Champions League Matchweek 3

Weekend’s record: 5-7-4, 1-0
Total record: 66-64-12, 13-12

Not happy about 3 losing batches of picks in a row, but I’m still positive all time and I’m happy I called the Crystal Palace and Bournemouth. Things are looking up and I had two last-minute losses so I’m not disappointed but I may just lower the amount of picks I have and choose around 5 per weekend. Therefore, letting me choose ones I feel most comfortable about instead of picking all Premier League matches.

Soooo I’m going to pick the matches I feel most comfortable about on Tuesday and Wednesday, lowering my total picks and hopefully making my win % a little higher. But first, let’s quickly recap the weekend in my Quick Hits. Let’s hit it…

Quick Hits From the Weekend
Manchester United and Liverpool played to a very, very, very boring 0-0 draw at Anfield which people should’ve seen coming knowing Jose Mourinho’s strategy in big away games (hence my PICK decision). Chelsea lost to Crystal Palace who finally scored their first goals in the league (took them 8 games), and got their first win in a shocking 2-1 upset (shoutout Crystal Palace +1½). Manchester City absolutely DESTROYED Stoke City 7-2 and cemented their place at the top of the table (breaking a 120-year-old record for most goals in 8 matches (29!!)). Tottenham finally got their first win at Wembley Stadium against Bournemouth, but only by the score of 1-0.

Top 6:
Man City (22)
Man U (20)
Tottenham (17)
Watford (15)
Chelsea (13)
Arsenal, Burnley, Liverpool (13)

Champions League Matchweek 3

Tuesday:

Tottenham @ Real Madrid 2:45 pm ET

Heyyoooo sup bitches. We’ve got a prime showdown between two clubs who have shaky starts to their league seasons. Both clubs are tied at the top of the Group with 6 points through 2 matches, with Madrid above on goal differential. In 4 matches against Real Madrid in European competition, Spurs have not scored a goal and Real Madrid are unbeaten in their last 29 Champions League Group Stage matches. To add to that, Real have only not scored once in their last 52 Champions League matches and they have won 21 of their last 23 matches at home in the group stage. Safe to say Real have this one covered, BUT they won’t cover the 1½ spread as Tottenham will gameplan well and hold it to a one-score game in Madrid. Tottenham +1½.

Napoli @ Manchester City 2:45 pm ET

Oh what’s this? ANOTHER outstanding game? You betcha. Napoli, my sleeper pick to make a run in this year’s Champions League campaign, travel to Manchester to take on a RED HOT Man City club. With 29 goals in 8 league games, City have broken a 123-year-old record for most goals in a club’s first 8 matches in England. Although Napoli boasts an outstanding attack as well, City are playing with LOADS of confidence and are at home. Manchester City -1…. if you want to be safe, take (-180).

Other Tuesday Picks:
Besiktas @ Monaco (-155)
Porto (+½) 
@ RB Leipzig

Wednesday:

Roma @ Chelsea 2:45 pm ET

Roma head to London coming off of a crushing home loss to Napoli and Chelsea are coming off of a shocking 2-1 loss to Crystal Palace. Chelsea are dealing with injuries across the board including Kante, Moses and Morata (3 starters). My worry with Chelsea as I mentioned in my season preview blog was their depth and it was exposed over the weekend at Crystal Palace. Roma will travel well with a slightly healthier squad and should cover the spread in this one. Roma +1.

