Sam’s Safe Space for Soccer Stoolies
I have been posting around here for 6+ years so those who have been reading for even a small portion of that time know that I try to be as unbiased as I can be with these blogs. Sure, I slip in some snide remarks here and there, but when it comes time to make predictions I do my damndest to pick with my head and completely ignore my heart.
Weeks like this one seriously test my capacity for doing so.
But I am a semi-professional blogger, damnit, and being a semi-professional blogger – much like being a semi-professional porn star (aka having an onlyfans) – means closing your eyes, turning off your brain and finishing the job no matter what because at the end of the day I am simply here to amuse, titillate and sometimes even entertain you.
Is that my way of promising any Arsenal fans in the house that I am going to do my best to give you guys/girls a fair shake this week? Yes, yes it is. You are welcome in advance.
Now without further ado let’s move right along to the good stuff…
ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE
Scores from the last week/end:
Honorable mention: Wolves, Southampton
20. Sheffield Utd
18. Arsenal’s offense
Dishonorable mention: West Brom, Fulham
WATCHABILITY INDEX (meaning highest on the must-watch TV scale… not always for complimentary reasons)
1. United (“Is Ole Still At The Wheel?” watch in full swing with UCL fate very up in the air)
3. Southampton (Saints pip Villa until Barkley is back)
Table as things stand:
Dangly status: MAXIMAL CRITICAL DROOPAGE
And the schedule for this weekend:
PICKS OF THE WEEKEND
League leaders Tottenham host relegation-threatened Arsenal and, yes, I have been waiting my entire life to say those words and actually (kinda) mean it. On paper this is an assssssssss whupping. Arsenal have scored two goals in their last six league games stretching back to early October. That is bad. Very bad. The thing about it though is that this club is not that far away from being decent again. They need to (a) get Thomas Partey healthy again and (b) add a playmaker in midfield. Boom, just like that they could be a serious contender for a spot in next season's Europa League. Unfortunately the January transfer window is not in December so Houssem Aouar couldn’t walk through that door even if he wanted to.
So that’s it? We're done here? No, not necessarily. Spurs may be better on both ends of the field, and especially in the middle of it, but Arsenal have two hopes:
1) Hugo Lloris may not be available
Anyone who watched Spurs in Europa this week knows that Hart couldn't catch the rona even if he tried. It's not that my man sucks, it's that he sucks A LOT. If he plays, there is definite hope for Arsenal.
2) Lads, its Tottenham. Even when there it appears all avenues have been exhausted, this club finds a new and clever way to disappoint their fans. So never ever say never with Spurs (especially with a defense that will likely be anchored by Eric Dier and possibly by n00b Joe Rodon if Toby Alderwiereld isn’t back fit in time).
My guess is the game will be close, and perhaps Arsenal will even take a shock early lead (likely through an Aubameyang penalty) but in the end…
Prediction: SPURS TO WIN 2-1
Liverpool are playing with a mix and match squad at the moment, and they probably are not getting enough credit for beating a very solid (if not quite as spectacular as recent years) Ajax in Champions League this week. But there is no getting around that the injuries woes have decimated their defense, which in turn has taken a lot of the punch out of their offense without TAA and Andy Robertson bombing down the wings. I am a little surprised to see Wolves being given such long odds but assume that is in part because they will be without Raul Jimenez after David Luiz cracked his skull open last weekend. Still think this should be a close game though. In fact, call me greedy if you must (nobody will accuse you of being wrong), but those odds are just too tasty to pass up.
Prediction: 1-1 DRAW
Quick refresher: I would have bet your life and my left nut on last week’s Leeds/Everton game hitting the over. Sadly, you would be dead and I’d be nutless. If you think that has made me gun-shy on dishing out LOCKS and potentially looking like a dummy, welllllll buddy, you must be new here because my capacity for looking dumb is deeper than Man City’s pockets and wider than Eden Hazard… especially since that game finishing with less than five goals is an absolute travesty.
Why am I bringing all that up? Because this game between Chelsea and Leeds has just as much #fun and #goals written all over it. Thus, SAM’S MORTAL LOCK OF THE WEEKEND: THE OVER.
This, of course, assumes that Frank Lampard uses his brain and leaves Tammy Abraham on the bench. Provided that happens it is hard to imagine both not putting up some points (despite the Whites recent drought), and in the end I’m giving the edge to the Blues’ better and more experienced defense by a whisker.
Prediction: CHELSEA TO WIN 3-2
Some more predictions… to increase the possibility that I eventually get one right, maybe (note: gonna start highlighting my SLIGHTLY LESS TERRIBLE PICKS – meaning the ones I legitimately like as opposed to just picking because it's kinda my make pretend job – in BOLD):
• Burnley 1-2 EVERTON
• City 3-1 Fulham
• West Ham 1-2 UNITED
• West Brom 0-1 PALACE
• SHEFFIELD UTD 1-2 Lester [bigggggg time flyer on this one… their “oh” has got to go sometime though!]
• Brighton 2-2 Southampton
REST OF WORLD
MLS – the conference finals are set:
Columbus vs New England (Sunday at 2pm CT)
Seattle vs Minnesota (Monday at 8:30pm CT)
ITALY – big time soccer nerd game here but Juventus hosting Torino in the crosstown Turin Dærby on Saturday (11am CT) is always a good time
SPAIN – 5th place Sevilla welcome 4th place Real Madrid on Saturday (9:15am CT)
GERMANY – BIG ONE in the Bundesliga this weekend as 2nd place RBL head to leaders Bayern Munich on Saturday (11:30am CT) in a game the visitors absolutely need to win to give themselves, and the league more broadly, hope that Bayern aren’t going to run away with it for the 19th straight season
So there we have it. Champions League next week is going to be AWESOME. We got clubs on the ropes and coaches’ jobs on the line. Gon’ be great.
Thanks for reading you beauties!