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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

Rear View Mirror – Milner Genius? Liverpool Cross And Roma Come Klose

Written by on October 16, 2011 | 10 Comments »
Posted in General

The biggest talking points of the Liverpool and Manchester United match came before the game and after. United’s starting line up did not include Wayne Rooney, Nani or Javier Hernandez and included Phil Jones as the holding midfield player.

United may have left with a point but the starting formation and line-up failed to impress. It was only after the cavalry arrived  that United showed any cohesiveness going forward.

Liverpool showed the most initiative and pressured United in most  areas of the park. The goal when it came was courtesy of a botched defensive wall at a free kick.

Ryan Giggs was certainly culpable but given Steven Gerrard’s ability to curl a free kick the wall appeared a man short and it still a mystery as to what Patrice Evra was up to.

If it had been later in the evening he might have got done for loitering.

The Liverpool defence was also at fault when it came to the United equalizer. From a Nani corner Welbeck pushed off Carragher and his flick found Hernandez who had lost Skrtel at the back post.

Both teams have emphasized play from wide positions this season but on this day it was extremely ineffective or almost non-existent. Liverpool played balls into the United penalty area to feed Andy Carroll. Unfortunately Carroll was not playing.

In the case of Manchester United they failed to get the ball wide often enough and there were few opportunities played into Liverpool penalty box.

 

The big post-game story was whether or not Luis Suarez racially abused Fabrice Evra.

United’s early season rivals – and more likely to be there right to the end – Manchester City also fielded a less than first choice eleven but they still made easy work of an Aston Villa side that had previously been unbeaten.

De Jong and Barry in midfield gave City the boring look of last season but nonetheless they still scored four times and never looked to be in any trouble against a Villa side that failed in their first game against top class opponents this season.

However, as impressive as City’s win was it is difficult to agree with the hyperbole of colour commentator Dean Sturridge. If Mario Balotelli’s rather straight forward overhead kick was world-class then the term has been very much devalued.

James Milner’s second goal was certainly an excellent goal – a sweeping cross-field pass followed by a well-struck finish – but a work of genius. Really?

Chelsea also made short work of an Everton side that allowed the home side far too much time to build from the back.

Chelsea scored three times from 7 attempts on goal and had another 3 on target. The late goal from substitute Vellios broke the Chelsea shut-out and left anyone who had picked Petr Cech for a fantasy football clean sheet cursing.

The propensity to allow the opposition a consolation goal (a shut out in the first match of the season against Stoke stands as their lone marker) is about the only real cause for concern to the Chelsea faithful at the moment.

If anyone thought that this season was going to be anything else but a slog for Arsenal they were reminded how hard it will be when the Gunners scrambled to a 2-1 win over Sunderland.

The first half had Arsenal looking as if they were going to blow the Black Cats away. Van Persie scored with only seconds gone and he could have had a hat trick after 20 minutes. In particular there was one beautiful piece of skill that saw a chip from the Dutchman rebound off the inside post.

A wonderfully struck Larsson free kick tied the match in the first half and provided Sunderland with a much-needed confidence boost.

As the crowd grew more frustrated in the second half it looked as if a point was going to be it. That is until Van Persie became Arsenal’s fourth free kick taker of the day (Santos, Walcott and Arteta all missed the target from what should have been dangerous positions) and he matched Larsson’s earlier effort.

The crowd’s reaction was one of relief as much as joy. One small encouragement for Arsenal was how they managed the game out in the last 12 to 13 minutes.

After Arsenal took the lead Arteta ( 9 for 9 in passing) and Arshavin (6 for 6)  showed a willingness to lead and take responsibility – something that has sometimes been lacking on the side.

Spurs went to Newcastle with a less than impressive record at St James’ Park over the last few seasons – a win in 2004 their last in the Premier League. The first half was cautious but the second was a wonderfully entertaining spectacle.

Newcastle controlled most of the first half but Spurs still went in at half time with a 1-0 lead. Newcastle’s solid work being undone by a combination of Cabaye being caught in possession (he had a generally poor game) and a challenge by Steven Taylor on Adebayor that was a fraction late.

The referee rightly awarded a penalty and Van der Vaart did what was required from 12 yards.

The Newcastle equalizer came shortly after the break and was well constructed and executed. Demba Ba dropped deep and after the ball went left Ba timed his run into the penalty area and when the cross came he forced the ball into the net.

The commentators were quick to point the finger of blame at Assou-Ekotto but it was Livermore who failed to track the strikers run from midfield.

Spurs again took the lead with a stunning strike from Defoe after Taylor (Ryan this time) got caught wrong side of the striker and unable to block the shot.

Newcastle redoubled efforts with Ben Arfa and Shola Ameobi both entering the game in place of Ba and Best. Pardew positioned Ameobi on Kyle Walker and it was to pay off.


Tiote with another stand out performance knocked the ball back into a danger area after a high clearance from Parker. A couple of passes and a terrific shot from Ameobi and the game was tied.

It did not stop Newcastle going for a winner and Coloccini could have sealed all three points for Newcastle.

A great second half of action.

With five 0-0 draws on Sunday it was left to Roma and Lazio to inject some life into Sunday’s Serie A schedule.

Roma was 1-0 up through a fine finish from Pablo Osvaldo but by the time the first half reached the 20 minute mark Lazio had taken control of the game. Nonetheless the score remained 1-0 to Roma at half time but within seconds of the restart things had changed.