Other Wednesday Picks:
FC Basel (+½) 
@ CSKA Moscow
Olympiakos @ Barcelona (-3)

Parlay:
Liverpool (-645), Atletico Madrid (-520), Barca (-1500), Bayern (-1100), PSG (-702) = (-120)

Big Outcome Parlay (Fuck it right?):
Man City (-1), FC Porto (+½), Man U (-½) = (+520)

That’s all for this Champions League slate. Three awesome games to get you through the school/work day tomorrow and Wednesday. I promise a non-negative week or else I’ll have to something TBD and decided by my good friend (and sadly a Michigan fan… Go State) Andrew Lehr. But until then,

Stay Kickin’ it.
Twitter: @nicodegallo

Matchweek 8 (The Ocho)

That feeling when that dreadful international break is over, and the Premier League starts up again:
giphy2

I didn’t get into it in my last blog considering the circumstances with the United States, but Messi may have cemented himself as the greatest soccer player ever. In a match where Argentina needed a win to give themselves a chance, they went down in the FIRST MINUTE to Ecuador. Twenty minutes later, and two Messi goals later, Argentina all of a sudden found belief as they took the lead headed into halftime. Then the little man sealed it with his third goal to seal his hat-trick and seal a trip to Russia for the Argentinains. In the last 11 months, nobody other than Messi has scored a goal in qualifying for Argentina.

giphy3

But now we finally have something to take our minds off of the U.S.’s failure to qualify for that tournament next summer. Nothing like soccer to get your mind off of soccer right?!? Meanwhile, the next month seems to be a crazy month of games:

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Saturday includes an early morning matchup between bitter rivals Manchester United and Liverpool, Barcelona travelling to Madrid among tensions of Catalan secession, and the Milar Derby on Sunday.

Record: 61-57-8, 12-12

Saturday:

Manchester United @ Liverpool 7:30 AM ET:

Manchester United (Pick -125)
Liverpool (Pick +105)
Draw (+230)

Both squads are missing key pieces as Liverpool will be missing their star player in Sadio Mane and United without Pogba. Mane will be a big missing piece in Liverpool’s counter-attack, with Salah having to pick up the load in a must-win home match for Liverpool. United, on the other hand, are missing their rock in the midfield Pogba who’s been off to a stellar start. To make matters worse the Red Devils will be missing another crucial midfielder in Fellaini, one who could’ve sealed the gap with Pogba’s absence. Liverpool will use their home crowd to their advantage and top their rivals Man U. Liverpool (Pick +105).

Other Premier League Picks:

West Ham United @ Burnley (Pick -110)
Chelsea @ Crystal Palace (+1½)
Stoke City @ Manchester City (-2½)
Huddersfield (+½) @ Swansea City
Bournemouth (+1½) @ Tottenham
Arsenal @ Watford (+1)
Everton @ Brighton & Hove Albion (Pick +115)
Newcastle United @ Southampton (-120)
West Brom @ Leicester City (EVEN)

Bonus European Picks:

FC Barcelona @ Atletico Madrid SAT 2:45 PM ET

FC Barcelona (Pick -135)
Atletico Madrid (Pick +110)
DRAW (+235)

After Messi’s 3-goal performance to singlehandedly send Argentina to the World Cup (and being the only one to score in qualifying in the last 11 months for the team…) he looks to add to his La Liga tally of 11 goals in 7 matches. This 5’7 God is in the form of his life and there’s no way it will end here. He will fight for his club’s region as they undergo hard times just as he did to get Argentina through one of the toughest qualifying region’s in the world with a hat-trick. FC Barcelona (Pick -135).

Real Madrid (-1½) @ Getafe
PSG (-2) @ Dijon
Lazio @ Juventus (-150)
Napoli (Pick -150)
@ Roma
AC Milan (+½) @ Inter Milan

Parlays:

Man City (-650), Real Madrid (-425), PSG (-700), Bayern (-1600), Tottenham (-500) = (-130)

Let’s hope that this awesome weekend of footy can have us forget about the disaster on Tuesday. Life will go on, the sun will rise, Messi will keep scoring goals and the United States will bounce back as this country always does during hard times. Enjoy your weekend!

Stay Kickin’ It. Peace.
Twitter: @nicodegallo

The Impossible Has Happened

It took me a few days to get to writing this blog. I’m utterly crushed. I won’t lie I haven’t slept well in the last two days and it hasn’t fully hit me that the United States won’t be going to the World Cup in Russia in 2018. I won’t get into the game as much as I will the impact of what this loss means.

