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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.


TANGENTS

Wolves At SAF’s Door – Literally; QPR/Liverpool Mirror Images; Cahill Has An Unwanted Anniversary In Sight

Written by on December 9, 2011 | 6 Comments »
Posted in Arsenal, Everton, Liverpool, Manchester United, QPR, Wolverhampton Wanderers

Arsenal v Everton

Van Persie – Going into any Arsenal match it is impossible not to consider the performance by Robin van Persie – not only this season but in the 2011 year.

He has scored 32 goals in the Premier League in 2011 which is 13 more than the next highest total recorded by Wayne Rooney.

In club and country play he has scored 45 goals in a little over 50 games.

Of course the van Persie narrative is not complete without a reference to his past injury problems – if he can stay fit it will the first season he has started in more than 30 league games for Arsenal.

Vermaelen – Given van Persie’s form it has been easy to overlook the difference the  return of Thomas Vermaelen has made to Arsenal.

Arsenal are a significantly better side defensively when Thomas Vermaelen plays – decisive, driving – and he is a goal threat at set plays and when he moves forward.

Everton are coming off a 1-0 loss to Stoke and it was a game that saw them fail to record a shot on goal.

They have only gained a single point from a top half team this season.

Tim Cahill has not scored a Premier League goal in 2011 and December 20, 2010 was his last one – against Man City (22 games ago).

Liverpool v QPR

You get the feeling that this Liverpool side (and supporters) relishes shots at what we assume to be their closest competitors but it has been opponents such as QPR that have proved to be real stumbling blocks for Liverpool this season.

Liverpool have dropped nine points against teams currently in the bottom half of the Premier League including home draws against promoted teams Swansea and Norwich.

Luis Suarez is still creating chances but he is struggling to execute – has not scored in the last seven Premier League games.

QPR are almost the mirror image of Liverpool excepting that they are the underdogs.

QPR have picked up more points against top-half sides than teams in the bottom half so far this season.

Journeyman striker Heidar Helguson is making a case to be the surprise packet of the season.

The much travelled 34 year-old Helguson has 6 goals in 7 starts and 2 substitute appearances.

Manchester United v Wolverhampton

I read an article this morning that bore a headline of howling wolves and Sir Alex Ferguson.

The suggestion was that the wolves are circling the manager so it seems very appropriate that Wolves are in fact United’s opponents this Saturday.

Although given United’s Champions League exit Wolves might go to Old Trafford fearing a United backlash.

At some point United will break out of a run of form that has rarely hit the level of mediocre. 

The points may have been collected but the performances have been unconvincing.

Here is a selection of stats and facts:

  • United have four 1-0 wins and a 1-1 draw since being hammered by Manchester City and they have not scored more than a goal in last 7 PL games
  • 18 of United’s 31 goals came in their first four games; 13 of 31 goals came in two games against Arsenal and Bolton
  • Wayne Rooney has not scored in PL goal since Chelsea September 18 – 7 games ago and he has not scored from 28 shots in his last 8 games in all competitions

The likely season ending injury to Nemanja Vidic is a body-blow.

Manchester United have conceded just one goal in the six Premier League  matches he has started in this season.

With Vidic in the starting eleven United’s winning percentage is 25% greater than when he is not.

With Vidic missing Wolves will look to get ball wide and pump crosses in – something that is a default tactic for them going forward.

Wolves’ success rate with crosses this season is an impressive 28% which is up from 22% last season.

Wolves have specialized in digging holes this season – nearly 2/3 of the goals they have conceded have been in first half and they have only scored 1 goal in the opening 30 minutes of games.

Weird stat of the day – 13 of Wolves 24 goals allowed have come from a left footed shot.

Fantasy Football Update

Vincent Kompany out – Thomas Vermaelen in and made captain. Still in pursuit of Eoin O’Callaghan but he is enjoying a Manchester City type season – except for the money.

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6 responses to “Wolves At SAF’s Door – Literally; QPR/Liverpool Mirror Images; Cahill Has An Unwanted Anniversary In Sight”

  1. Soccerlogical says:

    I think Manyoo’s CL exit coupled with Vidic’s injury gives Phil Jones the perfect opportunity for regular playing time in defense and to develop as one of England’s best defenders. Hint hint… Fantasy Football pick?

    This young Manyoo side had no chance winning the CL and the only negative aspect is the 20M loss in TV money. Now Fergie can concentrate on gelling the younger players and a top 4 finish. One or two smart buys and they are back to legit title contenders on all fronts.

    PS I am an Arsenal fan. 🙂

  2. J Rob says:

    SL – agreed on all points.

    Bobby – good call on Vermaelen on both fronts. Also, Man City are close to a record run of non-clean sheets.

    As a Liverpool fan reading your article has made me even more nervous for game. Form favours QPR as mad as that sounds. Although Dalglish has only ever lost 1 EPL game at Anfield in charge of LFC.

    What makes me most worried is central midfield. Barton and Faurlin are QPR’s most consistent performers and LFC lack Lucas,Spearing and of course Gerrard. Shelvey brought back from Blackpool is inexperienced and moreover more of an attacking midfielder. Dalglish could bring back Carragher and play Daniel Agger in central midfield a la Phil Jones.

    One last point. Faurlin of QPR is very underrated in his position. See stats below:

    http://www.skysports.com/story/0,19528,11096_2705370,00.html

  3. Rob says:

    Of course Luis Suarez is struggling to score. He is our sole creator. The service has been, while not exactly poor, lacking. When have you seen Liverpool create true gilt edged chances? Everything is a half-chance and there have been a lot, but for this reason it makes Liverpool look to be more dominant than they really have been. The draws will continue to come unless either Liverpool buys a true goal scorer to partner Luis or the summer signings that were supposed to be pass masters actually live up to expectations.

  4. SL – Jones was on the acquire list this week but Vermaelen proved to hard to resist. Jones for Shawcross next week I think.

    Plan to have a short Real Madrid – Barcelona piece up a few hours before tomorrow’s big match.

  5. Considering their domination Arsenal and Liverpool should both scored more goals today and less nervous last moments.

  6. J Rob says:

    Liverpool have now scored one goal (Skertel vs Bolton) from 127 corners in 15 games. Incredibly poor.

    Thought Charlie Adam had an excellent game. His pass accuracy was 80 per cent today.

    Saw Man Utd goals.Wolves gave a master class on poor defending on the perimeter of the box for Rooney and Nani’s first goals.

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