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Bobby McMahon

Bobby McMahon

You can see me on Soccer Central most Mondays and Thursdays on Rogers Sportsnet in Canada. I write a regular column for and and frequently guest on various podcasts and radio shows.


A World Title To Be Decided On A Fantastic Sunday of Football

Written by on December 17, 2011 | 6 Comments »
Posted in Arsenal, Aston Villa, Lazio, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, QPR, Sunderland, Tottenham Hotspur, Udinese

FIFA Club World Cup Final

Santos v Barcelona

  • Certainly the final everyone expected and largely on account of Santos holding on to most of their players after winning the Copa Libertadores one of the most promising
  • Santos Coach Muricy Ramalho Santos has young team with a couple of vets, the likes of Elano, and Borges who was a signing post Copa Libertadores 
  • It is the youngsters that receive most of the attention – Neymar, Ganso, Alan Kardec (returned to Brazil from a spell with Benfica), Danilo (joining Porto during transfer window) 
  • Semi-final opponents Kashiwa Reysol were not able to exploit a Santos defense that is said to be a bit short of pace – conversely there is a believe by Santos that Barcelona have not had to deal with a talent like Neymar

Barclay’s Premier League

QPR v Manchester United

    • This is one for earlier risers in North America or when a DVR comes in very hand.

  • Since beating Chelsea at Loftus Road QPR have only picked up a win and a draw in their 6 games
  • QPR have picked up as many points against top-half sides (8) as points against teams in the bottom half this season.
  • Heidar Helguson missed match against Liverpool last Saturday but scored 4 goals in the games previous
  • Important spell coming up for QPR – Sunderland, Swansea and Norwich in 3 of next 4
  • Manchester United’s next four – Fulham, Wigan, Blackburn and Newcastle

Aston Villa v Liverpool

  • One of Aston Villa’s features while Martin O’Neill was in charge was organization at set plays – at both ends. How things have changed. This season almost a third of the goals conceded by Villa have come from corner kicks while they have only scored twice from set plays.  
  • Villa’s two goals against Bolton ended a three game scoreless run
  • Liverpool are also having trouble in front of the opposition’s net – they currently “own” the worst chance conversion rate of shots into goals in the Premier League (8.9%).
  • Weird stat of the week – Liverpool’s José Enrique has shielded the ball out of play more than any other PL player this season -15 times he has stuck his posterior out.

Tottenham v Sunderland

  • There was a definite sign of renewed spirit last week from Sunderland as Martin O’Neill became only the third manager out of the last 11 Premier League managerial appointments to have won their first league game in charge
  • Seb Larsson scored a stunning winner a few years ago for Birmingham at White Hart Lane and he will be someone for Spurs to take note of again on Sunday – he has scored three goals directly from free kicks this season already.
  • Spurs have won last 5 games at home in the PL
  • Arguably Stephane Sessegnon has been Sunderland’s best player this season but one area of improvement available to him is his finishing – rarely has there been an end product to his lead up play.
  • Will Gareth Bale play? He was listed as doubtful all week so I dropped him to my Fantasy Football bench. It could backfire and my efforts to stay in touch with front-runner Eoin O’Callaghan may take another blow.

Manchester City v Arsenal

  • Over the last five or six years Arsenal’s record in North West has been spotty at best.
  • They beat Wigan 4-0 a couple of weeks ago but horror shows at Old Trafford and Ewood Park are still very fresh.  
  • Both sides are down to a third option at left back – for Arsenal Vermaelen is likely to start and Zabaleta for City.
  • Aguero lining up against Mertesacker must have City fans drooling and Arsenal fans dreading the sight.
  • Referee for this one is Phil Dowd

Serie A
Lazio v Udinese

  • These two have the best defences in league with only 7 conceded by Udinese and  11 by Lazio
  • Udinese has recorded an incredible 9 clean sheets already this season
  • Compared to last season Lazio one point better off (scoring more goals) while Udinese has 10 more points (goals against down from 15 to 7)
  • The summer signing of goalkeeper Federico Marchetti by Lazio has looked inspired but he will be out for a month
  • Now questioning the resilience and self-believe of Lazio – they have picked up 12 points from trailing positions.
  • Udinese is at home to Juventus on Wednesday in their final game before the holiday break 

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6 responses to “A World Title To Be Decided On A Fantastic Sunday of Football”

  1. Barcelona coasted to that 4-0 win – Santos never in the race. Same can be said for QPR and half time it looks like Aston Villa are continuing that trend.
    Villa might be better giving up penalty kicks rather than corners.

  2. Blake says:

    “Aston Villa – Zombie Team”

    Couldn’t put it better if I tried.

  3. Gus Keri says:

    It’s really a strange day.

    I am, usually, able to squeeze some comments or tweets during some of the games I watch.

    Today, I couldn’t do it, because I was affraid to find out the result of Barcelona/Santos game which I DVDed to watch in the afternoon.

    Now, it feels like I arrived at the party after every body had left.

    Strange world is this new electronic age.
    Watching soccer for few hours without the internet next to you is so surreal, nowadays.

  4. Gus Keri says:


    The funny thing is that after I finished watching the Barca/Santos game, I wished if I knew the result ahead of time.

    The most one-sided game in the history, not counting that Australia/American Samoa game.

    Santos, probably, woke up today not knowing what hit them yesterday.

  5. peter shaw says:

    I read the english papers daily, I also am able to watch probably 75/80 % of all the premiership games. I have noticed that since Arsenal lost all thier full backs that not one analyst has picked up on the fact that they have basically lost the over lapping runs that were and are part of Arsenals attacks, not only depriving them of that attacking threat but takes away the smoothness of passing that a team like arsenal thrive on, and in fact stall those attacking plays by having to pass backwards.

    It’s a huge part of thier game that has gon AWOL

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