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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

Premier League on Saturday – Open Thread

Written by on January 21, 2012 | 24 Comments »
Posted in English Premier League

Norwich v Chelsea

Norwich have scored a reasonably healthy number of goals this season -32. But the source is particularly interesting – 13 goals have come from headers and no other side in the Premier League is even in double figures. Norwich have only been shut-out three times this season – Spurs, Manchester United and West Brom. 

Chelsea are 11 points behind Manchester City so they will be supporting Spurs this weekend. If Chelsea can match their clean sheet against Sunderland last week it will be only their second consecutive clean sheet this season – the other against Wolves then Newcastle.

Frank Lampard has now scored nine goals so far – one more and he will have hit double figures in the Premier League  in the last 9 seasons.

Return of Michael Essien last week against Sunderland as a sub could have a big impact over the rest of the season

Bolton v Liverpool

Bolton have only dropped two points after scoring first in the PL this season –  problem is they have only opened the scoring 5 times in 21 games

They now have Gary Cahill size hole in the defense that has already conceded the most goals in total (46) and most at home (24).

Liverpool – Source of goals – 24 goals in total, 11 open play, 8 resulting from free kicks, one penalty and 3 ogs.

Liverpool pretty much own Bolton as far as recent results are concerned although they have had to fight very hard at times for all three points

Charlie Adam criticized but he has been involved (2 goals at 8 assists) in just under 40% of Liverpool’s goals in the PL this season

Other Matches

Everton v Blackburn / Fulham v Newcastle / QPR v Wigan / Stoke v West Brom/ Sunderland v Swansea/ Wolverhampton v Aston Villa.

Everton have been brutal at home this season – three points this time though?

Fulham match looks interesting – never know which Fulham side will turn up. An accusation that was often made against Newcastle a few years back.

QPR and Wigan – a six pointer.

Stoke play Wigan in a match that brings together two managers who are in many aspects polar-opposites.

Swansea – will they start believing the press reports they received this week? Like Sunderland for this one.

Midlands derby with Wolves and Villa. Fancy a draw in this one.

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24 responses to “Premier League on Saturday – Open Thread”

  1. Erik says:

    I know he hasn’t bee there all season but Martin O’Neill must merit some considertion for MOY. Sundy was DOA when he arrived and since his arrival they have been one of the best teams in the league. For me MOY comes down to Brendan Rogers and Paul Lambert……..Lambert has the better side (now) but if Swansea stays UP I give Rogers the nod

    How much longer can MM survive @ Wolves. I can see a similar situation as with Avram last season @ West Ham. I believe if the Hammers sacked Avram around New Year’s as was rumored they are STILL playing in the EPL. The longer Wolves hold on to MM the better their chances are of playing in the LC in 2012-13. The team tries but gives up way too many late goals to survive for long. BUT – if MM goes who then should take over to try and “right the ship”? Not sure if he would take the job but “reclamation project” expert Alan Curbishley is out there and knowing what he has done in the past he might be the best fit here for Wolves

  2. J Rob says:

    Liverpool played an interesting experiment with no holding midfielders today and quickly demonstrated that you don’t want Charlie Adam and Steven Gerrard playing together in the centre together. Shocking stuff.

    Though Fulham’s performance was the biggest Jekyl and Hyde of the season. Until their tying goal they could barely string 2 passes together.

  3. Erik – the thing is it is hardly a new experience for Mick. Lambert – just thinking that next to Dalglish there is no other current Premier League manager who achieved more success as a player. Mancini, McLeish, O’Neill would be in with a shout as well – perhaps Mark Hughes.

    J Rob – The thing is that Liverpool would not have to have played very well to beat Bolton. On the other hand I thought Owen Coyle got some little but important things right while Liverpool looked like a team that was making things up on the fly.

  4. Soccerlogical says:

    Without looking up any stats, I think Chelsea and Liverpool suffer from the same problem. Their high profile/big money striker is in the dumps. I will bet my last dollar that upon Suarez’ return, the Gerrard/Bucktooth combo will come good and Liverpool will go on a run.

    I doubt any team has won a title without a striker having a great season or at least 2 strikers carrying the load. And with the Carrol and Torres dilemma, it is a white elephant affecting every aspect of strategy and team psychology.

  5. and on to Sunday

    Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur
    Arsenal v Manchester United

    Chances of 16 goals again? Yip – not a hope in hell

    Inter v Lazio in Italy

    Looking forward to all three.

