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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

Arsenal Looks To Lay Down A Marker While Others Refuse to Lay Down

Written by on April 30, 2011 | 18 Comments »
Posted in General

Barclays Premier League

Last weekend’s loss to Bolton Wanderers may not have mathematically eliminated Arsenal from the Premier League title race but common sense says they are done.

Nine points behind leaders Manchester United with four games remaining is too much a gap to make up, even if Arsenal wins on Sunday. The best they can do is to finish in the runners up spot, a position they last secured in 2005 and in the process, lay down a marker for next season.

This is the first of two key league matches for United. The other comes next against Chelsea who currently sits second in the table. United are three points ahead of Chelsea but with a game less played so the Manchester club knows that two draws in their next two games will give them a 19th top flight title.

The second Midlands derby of the weekend will have Wolves wanting nothing more to pull Birmingham into or at least a bit closer to the relegation gutter. Currently Wolves are second from the bottom and 5 points behind 15th placed Birmingham.

Birmingham know that a win could go a long way to ending their relegation concerns. If Liverpool can beat Newcastle they will move above Spurs and into 5th place – good enough for a Europa League spot next season.

Manchester  City have a chance to put even more real estate between themselves and Spurs when they face West Ham. A City win would put them within 5 points of securing a Champions League spot.

Ligue Une

Marseille went top of the French league last week by winning against Nice while Lille dropped two more points – this time to Lorient. But Lille retook the top spot after beating bottom of the league and already relegated Arles-Avignon earlier today 5-0.

The leapfrogging may continue with Marseille playing at home to Auxerre.

Serie A

Milan looks set for another three points as they face a Bologna side that has lost their last four matches.

Bologna has a five point cushion on the relegation zone but with three games still to go after this weekend nothing is yet certain.

Bari have already been relegated and are at home to Roma, a side that still has European ambitions. Sampdoria, currently 17th, are in a fight to avoid relegation and faces Brescia who are two positions worse off.

Lecce is tied with Sampdoria but behind on goal difference are away to Chievo another side that cannot breathe easily quite yet.

Parma have beaten Inter and Udinese in the last two weeks and hope to continue the run at home to Palermo – a side who know a thing or two about pulling off surprises.

Catania are still hovering just above the drop zone are home to Cagliari who sit very comfortably in mid-table. The other game has Fiorentina at home to Udinese in a game that promises goals and attacking football.

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18 responses to “Arsenal Looks To Lay Down A Marker While Others Refuse to Lay Down”

  1. soccerlogical says:

    My player of the week nominee is Rafa Marquez. For a DP to waltz his way into the NY Red Bulls of MLS and somehow force himself onto all set piece (including PK) duties when the guy has an awful right foot and never took free kicks at any other league and ironically was known for scoring with his head off set pieces is…… BRILLIANT!

    PS Guess who took an awful PK for Red Bulls this week….and missed?

  2. Roberto Manita says:

    SL,

    I think I’ve heard you say this before and, hence, are repeating yourself. I do agree with you though. Rafa has no business taking PKs (especially when a certain French saint is on the team), would be better utilized on the end of set pieces, and has never scored goals of any significant tally in his entire career (probably including Mexican school league). I believe Jose is behind this NYRB set piece conspiracy. Don’t you?

    But look on the bright side. At least your DP did not run away from his club (yet again) and this time for a royal wedding. Talk about the tail wagging the dog. Are we MLS fans sick and tired of Becks yet? I was long ago.

    Go you Gunners!!!

  3. Roberto Manita says:

    Bobby,

    Have you been away lately due to the royal wedding? Schmoozing with Becks, Posh, Elton, etc? I must say, that your most recent podcast analysis via the cardboard variety was truly astute and exceptional. Please share with all your viewers the fine royal wedding souvenir plates you’ll be declaring at Customs.

  4. Soccerlogical says:

    Roberto – You’re right, I am sounding like a broken record. 🙂

    I just think that these types of “gestures” towards marquee over-the-hill players are the reason why the MLS will never be respected as a competitive league. I mean DeRo and Lando are stalwarts of the MLS and one lost his captaincy when a has been hair model moved to LA with his poodle Posh and now DeRo (arguably the most creative player with the most cultured foot in the MLS) is forced to watch an overweight Mexican and Frenchman take all the glory.