This isn’t just about the World Cup next summer, it’s about the last 8 years and the next 8 years. The last 8 years haven’t been focused as much on the success of the team as it has been on the success of accepting and popularizing the sport more in this country. Plain and simple, it worked. The World Cups of 2010 and 2014 brought along a newfound support not only for the national team, but for soccer as a whole. Watch parties popped up around the country and players became household names; people began to care more and more. 

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Whether it’s bars packed at 7:30 in the morning for an early Premier League tilt, Seattle averaging almost 40,000 fans a game in the MLS or 80,000+ sell-out crowds when worldwide powerhouses come to play in the hot summer; soccer became an accepted and popular sport in this country. With each World Cup I got more and more friends to watch games and care about teams, something I never thought I could do. Hell, Americans bought the most tickets to the World Cup in Brazil in 2014! Now that we won’t have a country to unify around (which seems to be greatly needed these days), it’s no doubt the popularity will take a hit.

Not making a World Cup has a domino effect worth four years of time and sometimes more for a country’s national team. We will never see legends Clint Dempsey and Tim Howard play for the United States in a competitive match ever again and BabyJesus Christian Pulsic will have to wait until he’s 24 years old until he can play in his first World Cup. This four-year drought will also include the stunted growth of youth players who were looking to get a chance to punch their ticket to their first World Cup. This exciting young core of players will also not get to play in competitive matches for their country for another two years until the next Gold Cup. We will maybe see 5 (maximum) of the same players on this entire roster, on that team in two years.

All in all, we didn’t deserve to make this World Cup and that’s the part that hurts most. Every qualifying cycle we never have any issues, and it led us to take this one for granted when we fell behind losing our first two matches in the Hex and not winning a single away game all of qualifying. That is the exact recipe for disaster when playing these Central American/Carribean who want to destroy every American team every year. Plain and simple if you do that and don’t beat a team that has the population of Idaho, you don’t deserve to make the world’s biggest sporting event. Period.

About the actual match; we played like complete garbage and it seemed like our squad didn’t realize what was at stake. It’s the World Cup, I don’t care who you’re playing you have to have the mentality as if it is the last match of your life. All you have to do is tie Trinidad, something that has always been so easy but seemed so hard on Tuesday night. Oh, not to mention the exact results we couldn’t have happen, happened. A Panama goal that shouldn’t have counted because the ball didn’t cross the line, two second-half comeback wins from Panama and Honduras, and two total fluke goals from Trinidad added to the lacklustre performance from the United States. It was the perfect storm, sending us out of the World Cup and providing us with the darkest hour in American soccer history.

25869579_BG3.jpg

The haters may laugh, but next summer will have a deep hole in it. Whether you like the sport or not, having the United States in the World Cup beats any other type of patriotic sports moment there is. Don’t tell me that beating random countries in Olympic basketball 95-57 compares to games being watched by a billion (with a ‘B’ folks) people. No summertime parties, no reason to skip work or watch on your computers at work at 10am, 12pm and 2pm to get your fix of America and most importantly there’s no possibility of a run to the Quarterfinals and showing the world that we can play this game; because now we’ve shown them that we can’t. 

Final Round of World Cup Qualifying

The United States didn’t just win a must-win game in Orlando; they made a statement in the process. They played with confidence like we haven’t seen before and they showed that when their backs are against the wall they can come in the clutch. Panama was lost from the first minute as they either couldn’t execute their gameplan or their plan was complete trash. They let the U.S. move around freely especially Pulisic, and they didn’t sit back enough to absorb the pressure that we were giving them.

Christian Pulisic got the U.S. started in the 8th minute after a great play off of a Tim Howard goal kick. Flicked on from Bobby Wood to Altidore right into the path of Pulisic who brings the ball down, beats a defender and the goalkeeper before slotting it home from a tight angle.