  6. J Rob says:

    SOCCERLOGICAL – I’d say that in the last 2 games Liverpool have looked aimless without a defensive midfielder. Season long they have been terrible in front of goal. Suarez has been more culpable than anyone else save Dirk Kuyt.And buying Downing, Adam and Henderson looks like what Bobby might call a great/bad example of “collecting players”. Good luck to Arsenal tomorrow. Can’t imagine any other team with so many injuries have a chance against the Champions so fear they will need it.

  7. Ed Gomes says:

    Dalglish is inefficient as a big time manager. He had the heritage to invigorate team and fans, but know when tactics and true managing are needed, he is uncapable. To me he’s gone after British players, excluding Suarez, on purpose and it will fail him. Also, I truly believe that Meireles was moved because he shined in Gerard’s position and there would have been issues. Adams isn’t Gerard but they’re the same player, no?
    Dalglish is Arsenals best friend.

    O’Neill as MOY? Please isn’t this the same guy that quit is his team? He not only quit, he left at the very last moment when it really hurt Villa. And please don’t tell me how he was expecting certain amount of funds that didn’t come through. He did know who he was managing, right?
    The uptick, is just that, an uptick. The players are newly motivated and the fear of Championship ball and salaries will do that to you. The fact is the squad isn’t that bad so they should be fine.
    You mean to tell me that, Lambery, Rodgers or Pardew aren’t more deserving?

    I just read in a Portuguese paper that Man United has offered 50 million pounds for Modric. They went on to say that Sneidjer would be preferred but his 250,000 weekly salary makes impossible. Modric could be had at around 80,000.
    I believe that Spurs rejected a 45million pound offer from Chelsea. If the amount stated is true, Spurs will not be able to turn it down. Being “true”is the key there.
    I know that it’s overpaying, but I wouldn’t mind seeing it as a Man United fan. It scares me that SAF pulled a “Wenger like distraction” in obtaining Scholes.

    AVB still employed? Shocker of the day.

  8. Manchester City – Spurs first half highlights here……

    Second half however had enough to keep us going for a week.

    Ed Gomes – I strongly suspect that the story in the Portuguese paper has been lifted from the Daily Mail from two weeks ago. A story that failed to have any legs.

  9. Alec says:

    Refereeing in the premier league is worse than terrible. If Balotelli isn’t punished then something is seriously wrong with English football.

  10. Ed Gomes says:

    I’ll give the ref a pass since its hard to catch the deliberateness of Balotellis kick. And yes he meant it. Those type of actions, are going to get hurt. Somebody is going to take swipe at him.
    That being said, huge win for City. They just keep having breakthroughs wins.
    Let me add that all I kept hearing Defoe couldn’t get to the pass. In reality Bale failed the Spurs. He could have passed earlier and when he didn’t, he still had space to make a better pass. Bale’s goal will get a lot f play, but he’s still not doing enough for me. Either it’s him or Harry’s tactics or lack of their of..

    Did anyone else see the video of AVB after Torres missed yet another easy one?

    Can someone explain to Mr Barton that it was his former manager that hailed his praises. And also that it will be his current manager that will use him as an scapegoat.

    Just in case you thought I forgot, Hail Man United. First let me thank Wenger with his fantastic tactical thoughts and substitutions. Lol.
    RVP is going to stay and be the big fish. If he leaves you are looking at another (I was gong to say Carroll, but that was too harsh) Berbs. He’ll tease and frustrate another fan base I’m sorry, he might score but he seems to do nothing to inspire, drive or show the work ethic that will help his club in harsh situations. He’s Wengers perfect player. A star that looks great but can’t lead a lick.

  11. J Rob says:

    Anybody know what the maximum ban that the FA can impose on a player for deliberate violent play? Interesting to see how the FA view Balotelli’s stamp.

    Feel sorry for Arsenal fans today. That might become the most notorious substitution in recent memory. Arshavin – about as welcome a sight for Arsenal fans as a nasty rash.

  12. Bobby says:

    Just reading some stuff on the internet. The wind has shifted again and Wenger is again the target of the week.

  13. Soccerlogical says:

    @ ED – “….He’s Wengers perfect player. A star that looks great but can’t lead a lick.”

    You mean like Patrick Vieira?

    You only keep embarrassing yourself on this RvP rant.

    PS The only fans who are targeting Wenger at this stage are the ignorant ones who didn’t see the writing on the wall in the summer. Most of us knew we were in a fight for 4th from the onset…. because of Wenger’s stubborn/stingy transfer policy.

    PPS Amazing play by Manyoo’s Valencia for the winner!

  14. Bobby says:

    In the rush for many to blame Arshavin can someone please tell me where the support was? Vermaelen – was playing more like a centre back when Valencia attacked than a left back. There was a gap of at least 10 yards and Song is also culpable. Arshavin did not defend well but it was more than him to blame.

