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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 Forbes.com and Soccerly.com and frequently guest on various podcasts and radio shows.


Jose Takes Arsene’s Lunch Money Again With Little More ThanThe Raise Of His Eyebrow

Written by on March 22, 2014 | 16 Comments »
Posted in Arsenal, Chelsea

But what Mourinho did not say but could have, was that the first ten minutes was also easy. Chelsea simply went about pressing Arsenal in midfield and then took advantage of a side that was poorly constructed, lacked defensive discipline and showed all the tendencies of migrating lemmings heading for the nearest cliff.

To read more please click on the link.

16 responses to “Jose Takes Arsene’s Lunch Money Again With Little More ThanThe Raise Of His Eyebrow”

  1. Alberta Gooner says:

    A fair and insightful summation of that shower, Bobby. Excellent as usual, even though it made for painful reading.

  2. Seattle Loon says:


    Commiserations. Any thoughts as to why Arsene Wenger has become increasingly enigmatic? 14 straight, probably 15 soon of Champion’s League football but his approach to key games seems to have become so careless. Horribly ironic, and I say this with no malice intended, that on his 1000th game in charge at Arsenal he set up his team like it was his 1st.

  3. John Bladen says:

    Looking at the team sheet going into this one, it was hard not to notice that Flamini would not be starting in a game in which Arsenal was clearly going to need defensive shoring up.

    In the end, horrific play all around did them in (though as expected, Arteta provided the wayward defense little support).

    I think most supporters could accept that a loss was likely away to Chelsea. But the appalling display – almost to a man – on Saturday is no doubt as intolerable for Wenger as it is for the fans. This has never been a side that looked like they were good enough to be league champions, but what are we to make of players who don’t play up to their potential (or in some cases, at all…) in a must have match like this?

  4. Smiley says:

    Nearly twenty years in charge, two billionaire shareholders and we are no where close to contending with top European clubs. Wenger’s egotistical transfer policy has just lined Silent Stan’s pockets while also charging fans the highest ticket/food prices of all clubs.

    Sad part is that Wenger’s FA CUP win will be the most recent legerdemain to fool delusional fans who only care about finances and the farce which is FFP.

    * And if another dolt brings up “Arsenal’s youth needs time..” then I’m gonna put him on the next Malaysian Air flight.

    Go check the ages of Oscar, Hazard, Salah and Schurle!

  5. shmish says:

    Something is clearly wrong with Arsenal. Sports are predictably unpredictable, but they should still follow some patterns and laws. Regression to the mean comes to mind. Of course we will see Arsenal “bounce back”. Just like Chelsea bounced back from their game with Aston Villa. While I would guess that top clubs in the EPL do not follow a normal distribution in their wins and losses, surely Arsenal’s strikingly poor performances indicate a club that is out of control, statistically speaking.

  6. Shmish – I am not so sure. I believe Arsenal has the best record in the Premier League against teams in the bottom half. Top half – they have beaten Spurs twice, a win and a draw against Soton and a win against Newcastle with one more to play. Everton game still to come and the first was a draw. The loss and draw against Manchester United is the only thing that is statistically odd but that may come down to a very long inferiority complex.
    Then it comes to the top three – 3 heavy away losses and a draw (Chelsea), a win (Liverpool) and City to come.
    I think it perhaps talks to an unwillingness to change approach away from home when playing top teams.
    The point I made about Cazorla maybe has broader implications for other players as well. Dancing and dribbling 30 yards from the opposition goal is one thing but doing the same thing 30 yards from your own goal is plain daft.
    The full backs can bomb forward and get away with it against lesser teams but when facing better players there is a price to be paid.

  7. Astronomer says:

    In the following quote from a Guardian article, Jose Mourinho makes a good point in defending himself against critics who claim his teams are boring to watch (also, note his interesting point about a “defensive team” versus “defending well” ):

    “This is a funny story because I have the record of goals in the Spanish league, the record of goals in the Italian league, the record of points in every league I was in.”

    “I had players winning gold boots and being the top scorer in the country, even in Europe. I really don’t understand where it comes from. If you say my teams have a lot of clean sheets, I say yes. But a lot of clean sheets doesn’t mean you are a defensive team. It means you defend well.”


