Sam’s Safe Space for Soccer Stoolies
WE BACK! Soccer is in full swing and yet the only thing anyone seems to be talking about at the moment is completed, almost completed and rumored transfer deals. That – and the fact teams end up being unsettled for weeks to come – is one of the reasons I personally HATE that the window (usually) doesn’t close until after the season has started. But whatever. It is what it is. It’ll be interesting to see how things shake out between now and October 5 when the window closes. Talked about it a fair bit on the podcast so not going to belabor it here. Instead let’s get to the soccer…
But before we do that ONE IMPORTANT HOUSEKEEPING NOTE (that I may or may not be contractually obligated to mention):
The Barstool Sportsbook is now officially live (link to download can be found HERE). I don’t know all the details but I do know that if you live in Pennsylvania and enjoy wagering on sports games then you should definitely check it out (I assume it will be rolling out elsewhere in good time… patience is a virtue, young grasshoppas.)
Now back to the soccer!
ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE
Scores from opening weekend:
- By and large most games went very – dare I say SHOCKINGLY – similar to how I would have guessed based on the season preview (shameless plug): 2020/21 SEASON PREVIEW + PREDICTIONS
- Similarly solid wins for Lester and Wolves.
- West Ham. Yikes bruh.
- Deserved three points for Everton, regardless of whether Dear Leader Jozay was playing 5-D chess
- One BIG exception to the “as expected” theme: Liverpool sneaking by Leeds 4-3. That defense. Woof. Time to wake up, lads. (Good showing from Leeds though… the only one of the n00bs not to get pummeled out the gate – and against the toughest opponent of the three, no less.)
2. Liverpool [note: only because all their shiny new MFs aren’t ready yet]
Honorable mention: Arsenal, Everton, Wolves
20. West Brom
18. West Ham
Dishonorable mention: Brighton
Table as things stand:
And as far as the weekend schedule goes, please note:  welcome to the 2020/21 season to Manchester clubs! and  the preponderance of Peacock… annoying, yes, but streaming is the future so not too many options besides just bending over and take it:
PICKS OF THE WEEKEND
First of all this game should be FANTASTIC… for neutrals. Both backlines look vulnerable and both teams have weapons galore. OVER is basically free money (if you like that kind of thing). In the end I’m going with the club that has a (much) higher ceiling defensively AND has played together for more than a few weeks – especially given the continued absence of The Babyjesus.
Prediction: Liverpool to win 4-2
Pep just revealed that Aymeric Laporte is out this weekend leaving a big hole in City’s already questionable backline and somehow even more troublingly Sergio Aguero is going to be out… for up to two months. Yikes. Liverpool out here stealing talent like a crackhead in need of a fix while City are sitting around losing their best players. Nice to see that my season preview stayed relevant (ie, not obsolete) for all of roughly one week. Anyway, Wolves looked like their normally solid selves against an underrated Sheffield Utd squad so my hunch is they give undermanned City all they can handle this weekend.
Prediction: 1-1 draw
Palace was soundly outplayed by Southampton last week but got a lucky goal and managed to hang on for the win. Credit to that, that’s soccer sometimes, but water eventually finds its level and (as I have said many times over the last few months) I have become a bit of a United truther in the last few months. I’m not exactly sure what that means other than it was meant as a compliment to the Red Devils. This might sound like an easy pick but let’s not forget that Palace beat United in this very fixture easy in the season last time around… back when people watching sports games shoulder to should in stadiums or bars and life was so much simpler. Sigh.
Prediction: United to win 3-1
Some more predictions… to increase the possibility that I eventually get one right, maybe (note: gonna start highlighting my BEST BETS – meaning the ones I legitimately like as opposed to just picking because it's kinda my make pretend job – in BOLD):
• EVERTON 2-0 West Brom
• LEEDS 2-1 Fulham
• ARSENAL 2-1 West Ham
• Southampton 1-1 Tottenham
• NEWCASTLE 2-1 Brighton
• Lester 0-0 Burnley
• Villa 0-2 SHEFFIELD UTD
REST OF WORLD
MLS – Friyay night special as Seattle welcome LAFC (9pm CT) along with 1st place Sporting KC hosting FC Dallas on Saturday (2:3p0pm CT)
SPAIN – Real Madrid visit Real Sociedad on Sunday (2pm CT)
GERMANY – Bayern already devoured this week’s sacrificial lamb beating Schalke 8-0 (also this happened)
but there are a couple more good ones including BVB/Monchenpenisgladbach (Sat at 11:30am CT) and Wolfy/Leverkusen (Sunday at 11am CT).
ITALY – Juventus are officially must-watch TV from now until Weston McKennie is not feeding Ronny assists so go ahead and put their game on Sunday (1:45pm CT) against Sampdoria in your palm pilot. Also, bit random but an Iowa businessman who just bought Parma also happens to own the Kum & Go convenience store chain and I am sniffing some A+++ cross-marketing opportunities…
So there we have it. Soccer is back and we are doing sports boners. Thanks for reading, you beauties!