Wednesday - June 28, 2017
Home    About    Writers    Links    Contact     RSS

About the Author

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 – Quiet Saturday But Sunday Made Up For It

Written by on March 6, 2011 | 8 Comments »
Posted in General

“Formations are neutral; it is their employment that gives them positive and negative characteristics.”
Jonathan Wilson

Wilson’s words ran through my head on Sunday morning as I watched Liverpool and Manchester United. We were told both teams were sent out in a 4-4-2 formation (I would disagree particularly in the case of Liverpool) and that it was a sign that both teams were “going for it.”

If United meant to “go for it” they failed to bring the required energy and commitment needed to walk the talk. Liverpool played with energy – United played like pre-Christmas Liverpool.

Kuyt scored a hat trick from a combined distance of 6 yards – a Premier League record? – but the outstanding player on the field was Luis Suarez.

He brims with confidence and inventiveness and combines a strong work ethic with an overwhelming desire to score goals. He did not succeed with the latter on Sunday but few if any Liverpool fans are complaining.

Despite a belief to the contrary both sides did finish with 22 players on the field. But it was not for the lack of trying – Phil Dowd showed great leniency in only booking Jamie Carragher for his foul on Nani.

Not wishing to excuse Carragher’s action in any way but you do wonder if Nani helped to keep the Liverpool defender on the field with his dying swan routine.

Young full back Raphael had a rush of blood to the head (again) but he too received a booking. Raphael was fortunate that Lucas took evasive action – as was Lucas – as the rashness and recklessness of the tackle would certainly have been considered violent conduct in the midfielder had been planted.

Monday morning we can expect the knee jerk pundits to be throwing themselves from the United bandwagon.

“Arsenal fails again” headlines rapidly replaced by “United in turmoil.”

Time for a deep breath and a cool assessment. United are still the favourites to win the Premier League.

After a moving remembrance of Dean Richards at Molineux, Wolves and Tottenham put on a terrific display of football. As they would say in Glasgow – it was a “stotter”.

It was a game in which the threat of controversy and the potential for a lot of goals seemed to hang in the air from the start. Maybe it was the soggy park. Wolves settled very quickly and imposed themselves on Spurs.

Doyle put Wolves ahead but it sparked Spurs – and more particularly Jermain Defoe – into life. Two well struck shots gave Spurs a 2-1 lead although a question remains as to whether or not Wayne Hennessey was as alert as he should have been.

But before half time we got one of two very controversial refereeing decisions. Milijas was impeded by Hutton, a penalty given but the Spurs full back stayed on the park having only received a yellow card.

The decision whether or not to send off a player for denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity is based on a number of factors that the referee has to way in his mind.

To try and infer that it is a cut and dried decision is disingenuous.

Wolves did finally get an equalizer but only after a goal was disallowed. As Wolves opted for attacking options from the bench, Spurs countered with the pace of Bale and Lennon.

Spurs carried the threat of a goal on the counter attack but a combination of poor decision making and decisive Wolves defending kept the game within reach.

Spurs started to concede more free kicks in dangerous positions as Wolves swarmed forward. And it was from a free kick that Wolves thought they had equalized.

Richard Stearman put the ball in the Spurs net but he was adjudged to have knocked it from the grasp (two hands on the ball) of Gomes. Replays appeared to vindicate referee Mark Halsey’s decision.

The equalizer came from a well crafted move and was finished off by a well placed header from substitute Steven Fletcher.

For Wolves to finish with nothing in this match would have been a gross injustice.

The opening game on Saturday managed to improve in the second half but that was only account of it being impossible to get any worse. The first half went by without goals and without incident.

At least the second half brought some goals although the quality of play showed little improvement. The West Brom opener summed up the entire game.

Before Mulumbu scored the lead up mimicked a snooker break with the white ball pinging all over the shop.

Birmingham kept playing crosses into the box for Nikola Zigic but there a problem with that strategy – Zigic was on the bench and never saw any action.

James Morrison’s goal – it turned out to be the winner – was the best of the bunch.

One other thing to mention on a day that the IFAB discussed goalline technology; an excellent and accurate call by the referee’s assistant on judging Scharner’s header to have crossed the line.

With Jack Wilshere pushed forward into the “Fabregas” role Arsenal dominated most of the match against Sunderland. However, there was brief spell late in the game when Sunderland mounted as series of attacks and Arsenal keeper Szczesny was forced into a couple of excellent saves.

At the other end the games decided by some very good goalkeeping from Simon Mignolet, a crossbar hit by a Chamakh header and two decisions by the officials.

Referee Anthony Taylor ignored a tug and then a push from Titus Bramble (the first outside of the penalty box, the second inside) on Andrei Arshavin.

With only a few minutes remaining Arshavin was again the aggrieved party when the referee’s assistant called him offside although he was patently onside.

The best of the Juventus – Milan game was this video flagged by Serie A weekly. How amazed was this Italian commentator that Gattuso had scored the only goal of the game?

David Silva was the Man of the Match and Wigan could have left Eastlands with a point – that sums up the Manchester City – Wigan game.

Silva scored the only goal but he had ample help from Al Habsi. The Wigan keeper made the most elementary of errors in allowing Silva’s shot to go through both his hands and his very open legs. Schoolboy mistake.

