We get it. Not everyone wants to wake up at 7:45 on a weekend morning to watch soccer, especially when college football and the NFL demand our attention the rest of the day. It takes a certain type of dedication to embrace football as the world knows it. Luckily for you, TSFJ’s soccer heads Dillon Friday and Carden Hedelt take it upon themselves to watch as much of the Barclays Premier League as possible. The two gents are kind enough to share their thoughts here. Feel free to sleep in next weekend. We’ve got you covered.
Southampton 8, Sunderland 0
It's nearly impossible to contextualize an 8-0 win in professional soccer. It just doesn't happen at the top level, or anywhere in the sport save for U6 when the blue team stacks its side with all of the athletes while the red team carries the kids whose parents force them to play. Little Susie doesn't want to be there at all, except maybe to pick flowers and sit on the sideline while Jimmy Frederick dribbles the ball into the goal and dad records the whole thing on his iPhone. I've seen that play out. More than once.
But in the English Premier League? No. Southampton has a very good to great attacking side, but no one would say “If things break the right way, the Saints could bag eight against any opponent.” And Sunderland, to the club's credit, had been one of the stingiest defenses in the Premiership. The Black Cats conceded seven goals entering Saturday's game (used loosely here), good enough for second in the league.
And then... Southampton 8, Sunderland 0. There's no other way to say it. It's like when someone asks you about Shakespeare or wonders how Milton composed Paradise Lost. How do you respond? Have you ever tried to explain the greatness of The Big Lebowski to someone who hasn't seen it? You can't. You just have to let them sit back, watch, and enjoy.
That's what I would have done Saturday morning. Instead, I chose to stay up til three in the morning the night before celebrating my friend's wedding (congrats, Ian and Danielle!). I crawled out of bed at 11:30 and received a text from my college roommate who is the biggest Arsenal supporter I know.
“At least your boys are playing well,” he said, while his Gunners were working on a 2-2 draw with Hull City.
Apparently, they were.
Will West Ham And Southampton Regress?
Take a look at the Premier League table, and tell me you're not surprised. You should be.
It's no surprise that Chelsea and Manchester City are leading the way. Southampton being third and West Ham in fourth is a complete surprise.
They finished in eighth and 13th last season, so they're both making big jumps, especially Southampton. The Saints sold a collection of star players in the summer, including Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw, Dejan Lovren, Calum Chambers and Ricky Lambert, to the tune of around 80 million pounds. They lost their manager, Mauricio Pochettino, as well and replaced him with Ronald Koeman
Both West Ham and Southampton's early season successes should be praised and marveled. For Southampton, losing a core of a team and reloading to be even better on the table is more than any fan could ask for (Dill's note: Yep). At West Ham, a nine-spot jump has been fueled largely in part to a shrewd bit of business in signing Diafra Sakho, who has six goals in the last six games. For 3.5 million pounds, that's a steal.
But with less than a quarter of the season gone, can they keep it up? Probably not, or at least not at this rate.
When you look at Southampton's wins, there hasn't been a lot of quality in their opposition. In the Premier League, Southampton have beaten West Ham, Newcastle, Swansea, QPR, and Sunderland. That's 15 points, with nine of those points coming from teams who are 17th or worse in the league (Sunderland-17th, Newcastle-18th, QPR-20th). West Ham looks like a good win right now but when you look at the Hammers' wins, you see largely a similar picture: they've beaten Crystal Palace (16th), Liverpool (5th), QPR and Burnley (19th).
Southampton might keep it up for a while. The club's next four games are ones it should win (Stoke City-10th, Hull City-11th, Leicester City-14th and Aston Villa-12th) before a tough winter schedule. West Ham might falter some in the coming weeks, hosting Manchester City next weekend and visiting Everton a little more than a month from now.
You can't play soccer on paper. Teams get lucky. Teams are better than you think they are. But if any two teams could regress, it's probably Southampton and West Ham.
Jose Mourinho Says That Chelsea Has 'Big Balls'
"Chelsea has big balls" sounds like a less than clever chant that middle school kids use to taunt girls that they like. Now, it's apparently the highest praise for the best team in England and maybe all of Europe.
Say what you will about Mourinho. No, I mean that. Please do. You know he'll have an answer right back. As for the big balls, I'll have to take his word for it.
Also, internet, I need you to mix the above video with this AC/DC song. Thanks.
The Bank Is Open, Raheem Sterling Style
Liverpool was tied with last place QPR in the 95th minute. The visitors scored to lead 2-1 after the 90 minutes was up only to concede another to QPR.
Then this happened.
We can't be sure that Raheem Sterling meant this, but given the misses that came from Mario Ballotelli throughout the course of the game, it might have been the safer bet.
We have to call this one like basketball though. Unless Sterling shouted "banks are open!" when the pass left his foot, he didn't mean it.
Carden's Goal Of The Weekend: Santiago Vergini, The Peyton Manning Of Own Goal Scorers
You won't see a better own goal than this, ever. There are a lot of goals that players score for their own team that aren't as good as this goal.
The strike is almost perfect here, which makes you wonder: was this shot intentional? Did Santiago Vergini think that he was attacking or was this just a historically horrible clearance attempt?
Maybe Santiago Vergini messed it up. Maybe he's kin to Jim Marshall, the former Minnesota Viking who was directionally challenged. Either way, it's a fantastic goal...for everyone but Vergini.
Dillon's Goal Of The Weekend: Cesc Fabregas And Oscar Lead Chelsea
I couldn't decide which goal I liked more, Oscar's right-footed free kick from the right side, a neat trick, or Cesc Fabregas' superb team goal. So I gave you the full match highlights instead of choosing one. Note how the balls used are, in fact, regulation-size, despite what Mourinho suggests.
We'll see you next weekend. By the way, Southampton just scored again.
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