result though. Chelsea to win 1-0.

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The good old days

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West Ham [+300]
Tottenham [-120]
Draw [+275]

The Hammies have been playing a lot better in recent weeks so if you are feeling fancy and dead-set on taking the underdog (at home) in this one, I definitely wouldn’t stop you. Spurs have underperformed yet overproduced so far, and losing a winnable game would not be a huge shocker. However, Hugo Lloris is healthy (and allegedly sober) and more important Christian Eriksen is back and should be a HUGE upgrade in midfield where the club has been absolutely terrible lately. I’m going with a typically ugly 2-1 win for Tottenham.

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Additional picks (to increase the odds I eventually get one right) going in order from most to least interesting:

ARSENAL v LESTER – The Gunners are hot like fire coming off of about 15 wins in a row, and while the Foxes’ direct style is one that has given them problems in the past I’m sticking with the in-form team in this one. Arsenal to win 3-2.

WOLVERHAMPTON v WATFORD – Diet Portugal is just plain a lot of fun to watch this season while the Hornets have seemingly started their usual spring hibernation routine a little earlier than normal. Wolves to win 3-1.

EVERTON v PALACE – Mama taught me if I don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say anything at all, so that is all I’m (not) going to say about Palace. Who STINK. (Whoops.) The only thing the Toffees have to fear in this one is fear itself… and their long, storied tradition of shitting the bed just when you think there is no way they are going to shit the bed this time. Part of me wants to take a flier on them doing precisely that, but I’m not gonna do it. Everton to win 2-1 on goals from Gylfi 3.0 and Richarlison.

BOURNEMOUTH v SOUTHAMPTON – the Saints were playing better than their recent results would suggest, which is why I gave them some credit last match day and suggested they might be able to batten down the hatches and hold down the fort against a Chelsea team coming off a midweek game. That did not happen. Not even close. But Mighty Mouse Ryan Fraser, who has been a spark plug for Bournemouth, is supposedly in doubt with an injury that kept him from playing for Scotland over the international break. His absence would be a big miss. I’m going 1-1 draw.

THE WOEFUL WINLESS TRIO – Newcastle (v Brighton), Cardiff (v Fulham) and Huddersfield (v Liverpool) all play at home this week and are still in search of their first win so let’s get them out of the way in one fell swoop. So which – if any – are winning this weekend? Welp, Liverpool may be missing a ton of guys through injury but they are still light years better than Huddersfield. Ain’t gonna be the Terriers. Liverpool to win 2-0. The other two have a fighter’s chance though. Brighton has been poor on the road and Fulham’s free-flowing style going forward has left its backline exposed repeatedly. Eff it. Let’s get crazy. I’m saying they both pull it out. Newcastle to win 1-0 and Cardiff to win 2-1.

CITY v BURNLEY

Pray for Burnley. City to win 3-0.

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LAP AROUND THE WORLD

SPAIN– Barcelona host Sevilla on Saturday (1:45pm CT on beIN) is a top of the table tilt butttttttt the team at the top is not the one you think – for the moment anyway.

ITALY– MILAN DÆRBY on Sunday at Inter and Milan (1:30pm CT on espn+) faceoff in a game that is a much bigger deal for the visitors given their slow start to the season host Fiorentina (8am CT) and Sassuolo visit Napoli (11am CT), and both would be well worth your time on Sunday – assuming you got ESPN+.

GERMANY – Bayern heading to Wolfy on Saturday (8:30am CT on FS1) is best matchup on paper, and the visitors are in the midst of a mini-crisis so that’s exciting, but I’d be remiss in not pointing out Schalke hosting Werder Bremen later that day (11:30am CT on FS2) could involve Weston McKennie and Josh Sargent – the latter of whom was just promoted to the first team.

FRANCE– PSG vs Amiens on Saturday (10am CT on beIN)

MLS – Second to last weekend of the second and things are tight at the top in both the East and West, while DC United and LA Galaxy (in respective divisions) are fighting to hold onto their playoff spots.

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Tons of games with lots riding on them – watch any and all of them, damit!

10-mlsschedule

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So there we have it, boys and girls. Have a spectacular weekend. See you bright and early on the twitter machine tomorrow morning.


Holler,
Samuel Army