I’ll go out on a limb and say that no American player, arguably ever, would be able to do what Pulisic did on that play. Being prepared for the ball before the pass from Altidore was even made, the touch from behind him with his off foot, the speed to push the ball beyond the backline and past the defender, the move around the goalkeeper, and the finish. It was all top class and it set the tempo for the rest of the match. Remember, he’s just 19 years-old.

Just 10 minutes later the young American set up a fantastic goal after beating a defender out wide, with rays of confidence, and whipped a perfect ball to find a wide-open Jozy Altidore just 5 yards in front of the goal. It’s Jozy’s first goal in the Hexagonal Qualifying round and went miles for his confidence.

giphy1

The U.S. later went on to score two more goals, including a cheeky penalty from Altidore and a great finish from Bobby Wood. The front three of Pulisic (1 goal, 1 assist), Wood (Drew penalty, 1 goal), and Altidore (2 goals) may have given Bruce Arena an answer to the attacking problems we have faced recently. (Wood and Altidore up top with Pulisic underneath as CAM has been a suggestion of mine for a while now).

To wrap it up, the United States now needs to get 1 point from their away match in Trinidad to guarantee at least a playoff spot into the World Cup, and 3 points getting them automatically in.

After going 5-4-1, 0-1 in my last set of picks here is where I stand:

My Record:
55-50-7, 11-11

Let’s get into some picks for Monday and Tuesday.

Monday:

Georgia @ Serbia (Over 3)
Rep. Ireland @ Wales (+116)
Italy (-189) 
@ Albania
Liechtenstein @ Macedonia (-2½)
Spain (-1½)
 @ Israel
Turkey (Pick -122) @ Finland
Croatia (Pick -135) @ Ukraine

Tuesday:
Sweden @ Netherlands (-122)
Faroe Islands @ Hungary (-1½)
Switzerland (+1)
@ Portugal
United States (-1½) @ Trinidad & Tobago (LET’S GO USA BABY)
Argentina (-1) @ Ecuador
Chile (+1) @ Brazil
Colombia (+½) @ Peru

PARLAYS:
Monday Parlay:
Serbia (-833), Italy (-192), Macedonia (-1351), Spain (-417), Iceland (-1351) = (+140)

Tuesday Parlay:
USA (-278), Hungary (-370), Argentina (-250), Uruguay (-909) = (+160)


15 teams have now qualified for the World Cup, with 17 more spots to be finalized. These games today and tomorrow are the final qualifying matches of the year other than the playoffs and there are a lot of do or die matches for many teams around the world. Should create some awesome scenarios as all matches start and finish at the same time, providing drama and most likely controversy. I will be back to recap all the matches and hopefully celebrating the United States going to their 7th straight World Cup!

20171007 MNT v PAN 00013

Stay kickin’ it. Peace.

Twitter: @nicodegallo

Biggest U.S. Soccer Match Ever?

Here we are. To be honest I never thought it would come to this; the United States are in as close to a win or go home game as possible to get into the 2018 World Cup. This time, Panama stands in our way for our quest of our 7th straight World Cup appearance.

As it stands, Panama sits one point above us in the automatic qualifier and we stand tied with Honduras in the Playoff position (Wild Card basically). The catch is that we have a Goal Differential of +1, while Honduras has -7. This gives us a massive advantage if we were to tie them after next week’s match, as it is the tiebreaker. The table is as follows:

HEX Standings

Panama is a team that the United States is very familiar with. We’ve played them numerous times in the last few years, whether it be in World Cup Qualifying, Copa America or the Gold Cup. We know exactly what they are going to do in order to get the crucial away points they need to possibly secure a birth to at least the World Cup playoff round. Simply put, Panama is not out here to win this game. They’re going to sit back and defend and try to counter, a classic yet valuable strategy to secure road points. If Panama can secure a point before headed home to face Costa Rica and Honduras lost in Costa Rica, their fate can almost be sealed to qualify. One thing the United States needs to do though is be more confident in attack; more specifically the midfield. If the midfield can string passes together and offer more chances for guys like Altidore, Pulisic, Dempsey, and Wood up top, it makes their job much easier in scoring goals. This is something that has been missing for several games for the United States.