    IMO, Hans Backe is just a puppet hired to appease spoiled has-beens like Henry (who can’t get past a player to save his life anymore) and Marquez (whose corner kicks reach the 6 yard box after 3-4 bounces) while the heart of NYRB (Lindpere, Agudelo, DeRo, Tainio, etc) go unnoticed.

  5. Bryan says:

    I can only give you one MotM from the three games I watched ,and that was in a losing effort.

    Blackpool/Stoke was a horrible game ,no MotM there.
    Sir Stanley would have livened it up.
    The only highlight was Kenwyne Jones missing an open goal.A couple years ago he looked like the new Drogba.Instead he turned out to be the new Heskey ,but without the good bits.

    Wigan/Everton was a slightly better game ,but no-one stood out.Cleverley had his moments ,Al Habsi pulled off one or two good saves ,and Insomnia wasn’t bad (whatever did happen to Joe Kinnear.)

    As the great Rudy Tomjanovich once said “Never under-estimate the heart of a champion”.
    And always thank the officials for screwing up ,he didn’t add.
    So Frank Lampard scores a goal that didn’t cross the line ,after his effort in the WC that did didn’t count. I’m sure Tottenham ,and his uncle arry ,will appreciate the irony.
    Looking at it fisrt time I thought it was a goal ,but after repeated replays it was still so close that you know the linesman was guessing.
    The winner looked offside to me too.
    Not that I’m complaining.
    If I were a Tottenham supporter ,I’d be disgusted with myself.
    But apart from that ,I’d be pretty pissed off.

    Oh ,and my one MotM would be Sandro. The Brazilian Scotty Parker.

  6. Roberto Manita says:

    SL,

    I forgot about DeRo. I would say let Henry take the PKs and DeRo the FKs. DeRo knows where the net is. Which is far more than I can say about De Guzman (whose rediculous DP contract was the reason DeRo was run out of town). Count yourself lucky. You got Canada’s best MLS player. De Guzman produced little and was paid 3-4 times more than DeRo. If I were DeRo I would be pissed too. And considering his age, it’s not like he’s going to get a huge contract anymore. TFC should have got rid of a totally unproductive De Guzman (but probably couldn’t because of his outrageous contract), kept their captain, perennial MLS all star, and top scorer. TFC are managed by the same monkeys that run the Maple Leafs and Raptors. All clubs have a glorious playoff pedigree. Need I say more?

    Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan out!!! For the love of God!!!

  7. Roberto Manita says:

    And sorry all of you EPL lovers out there but the only match on Saturday worthy of viewing was Chelsea v Spuds. Every other EPL game was on par with a typical Serie Zzzzz match. An utter waste of human time unless, of course, you hail from the West Midlands, Sunderland, Cesena, etc. The matches on GolTV were far superior. Be it B. Dortmund winning the Bundesliga, watching a second string Real Lily White Bastards lose at home, or watching an FCB side with three La Masia babies lose on the road, all three matches kept me awake. The likes of Cesena, Inter, Napoli, Sunderland, WBA, Villa, Bolton, Blackburn … Blackburn, help put me to sleep when I have trouble. Personally, only the top six in the EPL interest me and Blackpool. Other than that, I’d rather sleep. As for Serie Zzzzz, even less so. I’ll watch a Milan or Rome derby, Napoli and Udinese (sometimes), but for the most put Serie A is like watching grass grow or paint dry. And the only reason Bobby and Fox Soccer spend so match time on this crap Italian footy league is because they have the broadcasting rights to it and are compelled to promote that inferior product.

    Rant over.

  8. Gus Keri says:

    When it rains, it pours.
    Maxi scored another goal; His fourth in 2 games
    Liverpool lead Newcastle 1-0

  9. Seattle_Loon says:

    Williamson for Newcastle would definitely merit consideration for worst player of the week award. A poor headed clearance led to Maxi’s goal and very poor defending led to the penalty for Liverpool’s second.

