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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

Some Things Are Certain But There Is A Lot That Is Not

Written by on April 29, 2011 | 9 Comments »
Posted in General

Barclays Premier League

The schedule is split this weekend and we are at the stage of the season when our attention is the same way. We are concerned with the top and the bottom and no one cares about the middle – unless they act as spoilers.

But for the supporters of West Brom and Aston Villa there must be a sense or relieve that this Midland’s derby will be played out without the dark spectre of relegation hanging their clubs.

Although not mathematically safe West Brom and Villa are six and seven points above the three drop spots and both enjoy relatively good goal differentials.

West Brom have only lost once in their last 9 games and Villa are unbeaten in four.

Fulham and Sunderland are another pair with little or nothing to worry about. The same cannot be said about Blackburn, Blackpool and Wigan who are all battling to avoid the drop and all are at home this Saturday. Their opponents are Bolton, Stoke and Everton.

Blackburn have still to play both West Ham and Wolves away and Manchester United at home. A win against Bolton appears almost mandatory with a cardiac run in approaching.

After Blackpool plays Stoke they too have a match against Bolton together with matches against Manchester United and Spurs.

Wigan have only one game against a relegation revival and that is West Ham. The other two games are against Stoke City and Aston Villa.

The pressure on Spurs is all about making a repeat appearance in the top four at the end of the 38-game schedule while for Chelsea is about maintaining some sort of pressure on Manchester United. Spurs have still to travel to Eastlands and Anfield and so even a draw might turn out to be a bad result.

Npower Championship

There are only two games remaining in the marathon that is the Championship. Nothing is yet decided except for Preston being relegated but Scunthorpe and Sheffield United will need divine intervention in order to avoid the drop given they both trail Doncaster Rovers and Crystal Palace by six points.

Queens Park Rangers will almost certainly lay stake to an automatic promotion spot – probably as champions – this weekend. They are away to Watford but lead second place Norwich (away to Pompey on Monday) by 5 points and third place Cardiff (home Boro on Monday) by six points.

Cardiff and Norwich occupy that nerve racking position of being on the cusp of an automatic spot but one where they could so easily be sucked back into the torturous promotion play offs.

Swansea are already assured of a place in the promotion show down while opponent’s Millwall are just one place and a couple of points away from the sought after sixth spot. Reading are only a point away from joining Swansea (they are away to Coventry) and Nottingham Forest are in a strong position having to play Scunthorpe and Crystal Palace.

Leeds and Burnley both still have a chance but at best only one still will after Saturday.

Bundesliga

With a five point lead and three games remaining Borussia Dortmund could be the 2011 Bundesliga Champions by Saturday evening.  They are at home to Nurnberg.

Second place Bayer Leverkusen are away to Cologne and Bayer could also cement their finishing position. However, much of the attention will be on the third and final Champions League qualifying spot. Current occupants Hannover are a point better than Bayern Munich but with a dramatically poorer goal difference.

Hannover are at home to Borussia Monchengladbach who shocked Dortmund last week by beating them 1-0. Hannover finish with games against Stuttgart and Nurnberg.

Bayern will be hoping that the Schalke 04 side that played against Manchester United will turn out on Saturday at the Allianz Arena. After Schalke comes St. Pauli and Stuttgart.

Serie A

It is close to impossible for Milan to throw away an eight point advantage at the top of Serie A with four games left. Second place Inter (away to Cesena) and Napoli (home to Genoa) are fighting for the runners up spot.

La Liga

There is even less to play for a the top of the Spanish league. Real Madrid are destined to finish second and are at home to Real Zaragoza and champions-to-be Barcelona are away to Real Sociedad.

MLS

Seattle Sounders v Toronto FC
After having 5 of their first seven matches within the friendly confines of BMO Field, Toronto travels to the west coast to play the Seattle Sounders.

Home advantage has meant little with Toronto collecting only 7 points from 7 games.  More bad news is that during their five year existence in MLS TFC have rarely been convincing road-warriors.

One thing TFC have been noted for, is having players they’ve casted adrift, prospering at new clubs.

They might have run into another this weekend in the shape of a former first round draft pick O’Brian White.

White has a couple of goals already this season for a Sounders side that has recovered nicely from losing their first two games of the season and are now unbeaten in their last 5. But White will miss this match after suffering a blood clot in his leg.