Was there a more spectacular goal than this scored this weekend? Give it a watch and you decide whether you saw anything better than Jose Antonio’s effort for Atletico Madrid against Villarreal.

Inter put together a powerful performance in beating Genoa 5-2 although all the goals came in the second half. Palacio scored a nice opener just before half time but Inter continued to batter Genoa in the second half and eventually ground them into the Giuseppe Meazza turf.

Samuel Eto’o was the tormentor-in-chief.

Inter has a Champions League date with Bayern Munich the week after this one and although Bayern holds a one goal lead and are playing at home you wonder if Louis Van Gaal will still be in charge.

In consecutive weeks Bayern have lost 3-1 to a top four side. Last week Borussia Dortmund and on Saturday it was Hannover. This loss dropped Bayern to 5th and they are five points out of a Champions League spot with nine games left in the season – big trouble.

Palermo’s horrible run continued and there were few signs of it abating. Two goals from Giuseppe Sculli who arrived at Lazio from Genoa in the transfer window killed the game before it could become a contest. They were was all that was needed.

Stat Facts, Upsets and Player of the Weekend nominees to follow later.

You can get updates through RSS (top of the page), follow at Twitter BobbySoccerRep, or on Facebook

8 responses to “Rear View Mirror – Quiet Saturday But Sunday Made Up For It”

  1. Red-Fan says:

    Love the dying swan bit. Was he really crying and will we ever know what Raul Moreiles said to him, presumably in Portuguese? Nani must have watched the Oscars last week and still not been in the groove for the game today.

    Suarez is a livewire and so quick on his feet. A few more signings like that and Liverpool will be a totally different challenge next season. I was so glad to see the work horse Kuyt (pr. Kowt) rewarded for his efforts today. No one deserves that more but his fortune was the fruit of Luis Suarez’ deft touch, at least for two of the goals. How different from the West Ham game.

    Bobby: “Inter has a Champions League date with Inter…..” has to be a typo.

  2. Red-Fan thanks.

    If there is anyone who follows me on Twitter? If so have you received a supposed tweet from me about a Nicolas Bendtner petition?

  3. Gus Keri says:


    I am not sure I understood what you were trying to say in your introduction, but Dalglish is keeping people guessing.

    The lineup in the FSC pre-match suggested 4-5-1 with Suarez as the lone striker.
    But what we saw is Kuyt as the spearhead and Suares played just behind him. It could be called 4-4-2 or 4-5-1. It depended on how deep Suarez was.

    This formation seems to bring the best out of both Suarez and Kuyt.

  4. Gus – I thought it was more like 4-1-3-2 (with one of the two dropping back on occasion). The one was Lucas and the three normally Meireles, Gerrard and Maxi.

  5. Gus Keri says:


    I agree with you. Lucas was playing in front of the 4 defenders and he didn’t go forward much.

  6. Bryan says:

    Once again they saved the best for last.
    Tottenham’s three goals might be the best three of the weekend.
    If any manager has a reason to complain I’d say it was Mick McCarthy. Don’t have anything to back it up but I’d say Wolves have been on the wrong end of more poor decisions than any other team this season.
    Wolves v Tottenham always reminds me of the The Glory Game. Tottenham promised their staff and players wives that if they reached the UEFA cup final that year they would treat them to an all expenses paid trip to some exotic european location. They ended up with a night out in Wolverhampton.

    Lose 3-1 to one Utd and then beat another 3-1. Go figure.
    They did do their homework by watching Tuesday nights game though.
    Man Utd’s midfield can be easily overrun ,and it wasn’t the first time this week that Van der Sar spilled a free-kick ,didn’t get away with it this time though.
    Thought Nani had a bit of a mare.
    You can always rely on the Kop to give you a laugh now and then ,and they did today when singing happy birthday to Kenny Dalglish.
    But why do they sing the Munster song?

    Highlight of the day for me though was seeing the lovely Alison “My aim is true” Bender ,of Chelsea TV fame ,reporting from the the Anfield touchline for FSC.

  7. Nigel Winterbottom says:

    Alex Ferguson used incorrect tactics in the Liverpool game. He should have used a packed midfield (by starting Fletcher) in order to protect the appalling defence which was ravaged by injury and cannot function when they are missing both Ferdinand & Vidic.

    Liverpool have no reason to get excited as they continue to look like a team not worthy of a top five position. Man U did not help their own situation as most of their players did not expend significant effort levels to compete with the higher work rate offered by an otherwise dull but motivated Liverpool team.

    It remains difficult to justify the opinion that Man United remain Premier League title favourites. With injuries to many key players and Nani now absent for some weeks (and Valencia still several weeks away from returning to the side), they will find it difficult to sustain an effective challenge on the run-in.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

House Rules

Please refrain from posting comments that;

  • Attempt to demean, intimidate or bully fellow readers
  • Are racist, sexist, homophobic, sexually explicit, intolerant or otherwise abusive
  • Includes language likely to offend or attempts to try and circumvent this request
  • Could be considered spam

The House reserves the right to delete any such comments and to block further participation on the site.

Soccer Report Extra
© copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
Designed and Developed by:
Bills'eye + Underscorefunk Design