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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.


Sunday (and Monday) Watch

Written by on September 10, 2011 | 11 Comments »
Posted in General

1. No wins for either side so far but Norwich will approach their home game against West Brom the more buoyant mood of the two. Two draws and a 3-1 loss to Chelsea that did not accurately reflect their performance is something for the promoted side to build on.

On the other hand West Brom also played well against Chelsea and Manchester United and lost and when Stoke came calling two weeks ago the result was the same.

Things need to turn for West Brom before a confidence sapping winless streak takes hold. A scoreless draw might even be welcome – an outcome that West Brom has avoided in their last 83 league matches.

2. Fulham and Blackburn are two teams that have become fixtures in the Barclay’s Premier League with this being their 11th and 18th respectively. But neither has made good starts to the new season and both will be aware that with every round that comes and goes without a win, the words relegation-battle will be increasingly heard.

Nonetheless Blackburn Rovers can point to the fact that they have already hit the frame of the opposition’s goal three times – all last season that happened only five times.

If either side does score it will be close to uncharted territory so far this season. Fulham have yet to lead in any of their three games while Blackburn has led for a total of two minutes. Fulham will be looking to new signing Brian Ruiz for goals. The Costa Rica striker was prolific for Twente in Holland with 36 goals in 61 games.

3. QPR and Newcastle operated on two different ends of the transfer window spectrum. While Newcastle were limited to a late but unsuccessful attempt to snatch Brian Ruiz from Fulham QPR sent a message that will not go quietly back to the Championship – certainly not after signing Joey Barton from Newcastle.

Joining Barton at Loftus Road are Anton Ferdinand from Sunderland and Shawn Wright-Phillips.

Wright-Phillips has a chance to revitalize a career that over the last few seasons has been limited to sporadic appearances – normally from the bench.

Adel Taarabt was regarded as the player carrying QPR’s hopes when the season got underway. However, with 14 shots without a goal Taarabt has yet to deliver on initial expectations.

4.   What are the chances that Palermo and Inter Milan will have the same coaches at the end of this season? At the end of this year? At the end of this month?

Palermo has Stefano Pioli replacing the hired/fired/hired/resigned Delio Rossi and he has to meet the expectations of crackpot President Maurizio Zamparini.

Palermo President Maurizio Zamparini has out done himself firing new manager Stefano Pioli before a ball was kicked seriously. Last reports had Devis Mangia in charge as a caretaker manager but perhaps the best option is to check on the day of the game.

Whoever takes charge of Palermo this season has to do without Javier Pastore and Salvatore Sirigu who have departed for PSG in big money moves. This just a season after Edinson Cavani left for Napoli.

Palermo still has a core of talented players in the shape of Josip Ilicic, Abel Hernandez and Mauricio Pinilla and there is still Fabrizio Miccoli.

Nonetheless matching last season’s 8th place would constitute a tremendous performance.

Inter Milan and new coach in Gian Piero Gasperini (fourth manager in 16 months) offer one of the most intriguing stories of the new Serie A season.

Gasperini went with a very attacking and high pressure 3-4-3 system at Genoa – will he try for the same at the Giuseppe Meazza?

Inter will have new signings midfielder Ricky Alvarez, forward Diego Forlan and Jonathan from Santos.

They will also look forward to getting full seasons from Giampaolo Pazzini – score 11 goals in 17 games for Inter after moving from Sampdoria – and full back Yuto Nagatomo who arrived from Cesena.

The biggest hole in this Inter team is on account of Samuel Eto’o (33 goals in 67 Serie A games) who has opted for life in Dagestan.

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11 responses to “Sunday (and Monday) Watch”

  1. What do you have to say about Juventus’s new stadium, in terms of the fiscal reality of serie a, will it be the beginning of a new era, if it will not, what will stop it from happening?

