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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 and and frequently guest on various podcasts and radio shows.


Chelsea Win But, Arteta Pass Master, Herd and Heskey Anything But

Written by on December 4, 2011 | 9 Comments »
Posted in Arsenal, Aston Villa, Chelsea, English Premier League, General, Manchester United, Newcastle United, Wigan Athletic

The Newcastle vs Chelsea matches had many twists in turns to it. In the early stages Newcastle were badly exposed with acres of space in front of Newcastle full back Ryan Taylor. Hatem Ben Arfa was given (or took on) a free role and only sporadically occupied a spot on the left side of midfield.

The graphic below illustrates Ben Arfa’s position when receiving passes. 

Ben Arfa never made it out for the second half and Daniel Sturridge who had enjoyed an enormous amount of freedom in the first 45 minutes found he had to drop deeper and wider to pick up passes in the second half.

Sturridge scored relatively late in the game but had many very good chances particularly in the first half.

Drogba’s first half goal gave Chelsea a lead but Demba Ba and Shola Ameobi (second half substitute) spearheaded a spirited Newcastle response. However, although the pair unsettled the Chelsea defence the return in terms of shots on target by the pair was limited to just a single effort from Ba.

Juan Mata was again the creative fulcrum for Chelsea. He set up the opener for Drogba and his ability to pick out the right pass and to execute made him the games best outfield player during the 75 minutes he played.

A 4-o win for Arsenal Wigan was a welcome relief for fans who had watched Arsenal lose 5 points in the last two seasons at the DW Stadium after leading with 10 minutes to go on both occasions.

Despite many in the media dismissing the late acquisition of Mikel Arteta by Arsenal as a signing two or three years to late the former Everton midfielder has fitted in extremely well.

He opened the scoring against Wigan but again it was his ability to pass the ball quickly and accurately that stood out. Arteta is rarely able to find the killer pass into the penalty area ala Fabregas but he does offer a quicker and more direct approach.

You will have to go a long way to find worse game involving Manchester United than the one  against Aston Villa at Villa Park on Saturday. 

United won through a Phil Jones goal but United struggled and fortunately – for United – Villa were even worse. Villa’s passing was generally woeful through out. Particularly bad was Chris Herd (who was substituted after 59 mins) and Emile Heskey (who cam off the bench 5 mins. later).

Later on Monday a look at what the new Sunderland boss Martin O’Neill has to work with and from.

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9 responses to “Chelsea Win But, Arteta Pass Master, Herd and Heskey Anything But”

  1. J Rob says:

    Great analysis Bobby. I was at a loss why Newcastle defended so poorly in the first half. Riddle solved. Ben Arfa is a good example of how a modern attacking midfielder needs to be disciplined and come back and defend too. I bet Alan Pardew was irate.

    I am rueing the other poor piece of refereeing in the first half. I lost 8 fantasy points because Lampard missed his penalty. He should have retaken it because Krul moved well in advance of the kick.

  2. Soccerlogical says:

    Ben Arfa was known as “L’enfant Terrible” at Olympique de Marseille… a tremendous creative force a la van der Vaart who doesn’t defend. Pardew knew what he was getting with Ben Arfa and it’s the manager’s fault for deploying him in a position which required such defensive responsibility.

  3. Roberto Manita says:

    I must admit to getting a good chuckle after the FA Cup final 64 draw was announced. City get to give ORN a right proper spanking but this time at home. ManUre also got unceremoniously knocked out of the Mickey Mouse Cup this past week. Just splendid that was! Now, this week, they are looking at hoping to qualify for the R16 in the UCL. Maybe they will get bounced? How sweet would that be? Go Basel go!!! But most likely they will end up as a two seed. Mmmmm, that could actually be even better. They could end up drawing FCB in the R16 and get a righteous bit of discipline over two legs. A two legged ass spanking for ORN and ManUre. I’m praying for it.

    How about this from the Noisy Neighbours come the end of the season:
    1) A domestic treble for Pacino and crew
    2) No trophies to display at the Old Toilet.
    How noisy do you think the neighbours would get after that?

  4. Roberto Manita says:

    I should give serious consideration to changing my moniker to “Roberto Schadenfreude.” 😉

  5. Roberto Manita says:

    Correction: Fergie and those Devils did win the Community Shield …

  6. Gus Keri says:

    Now, I figured out why Mario Balotelli is always grouchy. His WAG was listed last on the top 25 hottest Italian WAGs.

    Spoiled brat

  7. […] are chalkboards everywhere these days and Bobby McMahon lays out some of his talking point via this new medium. I was very pleased to see him highlight […]

  8. Max says:

    @Roberto Manita This isn’t for discussing your fantasies and hatred of United. This should be about the football discussed in the article.

  9. Ed Gomes says:

    Being the biggest also means being the most despised, so I understand Roberto’s angst.

    I think the biggest surprise is AVB still having a job at Chelsea. Not only a job, but moving players out. Drogba, Kalou, Boswinga, Pereira and Anelka were showcased in order to be moved.
    I guess Lamps and Terry are untouchable, hence him not having a job much longer.
    Has a player ever fallen as far as Torres has, while in his prime? He might not even be selected by Spain for the Euro’s.

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