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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

Ten Questions That Will Be Answered This Weekend

Written by on March 17, 2012 | 8 Comments »
Posted in General

Will Fulham’s Pavel Pogrebnyak maintain his 100% goals to shots on target ratio since joining the Craven Cottage club? Going into the Premier League match at home against Swansea the Russian has scored five goals from just five shots on target.

Will Norwich City final keep a clean sheet in a Premier League away game when they face Newcastle at St. James’ Park? The tally is 28 games and counting for Norwich since they last returned home without conceding a goal.

A fine run of form in the Premier League came to a grinding halt during week when Everton lost 3-0 to Liverpool and a Steven Gerrard hat-trick. Will Everton maintain their superb home record against Sunderland having avoided defeat on Sunderland’s last 15 visits to Goodison?

The away side in the last 16 meetings between Tottenham Hotspur and Bolton has failed to win. Will Bolton break that run given that they have two crucial Premier League matches within the next seven days – Tuesday against Aston Villa and next weekend against Blackburn?  

Leicester are looking to be the first lower-league opposition to defeat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the FA Cup in over two decades. Will they pull of a shock win at Stamford Bridge?  Chelsea lost to Barnsley a few years ago but that was away from home.

Excluding last season’s FA Cup Final at neutral venue Wembley Stoke have gone unbeaten in their last five away games in the FA Cup. Will they extend that run to six when they travel to play Liverpool at Anfield this weekend in round six action?

Will Napoli bounce back from a heart-breaking Champions League loss on Wednesday at Stamford Bridge and extend their present run of 7 games in Serie A without a loss? They travel to Udine to play the home town team. Udinese and Napoli are currently tied in Serie A with 46 points from 27 games.

Will Kilmarnock make it sixth time lucky when they play Celtic in the Scottish League Cup Final? Five previous appearances have brought five sets of runners-up medals.

Hearts players may miss another pay-day this week but will it impact on a run of nine SPL Edinburgh derbies without a loss against rivals Hibernian?

This season Villarreal competed in the group stage of the Champions League. They failed to win a game and their season in La Liga is turning into another nightmare. Will they be able to break an abysmal run of away form when they travel to play Levante this weekend?  Villarreal have only won once, earned six points, scored six goals and been shut out 8 times in their 13 matches away from home.

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8 responses to “Ten Questions That Will Be Answered This Weekend”

  1. J Rob says:

    # 11 – has Gylfi Sigurdsson been the best mid-season purchase of the last 2 or 3 seasons? On my subs bench in fantasy this weekend. Doh….didn’t see Swansea doing this at Craven Cottage.

  2. Astronomer says:

    12. Why do we have these “FA Cup-only” weekends?

    The EPL is the crown jewel of English soccer and yet for several weekends near or during the business end of the season, we have the EPL games pushed or relegated to mid-week dates because of the FA Cup.

    Do the Italian and Spainish soccer federations do anything similar? As far as I can tell, they don’t let their respective domestic cup games push the Serie A or La Liga league games to weekdays?

    So why does the English FA do it?

    I hate these FA Cup-only weekends. I apologize to everyone of you for this rant.

    ___________________________________________

  3. Astronomer – that was a rant. This may come as a bit of a shock to you but football was not invented in 1992 with the advent of the Premier League. It had a history of more than a century before the Premier League came along to woo the world.

    Arguably without the FA Cup the game would never have caught on in Britain and there would not have been a game to export to the rest of the world (or for the rest of the world to steal if your are Sir David Richards).

    It pre-dated the Football League by many years and deserves some respect for that reason alone.

    The game never developed in the same way in other parts of the world so a comparison can’t be made.

    It is a bit like people who are astounded that Paul McCartney as in a band before Wings called the Beatles.

  4. Astronomer says:

    Bobby,
    Thanks for the explanation. I am not from the United Kingdom, so I am not that familiar with the history/tradition associated with the FA Cup (vis-a-vis the League).

    I am an American who loves watching the various national leagues (including the EPL, Serie A, Bundesliga, La Liga, etc.) and for me it has always been a mystery as to why in the Spring, the EPL plays second fiddle to the FA Cup on certain weekends (like this one).

    Bobby’s response provides the English/UK perspective on this. However, I think it is quite likely that there are many other non-UK fans of the EPL all over the world who, like me, find these FA Cup weekends somewhat irritating.
    _______________________________________________

  5. Rob says:

    If you’re a fan of all these leagues, wouldn’t that mean you’re a fan of football? And if you’re a fan of football, what difference does it make if its league or cup football? And if you’re a fan of football, what difference does it make what day of the week its played?

    Football is football. Monday-Sunday, league or cup, morning or night.

    BTW, there is league football this weekend….

  6. Astronomer says:

    Rob,
    You raised two different points in your post, so I will address them separately as follows:

    1.
    Even though I am a fan of the sport, I strongly prefer to watch top flight league games (like those of the EPL and La Liga) as opposed to corresponding cup games (like the FA Cup or Copa Del Rey). That is because I find the games in the EPL to be on average more entertaining to watch (possibly because they are usually played at a higher technical level) than cup games — there are of course some cup games that are exceptions to the above generalization.

    2.
    It does matter to me whether the games are played on weekdays or weekends. I simply do not have time during most weekdays to watch games. Even if I record the games, I usually do not have time to watch the recorded games after I come home from work (for compelling match-ups, I do occasionally stay up late to watch the recordings — this is what I plan to do for the upcoming Chelsea versus Man City clash on Wednesday).

    That is why from a personal perspective, I find these FA Cup weekends somewhat bothersome.
    _______________________________________________________

  7. Astronomer says:

    Thanks to Santiago Cazorla, La Liga has suddenly become a two horse race again — or maybe not.

  8. Ed Gomes says:

    I’m one that still feels the FA Cup, Taca, Coppa, etc… still mean something and its Silverware is prestigious.
    Unlike the “coffee cups” that are popping up throughout Europe for money grabs.

    On a side note, as a Benfiquista I’m quite OK with the Chelsea draw. I admit I would have preferred Marseilles or APOEL (be careful what you wish for squad), but Chelsea would have been next in line.
    I’m sure there’s Chelsea fans and players saying the same thing.

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