UEFA Super Cup – Chelsea Vs. Liverpool

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Liverpool at -155 for 4 units. Liverpool are one of the best teams in the World. Chelsea are not. Chelsea started a guy named Tammy at striker in their 4-0 loss to Manchester United over the weekend. Sorry Tammy, you may be a star one day.. but not quite yet. Hazard is gone, Loftus-Cheek and CHO are hurt. Pulisic, Kante, and Barkley are not enough to beat Liverpool.  Chelsea’s manager, Frank Lampard, is trying to implement a pressing style that got caught on the counter attack too often against Man U. Salah, Mane, and others should get it done for Klopp’s side. Stephanie Frappart will make history as a female referee today. Yay diversity!

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UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifying

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Germany/Belarus over 3 at -101 for 7 units. First ever competitive match between these two countries. Belarus are last in their group after a 4-0 loss to the Dutch, followed by a 2-1 loss to Northern Ireland. Die Mannschaft will want to play well against Belarus and Estonia because Northern Ireland and the Netherlands are not going away. Gnabry, Sane, and Reus should be able to help each other score. Although it is still early, Belarus almost have to win this game.. so I expect them to play aggressive. Belarus have given up 3.5 goals a game at home against top 20 nations recently. Germany averaged over 4 goals a game in World Cup qualifying. Germany will score.

Tottenham Vs. Liverpool – Champions League Final Predictions

It’s here!! No Ronaldo or Messi, but there are still some of the best players in the World playing in this game. This is the second-ever all England Champions League final. Liverpool won both Premier League games 2-1 this season, but this game will have much more intensity. Liverpool have kept a clean sheet in 6 of their last 8 competitive victories.

Mohamed Salah of Liverpool will score 1 or more goals against Tottenham Hotspur at +140 for 3 units. Salah only played 30 minutes in last year’s final after Sergio Ramos knocked him out before halftime. Salah will want to make up for lost time here. Danny Rose is solid, but I think Salah has a better chance at scoring than these odds imply.

Sadio Mane of Liverpool will score 1 or more goals against Tottenham Hotspur at +150 for 3 units. Mane has scored first for Liverpool in 5 of the last 6 games he has scored in. If Rose can stop Salah, I’m not convinced Trippier will be able to stop Mane. At least, one of these two has to score right?

P.S. The gif above is Salah sending his former teammate De Rossi into retirement.

Lucas Moura Puts Tottenham on His Back

Wow. After Liverpool came back from 3-0 down against Barcelona yesterday, I thought the Champions League was out of magic. Lucas Moura proved me wrong. Ajax were up 3-0 on Tottenham on aggregate at halftime… Tottenham are moving on thanks to the second-half Lucas Moura hattrick.

You can’t write Champions League any better. Ziyech and Ajax had their chances to put the game away, but they did not advantage. Liverpool – Tottenham will play in the Champions League Final.

 

Messi Made Another One, Even Klopp Smiled

Messi is so damn good. I’ll miss him more than any other athlete when he retires. Liverpool’s wall. Trump’s wall. Messi don’t care. He is scoring over/around it. Barcelona win the first leg at home 3-0. Ajax may be the only team that can stop Barcelona and Messi. Yes. Ajax. Barca will take at least 2 of Ajax’s players this off-season..

 

Champions League Recap, Messi and Ronaldo Need to Chill (Mane is Good Too) – Europa League Predictions

Ronaldo’s aerial ability, leadership, and sheer athleticism dominated his forever rival Atletico Madrid. Juventus were down 2-0 after the first leg, but a Ronaldo hat-trick erased that deficit.

I mean what more can be said about this man. Juventus signed him to win these games and he does more than enough for the team. Szczęsny and Bernardeschi were amazing as well, but Juventus doesn’t move on without Ronaldo. I’m on team Messi in this great debate, but Jesus, Ronaldo makes it hard to hate him with performances like this. Diego Simeone’s “showing” of his team’s big balls was awesome in the first leg, but Ronaldo got the last laugh.

Man City beat Schalke 9-2 on aggregate. Pep has nothing but respect for Ronaldo and knows that he has to go through him or an equally amazing person to get his first Champions League title with Manchester City….

That equally amazing person… Lio Messi. Barcelona did not score in the away leg at Lyon. They scored at the Camp Nou though and won 5-1 on aggregate. Messi didn’t get a hat-trick like Ronaldo.. he only had 2 goals and 2 assists.