  8. Alberta Gooner says:


    The team selection didn’t surprise me but it became painfully obvious that three smallish offensively-minded midfielders in the centre of the park made for easy meat for Cheslea. And I don’t think Flamini, who featured at the debacle at the Eastlands would have made much difference. We have lacked a proper holding midfielder since Gilberto Silva left the club and Wenger’s unwillingness to look at Sevilla’s Kondogbia really surprised me. He’s a big, athletic lad who can pass the ball. Arteta is a nice player — he distributes the ball really well but needs a player with legs to do the water carrying.

    It was also painful to watch Chelsea set a high line given the lack of pace up top between Podolski, Giroud and Rosicky. We’ve really missed Walcott’s pace up front.

    You can get away with the lack of pace up top and the lack of a holding midfielder against the bottom-half sides in the league but we were found out against the best in England. We’ve conceded half of our league goals in away matches to the other Champions League contenders. The really disappointing thing we didn’t appear to learn from the lessons taught at the Eastlands and Anfield.

    The good news is Arsenal have the wherewithal to address those two issues in the summer. Whether they actually do that is another story. These catastrophic failures and the reasons behind them cannot have escaped Wenger.

  9. Alberta Gooner says:

    It’s not enough that some of our supporters have all the insight of a soccer mom who spend training sessions playing Candy Crush on their phones. No, they have to bring horribly tasteless references to real-life tragedies. Enjoy the rest of the conversation without me.

  10. Smiley says:

    Praise the Lord, our soccer Messiah has arrived!

    Please guide us with your soccer insight and strong moral compass. That is as soon as you stop foolishly repeating “wait till next year when..” after every season like a puppy who keeps barking at the mirror day after day because he just can’t realize it’s his own reflection.

    By the way, even Flamini would have done a better job protecting the back four (or assisting Arteta) than just deploying a slow 31 yr old who has played further up the pitch as a playmaker for most of his Everton career.

  11. shmish says:

    How well does Wenger stack up when it comes to game-day tactics? I’ve often wondered this. While people can praise his ability to compose a team and instill a philosophy, what about his game strategy? Or perhaps his game-day tactics are often limited by the players he has available?


  12. everwonthetreble says:

    I pointed out in detail to AG the lone Bayern goal in the CL and how horrific the defending was for it from an Arsenal perspective. It involved seven Arsenal players all of whom were either completely unaware of their defensive responsibilities or completely forgot some fundamental principles while on the ball defensively.

    It looked like they had refocused themselves after watching the Spurs away victory but obviously there is a systemic problem. The first two goals were horrendous but the fourth one in particular brought back vivid memories of the 2 v. 7 goal for Bayern a few weeks back…

    -Chelsea are given a throw-in in their half and Arsenal decide 3 goals down they’re going to press their way back into the game. Stupid, but given where the throw in was being taken I could slightly understand.

    -The throw-in comes and Arsenal are essentially 4 v 4 with Cech and I believe Terry as the unmarked men. No problems initially. The ball gets played back to Cech, Arsenal squeeze up a bit and Cech hits a long diagonal out wide to the left (the Chelsea right hand side).

    -Here’s where it gets good. The diagonal is hit and Koscielny loses the aerial challenge. Meanwhile Arteta in all of this is posted up in the center circle with Oscar right behind him. Arteta makes his way to the Koscielny challenge.

    -What, exactly, Arteta thought he was going to accomplish by heading to the aerial duel is beyond me. Koscielny had an Arsenal player immediately in front of him for help if he needed it. But by his wandering towards his teammate and watching his challenge, he left Oscar by himself. Essentially, he was completely unaware of where Oscar was and never recovered.

    -Mertersacker decides to allow Torres to get, oh I would say at least 8 yards ahead of him, pick up the ball off the Koscielny missed challenge, and run at him. Which is understandable given Mertersacker’s speed and quickness, right? Wrong. It was stupid. Another player defending as though they’re on a picnic.

    -So Mertersacker is forced to run as though his life depended on it towards Torres to try an intercept an easy cross to Oscar who has now sprinted in front of Arteta, who was caught both ball watching and unaware of the lone man in his central defensive area. Easy goal.

    In hindsight, its an improvement. This time only two players were involved instead of seven and it took 3 players to score on Arsenal in the process instead of two.