Formation choices will also be key. Will coach Bruce Arena choose to go 3 at the back? Will he start with a 4-4-2 to balance out his attack and defence? Will he go with a 4-5-1 with more help beneath the striker to aid in the attack? In my opinion, we stick to a 4-4-2 and only when we go down or it is still tied, we switch to a 3-5-2. Why? Well, we can get the outside backs forward with 3 at the back, as they turn into outside midfielders/defenders aiding in both attack and defence. All while maintaining the numbers in the midfield and still having two strikers up top. The only worry is, we would need to be careful in the counter-attack with only 3 defenders at the back. But this strategy has worked for the U.S. in prior games.

All in all, 3 points would propel us to safety in the automatic qualifier, and a Honduras loss in Costa Rica would almost guarantee us a spot in the playoff round. Here’s what the rest of the matchups are for Friday and Tuesday:

HEX

The crucial game to pay attention to Friday is clearly the Honduras/Costa Rica matchup, as a Costa Rica win would help us tremendously while a tie would only be helpful with a win from the United States. On Tuesday though, we travel to Trinidad with hopes in only needing 1 point to qualify automatically. The big game would include Mexico at Honduras most likely if the results on Friday go as planned; as the U.S. may need Mexico to go to Honduras and get a result. The irony; the United States went to Panama in the last World Cup Qualifying cycle to score a last-minute goal to propel Mexico into the World Cup. Now with the situation flipped and the United States now possibly needing help from bitter rivals Mexico, Tuesday will be a sight to see.

Panama @ United States 7:30pm ET, ESPN

Panama (+500, +1)
United States (-192, -1)
Draw (+260)

This is it. It will come down to the matchups in the middle for about 75% of the game, and hopefully, our backline doesn’t give up too many counter opportunities like we saw in the Costa Rica game a few weeks ago (ugh). We need to get on the scoresheet early, as Panama looks to get out of the first 20-30 minutes without a scratch. Everyone on the team knows it’s one of the biggest American soccer games ever; with its legacy, future, and reputation on the line. Am I nervous? Yeah I’m fucking nervous. But I had a dream we won 2-1 on Monday night so I’ll roll with that. UNITED STATES 2-1!!

Other Matches

Concacaf:
Trinidad @ Mexico -2
(October 7th):
Honduras @ Costa Rica (-122)

Europe:
Serbia @ Austria (+½)
Macedonia @ Italy (-2½)
Albania @ Spain (Over 3½)
(October 7th):
Luxembourg @ Sweden (-3)
Belgium (Pick -116) @ Bosnia
France (-2) @ Bulgaria — BONUS PICK: OVER 3
Greece (-189) @ Cyprus

PARLAYS:
Mexico (-833), Rep. Ireland (-833), Croatia (-700), Ukraine (-1000), France (-500) = (-120)

RECORD:

After an average Champions League record last week and a below average yesterday, my record sits at:

50-46-6, 11-10 (parlays)

Could be worse, as I have yet to post a losing total record. But I expect more out of myself. Things always turn around, and you just have to ride each wave.

That’s all for the weekend games. May we all pray that by 9:30 pm on Friday night I’m not in a ditch somewhere in Old City Philadelphia and instead crushing American brews in celebration. Hope everyone has a good weekend, I’ll be back afterwards to recap and predict the next round of matches on Tuesday.

Stay kickin’ it. Peace.

Twitter: @nicodegallo

European and South American Qualifiers

I’m going to post a quick-pick blog post about the World Cup Qualifer games today (Thursday Oct. 5), before I post my USA and weekend qualifier picks and previews later tonight. Euro qualifiers start at 12:00 and 2:45 and the South American qualifiers start later at 7:00! 

Brazil (-121)

Uruguay (-145)

England (-1.5)

Germany (-1.5)

Slovakia v. Scotland (Over 2)

Norway v. San Marino (Over 4)
PARLAYS:

Poland, Romania, Germany = (EVEN)

Argentina, Chile, Colombia = (+120)

Hope you guys enjoy the action and don’t forget to check back later for a complete analysis of the USA’s do or die qualifier and this weekend’s picks! 

