Sam’s Safe Space for Soccer Stoolies
Not gonna lie. That tryptophan hangover is hitting different this year, which I assume is on account of my not having engaged in any physical activity more strenuous than changing clothes and walking up a flight of steps in months. Either way I’m gonna fight through and pinch this blog off because, damit, soccer don’t sleep and the people need their weekend preview and predictions to get rich fading.
So without further ado let’s get right to the good stuff…
ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE
Scores from the last week/end:
Honorable mention: Everton, Lester, Wolves, Southampton
20. Arsenal’s offense
19. Sheffield Utd
18. West Brom
Dishonorable mention: Burnley, Fulham
WATCHABILITY INDEX (meaning highest on the must-watch TV scale… not always for complimentary reasons)
1. Leeds (poised for a BREAKOUT performance)
2. Villa (no Barkley knocks them down a peg)
3. Arsenal (will they ever score again?)
Table as things stand:
Dangly status: CRITICAL DROOPAGE
And the schedule for this weekend:
Note: this is sneakily an EXTREMELY intriguing slate of games on deck this weekend (especially on Sunday)… even at the bottom of the barrel we got a “somebody’s oh has got to go” toilet bowl matchup.
PICKS OF THE WEEKEND
Tot’num are just getting started one what will likely be a crucial month-plus as Spurs dispatched with City last week but are looking at a run of six league games that includes Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, Lester and Wolves. Tough stretch to say the least.
Despite the wild and crazy start to the season, though, most people with brains are still saying that even more serious injury woes (for Liverpool) and mental midgetry (for City) is going to need to take place before we start declaring teams like Spurs and Chelsea officially in the title race. Don’t believe me? Take a look at the updated odds to win the league:
Thankfully I have never claimed to be one of those people with brains and have gone over to the dark side by giving Spurs fans the official OK to start thinking the unthinkable:
…and truth be told Chelsea have just as strong a claim to start thinking those same thoughts as well.
Which is what makes this game being played at this time so damn titillating – far more so than the obvious master Mourinho vs disciple Lampard storyline that will inevitably get a lot of play in the media. Statistically speaking we got the league’s best offense (Chelsea) facing off against the league’s best defense (Spurs), and an argument could be made that you could flip those and it would still be accurate. Let’s keep in mind though that that is statistically speaking. Am I sold on Chelsea’s offense? Yes, absolutely. Am I sold on Spurs' defense? Not entirely.
Win/lose/draw this is one of those games that should be 90 minutes of high quality soccer that is entertaining as heck for all involved, including (perhaps even especially) neutrals – even if there are not a ton of goals. Both managers rested guys in midweek games so more or less first-choice XIs seem likely, though I’m guess Chelsea’s will not include The Babyjesus because (a) our lord and soccer savior is fresh off a(nother) soft muscle tweak and (b) Lampard is a well-known hater of America. The other notable question mark is who will fill in for Spurs at CB given the injury to Toby Alderwiereld, which will force either Japhet Tanganga or Joe Rodon to start alongside Davinson Sanchez.
I almost always at least have some sort of lean on games. Gotta be honest and say this feels like one of the most even matchups all season. Gun to head I’d give a very slight edge to Chelsea given the CB situation and my concern that Jozay might do something stupid like start Serge Aurier and/or Ben Davies, but in the end I’m going with…
Prediction: 1-1 draw
This is Leeds right now:
They are just DYING to explode with a bunch of goals after having to sit around doing next to nothing for 90 minutes against Arsenal last weekend. Everton score – and get scored on – for fun. If this game does not have a ton of goals it will be the upset of the century. Best bet of the weekend: OVER. Don’t even think about it. Just do it and thank me later. As for the result itself… I am leaning Toffees but already hate the pick. I think Everton is the better team but Leeds are so much lower in the table than they deserve that they are gonna pick up some points somewhere sometime soon.
Prediction: Everton to win 3-2
Note: yes, I absolutely almost puked multiple times while MS painting these
If I really started thinking about this game I’m guessing I might arrive at a different conclusion. Southampton are #FUN this season and have managed to continue their unbeaten streak (now at SEVEN games) despite the long-term injury to Danny Ings. So I’m guessing a lot of smart money will be on the Saints given the attractive odds against a United squad that has been nothing if not all over the map this season. However, I’m not going to think about it. I have developed a sneaking suspicion that the Red Devils are jusssssssst on the cusp of rounding into form – finally having a real live actual legitimate No. 9 in Cavani might be just what the doctor ordered – and I’m going with my gut on this one.
Prediction: United to win 3-1
ps: how are you suggest this is playing into my calculus, sir/ma’am, how frickin DARE you!!
Some more predictions… to increase the possibility that I eventually get one right, maybe (note: gonna start highlighting my BETTER BETS – meaning the ones I legitimately like as opposed to just picking because it's kinda my make pretend job – in BOLD):
• Palace 2-2 Newcastle
• Brighton 1-1 Liverpool [big time flyer… they might not pull it off but wouldn’t be surprised if the Seagulls give them a better game than expected]
• CITY 4-0 Burnley
• West Brom 0-1 SHEFFIELD UTD [I keep saying the Blades are going to recreate a little of last season’s magic… prove me right one time damit you little buggers!]
• Arsenal 1-2 WOLVES [reminder: Gooners haven’t scored since mid-March]
• LESTER 3-1 Fulham
• West Ham 2-2 Villa [loss of Ross Barkley feels like a big blow for the Villans]
REST OF WORLD
MLS – the playoffs have been gloriously drunk so far and we got a few more games still to go so do yourself a favor and tune in:
ITALY – two big games in Serie A this weekend starting with Sassuolo hosting Inter on Saturday (8am CT) followed on Sunday by Roma visiting Napoli (1:45pm CT).
SPAIN – don’t look now but the struggles of Real Madrid (4th) and Barcelona (13th) have thrown the title race wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiide open in La Liga with this weekend’s best game is leaders Sociedad welcoming 3rd place Villarreal on Sunday (2pm CT).
GERMANY – we got an All-American matchup in Bundesliga with John Brooks’ Wolfy hosting Werder and Josh Sargent on Friday (1:30pm CT).
So there we have it. Great weekend ahead. More Champions League next week. Soccergod is good.
Thanks for reading you beauties!