Barstool’s Weekend Soccer Preview – The “Transferpalooza Winners & Loser” Edition
Sam’s Safe Space For Soccer Stoolies
Gotta keep this short because I’m still locked away in twitter jail and my internet time is limited. Plus we’ve got a lot to talk about with USMNT, transfer moves and the weekend ahead… so let’s get right to it.
One goal and one point from two games at a critical point in World Cup qualifying is ridiculous. The Costa Rica performance was embarrassing (as has already been discussed), plain and simple, whereas the Honduras game was more a disappointment.
There is honestly not much to say at this point. Some players need to play better (Nagbe, Bradley, Dempsey). Other players need to not be on the field (OMAR GONZALEZ). Some coaches need to position Pulisic in the middle of the field where he can do more damage (Arena). And other guys need to get healthy (Yedlin, Brooks) or unsuspended (Altidore).
Panama at home and T&T on the road should be two wins. In fact, if we don’t get six points from them in early October then we have no business playing in the World Cup to begin with. So let’s take a deep breath and regroup in a few weeks.
[Note: we’ve also got this going for us…
…which is nice.]
ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE
‘Member what happened way back before the international break? Yep, me neither, but here ya go:
News, notes and observations:
– Awwwwwww shit. Liverpool done gone and curb-stomped the hell out of poor defenseless [literally] Arsenal. On the plus side for the Gooners, at the time of said curb-stompage they still had a few days to do some transfer business to right the sinking ship……. (more on this in a moment.)
– Karma can be a real bitch sometimes, like for instance when I’m laughing so hard I’ve got tears in my eyes watching Arsenal get spanked… then Burnley – little ass Burnley – drops in from the clouds and shits in my Cheerios with a last minute goal out of absolutely nowhere to grab a point and steal two from Spurs. Conclusion: the Wembley Curse is real af.
– Chelsea looked gooooooooooood against an Everton team that, despite the presence of experienced guys like Rooney, played like a group that knew before kickoff they had no chance of winning. Not a good look for a team desperately fighting to become top-4-relevant.
– Swansea with two big wins on the week… starting with one over an utter and total crap Palace side. (More on second win in a moment.)
– Up and down week for Newcastle, starting with their first win of the year against listless West Ham. (More on loss in a moment.)
– Ruh roh. United might not suck anymore.
– Will Brighton score a goal this season? Will Huddersfield concede this season? The Answers may surprise you. (But probably not.)
TRANSFER WINDOW WINNERS & LOSERS
United – spending a shit-ton of money is not necessarily a cure-all for what ails you, as the Red Devils have proven time and time again, but Dear Leader Jozay seems to have gone into this summer knowing exactly who he wanted and (BONUS) got the deals done early so that the team could begin to coalesce before the season even began. What a novel concept!
Swansea – I didn’t want to tell Big Cat but Swansea’s chances for staying up were looking worse and worse with each passing the day as the club tried to wait for a better price from Everton for Gylfi Sigurdsson. But the late business including the additions of Renato Sanches from Bayern and bringing back Wilfried Bony are potential season-saving moves.
Huddersfield – threw a bunch of inexpensive shit at the wall and while it is still too early to say anything for sure it appears as though some of it – a lot of it perhaps – may have stuck.
WINNERS (but not as much as some people seem to think):
Liverpool – keeping Coutinho is all well and good if he doesn’t pout for the next nine months, and guys like Mo Salah and Oxlade-Chamberlain will add some new weapons to the team’s attack but – as I have been saying for months – this team needed defensive help and they most certainly did not get it. Southampton playing hardball and refusing to sell Virgil van Djik may doom any outside hopes the Reds may have had at winning the league.
Tottenham – adding a right back and backup striker is all well and good, but giving management a lot of credit for doing that feels a lot like congratulation Trump for making a speech that doesn’t defend Nazis. “Congrats for doing the bare minimum! Yay?” Assuming Erik Lamela doesn’t return anytime soon, and unless Mousa Sissoko remembers how to play soccer, Spurs need another winger and it doesn’t even seem to have crossed their mind to look to add one.
LOSERS (but not as big as some others… haha just kidding… other):
Newcastle – Mike Ashley’s ol cheap chubby ass strikes again!
Chelsea – Got a decent price for selling Nemanja Matic but at the cost of clearly making a title rival better, which is questionable from a strategic perspective, but more importantly the club – one, it must be noted, that has a BILLION guys under contract but loaned out to other teams – simply failed to add enough players (period) to an already thin squad and may pay for it when the fixtures start coming fast and furious later in the season.
THE BIGGEST LOSER:
Arsenal – Arsenal… ohhhhhh Arsenal… wyd??? I’m not convinced the real Mesut Ozil didn’t die in 2015 and the team is now stuck with his evil, lazy twin. Then there is Lexi Sanchez, who wanted out so bad he was laughing at the club’s misfortunes IN THE MIDDLE OF LAST SEASON, but Old Uncy Arsene decided to hold on to both and will now watch them (likely) walk out the door for free next summer. They also sold Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, which isn’t the end of the world since he hasn’t been great for them AND they got a buttload of money for him, however, waiting until the last minute to get serious about buying Thomas Lemar and running out of time (thus likely scuttling a Lexi-to-City transaction) was the ultimate icing on the shit-cake.
