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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 – Real Madrid “Reserves” Score Six and Water Ends Torres Torture

Written by on April 24, 2011 | 7 Comments »
Posted in General

It was a match that for the first hour had all the intensity of a pillow fight at a cheerleaders slumber party. But as the game moved into the last hour Manchester United became to bear down and Everton were pushed deeper and deeper.

With less than ten minutes the seemingly inevitable happened with Hernandez nodding in a deflected cross from Valencia and Manchester United took another giant step towards a record 19th top flight English title.

Everton showed little ambition with Baines being well marshalled by Valencia on the Everton left and when set play opportunities came the visitors’ way execution was often sloppy.

Wayne Rooney pinged balls right, left and centre but Everton midfield pretty much granted him the freedom of Old Trafford. The centre back partnership of Phil Jagielka and Sylvan Distin were generally solid for Everton but it was a poor clearance from Distin that led to the only goal of the game.

With Milan close to uncatchable at the top of Serie A Inter and Lazio set about their priorities which is making sure of a spot in next season’s Champions League. There was no shortage of talking points in this one.

Lazio got off to a fantastic start with Inter keeper Julio Cesar sent off and a penalty awarded which Zarate converted. Sneijder drew Inter level with a terrific free kick just before half time and then Eto’o put his side 2-1 up.

Eto’o is difficult enough to control at the best of times but Biava slipped and that allowed the Inter a straight and unimpeded run at the Lazio goal.

Lazio captain Mauri was sent off shortly after when he as adjudged to have lashed out at Nagatomo – many would consider it a harsh interpretation and substitute Kozak came close to rescuing a point when he crashed an effort off the Inter cross bar.

The silver-lining to Lazio’s dark cloud was that Napoli and Udinese both lost as well. Palermo added Napoli to their list of high profile victims with a 2-1 win.

Like Lazio Napoli got off to a terrific start with a Cavani notching Serie A goal #26 of this season from a penalty kick awarded with only a minute or so played. But by half time Palermo had not only tied the match – through left back Balzaretti – but taken the lead from another penalty kick. 

Defender Bovo converted and Palermo would go on to win.

Two late goals from Chelsea added a gloss to their win over West Ham but the goals could have a devastating impact on the Hammers Premier League survival hopes.

That’s because going into Chelsea match West Ham had the best goal difference of the bottom four teams. A 1-0 defeat would have left them tied on goal difference with Wolves but still better than Wigan and Blackpool.

With the relegation battle still tight it may well be that one team may escape based on a better goal difference. West Ham (32 points) -22, Wolves (33 points) -20, Wigan (34 points) -23 and Blackpool (34 points) -22.

There were few spectators or players that would have enjoyed the conditions at Stamford Bridge on Saturday but Fernando Torres has reason to be thankful.

After coming on as a late substitute Torres scored a goal and was credited with an assist on Florent Malouda’s goal. Both came courtesy of a waterlogged pitch that held the ball up and wrong footed West Ham defenders.

There was some terrific goals in the four shared by Spurs and West Brom with Simon Cox’s late equalizer for WBA the pick of the bunch.

Real Madrid killed Valencia on the counter attack and Valencia helped by aweful defending. Valencia had more possession but it made no difference whatsoever.

It was an incredible result given that it could pass for a second XI as far as Real were concerned.

A Higuain hat trick and a devastating display by Kaka in the final 25 yards of the pitch will stick in the memory.

The only thing that might bother Mourinho is that three goals allowed and especially the two late goals that brought Valencia a modicum of respectability.

It has become a rite of spring. The flowers bloom and Arsenal’s title aspirations wither. We have been through the reasons many times before and they were on show again – with one exception.

Personally I am calling off my “Arsenal needs to sign a goalkeeper” campaign as I believe that Wojciech Szczesny is going to be a top class goalkeeper.

He is going to make some mistakes along the way but from what I have seen he has all the makings of a top class stopper.

