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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

Blackpool’s Travel Costs Set To Drop And Arsenal Look To Avoid a Terrible Hat-Trick

Written by on January 14, 2011 | 24 Comments »
Posted in English Premier League, General

West Brom v Blackpool (Saturday)

This will be Blackpool’s only away game in a run of five Premier League fixtures. Blackpool’s situation is a microcosm of how difficult it is to forecast how this season’s Premier League will turn out. Blackpool finished 2010 on a five game unbeaten streak and it had them sitting 8th in the league.

However, two consecutive defeats have seen them slip to thirteenth in the Premier League and only four points above the relegation zone. Then came a well-deserved win against Liverpool on Wednesday and that sent Blackpool bouncing back into the top half.

The statistics point to Blackpool (together with Wigan) having the lowest points total from home matches this season but it also the case that they have only played eight games at home. So with 18 games left Blackpool have only seven away from including this one against West Brom.

West Brom have experienced a rapid erosion of their league position over the last few weeks. Five consecutive defeats has brought West Brom to within a single point of the bottom three. Only three goals scored and ten conceded encapsulates West Brom’s problem.

Bookies say – West Brom 1/1.35, Draw 2.6/1, and Blackpool 2.8/1

Wigan v Fulham (Saturday)

Wigan have a habit of winning games infrequently but still just doing enough to pull themselves clear of the relegation zone. Seeing that they are now sitting 19th in a 20-team league it looks as if it is time for them to win again.

With only four wins this season Wigan are tied for the fewest number along with bottom of the table West Ham and Saturday’s opponents Fulham. Of note are the drawn games Wigan have been involved in lately – four ties in their last six matches. Wigan’s only loss in their last six was a listless 1-0 home loss to Newcastle on January 2.

Apart from Fulham having earned a point more than Wigan the clubs are separated by a massive difference in goal differential. Wigan are currently a -15 while Fulham are only a -2; a sign of consistency that should hold Fulham in good stead as the season moves towards the business end.

There also signs that Fulham are showing signs of coming to life. Fulham fans will be hoping that a 3-1 home loss to West Ham on Boxing Day constitutes their darkest hour. The Cottagers finally broke their away duck in beating Stoke, were unlucky to lose 1-0 to Spurs and buried West Brom with three unanswered goals last time out.

Bookies say – Wigan 1.4/1, Draw 2/1, and Fulham 1.7/1

West Ham v Arsenal (Saturday)

Avram Grant celebrated the start of 2011 with moving out of the bottom three of the Premier League for the first time since he was appointed manager of Portsmouth in November 2009.

But it must have felt mighty uncomfortable because a 5-0 thrashing by Newcastle sent West Ham straight back to the bottom of the Premier League. However, at least they are still in touch with the other troubled teams – potentially only a win away from the safety of 15th spot.

If West Ham could pick up even a couple of points against Arsenal and next week against Everton it would set themselves up nicely for a crucial three-games-twelve-days run against Blackpool (a), Birmingham (h) and West Brom (a).

Arsenal have won six and drawn two of their last eight meetings between the teams but rarely has it been an easy game for Arsenal. The lapse gasp equalizer Arsenal needed to salvage a FA Cup draw against Leeds and a terrible performance in losing in the Carling Cup semi-final first leg to Ipswich were indicators Arsenal are still some ways away from the consistency they so desperately need to harness.

With two games a week for much of the remainder of the season the chance of Arsenal staying within striking distance of Manchester United may depend on Wenger’s ability to cajole above par performances out of some of the players who to this point have had sub-par seasons.

Bookies say – West Ham 4/1, Draw 2.75/1, and Arsenal 1/2.85


24 responses to “Blackpool’s Travel Costs Set To Drop And Arsenal Look To Avoid a Terrible Hat-Trick”

  1. Soccerlogical says:

    Can someone explain to me why the MLS named it the “SUPER DRAFT”, is there a regular draft as well sometime during the season. I caught a part of that “Center Circle” show on Fox Soccer last night and one American yahoo owner or exec flat out called himself “not a smart man” and then referred to Wynalda as having an exceptional intellect and superior analysis of the game….. UN F’in BELIEVABLE!

    LOL

  2. This is my Twitter piece from this morning – two parts actually;

    “MLS Super-Draft has come and gone, can someone explain to me why it gets so much attention in North America? I just don’t get it…how many players have come out of the MLS draft and made a serious impact with the team that chose them?”

    Can someone please let me know because I just do not get it.

  3. Wojciech Szczesny to start in the goal for Arsenal according to Reuters….bid accepted by Everton for Steven Pienaar

  4. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mrs K to you. Mrs K to you said: RT @BobbySoccerRep: http://tiny.cc/aqqml Blackpool set to spend even more time by the seaside soon and Arsenal look to avoid an unwanted … […]

  5. John Hayes says:

    Kuszczak deserve a shot as Man u number one next season? As a back up he has done well. I know I feel better with him than I did with Carrol, Foster. If not with Man U, would you want him at a place like Villa, or West Ham. I think he deserves a shot.

  6. I am not sold on Kuszczak as a starting goalkeeper for any team in the Premier League – good shot stopper but not so hot coming off his line.

  7. Gus Keri says:

    Bobby:

    There are quite a few players who came out of the draft and performed well. The best examples from last year is Tim Ream and Tony Tchani who played well for NYRB.

    The draft will continue as long as parity rules the MLS. It’s to insure that all the best players don’t end up in few of the teams. Without the draft, Vancouver and Portland would not get two of the best prospects in American soccer and those players would have chosen NY, LA or DC.