Gonna run through these quickly because it’s still early and
Honorable mention: Huddersfield
19. West Ham
Dishonorable mention: Arsenal (and Bournemouth)
Early look at the table:
And finally this weekend’s slate of games:
PICKS OF THE WEEKEND
City have looked remarkably pedestrian relative to expectations so far this season, while Liverpool are coming off one of their most impressive performances (all things considered) since their famous 0-1 loss at Real Madrid a few years back. Somebody said on the twitter that anybody with a brain is apparently calling for a draw here. Not me. People forget that Liverpool’s win – full credit a damn good performance in the face of adversity – was against a deader than dead Arsenal side. Plus I can’t help thinking that this may be the game that City wakes up and acts like they are ree-godamn-diculously stacked offensively. This could be particularly problematic given Liverpool’s soft underbelly.
Before making this sound like too much of a LOCK though I would be remiss not at least acknowledging the fact that the Reds’ counterpunching style has proven extremely successful against other top of the table teams, which tend to come out swinging and play into their hands buttttttttt] I think Pep’s boys will overwhelm them this time round.
City to win 3-1.
Two teams looking to bounce back off disappointing performances. Spurs will be without the defensive additions (who are not “match fit” yet) and will thus still starting Tweedle-Dum and Tweedle-Dummer at LB and RB, meaning the chance of a shutout is virtually nonexistent. I’ll be honest and admit that I don’t feel like I’ve gotten a very good read on Everton this season… but they might just be catching Tottenham at very fortuitous time. 1-1 draw sounds miiiiiiiiiighty appetizing, but every soccer team I root for has been getting kicked in the dick lately and I can’t help thinking I’ve got another swift nut-shot coming. Everton to win 2-1.
• Sometimes the soccer gods are charitable. Gooners are in shambles… but get the pointless Bournemouth at home. They’ll inevitably make it harder than need be, but Arsenal to win 2-0.
• Brighton hosting West Brom has “Weekend’s Ugliest Game” written all over it… and Tony Pulic will be like a pig in shit. West Brom to win 1-0.
• Chelsea at Lester is an interesting tilt. The defending champs have been awful, not bad, and dominant in their three games so far, respectively, so are trending in the right direction even before Eden Hazard is added back in the mix this weekend. Tough matchup for those foxy damn Foxes, but they should have (Leverkusen loanee) Aleksandar Dragovic available and are a more formidable side at home. 2-2 draw.
• Just as everybody would have predicted at the start of the season: sUndefeated Watford versus undefeated Southampton. The Saints have managed to paste together a respectable start to the season out of chewing gum and chopsticks, having scored only three goals in three games. Can’t help thinking this one could hinge on the availability of Virgil van Djik. If he plays: 1-0 win for Southampton. If VvD sits: 1-1 draw. [Note: seems unlikely that he’d get thrown right on the field after the acrimonious transfer window so my official pick is the latter.]
• When will United slip up? Will United slip up?? Possibly, but Stoke just doesn’t have the kind of firepower (and may be missing Zouma on defense) to make it happen this weekend. The real question is whether this will be the game the Red Devils finally concede a goal. Love the Jese signing, but I still say…. no. United to win 2-0.
• Burnley got a huge emotional lift with the last minute draw against Spurs, meaning the two-week layoff may actually have come at an unfortunate time for the wee buggers. Palace has been straight poo poo this season, and Frank de Boer may already be managing for his job. That suggests to me that – especially with guys like Wilfried Zaha and Yohan Cabaye likely still out – he is likely to compromise on the “beautiful style” he was initially hoping to achieve and settle for pragmatic points, meaning that an atrocious-to-watch scoreless draw sounds about right for this one.
• Swansea vs Newcastle! Two of the hottest team in the league! Okay, not really, but they are both coming off their first wins of the young season. Unfortunately for Toon they are missing a fair number of guys through injury or suspension, while the Swans are expected to be with n00bs Renato Sanches and Wilfried Bony, and Jordan Ayew is reportedly fit enough to be in contention. DON’T LIKE BIG CAT’S BOYS GET HOT! Swansea to win 2-1.
• Huddersfield has been the surprise of the season but, according to the advanced stats nerds, the Terriers are doing it via smoke and mirrors. On the other hand, what can be said about West Ham that hasn’t already been said about Ke$ha’s vestigial tail? Useless and shitty. Hammies to win 2-1 because sometimes things just don’t make sense.
REST OF WORLD
MLS – Galaxy face the Sounders on Sunday (8pm CT) but since LA is dead and buried I’ll be more focused on the Fire (finally), which staunched the bleeding with a hard fought road win against Montreal, welcoming NY Red Bulls on Saturday (2:55pm CT).
Bundesliga – Hoffenheim welcome Bayern on Saturday midday (11:30am CT).
La Liga – Atletico has been all over the map this season but perhaps they needed the international break to get their head on straight, and visit Valenthia on Saturday morning (9:15am CT).
Serie A – Milan visit Lazio on Sunday (8am CT).
Ligue Neymar – 20th place Metz face PSG on Friday and ZOMG THEY MIGHT SCORE A BILLION.
So there we have it. We’ve got a month or so of hating one another’s guts before we all gotta come together and get behind the USMNT in our final push to qualify for Puty’s World Cup. Also, don’t forget that City vs Liverpool kicks off bright and early (as fuck) tomorrow so plan on getting some sleep. Oh, and before I forget, Champions League group stage starts next midweek. Get pumped, kiddos.