Eoin O’Callaghan made a good point in respect to goalkeepers off air on Friday.

We remember Peter Schmeichel and we look to the goalkeeping Edwin van der Sar has provided United with over the last few years but how many remember the parade of keepers who traipsed through Old Trafford in-between?

Stats Facts

Tottenham have recorded five draws in their last 7 matches to go with a win and a loss.

They have dropped 11 points against teams in the bottom half of the league and are now in a position where they should be as concerned about being caught by Liverpool for 5th spot as they are about trying to pip Manchester City for 4th.

Three of Tottenham’s next four games in the Barclay’s Premier League have then away to Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool.

Jermain Defoe scored his 100th Premier League goal, and 100th for Spurs in all competitions.

Napoli have suffered back to back defeats for the first time in Serie A this season: 2-1 to both Udinese and Palermo.

There is lots of credit being given to Roy Hodgson for West Brom’s climb up the table after he took over from Roberto Di Matteo.

Under Hodgson they have picked up 13 points from 8 games this season. Not wishing to undermine or question Hodgson’s contribution but it should be noted that West Brom’s recovery has coincided with the return of Jonas Olsson at centre back after injury.

With Olsson playing West Brom have collected a total of 30 points from 20 matches – without him 10 points from 14 games.

Petr Cech recorded his Premier League leading 15th shut out of this season. We will see if Joe Hart ties that mark when he lines-up against Blackburn on Monday.

Hercules pulled off an important win at home to Deportivo La Coruna in a bid to avoid relegation. The 1-0 win went a long way.

It was Hercules’ first win over the visitors since 1956, the first clean sheet against Deportivo in 12 top flight meetings and only the second goal Hercules has scored in their last six games in La Liga.

Vancouver Whitecaps designated player Eric Hassli must have something close to a play one, take one off contract.

He picked up his fifth yellow card of the season in the five games he has played this season and will the next games against the Columbus Crew. This goes with the two games he has already missed after being sent off twice.

Player of the Weekend Nominees

Antonio Valencia (Manchester United)

Petr Cech (Chelsea)

Cesare Bovo (Palermo)

Wesley Sneijder (Inter)

Kaka (Real Madrid)

Daniel Sturridge (Bolton)

The winner to be announced on Monday night’s Fox Soccer Report.


7 responses to “Rear View Mirror – Real Madrid “Reserves” Score Six and Water Ends Torres Torture”

  1. Gus Keri says:

    Bobby:

    “(Tottenham) should be as concerned about being caught by Liverpool for 5th spot as they are about trying to pip Manchester City for 4th”

    The same thing goes for Arsenal.
    Man City might take their third position for direct entry into the Champions league.

    Also, I thought Maxi Rodriguez deserves a mention in your list of POTW.

  2. redfan says:

    Bobby I agree with Gus, Maxi….for inspired poaching!

  3. Gus

    Saw the goals but did not watch the game. Need to watch the game in order to make the list. Otherwise it just becomes a list of who gets the best press coverage.

  4. ttred says:

    I would go with Daniel Sturridge. His performance was best for two teams.

  5. Bryan says:

    Tamir Cohen for me.
    Not just for his game winning ,and Arsenal season ending ,goaL.
    But for his reaction and tribute to his dad.
    And I hope the ref apologised when giving him the yellow card.

    And I thought Paul Merson nailed it ,just for a change ,it was groundhog day all over again for Arsenal.

  6. Bryan says:

    And when it comes to really bad penalty kicks ,I’ll see your Kevin Davies and I’ll raise you a Pat Nevin.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0u4lTUl39I

  7. Seattle_Loon says:

    Feel really sorry for my friends who are Arsenal fans. While they have had injuries, this season seems to have been extra-frustrating. I expected that with Fabregas fit that they would have picked up a lot more points in recent games. Could it be that opposing teams are finding them easier to defend against or is it a lack of leaders on the field that is costing them points?

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