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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.


Rear View Mirror – Part One, Premier Nerves and Alves Stunner

Written by on March 20, 2011 | 1 Comment »
Posted in General

The Spurs v West Ham game did not produce a goal, it was nothing close to a classic but it did hold your interest right through to the final whistle.

Tottenham started well and although they dominated large parts of the game, they did for much of it, look sluggish and predictable. The pace of Lennon and Bale was not brought to bear, Van der Vaart was quiet and Jermain Defoe downright wasteful.

Sandro who enjoyed two excellent games against Milan had a particularly poor game and struggled to make the simplest of passes to a teammate.

Despite being under pressure for much of match West Ham did carry a threat on the break although it was usually through Demba Ba rather than his strike partner Carlton Cole who made bad choices in good positions.

The game will be remembered for a remarkable save from Robert Green who showed a tremendous second effort in stretching to tip a Gareth Bale free kick on to the crossbar. Kudos as well to Lars Jacobsen who made sure the rebound was cleared.

The best player for Spurs was Luca Modric who struggled to find other Spurs players to take advantage of his promptings. Scott Parker was again the heart of West Ham – making tackles, intercepting passes, pushing his side forward and continually inspiring those around him.

There might be some kudos flying around for Arsenal coming back from 2-0 down to salvage a point but the Gunners defence was again paid a visit by Mr. Cock Up.

The West Brom opener from Steven Reid was a poor goal to allow but it was nothing compared with the second which was a disaster – Almunia going walk about and again showing his propensity for making really bad decisions. Squillaci was just as much at fault.

Denilson was substituted at half time after a nightmare first half. You might think it difficult to complete 86% of your passes but play badly but Denilson managed it.

He is a player who has regressed rather than progressed – short square balls his party piece but he defends so very poorly and gets dragged easily out of position.

After half time the Arsenal shape seemed to change more to 4-4-2 but as Wenger grew more and more desperate it became more of an old fashioned 4-2-4.

Arshavin’s goal was the one moment of true class in a match that might have set the nerves of both sets of fans on edge but overall it was a poor spectacle.

Arsenal’s equalizer probably summed things up – Bendtner by hook or crook knocked Arshavin’s deep cross back across goal, it was misplayed by a West Brom defender and Van Persie’s “shot” barely made it across the goal line.

A futile suggestion no doubt but how would Jonas Olsson look in an Arsenal uniform?

It looked as if Arsenal was again going to get a break as United struggled to break down a composed Bolton side. But even with only 10-men United squeezed out three points to once again extend their lead to 5-points with a game more played.

United lacked an orchestrator in midfield even though they enjoyed a considerable edge in possession. When Jonny Evans was sent off for a very bad tackle on Stuart Holden it looked as if Bolton were going to become only the second team this season to leave Old Trafford with a point.

But when Jussi Jaaskelainen mishandled a relatively tame effort from Nani, Berbatov was to react and to take advantage of David Wheater lolly-gagging behind his other defenders.

A couple of weeks back Ben Foster was Birmingham’s goalkeeping hero when they lifted the Carling Cup. He was anything but on Saturday when Wigan beat Birmingham 2-1 and Foster looked poor on both goals.

It was far from a vintage display from Barcelona and a late Getafe goal added a touch of uncertainty to the final outcome but nonetheless another win and another three points for Barcelona. While the game will not be remembered, the opening goal most certainly will by anyone who was lucky enough to witness it.

Simply put, it was marvellous. A stunning strike hit on the drop, with power and swerve from an on-rushing Dani Alves.

Bojan sighting – 100th game for Barcelona and the winning goal as well.

The Real Madrid derby win over Atletico mimicked the Barcelona win – looked comfortable at 2-0 then a late goal cast some doubt on the final outcome. One interesting choice by Jose Mourinho was bolstering the defensive side of things with Lass Diarra playing alongside Xabi Alonso while Angel Di Maria was moved the bench and Sami Khedira played a little bit further forward.

Davide Chiumiento only made it to half time for the Vancouver Whitecaps against Toronto FC but in that short time he showed that he might make an impact in MLS this season. He set up both of Vancouver’s goals before leaving the game at half time.

The Whitecaps 4-2 win flattered a flat and awkward looking Toronto side but more on that later in the week.

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One response to “Rear View Mirror – Part One, Premier Nerves and Alves Stunner”

  1. soccercrave says:

    Bobby, whom of Khedira or Lass Diara do you think fits in better alongside Alonso? people argue that Khedira looks better going forward, but I actually think Lass is better defensively, and looking sharper nowadays going forward as well. I find him more complete overall and I think he offers more alongside Alonso and Ozil. I’d like to hear your thoughts on this. Thanks

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