Sam’s Safe Space for Soccer Stoolies
Is it just me or has this week flown by? Probably something to do with a full slate of midweek games but I feel like I was writing the preview for last weekend like yesterday. Regardless, another VERY interesting gaggle of games on deck this weekend. Let’s take a peek…
ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE
Scores from the midweek:
Honorable mention: Southampton, West Ham, Lester
20. Sheffield Utd
19. West Brom
Dishonorable mention: Brighton, Arsenal
WATCHABILITY INDEX (meaning highest on the must-watch TV scale… not always for complimentary reasons)
1. United (nobody more schizo than United at the moment)
2. Leeds (“fck defense let’s get crazy’)
3. Arsenal (they have to score some goals at some point, right? Right???)
Table as things stand:
Dangly status: MAXIMALLY CRITICAL DROOPAGE
And the schedule for this weekend:
Before we get into the picks – maybe this is the beer talking – but I feel strangely confident in my picks this weekend. Do what you will with that information.
PICKS OF THE WEEKEND
Two very good teams that are both comfortable counterattacking though, interestingly enough, almost half of Lester’s goals this season have come via penalties. That should be kind of scary for Spurs fans given the likely presence of guys like Eric Dier and Serge Aurier who were born to commit fouls/handballs in the box.
And yet – annnnnnnnnnnd yet – I am strangely confident that this Tottenham squad has slurped Jozay’s Kool-Aid and feel cheated after beating Liverpool but getting no points
and are about to come out with a big performance. It feels like both teams do a lot of things well but Spurs do just about all of them a little bit better. Defense is a little sturdier (assuming Lord Farquaad is still out). Offense is a little more potent (Kane and Son vs Vardy as reliable biscuit-basketers). So call this a homer pick if you must but this smells a lot like Sam’s Money Back LOCK of the Week…
Prediction: SPURS TO WIN 3-1
City might end up being okay this season. Perhaps Sergio Aguero is about to return with a vengeance. Maybe the sheikhs will shake out a few (dozen) million from the couch and buy half a new squad in January. All of that is possible. But right here right now this group is not the City we have all come to hate but respect, and they are up against what just might be the single more consistent team in the league this season. Southampton brings the same thing to the table every week. They press, work their balls off, and capitalize on mistakes and (especially) set pieces. Is it understandable that City come in as favorites? Yeah, probably, but Southampton ML (or better yet +0.5/1) at these odds feel a little like stealing.
Prediction: 1-1 DRAW
Arsenal’s draw against Southampton a couple days ago – while on 10 men (yet again) – is really not that concerning of a result. The whole “getting a red card every game” thing, on the other hand, is a little concerning. I have a hard time believing that a team with Aubameyang and Lacazette can continue to score goals at this anemic a pace, but I have an even harder time believing that this weekend is when they are going to explode back to life against an Everton team that is playing well… especially since Arsenal are gonna have to compensate for the loss of Gabriel – latest red card victim – somehow.
Prediction: EVERTON TO WIN 2-1
Legit gasped when I saw this
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 1-3 LIVERPOOL
• NEWCASTLE 2-1 Fulham
• BRIGHTON 1-0 Sheffield Utd
• UNITED 3-2 Leeds [note: OVER – lock it in!]
• West Brom 0-2 VILLA
• Burnley 1-1 Wolves
• Chelsea 2-2 West Ham
REST OF WORLD
MLS – LAFC is the only MLS team to survive the Concacaf Champions League quarterfinals and earned themselves a date with Club America on Saturday (9:30pm CT)
ITALY – We got a nice little Sunday cooking in Italy with Sassuolo hositng Milan (8am CT), Atalanta welcoming Roma (11am CT) and Napoli visiting Napoli (1:45pm) right in a row
SPAIN – Barcelona came up with a nice win in the midweek so time to see if they are actually getting back on the rails with a home game against Valencia on Saturday (9:15am CT).
GERMANY – YOUUUUUUUUUGE game as leaders Leverkusen host 2nd place Bayern on Saturday (11:30am CT)
So there we have it. We got the latest installment of the Make-Beliegue Cup coming up next week.
Couple interesting matchups. Time to see if Kane/Son can do it on a cold rainy Wednesday night in Stoke.
That's it for now though. Have a spectacular weekend you beauties.
And thanks for reading!