    The biggest question for me was if all of your teammates are in a press formation, why are two of you playing as if you’re in some covering zonal marking formation? Not only did Arteta not bother to notice Oscar behind him, but even when he was sprinting to break up the cross, he never once got close to him. Does Oscar have some terrible scent we don’t know about? And why did Mertersacker allow Torres so much space to receive the header from the missed Koscielny challenge, knowing he lacks speed in the recovery? Its as if they go brain dead when defending.

    These aren’t just defensive blunders imo. They’re systemic. I have no idea how much Arsene works on these types of errors but they’re certainly the same players making the same mistakes over and over again with only a slight variance in accountability.

  13. Carmelo Gabriele says:

    I believe Jose Mourinho manages a club like he is 3 losses in a row from the sack… and frankly every manager in the world should. Now I love developing players & instilling a clear identity, a football credo at your football club. see Swansea City, they chopped & changed, the football is still mostly on the deck, Liverpool have tried to stick the boot room principles since the Paisley days. Sir Alex Ferguson is not a repeatable model for the running of a football club not in 2014. Sorry it is not realistic anymore. Arsene Wenger is lucky that his bosses value the liquidity from the 14 years in a row in the Champions League over a league title or a couple FA cups sprinkled in… English fans don’t generally like those trigger happy European chairman that fire managers left & right, fair enough but they just want titles! yet when boards are happy with stability than they get accused of lack of ambition and greed by the English press and fans!? u CANT have it both ways! see Newcastle 2014 people are made at the new way of doing business, but put things into context, it would take 200 to 250 million spent well over 2 or 3 years to get to the Champions League, world football is not designed anymore for cinderella stories, ask Leeds fans how far Peter Ridsdale got them!!? ask Portsmouth fans how far Harry wheeler dealer got them? The ONLY frustrating thing IF I were an Arsenal (I am not) is that Arsene Wenger would NOT harm the present or the future of the club if he spent 120 million pounds on 2 or 3 players, the likes of a Cavani & a Khedira type player. no more quantity or youth just 2 or 3 eyebrow raising headliners, Falcao, Guarin, Bender, Gundogan, Sissoko etc. IF Arsene’s boss was Abramovich, Berlusconi, Moratti, Florentino Perez, De Laurentiis etc. he would have been sacked 4 or 5 years ago. Now clearly within the context of British football, both the fans & the boardrooms have a tendency to give managers the benefit of the doubt especially if he as accrued a level of success initially to justify blind trust perhaps, Arsene did initially, but truthfully thats mostly down to Seaman, Winterburn, Adams, Keown, etc. People have this over romanticized idea that one fabulous manager can you lead you to the promised land & everybody will sing & dance along the way & the club will remain successful for years… nonsense. On the day that Arsene Wenger managed his 1000th game he should hands with the 13th different Chelsea manager within that 1000 games. I have immense respect for what Arsene as done at Arsenal, I mean let’s face it they should remain “the Emirates” Arsene Wenger’s ground… his lack of Harry Redknapp like spending (I’ll spend till we’re bankrupt for a Carling Cup) on the Samba, Kanu, David James, Muntari, David Nugent, John Utaka!!?? (John Utaka was on 80,000 a week) of the world & fierce discipline in keeping faith & giving the Glichy, Fabregas, Ramsey, Wilshere, Fabiansky, etc a chance is at least admirable in its single mindedness. Arsene Wenger is a boardroom’s dream…. but perhaps its time the paying customers at the Emirates revolt its well within they’re rights to do so… and hell I was born in Palermo, the first game I ever went to was my dad at the San Paolo, 1990, anywhere else in the world Arsenal’s paying customers would have parked a guillotine next to Arsene’s Citroen! (just kidding)

  14. Ed Gomes says:

    We’ll put Carmelo.

    I understand the FA acknowledging the referees mistake and rescinding the red card. But how come Ox seems to have gotten away with it as well?

  15. Carmelo Gabriele says:

    I know I cannot believe both red cards have been rescinded??! it reminds me of Luis Suarez at the South African World Cup, now in that instance he was denying a more clear goal scoring opportunity, but I don’t think that matters, the OX dove & stuck his hand out like a keeper & clearly influenced the flight path of the football… when I was a kid that meant you were OFF!?? isn’t that still the case?

  16. Ed Gomes says:


    Since the Arsenal yearly plight is at the point of being boring, I read the following piece which I found interesting.
    With Gazprom being involved in so many aspects of futebol, to be fair, like Adidas and Nike and …, how will FFP ever be possible?


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