A surging run into the Roma penalty area by Brocchi was stopped by Kjaer. The Dane was sent off and Hernanes scored from the penalty.

Roma was unable to match the more physically imposing Lazio and with ten men it only got harder. Roma was pinned back for the entire second half but they looked to have survived a second half onslaught that included Klose hitting the bar and Cisse thundering a volley off the post.

But Hernanes continued to drive Lazio forward and his pass was then clipped into the penalty box by Matuzalem and Miroslav Klose scored the winner with 15 seconds remaining.

It was no more than Lazio deserved.

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10 responses to “Rear View Mirror – Milner Genius? Liverpool Cross And Roma Come Klose”

  1. J Rob says:

    So much for the biggest club game in the world (according to Fergie). First half of Man Utd vs Liverpool was atrocious. So many mishit passes and aimless high balls from both teams. After tying at 1-1 you would have fancied Man Utd to win it but it was Liverpool who looked far more dangerous in the last ten minutes.

    I’ll be slightly contrary. Although Liverpool played a lot of crosses into the box Andy Carroll definitely wasn’t missed. They consistently look a far better team without the big Geordie.

    Also, Ferguson got his team and tactics spot on. Having lost this fixture here 3 years in a row the point Man Utd earned might be crucial at the end of the season.

    Which brings us to Man City. A tremendous result to sweep aside a previously unbeaten team 4-1 without Dzeko, Aguerro, Silva and Nasri.

    The defensive coach is definitely MIA at the Emirates. Arsenal continue to defend like nervous schoolboys.

    As for Sunderland, Steve Bruce will surely have a lot more time to spend with his family during this year’s holiday season. They have won 7 games in all competitions in 2011 and only one this since August. I wonder Larsson if on another team’s radar to buy. He’s a good player and a wonderful striker of a dead-ball.

  2. Soccerlogical says:

    Bobby – 2 questions please.

    1) How is it decided which players get work permits in the UK and Europe? Often times is it reported that various players from US, S America, Africa etc did not join a club which was ready to offer them employment due to not getting a work permit. I worked abroad in two different countries and obtained work permits as I was employed by the designated country so how is it that some players who are offered employment and contract by clubs ranging from Blackburn to Newcastle get denied a work permit while others do not?

    2) Have you see the George Harrison documentary by Marty Scorsese and what did you think?

  3. Roberto Manita says:

    Reposted (because it cannot be emphasized enough):

    Five scoreless matches in the Serie A on this Sunday. What a brilliant advertisement for the beautiful game that shambolic league has become.

    The Director of Marketing for the Serie A should diversify into selling a line of sedative Serie A pills. They would instruct cronic insomniacs to take two Serie A sedative tablets before every match. Unbeknownst to the target market insomniacs these pills would be placebos but their efficacy could not be questioned. Within thirty minutes after kickoff these magic tablets will put you under. Guaranteed or your money back, the label would read, if taken as directed.

    I did like the Rome derby however. Maybe because I enjoy derbies no matter how ugly. Speaking of ugly, both Milan teams are that with a side of fries and gravy. Utterly atrocious.

  4. Roberto Manita says:

    And might I say that I’m very disappointed in Evra this weekend for whining and crying like a little school girl post facto. If you can’t take trash talk, no matter the subject, do us all a favour and just shut the f*ck up, sit down, be a man, and retire. Don’t tattle on a school mate to the teacher because you cannot take it.

    It’s not the first time with Evra either.

    What is said on the pitch, stays on the pitch. Grow up Evra, you little cry baby.

    You gotta love Suarez. There’s no one in the game that uses every tactic in the book to wind up his opponents better than Old Bottle Opener. Suarez has a Ph.D in footy gamesmanship. We are all witness to his brilliance. Salute!

  5. Roberto Manita says:

    And can someone please tell me why Theo Walcott is taking a free kick in an official EPL match? That may just be the most inexplicable thing to have emerged this entire weekend. Theo usually needs a compass and GPS device to locate the back of the net under the most favourable of circumstances.

  6. Brian says:

    Lazio-Roma showed Liverpool-Man Utd what a real derby is supposed to look like.

  7. soccerlogical says:

    @RM – What affect are you exactly trying to get from a re-post which wasn’t all that insightful in the first place. If Serie A isn’t your cup o’ tea then there is a device called a remote control.

  8. SL – 1. varies from country to country but in England there is a % of international games that a player is expected to have played in over the last year I believe. I also believe the country has to be ranked in the top 75 of the FIFA rankings.

    If that fails then there is a fall back provision of being able to show that the player is of exceptional ability and that is to try and deal with issues of younger players who have yet to establish themselves in their national team.

    2. No I have not. I will have to go the DVD route – cannot remember the last time I went to a theatre.

  9. admir says:

    Nice article.

  10. Roberto Manita says:

    SL,

    Reposted because my original posting was off topic and mistimed within an Eoin offering. Once Mr. Bobby put up a new posting, Rear View Mirror, my posting became relevant and appropriate. Hence the reposting — ya daft bastard ya . As if you’ve never reposted your tripe.

    And if Serie A is your thing then knock yourself out. It should be called Serie Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

    At least we’ll both be cheering on the Gunners tomorrow in southern Frenchieville.

    Up the Arse!!!

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