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Thursday Hoddle of Coffee, Soccer News and Links, February 2, 2017

Thanks, Hull City!

Manchester United v Hull City - Premier League Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

Well, this round of Premier League matches turned out to be pretty OK for us. Sure, we had a crap draw against a team that should get relegated at season’s end, but at least it was an away fixture and at least it was a draw.

  • Arsenal lost at home to Watford.
  • Man United drew at home against Hull.
  • Liverpool and Chelsea drew too.

What it means is that we actually gained ground on Arsenal this round and the only top six rival we lost ground to is Manchester City, who seem to be good again now that Pep is playing the Lunatic 4-1-4-1 thing again. (Playing West Ham probably doesn’t hurt.)

Now we head into a weekend schedule that has Chelsea hosting Arsenal, Liverpool traveling to a Hull team that suddenly looks less catastrophically bad, City playing a Swansea team that is showing signs of life, and Spurs hosting the division’s most boring side, Middlesbrough.

A realistic best-case scenario for us is probably a Spurs win, a Chelsea win, and Liverpool or City drawing their game. (Man United is traveling to Leicester but the Foxes look really, really bad right now so let’s not count on anything from them.) I’m not saying that’s what will happen, of course, but I think it’s what we should root for. Hurt Arsenal as much as possible plus ding City, Liverpool, or United. How are you all feeling after this round of fixtures?

On to the Links

Crystal Palace is taking a page from Sunderland’s playbook: Spend tons of money and manage to still look like crap.

There’s another new study out on heading the ball and concussions. It’s not fun reading.

Manuel Veth explained why some Mexican players have three-digit shirt numbers in this interesting post.

Howler explains what the hell happened on David Luiz’s free kick goal earlier this week.