I honestly just feel blessed that I get to watch these two in their prime. I was too young to watch Michael Jordan in his prime and got stuck with this Lebron guy, but Messi and Ronaldo show GOATness every time they get on the pitch.

Bayern tied Liverpool 0-0 in Liverpool in the first leg, but that clean sheet was not enough for Bayern as they lost 3-1 at home in the second leg. Messi and Ronaldo are the two best players in the World, but Mane is 3rd in my opinion. Step aside Salah, Hazard, Modric, Kane, Lewandowski, De Gea, and whoever else.

Mane’s first touch on his first goal is simply sublime. He is the best in the world at the first time touch that goes backwards a few yards. Every time he does it, it seems so calculated. Klopp is my favorite manager right now. He won me over when he first joined Liverpool with this interview.

Little did I know he would take this Liverpool team to greatness. Salah, Mane, van Dijk, Alisson, Henderson, and many others are playing at their best under Klopp. There are some great managers left in the Champions league and he is certainly one of the best of this elite group. Manuel Neuer seemed to be playing as a centre-back for most of the game. Not wise against Liverpool’s fantastic forwards.

I doubt Europa can surpass what we saw in Champions league over the past few days simply because this competition lacks Messi, Ronaldo, and Mane; however, with 8 teams getting knocked out of Europe today, drama will happen.

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“I’m blowing ganja, so much work they call me old school, I remind ya” It’s always a winning day when new Schoolboy Q comes out.

Rennes +2 at -144 for 8 units. Arsenal will be without Bellerin, Holding, and Sokratis in this game. That means Mustafi will start. That is a plus for Rennes. Rennes won the first leg 3-1. Rennes were not supposed to beat Real Betis and they definitely are not supposed to beat Arsenal, but Rennes don’t care bout that. The French side backed their first leg victory with a 3-1 result against Caen over the weekend. Rennes have scored in 13 of their past 14 away games. Benjamin Bourigeaud has scored in each of his last 3 games for Rennes. Sarr, Ben Arfa, and Grenier each have more goals in this competition than any player on the Gunners. Arsenal have to win by 2 or more, but they won’t get it done. Arsenal gets knocked out of Europe today.

Frankfurt +0 at +136 for 4 units. Frankfurt average over 2 goals in away European matches this season. Ivan Perisic has never lost to Frankfurt and they were the last team he scored against before leaving the Bundesliga. Sorry Perisic, but I think that run ends today. Icardi, Miranda, and Nainggolan are all less than 100% for Inter even if they play. Asamoah and Martinez are out due to card suspensions for Inter. Jovic, Haller, and Gacinovic of Frankfurt are too much offense for Inter to handle in this one.

Arsenal/Rennes over 3 at -142 for 3 units. Arsenal have to beat Rennes by more than two and are missing 3 defenders. This game will see goals.

Valencia +0 at -149 for 2 units. Valencia are scoring more than they are drawing lately, which is saying a lot because they seem to love ties more than Ronaldo loves scoring hat-tricks in the Champions League… That’s how you make an article come full-circle ladies and gentlemen.

 

Sunday Soccer – Manchester United at Arsenal and Leverkusen at Hannover

Battle for 4th place takes place in the Premier League today with 4th place United against 5th place Arsenal. Also, 6th place Chelsea plays 7th place Wolves. Tottenham’s loss to Southampton opens the door for a different top 4 than the beginning of the year foretold. Arsenal are undefeated in home league games this calendar year. United has 9 away wins in a row under Ole Gunnar Solskjær. He hasn’t lost on the road since being appointed manager. United are missing Mata and “Arsenal Killer” Lingard. Holding and Bellerin are still out for the Gunners. Holding’s reading of the game and Bellerin’s pace could be missed in this one against Lukaku, Pogba, and Rashford. My lean is towards Man U.

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Bayern Leverkusen -1 at -166 for 10 units. Hannover might be the most injured team in European football. Hannover have given up 11 goals over their past 3 games. Leverkusen missed a penalty and couldn’t take advantage of Felipe’s 57th minute red card in their 2-2 draw at home against Hannover earlier this season. Bellarabi scored in the 94th minute to secure that draw for Leverkusen. Julian Brandt is in great form and is scoring, as well as creating lately. The Over/under is set at 3.5. This game will have goals. Leverkusen have the better defense and better attacking options. This one could get ugly for Hannover’s goalkeeper Michael Esser.