Stay kickin it. Peace. 

Twitter: @nicodegallo 

Champions League Preview

This Tuesday/Wednesday slate of Champions League games may be one of the best collection of games in the Group Stage I’ve seen in a while. Let’s get into it.

Record: 42-34-4, 9-9 Parlays

Tuesday:

Real Madrid @ Borussia Dortmund 2:45 pm ET:

Real Madrid (+156, Pick -111)
Borussia Dortmund (+166, Pick -105)
Draw (+240)

We wanted it, we got it. Rematch of last year’s group stage where Dortmund ended up top of their group and Madrid ended up winning the whole thing (they split the group stage last year with a draw a piece). Pulisic v. Ronaldo, a streaking hot Dortmund team v. a cold out of form Real Madrid team, and to top it off it will be in one of the best settings in world football. Last year Pulisic absolutely dominated the best team in the world and put himself on the map as one of the top young talents in the world. As usual Dortmund will get off to a hot start but I think Madrid will respond well and play the better second half. I think it will be a 1-1 draw but I’ll lean Dortmund due to their form and unbelievable home field advantage and take the Dortmund Pick -105.

Other Tuesday Picks:

Maribor @ Sevilla (-2)
Liverpool @ Spartak Moscow (+1)
Shakhtar Donetsk @ Manchester City (-2)
Feyenoord @ Napoli (-2½)
Tottenham @ APOEL Nicosia (+1½)
RB Leipzig @ Besiktas (+½)
FC Porto @ Monaco (-½)

Home teams!!

Wednesday:

Chelsea @ Atletico Madrid 2:45 pm ET:

Chelsea (+235, +½)
Atletico Madrid (+114, -½)
Draw (+225)

This is going to be a tight game through and through, as Chelsea’s attack can be very potent, but Atletico is known for their stingy defense and holding teams to max 1 goal. Atletico will be christening their new stadium for Champions League play and it should be a spectacle. I think it will be low scoring but Atletico will get on the scoresheet early and it will be too much for Chelsea. Atletico 1-0.

Bayern Munich @ Paris Saint Germain 2:45 pm ET:

Bayern (+250, +½)
PSG (-105, -½)
Draw (+250)

Two more European powerhouses square off this week as the German squad travels to Paris (insert PFT joke here). But seriously this should be an absolutely awesome game as two attack-driven sides who play exciting footy will be going at it. Neymar and Mbappe finally play against a marquee opponent for Paris, and for the first time at home in the competition. To be honest, I have no clue how this one is going to go, but Paris seems to have the form and they’re home and that’s usually a big advantage when playing midweek in the Champions League. Bayern have also lost Neuer to a broken foot for the second time in two years, leaving the German side without arguably the best goalie of the past 5 years. Paris to win 2-0.

Other Wednesday Games:

Manchester United (-1) @ CSKA Moscow
Benfica (Pick -160) @ Basel
Celtic @ Anderlecht (Pick -133) –> as of 12:00 9/27
Roma (-1) 
@ Qarabag (12:00 pm ET LOVE ROMA HERE)
Olympiakos @ Juventus -2½)
FC Barcelona @ Sporting Lisbon (+1½)

Parlay:
Man City (-500), Sevilla (-625), Napoli (-714), Juventus (-769) = (-130)

That’s all for what should be an awesome stretch of games over two days in the Champions League. Be sure to tune in on FS1 and FS2 for the games including Pulisic playing against Real Madrid.

Stay kickin’ it. Peace.