    Of note for LFC’s second was Pepe Reina’s clearance. Is there a better goalkeeping distributor of the ball in the EPL? With hands or with both feet he frequently makes very good and precise use of the ball.

    The game was an interesting contrast to the corresponding fixture at St. James’ Park in December. Without Andy Carroll, Newcastle were completely unable to capitalise from the numerous free-kicks they won. For Liverpool this was a pretty comfortable third clean sheet out of four.

  10. Gus Keri says:

    Liverpool is in 5th now ahead of Tottenham on goal difference (15 vs. 7).

    Their European destiny is in their hands now. Win the last three games and Liverpool is in Europe next year.

    These games are: Fulham away, Tottenham home and Aston Villa away. All are doable, I believe.

  11. Gus Keri says:

    Is any one watching the funeral procession taking place at the Emirate Stadium?

  12. Gus Keri says:

    The procession has been postponed

  13. rahul says:

    First, it was great to see Cesc not on the bench. I hope he is “injured” and the Barca deal is in place.

    Second, it was great to see Arsenal win without Cesc.

    third, I thought the fullbacks were great, Wilshere as usual, and Arshavin was fantastic once he came on.

  14. Erik says:

    What we saw this weekend is that 20/20 eyesight isn’t required to be an EPL linesman

    I also find SAF to be one of the most humorous managers out there

    He truly bemoaned the fact Luiz didn’t get a 2nd Yellow in their game @ Chelsea and went above and beyond with his complaining. He was RIGHT – but that happened 1 week AFTER Rooney threw a blatant cheap shot elbow vs Wigan and never got the Red Card he deserved.

    This weekend he bemoans the missed PK on Owen but downplays the missed handball on Vidic which was about 20 times worse than the Owen play

    When SAF leaves Old Trafford he should take up a career as a Stand Up comedian – he is very funny

    BTW – right now Man U is 3 points up on Chelsea and tied in GD. This means Chelsea is a MINIMUM of 2 goals UP on Man U should they be tied because if Chelsea wins next week by 1 their GD would be 39 and Man U would be 37

    IF Chelsea wins next week @ Old Trafford (DON’T think they will but if they do) the Blues host Newcastle then go to Everton while Man U goes to B’Burn and then hosts Blackpool in what could be a case of having to run it up on their other side – in Blackpool’s case that would be easy

    Ian Holloway and Blackpool better start rooting for Man U big time because they need that last game to be meaningless for Man U. if it means anything Blackpool will be playing in the LC in 2011-12 while if it is meaningless Pool might be playing in the EPL next season

    Man U is 2 goals up on Schalke so they should advance. If you are SAF do you sit some big names so they are 100% rested for Chelsea? I would knowing even a 1-0 loss is good

  15. Erik says:

    BTW – now that Totty is 6th (on GD) anyone else find it ironic that Harry Redknapp might be changing his tune on Man City? He cried for the Stoke/City game to be played BEFORE their FA match saying Stoke might lay down and “die” if Man City won the FA Cup so Stoke could make the Europa League…….and NOW he might be hoping City rests its regulars in their game with Totty 4 days before the FAC to help Totty in their attempt to get 5th

    Harry – can’t have it both ways….:-)

  16. Seattle_Loon says:

    Just a few thoughts on this weekend’s EPL. Where would Spurs be if they had a top-four quality striker? Where would Arsenal be had they played with the same resolve from February until now? Is Mancini’s stock higher now a top-four position looks very likely? Would Sir Alex prefer to play Chelsea next weekend with Drogba or Torres leading the line for the Blues?

    I’ll only answer the latter. I am sure (based on the Euro games) that Sir Alex would love to see Chelsea start with the same formation as they did on Saturday against Spurs. Playing Drogba deeper would be immeasurably more comfortable for Ferdinand and Vidic.

  17. J says:

    Where did I put that Arshavin defensive archive?

  18. Bryan says:

    I thought Chris Foy’s first touch left a lot to be desired.

    And R.I.P. Our ‘Enery.

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