So last week’s blog was more of a, ‘oh crap, I forgot to write a blog and I’m on a train from Penn Station to 30th Street Station at midnight after traveling for 20 hours’ type blog. And it went how most of those blogs go; average at best.
But I’m at it again cause the grind don’t stop! I’m also going to introduce a new segment that will occur at the beginning of most of my blogs called ‘Outside The 18’. Basically I’ll recap any news, scores or storylines that happened around the world of soccer so you can stay as up to date as lazy soccer fans can. So without further ado…
Outside The 18
Clint Dempsey – The greatest American soccer player of all time retired from the game this week. He is tied for most goals in USMNT history (57), most goals in the Premier League by an American (57), most goals by an American in the top-5 European leagues (72), the only American to score in three different World Cups, he is a three-time US Soccer Athlete of the Year and is the only badass m’fer to get a red card, rip it up and throw it in a ref’s face. If you’ve never seen him play, click HERE and go down the rabbit hole of Clint Dempsey highlights. Long Live Deuce.
Champions League Draw – The Champions League Group Stage Draw occurred on Thursday to determine how the 8 groups would shape up. The winners include Manchester City, Bayern Munich and everyone in Group D while the losers include Liverpool, Tottenham and more. Storylines include Ronaldo coming home to Manchester United, two groups of death, Liverpool in one of those groups of death, the easiest group in UCL history and more. HERE is a link to all of the groups. Awards included Luca Modric for European Player of the Year for his accomplishments with both Real Madrid and Croatia.
Now onto the previews for this weekend’s shenanigans!
All-Time Record: 13-13-4 (-2.0 Units)
Matchweek 3 Record: 4-5-1 (-1.3 Units)
I was a Spurs loss/draw away from my first ever negative total record but luckily Mourinho and United are made of paper-mâché and lost to Spurs 3-0 at home. Luckily this time around I have all my research and brain power to make some conscious picks and hopefully we can start seeing some more green this week.
Saturday, September 1
7:30 am EST
Liverpool @ Leicester City – Liverpool are off to the exact start that they wanted with 9 points from their first three matches, 7 goals scored and 0 goals conceded. But those matches were against the 10th place Palace, 12th place Brighton and last place West Ham. They will be going up against a Leicester side whose only loss is away to United where they were far from outplayed and have since gotten 6 points from their following 2 matches, winning 2-0 and 2-1 respectively. But they will be without star striker Jamie Vardy who will be serving a suspension and had a midweek cup match on Tuesday. I think that 1.5 points is a lot to lay on an away side who have yet to face any real opposition this season and I like Leicester’s supporting cast after going to Southampton and winning 2-1 with a young and unproven squad. Take the home underdogs here. Leicester City (+1.5, -130).
10:00 am EST
Fulham @ Brighton – Both teams are tied on 3 points, have a -2 goal differential and are 1-0-2 to start this season. Brighton have had a bit more to show for it as they beat United and only lost to Liverpool 1-0 at Anfield, while Fulham’s only triumph came at home to a battered Burnley side coming off of Europa League qualifiers. I like Brighton at home here as I don’t think Fulham are strong enough yet to to get points away from home and have been prone to conceding so far this season. Brighton (-0.5, +115).
Bournemouth @ Chelsea – Chelsea come into this home match as one of the four teams on 9 points through their first three matches, but Bournemouth lurk behind with 7 points and are also unbeaten. Although Bournemouth haven’t played anyone of note yet, they’ve battled out results by coming behind to win 2-1 after being down against West Ham and came back down 2-0 against Everton to draw 2-2. I’m tempted to take the Cherries as they’ve covered all three of their matches this season, but they are coming off of a midweek cup match and their depth is one of their issues this season. With Chelsea’s explosive offense ready to burst at any moment, I can’t fade them here at home. Chelsea (-1.5, -130)
Southampton @ Crystal Palace – In their last four Premier League matchups, these teams have split the spoils with two wins apiece. Southampton have had a winless start to their season and haven’t been too impressive, but Palace’s only win so far this season came against Fulham on opening day. This matchup is extremely tough to feel out so I’ll try to break it down as best as I can. Both teams won midweek cup matches on Tuesday, Southampton are due a result but I’m high on Palace this season, Southampton are given points as an underdog but I like Palace at home this season. In the end I will stick to a golden rule of mine; when you can’t decide take the points as you have the draw and the win on your side and if my math is correct, two results are better to bet on than one. Southampton (+0.5, -110).
