Manchester City’s unbeaten run came to an end in a thrilling match against Liverpool where although City looked good, Liverpool controlled the match from start to finish. Of course along with the my City pick, my week was a bad one. But we pick it up and we ‘Move Along’ like the All-American Rejects.
Matchweek 23: 3-6-1
All-Time Record: 158-141-38
A quick recap on what’s going on around the world of sokker:
The final unbeaten team in Europe’s top 5 leagues (a.k.a. the only ones people give a shit about) Barcelona lost their first match over the weekend. Messi missed a penalty (yikes) on their way to a 1-0 loss, but their lead at the top of La Liga is still yuuuuge.
Alexis Sanchez did the ol’ switcheroo and is now headed to Manchester United instead of Manchester City. Hey at least he doesn’t have to look for different real estate… savvy move Alexis, savvy move
In return, Arsenal seem to be set to land former Dortmund teammates Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan (no those are not jokes, those are their real names and they know how to ball). Aubameyang led the Bundesliga in goals last season and his former connection with Mkyitaryan will prove to be a potent addition to the Arsenal attack.
Alright let’s get to the good stuff…
Chelsea (-1) @ Brighton – Oddly enough, Chelsea has had 5 straight draws in regulation in their last 5 matches. Brighton have actually been pretty good against the spread, pushing or winning in over 60% of their matches. Adding that to the fact that Chelsea had an FA Cup match on Wednesday that went the distance and needed a penalty shootout, makes me want to lean Brighton here. But the Blues only started about 4 possible starters, subbing in 4 other starters late enough in the match for them to be well-rested. This is where Chelsea need to make the push to solidify their place in the top 4. Even if (-1) pushes, I like Chelsea here. Hazard looking at that line like…
Bournemouth (+0.5) @ West Ham – The Hammers have been en fuego as of late since David Moyes took over, who has done a phenominal job righting the ship (yeah I didn’t think I was ever going to say that about Moyes either). Both teams played midweek matches, but Bournemouth is riding the momentum of their win at home to Arsenal last weekend. Bournemouth are covering above 50%, one of only 4 teams who have done so this year (due to the amount of pushes in soccer). I like Bournemouth with the points here.
Watford @ Leicester City (-0.5) – After Watford’s hot start this season, their injuries and suspensions set them back and are now in the Purge Zone. *Purge Zone being the space between 9th and 16 which is separated by 4 points*. The fact that these two teams played in the league a few weeks ago where Leicester blew a 1-0 lead along with Leicester’s recent form leads me to believe they’ll get revenge at home this time around.
Huddersfield (+0.5) @ Stoke – Stoke fired their manager before last weekend’s match, and still sit at the top of the relegation zone. Their hiring of Paul Lambert is a surprising one, and I think he’ll need some time to settle in. They’re one of only 3 teams with 5 draws or less in the bottom 10, and are covering at a abysmal rate of 26%. Huddersfield meanwhile have kept steady form all year long, and a win could see them theoretically jump back into the top 10. Expect a draw here so take the points. Huddersfield’s American manager David Wagner knows how to deal with it…
West Brom @ Everton (-0.5) – Lookey here, the shite match of the weekend. Both teams look completely lost right now, with Everton only getting two points from their last 6 matches. Granted, 4 of those matches have come against Chelsea, Man United, Liverpool and Tottenham but regardless Everton have looked completely lost in those fixtures. West Brom meanwhile got their first win this last weekend in 21 matches, but I think it will be short lived. Everton are desperate to pull away from the Purge Zone, and need 3 points.
Manchester United @ Burnley (+1) – In one of the sneaky best (or not so sneaky anymore) matches of the weekend, Man U travel to Burnley to get revenge on their 2-2 draw at Old Trafford. After briefly entering the top 4 though, Burnley have yet to win in their last 6 in the league. But with a spread of 1, they don’t need to win and Burnley are the masters of keeping it a 1-goal game whether winning or losing. They’re bottom 5 in goals scored, but more importantly they’re top 4 in goals allowed. This one will be tight at Turf Moore.
Crystal Palace (+1) @ Arsenal – Another darling of a match here, and if I told you that after week 6 you would’ve laughed in my face. After a run of 12 straight league wins at home, Arsenal have yet to win in their last 4 at the Emirates. To add to Arsenal’s worries, after Palace’s run of 8 straight away league losses they have yet to lose in their last 5 away from home. The rumors of transfers surrounding Arsenal and #WengerOut are surely suffocating the players and the absences of Giroud and Sanchez won’t help them. This is the exact game where Arsenal don’t show up as they play to every team’s level. This may be my dumb pick of the weekend but you have to “Be Bolder” as Canelo Alvarez says.
Newcastle United @ Manchester City (-2.5) – This may sound really stupid, but this may be the biggest match of the season for City. Before you call the police to take my crazy ass away let me explain. 1. Coming off their first domestic loss of the season, they have to make sure they regain form immediately or the press will have a field day. 2. This game can either go 1-0 or 5-0 in the blink of an eye, and as of late City haven’t had big wins to make opponents fear them. A big win would restore the fear other teams have. 3. If they can get 3 points and keep their path to sealing the title, it gives City time to rest players and focus on the upcoming FA Cup/Carabao Cup/Champions League slate over these next few months. City have been historically good against Newcastle at home, and I think this will be a big statement bounce-back match from them. Orrrrrr they’ll win 2-0 and piss me off with the spread being 2.5 because God hates us all.
Tottenham (-1) @ Southampton – Southampton have both been in poor form in the league as of late and against Spurs over their last few meetings. In Spurs’ last 11 matches, their only loss has been at Manchester City, and have been looking like a sure top 4 side over the last two months. Kane is scoring, Son is scoring, Alli is creating and Eriksen is back to his old self. I hate betting against desperation, as Southampton are 1 point out of the relegation zone but Spurs are just too good right now. Bet the form!
Liverpool @ Swansea City (+1.5) – This is a wonky one to pick. The Swans are in full desperation mode as they sit in dead last in need of any type of points. Outside of their 5-0 throttling in Liverpool a few weeks ago, the Swans have only lost by more than 1 goal twice in their last 10 meetings. For what it’s worth, the Swans haven’t been crushed outside of that loss at Liverpool and seem to be fighting for their lives. Call me crazy, I don’t care. #DoItForBigCat #JackArmy
*BONUS PICK — Sunday, 2:45*:
Roma @ Inter Milan (Pick -125)
That’s all I got for this weekend. I hope everyone can watch some quality footy before the Championship Sunday starts (please God have the eagles win). Not many high-quality matchups and no top 6 matchups, but the table from the top 4 to the Purge Zone will be shifted greatly this weekend in the Premier League. Until next time…
Stay Kickin’ It. Peace.