  15. Al Harris says:

    I was wondering when someone was going to mention Song. With 4 central defenders playing instead of 2 and 2 outside backs, it seemed to me that it was incumbent on Song to provide cover all across the back and particularly for the outside backs. He didn’t have a bad game, but he was woefully absent at that point. Arshavin certainly shares blame but shouldn’t have the whole thing blamed on him. That being said, I still don’t understand the substitution. OC still seemed to have plenty in the tank. Don’t know what Wenger was looking to accomplish, and I’m sure he won’t give a straight answer afterwards. He never does.

  16. Ed Gomes says:

    Thank you Bobby. Since when has Arshavin been considered a good defender. Where was the support. Oh yeah, Wenger got it wrong from the beginning.
    And SL, I agree, Wenger has done nothing to improve this squad. Not only on transfers or lack of their of, but tactical mistakes as well.
    As for.my distaste for RvP, I can’t help it. I know he looks pretty out there, but his work rate is way below par.
    As for Vieira, let me remind you that Wenger sent him packing when it was that kind of leadership was needed.
    Once again Wenger let’s his boys off the hook.”we looked great in the 2nd half”, “in hindsight it looked like the wrong substitution” etc…
    When will he put the hammer down on his players. It’s sorely needed.
    By the way your boy RvP isn’t stepping up in that department.

    Do to previous infractions, Balotelli should get 3 games, but he’ll get none.

  17. Soccerlogical says:

    Ed – RvP is carrying the team and comes good more often than not, like all world class strikers. He has been what an “in form” Torres was at Liverpool but on a consistent basis during his Arsenal career (except when injured).

    I admit that I wanted Vermaelen as captain but RvP has kept Arsenal in the hunt for a CL spot, even when Wenger has been unable to integrate proven creative players like Benayoun and Park Yung.

    PS I am waiting for the defensive injuries excuse from Wenger and his puppets, when Manyoo missed the likes of Vidic, an experienced Rio, Jones in the 20th, Fletch and Anderson.

  18. shmish says:

    I hate to sound like an apologist, but I think we can all name a handful of wingers (or whatever position Arshavin is said to be playing) from the top four that play defense the exact same way. He had position on Valencia, got turned, tracked him into the box, and tried to stop the attack. Arshavin is not the reason that Arsenal lost the game, and he’s not the reason that Arsenal are fighting for their 4th place lives.

  19. shmish says:

    Ed, we have no idea what Wenger says to his players. Or at least I don’t. Holding players responsible to the media is entirely different from holding the players responsible. Wenger does not chew his players out to the public. That does not mean he lets them off the hook. I have no reason to believe that calling players out in the media, in any sport, helps.

    What would help would be a fitter squad and coverage in the middle. Arsenal is a lot less dynamic without Gervihno and Arteta. With those two you are missing speed and deliberateness, respectively.

  20. J Rob says:

    Is it unfair to say about Arshavin that apart from the time he scored 3 or 4 at Anfield in 2008/2009 and a few other occasions that he’s done little to please the Arsenal fans or to justify his transfer fee?

  21. J Rob says:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/22/sports/soccer/qa-with-manchester-uniteds-alex-ferguson.html?ref=soccer

    Interesting if concise interview with SAF from yesterday’s New York Times. Doesn’t look like he plans to retire anytime soon.

  22. Ed Gomes says:

    If Wenger isn’t letting his players off the hook privately, you are in even bigger trouble. They have clearly not responded.
    By the way, letting them know that it wasn’t good enough publicly, has been done by a ton of managers. It works for the good ones.
    Last time. I checked it’s worked out just fine for SAF.

    Arshavin has been on a slide since joining Arsenal.nremember that he was rumored for Barca before arriving.
    Instead of developing, Wenger has been destroying youngsters lately.

  23. Al Harris says:

    Arshavin was 28 when he came to Arsenal. I don’t think that exactly qualifies as a “youngster”. Your point may or may not be valid, but that particular example doesn’t advance it at all.

  24. Ed Gomes says:

    I will admit that Arshavin has been a big if not huge disappointment, especially with all the promises that were directed at him. But he hasn’t been coached up either.
    I’ve always considered Wenger a great manager with the right mindset and tactics. But he’s been getting a pass for a while. More than one player has been brought in and failed, some needed pieces haven’t been addressed, and even key figures wanted out.
    Maybe he got lazy in obtaining CL qualification fairly easy. Well its not so easy anymore.
    I still feel that they will be able to sneak into the top 4, but that just might have to do with their competitors deficiency instead of Arsenal.

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