    SL:

    In the past there were two drafts each year. one for the college players and one for the professionals. Superdraft came after combing the two.

  8. Soccerlogical says:

    Kuszczak HAS been given a shot… and each time he disappoints. Fergie is not foolish or sentimental enough to head into a season with the Pole as his number 1.

    Thanks GUS!

  9. Soccerlogical says:

    It amazes me how EVERY pro sport in the USA has the same cookie cutter look.

  10. Derek Taylor says:

    @Bobby:
    Please don’t go all Janusz Michallik on us. He ranted against the draft on Twitter yesterday. The MLS Superdraft is on TV and a “big deal” because the the NFL Draft gets BIG ratings. That’s what has every league having its draft on TV, no matter how pointless or dull.

    Not sure if you’re against the concept of the draft (as Michallik is), but it’s solely to promote parity in the league. North American sports would commit suicide if only 4 teams had won their title in 28 years.
    (Premiership era: 7 different in NBA, 12 in NFL, 11 in MLB, 11 in NHL)

    Just glancing at the lists of the last three drafts, here’s some folks making a variety of levels of impact:

    2010: #1 Danny Mwanga had a good season. #9 Zack Schilawski made his name known pretty quickly with that hat trick. #18 Tim Ream was a revelation. Then we saw folks like #3 Ike Opara, #4 Teal Bunbury, #5 Zach Loyd, #7 Jack McInerney and others do some good stuff.

    2009: #1 Steve Zakuani led Seattle in scoring, #3 Omar Gonzalez was up for Defender of the Year this year, #6 Rodney Wallace, #7 Chris Pontius, #13 Stefan Frei, #14 George John, #19 AJ Delagarza, #40 Darrius Barnes

    2008: #2 Brek Shea, #7 Patrick Nyarko, #15 Shea Salinas, #19 Eric Avila, #42 Geoff Cameron, #48 Steven Lenhart

  11. Derek Taylor says:

    @Soccerlogical

    Are European leagues/sports vastly different from one another? I know that basketball has its domestic leagues and Euroleague (like soccer). Do many of them have regular season/cup competitions running concurrently?

  12. Gus Keri says:

    It’s stragne.

    I didn’t see any NYRB fan getting excited about Rooney joining the team for this coming season.

  13. Derek Taylor says:

    @Gus Keri

    In about 10 years when Rooney joins the Red Bulls…then there will be excitement.

  14. Gus Keri says:

    Derek:

    Do you remember when Dalglish played in the MLS?

    Oh man!

  15. Soccerlogical says:

    I’m confused, was that a premonition or did you miss the news that John Rooney was signed by NYRB?

    Derek – I respect the fact that N American sport has such a diverse list of title winners. However, what I don’t like is the same bland customary corporate format of every darn “suit and tie/kiss my mama/thank you jesus” draft and the fact that the American professional sport economics is directly contradictory with our free market capitalist system.

    Just because the NBA and NFL drafts are popular doesn’t mean you use the same cookie cutter design for an entirely different type of animal with different type of fans. I mean talk about lack or originality and blandness…. YIKES!

  16. I am not anti draft and don’t have a problem with the concept. What I don’t get is the vast amount of resources that North American journalists and bloggers put into researching, commenting, analyzing, prognosticating, creating drafts, speculating etc before the event .

    I know that we get a few players every year that come through but nothing close to the number that the we would be entitled to expect given all the hype that goes into it.

    I don’t have the stats to prove it but I would put forward that more MLS players achieve recognition after leaving the team that drafted them and blooded them than do those that stick around.

    The hype is massively out of proportion to what is delivered.

  17. Gus Keri says:

    SL:

    We are joking

  18. Gus Keri says:

    Bobby:

    It’s the chronic question in American soccer. Should we go for the American fans or the soccer purists?

    Drafts is a mainstay of the American sports scene in general. It’s going to be with us for a while. So, why not make the best of it and generate some buzz around it to attract some more fans. It’s fun and it’s generating interest.

  19. GO FOREST YOU REDS says:

    Bobby
    it is an American thing style over substance and that coming from a Yank.

  20. Soccerlogical says:

    GFYR & GUS – The problem is that the MLS either doesn’t know how or is intentionally not making the best of it and conforming to drafts of spirt fans from a totally diff demographic. There is NO STYLE and NO SUBSTANCE….

  21. Gus Keri says:

    From NYRB website:

    Hans Backe said of John Rooney: “He’s a box to box player, he has a good understanding of the game and he’s an excellent passer of the ball. I rated him very high in the Combine.”

    Rooney calls himself a “goal-scoring midfielder”.
    He said: “I’m quick, I’m crafty and I can put the ball in the back of the net. Hopefully I can do that for them.”

  22. Derek Taylor says:

    “The hype is massively out of proportion to what is delivered.”

    Bobby, you’ve encapsulated all of sports with this one sentence.

  23. Derek Taylor says:

    @Soccerlogical

    I figured the “Rooney to Red Bulls” headline will be useful again when Wayne decides to end his career in the US. His brother will have been the trailblazer.

  24. Ursusarctos says:

    @ Derek Taylor:

    “Do many [European leagues/sports] have regular season/cup competitions running concurrently?

    The biggest non-Soccer cup competition – at least in Britain, Ireland, and France – is without question the Heineken Cup, for Rugby Union clubs.

    “‘The hype is massively out of proportion to what is delivered.’
    Bobby, you’ve encapsulated all of sports with this one sentence.”

    Sports fans live for the exception when even the hype fails to adequately prefigure what actually transpires – case in point in recent times (for some of us in any case), the Miracle of Istanbul.

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