Matchweek 6 Review

Matchweek 6 didn’t have too many surprises but provided us with some great matches as 6 of the 10 games were 1-goal affairs. Here’s how the weekend shaped up:

matchweek 6

Matchweek 6:   6-3-1, 1-0
Total Record:   42-34-4, 9-9 Parlays

Quick Hits: Tottenham traveled across London to visit West Ham and took a 3-0 lead until receiving a red card and promptly gave up 2 late goals, only to hold on 3-2. Everton finally got off on the right foot after finishing off Bournemouth 2-1. Manchester City yet AGAIN dismantled an opponent, this time Crystal Palace the recipient. City won 5-0 and have become the first team in league history to win 3 games in a row by at least 5 goals. Manchester United eeked out a crucial 1-0 away win at Southampton. Chelsea went to Stoke, one of the toughest places to play, and dismantled the home side 4-0. Liverpool avenged their midweek Cup loss at Leicester, as they went back to play them again on Saturday and won 3-2. Arsenal had a crucial 2-0 victory against West Brom behind Lacazette’s two goals on Monday.

After 6 games into the Premier League season this is how the table shapes up:

table 9-25

Takeaways: As I predicted in my Season Preview blog, it was going to be the Manchester Show at the top, with City only above United on goal differential. Both squads are playing exceptionally well, with City almost looking unstoppable. Luckily we will see how City will fare away at Chelsea, which is shaping up to be an amazing matchup on Saturday.

Chelsea sit in third, just 3 points behind the Manchester clubs. Those 3 points could be crucial if they can pull off a win against City. With wins from Tottenham and Liverpool, 5 of the ‘top 6′ clubs now sit in the top 6 positions, with Arsenal just falling behind in 7th. Watford, sitting in 6th, has been the sneaky surprise of the group. Many people, including myself, had them in position to be relegated.

Everton climbed up to 14th luckily with a win from the weekend as they could’ve been in position to be relegated.  The blues are adjusting to life without Lukaku, and should be on the rise as realistically they are only 3 points behind the top 7. Rounding out the table is Crystal Palace, who have yet to win and have yet to score a goal. They became the first team ever to lose their first 5 games without scoring a goal before their match with City (that number is now 6 with 0 goals).

I have posted a Champions League Preview blog, as Ronaldo and Real Madrid go to Dortmund to play American Hero Pulisic, Bayern travel to Paris to take on PSG, and Chelsea go to Madrid to play Atletico Madrid. Should be a tasty Tuesday/Wednesday.

Stay kickin’ it. Peace.

Matchweek 6 Preview

Quick blog post here, as I’ll just recap my record from the midweek, and give you the picks for the weekend.

Midweek: 1-2 Parlays
Real Madrid lost in one of the bigger upsets in recent soccer history, as Real Betis (+3500 !!) beat them in Madrid 1-0 and in turn snapped 2 of my 3 parlays. This breaks a crazy 73-game goal scoring streak from Real Madrid, as the last time they were kept scoreless was in April 2016.

But life goes on even if the craziest upset ever destroys 2/3 of your parlays….

Total Record: 36-31-3, 8-9 Parlays

Matchweek 6 Picks:

Saturday:

Tottenham (-1) @ West Ham
Huddersfield Town (+½) @ Burnley
Bournemouth @ Everton (-150)
Crystal Palace @ Manchester City (-2½)
Manchester United (-140) @ Southampton
Chelsea @ Stoke City (+½)
Watford @ Swansea City (Pick -155)
Liverpool (-115) 
@ Leicester City

Sunday:

Newcastle @ Brighton & Hove Albion (Pick -120)

Monday:

West Brom @ Arsenal (-1½)

Parlay:

Real Madrid (-575), Manchester City (-700), Roma (-400), Napoli (-475) = EVEN

Christian Pulisic BabyJesus Watch:

Christian Pulisic scored a beautiful goal just 2 days after his 19th birthday and helped lead Dortmund to a great 3-0 win. Pulisic also was among the nominees for the Golden Boy Award, which is given out to the top young player in the world under 21 years of age. He is among 25 other nominees and even though he is not expected to win the award he becomes the first American nominated. Not a bad week for the teenager!

I’ll be back this week to cover how each team is doing, as I analyze (from top to bottom) how each team has looked 6 games into the season in a big blog. Hope everyone enjoys the weekend of Futbol!