Saturday Soccer

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Leicester City at -172 for 10 units. Fulham have secured only 2 points on the road all season. Tielemans has been a great addition so far for Leicester. He has an assist in their last two games from the midfield. Fulham give up over 2 goals a match. Leicester haven’t lost a match this year that David Coote has refereed (1 win and 1 draw). Vardy will score if he starts, but if Grey starts he will score. Like this spot.

Espanyol at Athletic Bilbao and Schalke at Werder Bremen Previews

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Athletic Bilbao at -152 for 3 units. Borja Iglesias has been one of the few bright spots this season for Espanyol, but he is out on yellow card suspension in this one. Sergi Darder, one of Espanyol’s better midfielders is also out on yellow card suspension. Espanyol are tied with Eibar as the worst away teams in the league (8 points gained on road games this season). Raul Garcia, Inaki Williams, and Iker Muniain have all been solid this season for Bilbao. Garcia has scored their last 3 goals. Espanyol suck on the road and are missing multiple key players. Line should be closer to -230 IMO.

Bilbao/Espanyol over 2 at -142 for 3 units. 11 of Espanyol’s past 12 games in all competitions have pushed or gone over this number. The one that didn’t go over, was a nil-nil game against Valencia. Valencia barely score a goal a game and have 15 draws in La Liga this season, so that is an outlier. Bilbao score at least 2 by themselves in this one.

Werder Bremen at +114 for 3 units. Schalke haven’t scored in the league in over 330 minutes. Eggestein and Kruse do enough for Werder Bremen here.

Europa League Playoffs – Should Teams Focus on Their Domestic Campaigns or Winning Europa?

Arsenal and Chelsea are 5th and 6th respectively in the Premier League. Arsenal are one point behind Manchester United for the 4th Champions League spot. Chelsea are two points behind. Sevilla and Valencia are 6th and 7th respectively in La Liga. Sevilla are 5 points away from the Champions League spot. Valencia are 6 points away. Similarly, Frankfurt are 3 points out of the Champions League spots in the Bundesliga. The question for their managers are, do we rest in the first leg and focus on the league, dominate the first leg and then rest, or just rest and then focus on the Champions League spots in the league? Not an easy spot for coaches. Anyway, onto today’s games..

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Sevilla -1 at -132 for 4 units. Sevilla are outscoring opponents 24-1 at The Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium in European play. I have been to a few games there in Sevilla and was disappointed that the beer was alcohol free… but Sevilla’s product on the field was great. Slavia Prague have never made it to this stage. Sevilla have won this competition 3 times. Ben Yedder and Sarabia are starting, which I love. Andre Silva is not starting for Sevilla, which I also love. Munir is getting another chance. Sevilla will want to dominate this game so they can rest a little in the second leg and focus on the league. I think they achieve that goal.

Villarreal/Zenit over 2 at -129 for 3 units. Zenit’s home games average over 2 goals a game in this competition. Zenit have been scoring most of their home goals after halftime lately.. so don’t get all nervous on me at halftime. Sardar Azmoun has found fine form since arriving in St. Petersburg recently. Dzyuba is always a threat. Villarreal’s last 4 games have all seen at least 2 goals. First legs overs are always a little dicey, but I like this one.

Arsenal Vs. Rennes over 2/ Inter Vs. Frankfurt over 2/ Chelsea Parlay risking 3 units at +140. Arsenal’s defense has been lacking ever since Holding went out with injury. Ben Arfa has been great this calendar year for Rennes. Aubameyang, Ozil, and Iwobi should provide enough creativity and pace to get a goal. Rennes’ last 7 games have all seen at least two goals. Rennes impressed me against Real Betis. If you don’t know why I love Frankfurt overs, then you haven’t been reading me. The Recap: Luka Jovic and Sebastien Haller.

Chelsea winning this competition would do wonders for Maurizio Sarri and his job security. Granted, winning this competition only kept Mourinho around in Manchester for a little while longer. I personally don’t think Chelsea will finish in the top 4 with road games at Liverpool and United still on the schedule. Also, I’m 100% sure Hazard will leave for Real Madrid or other greener pastures this offseason if Chelsea do not make Champions League. They go for it and get the win at home today against Dynamo Kiev. Kiev won the easiest group and then beat Olympiakos to get to this stage. Their “luck” runs out today.