The other  Saturday games in MLS are Philadelphia Union v San Jose Earthquakes; Columbus Crew against Vancouver Whitecaps; Sporting KC are away to New York Red Bulls; Colorado Rapids and the Chicago Fire hook up; Portland Timbers host Real Salt Lake; New England Revolution travels to the west coast to play Chivas.


9 responses to “Some Things Are Certain But There Is A Lot That Is Not”

  1. Andre says:

    The title in La Liga may not be in dispute but the race for the pichichi is on. Mourinho leaving CR7 out of the squad with Messi pulling ahead may signal the start of turmoil at the Bernabeu.

  2. My Saturday viewing is going to be limited to extended highlights. So, for today I would really appreciate help in identifying Player of the Weekend candidates. In the spirit of the award can you please keep it to games you watch as opposed to performances you just read about.

    I usually try to short list to 5 or 6 players.

    Thank you…..normal service and a podcast appearance will resume next week!

  3. CDNGooner14 says:

    Heads up- Lampard’s goal did not cross the line.

  4. Boris says:

    Tottenham got unlucky in losing but the game itself was without too many chances. I feel like Tottenham lost due to poor refereeing. The Lampard goal should not have been given as the ball did not completely cross the line. Still, that was another horrible mistake by Gomes. How could he drop the ball like that? He looked nervous throughout the game and could have allowed another goal off of Drogba’s shot. I think Kalou was offside on the second goal.

    Had the game remained a draw, I would have picked Sandro as the player of the match. Apart from his goal, he was brilliant in defense, breaking up several of Chelsea’s attacks. Since however Tottenham have lost, I would say that Drogba was the player of the match. He was working hard the entire game and had a great 40 yarder that hit the crossbar and he also found Kalou for the winning goal.

  5. Erik says:

    The Totty/Chelsea game will only increase the need for Goal Line Technology. The FA and FIFA need to realize we are in the 21st Century not the 19th. When everyone AT HOME WATCHING can see whether the ball did/didn’t cross the line and the call goes opposite of what we saw on TV – NOT GOOD! If UEFA can get into the 21st Century – time for FA/FIFA to do the same.

    Look – on the Gomes/Lampard play Gomes has no one to blame but himself. Get behind the ball and that ball never gets close to the goal line. But when the linesman Mike Cairns says GOAL – the Ref has to agree with it. How Mr Cairns can see the ball go over the line when he is equal to the start of the 18-yard box is beyond me? I’ll bet England wishes he was the linesman in their WC game with Germany if this is how he is going to call the game.

    I disagree with the Kalou comment by Boris. GOAL! Yes Gomes was way out of position but the rules say their has to be 2 defenders behind the attcking player to be ONsides. Normally this is a Goalie and Defender. In this case it wasn’t a G/D combo but rather TWO Defenders. When the pass/shot was struck and then when Kalou struck the ball there were TWO defenders between Kalou and the goal – making him ONsides……..GOAL!

    As for Player of the Weekend – I define that as the person who made the biggest Impact on the games. With that in mind my POW is:

    Mike Cairns – he didn’t play in the Totty/Chelsea game but he made the biggest impact 🙂

  6. NE Red Devil says:

    Giampaolo Pazzini. Focused Inter’s attack after coming on and Scored 2 injury time goals to win it for the Nerazzurri.

  7. Just watched the highlights of the Inter game. What a dagger through the heart of Cesena – would have been a very big three points for them.

  8. Erik says:

    All valid points on the Inter/Cesena game BUT it is also why Inter is where they are in the Table and why Cesena is where they are in the Table.

    I promise you had Inter been up 1-0 late they would not have given up 2 late goals…if any.

    Teams that know how to win – do. Teams that don’t – don’t (See the 4 teams fighting relegation in the EPL for all the proof you need – and then look at how many late goals Chelsa/Man U have scored and why they are all where they should be)

  9. Roberto Manita says:

    Goal line technology please. Linesmen and UEFA extra referees behind the goal are utterly useless in these circumstances. Can anyone recall when UEFA goal line judges made any impact on the game (reversed an incorrect goal/no goal decision or awarded a penalty)? To me, those UEFA goal line judges are useless. Totally and utterly. They should both be charged admission.

    Jose’s rant last Wednesday seemed to perk the ears of the footy gods today. However, they blessed on his past team (Chelsea) while urinating on his current one.

    Of the four UCL semi finalists, three lost today. Hopefully, the fourth will also do so tomorrow. Footy can be such a strange game, no?

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