Huddersfield @ Everton – Everton are unbeaten through three matches with a win and two draws to show for it. They’ve shown that they can win at home after beating Southampton and they grinded out two away results, getting draws in both. They’ll go up against a Huddersfield team who have only scored one goal this season in a 6-1 loss to City and they haven’t shown anything to prove that they can get points against anyone this season. Although it may very well be a push and Everton won’t have Richarlison, I like the Toffees to get the win here. Everton (-1, -110).
Wolves @ West Ham – Wolves just had one of the better results in recent history, keeping Man City at bay with a 1-1 draw. They’ve played well enough in almost all three of their league matches so far and I love how their midfield is beginning to develop. They will meet West Ham who have been nothing short of pathetic so far this season as they’ve blown two 1-0 leads and sit as the only team with 0 points to start this season. I know there is a rule that teams will always fall back to the mean and that things turn around for teams like West Ham, but I’m not going to buy into them until they prove to me that they can even sniff a result from anyone. Wolves (Pickem, +110).
12:30 pm EST
Newcastle United @ Manchester City – City hit their first roadblock of the season after drawing to Wolves 1-1 away from home. Yes they got shafted on a few calls and arguably should have come out with 3 points if the refs had their head on their shoulders, but it wasn’t a convincing performance from the Cityzens regardless. It is very rare that a Pep Guardiola side experiences back to back bad performances and I expect City to rebound here. Newcastle are in shambles after gaining only 1 point from their first three matches and now face their third top-6 side of the season. To add to that, they lost on Wednesday to Nottingham Forest in a midweek cup match and will be on short rest after a bad loss. Need more reason to bet on City? The last three times Newcastle have visited City in the league they’ve lost 3-1, 6-1, and 5-0. Manchester City (-2.5, +110).
Sunday, September 2nd
8:30 am EST
Arsenal @ Cardiff City – Arsenal finally got their win even after going down 1-0 to West Ham, but it wasn’t all glorious. There are still some questions with the lineups Emery is picking in his first season and Aubameyang’s scoring woes have continued. I do think things are bound to turn around for the Gunners even with so many question marks and the lack of consistency from the squad not only game to game, but within the 90 minutes as well. They go against a Cardiff team whose days are likely numbered in the Premier League and I like Arsenal to gain some stability against Cardiff on Sunday morning. This is the perfect match to show their fans and the rest of the league that the quality on this squad can show what it’s truly worth. Arsenal (-1, -110).
11:00 am EST
Manchester United @ Burnley – My oh my. Manchester United are slowly falling apart before our eyes after their tragic 3-0 loss to Spurs at home. It was their worst ever home loss to Spurs and Mourinho’s press conference blow-up sums up how unstable the club is right now. Luckily for them, they will be facing a Burnley team who has had midweek matches every week for the last 4 weeks, coinciding with the start of their Premier League schedule. They haven’t won yet in the league and this is the perfect time for United to bounce back to stable the rapidly increasing calls for Mourinho’s head. Even with the probability of a push and the ‘Mourinho Masterclass’ scoreline of 1-0, I like the prospect of United bouncing back after their rough start. Manchester United (-1, +130).
Tottenham @ Watford – This is undoubtedly the match of the week as both of these sides are playing splendidly well and are on 9 points through three matches. Although Watford haven’t beaten anyone in the top-6 yet, they’ve played brilliant footy to start the season and might have to be taken seriously. Spurs on the other hand are coming off of one of their best matches in history after beating United 3-0 at Old Trafford. It’s a tough pick but Spurs will have too much talent on the field and I think Watford regress just a bit in this match here. Tottenham (-1, +110).
That’s all for this weekend as we have some solid matches all around and if you need anything to do before college football is on we all know soccer is the next best thing. Grab a beer, make some coffee and eggs, or hit up your local team’s pub if you’re in a major city and watch the matches!
Stay Kickin’ It. Peace.