Stay kickin’ it. Peace.

 

Matchweek 5 Review + Bonus Midweek Parlays

This past weekend was another captivating Premier League weekend as a lot of the ‘Top 6’ teams dropped crucial points in winnable games (Spurs, Liverpool and Chelsea?) at home. Several teams showed why they could be the powers of the league and others showed their flaws and weaknesses.

Quick Hits: Manchester City absolutely throttled Watford at Watford 6-0, as Aguero tallied his 6th hat-trick, equaling Wayne Rooney in Premier League hat-tricks in 278 fewer games. Liverpool dominated Burnley with over 70% possession and outshot the visitors 35-5 (9-4 on goal) but they were held to a draw as Burnley look like one of the tougher lower-tier teams to play against this year. Tottenham continued their Wembley curse as they were held to a scoreless draw by Swansea even with 70% possession and keeping the Swans to not shots on target (26-4 total shots). Manchester United cruised past Rooney’s Everton in his emotional return to Old Trafford 4-0. And finally, Chelsea and Arsenal fought a very physical match to a 0-0 draw, with the stats almost even on all fronts.

Here’s how my record looks after the weekend:

Matchweek 5 Record: 8-5, 2-1 Parlays

Total Record: 36-31-3, 7-7 Parlays
(56% win/push rate)

This midweek slew of matches is a Cup Week for English teams;  which means most big clubs will be playing smaller, lower-division clubs. These domestic tournaments are sporadic season-long tournaments to get lower-division squads more exposure to play against the legendary big clubs (aka a money-grab). In England, there are two different domestic cups; Carabao Cup (sponsor lol), and the FA Cup (the one everyone actually cares about). Sadly, this one is the Carabao cup but it will still be cool to see these clubs with budgets of a high school team square off against the European giants. Most of the rest of Europe will be playing normal mid-week league games (La Liga, Serie A and Bundesliga).

Nonetheless, it provides us with MASSIVE favorites, which we all know I love to combine for juicy parlays; so let’s rip it.

Barcelona (-840), Real Madrid (-800), Chelsea (-900), Arsenal (-1020), Man U (-1250) = (-160)
This parlay is FULL of big home favorites that I genuinely don’t see losing… if there is one parlay I recommend you take it’s this one. (FYI these games are spanned out over Tuesday and Wednesday).

West Ham (-312), Chelsea (-900), Arsenal (-1020), Man City (-256), Man U (-1250) = (+140)
This is what I like to call the ‘Carabao Special’, as I take all home favorites (with the exception of Man City as they travel to West Brom… who have lost to City 13 out of the last 15 times.

Juventus (-278), AC Milan (-400), Roma (-294), FC Barcelona (-840), Real Madrid (-800) = (+180)
This parlay is a bit different, as I chose to roll with a bigger payout. The only flaws in this are Roma who are away to the worst team in the league off a short week (still I think a strong bet) and Juventus who are home to a better side in Fiorentina. I still feel confident that this one will hit though.

Christian Pulisic Baby Jesus Watch:

A very happy birthday to the now 19-year-old hope to American Soccer from Hershey, PA. Before turning 19 years old, Pulisic has:

  • Became the youngest non-German to score in the Bundesliga (German Leauge)
  • Became the youngest player ever to have 2 career goals in the Bundesliga
  • He became the first American with both a goal and an assist in a ChampionsLeague knockout game
  • He became the fourth American to play in the Champions League quarterfinals
  • He’s fourth in total appearances in Champions League play for an American
  • Youngest American to play in a World Cup Qualifying match
  • Youngest American to score in a Qualifier (17 years old)
  • He leads the United States in assists during this Qualifying round (5 in 11 matches)

Oh, and this:

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That is all for today folks, hope you can follow the picks and keep the positive record rolling as I have yet to have a negative record this year.

As always you can follow me on Twitter @nicodegallo, but until next time;

Stay kickin’ it. Peace.