    Also, I think Eto’o made a great move. Tevez in my view spoiled a transfer to manc so he went to where the money was really good. Inter were going to sell him anyway, the owner to me is really concerned about the FFP, so Eto’o got the most money he probably could and we could see him back in the UEFA CL next season. his club is in the upper half of the russian first phase. But, Inter made a good move, yes Forlan is not going to move like eto’o or defend like him. Eto’o is a legend. All he hasnt won is the world cup and he has never been a side player in his clubs victories. but, Forlan in my view, passes better from deeper and with sneijder can be very lethal in the midfield. with pazzini, milito and zarate up front looking to do damage, inter get two deliverers, something like R&R at Bayern

  2. Juventus made the first move others will have to follow.

  3. Soccerlogical says:

    Fiorentina is this year’s Napoli.

    Obviosuly RBNY’s problems are beyond Hans Backe’s acumen and intelligence. A team loaded with so much talent which on paper is miles above any other team (other than LA) and who optioned to release DeRo, should not be relying solely on any one player to make the damn playoffs!

  4. Gus Keri says:

    3 points about the NYRB game yesterday:

    1- The referee was horrible. There was only one referee worse than him yesterday and it was the Stoke-Liveprool referee. Both referees were having a very bad day to be very diplomatic.

    2- The amount of play acting that the Vancouver players performed yesterday was astounding. They probably thought they were at Hollywood audition and not at a sporting arena.

    3- Hanz Backe’s worries about the defensive perfomance of the team is reaching a dangerous level. It is fine to try to stengthen the defense but to play three defensive midfielders in addition to 4 defenders at a home game against the worst team in the league is unreal.

    When he brought on Rodgers and Aguidelo, the team played much better and his comment afterward was (you could lose games playing this way).

    So, to Backe I say: sometime the best defense is to go full offense.

    May be the team was doing much better at the begining of the season because they were overwhelming the opponents with their attack.

  5. Learned once again that players come and players go but as long as Fabrizio Miccoli is fit Palermo always has a chance. That was a fantastic performance and a great game.

  6. PAlermo just proved the new coach wrong. Inter for all these seasons have played 4 at the back and now all of a sudden play 3. Lucio and zanetti cant move forward with three at the back for inter is to slow on the counter with 2 at the back. Acquah’s youth, strength and calm of mind on the pass, gave him the midfield every counter attack. Forlan’s passing was poor this game, but pazzini didnt play also. When I think of the idea of inter 2 seasons ago, an inter who played the best, unbarca like style, of nondiving, coordinated, defense and I think of this inter that let pinili be unpressured above the box, how strategies changed.

    BArca is a great club but from ManC, to Chelsea to Real, so many clubs are looking to play “attractive soccer” they are totally forgetting about defense.

    rbny’s problems is a weak midfield. plain and simple.

    @gus keri as many uefa clubs show, teams who pull for offense, constantly push too high, ask inter today against palermo. One of the biggest problems I have with people when they analyze barca is how well Barca simply holds the ball in the midfield, right to left, or holding as players move to spaces, waiting for the opposing team to make mistakes. PAtience in the offense is the trick Barca have mastered that other clubs havent and that patience, is why they hold the ball enough to disallow opportunities, even pressured.

  7. @bobby mcmahon,
    if others dont follow, can serie a survive? I think they have to follow to, but what if they dont?

  8. Soccerlogical says:

    @ CH

    “rbny’s problems is a weak midfield. plain and simple.”

    Yeah I guess the likes of Lindpere, Marquez, Richards, McCarty (who was basically exchanged for DeRo, the top 3 players in MLS), Auvary and Balluchi are all weak players that no MLS team would want on their team.

  9. Gus Keri says:


    I am not sure I understood your point.

    What does Barcelona’s possession game have to do with NYRB using three defensively oriented midfielders?

    Are you suggesting that these midfielders are supposed to give NYRB a more possession of the ball?

    But it didn’t work.

    You need midfielders who are able to contribute on attack also.

    When you are playing at home and have one of the best striking power of the league and against the weakest team, you can’t afford not to go all attack.

    Backe should have started with both Agudelo and Rodgers if you ask my opinion. Also, although Ballouchi is not that great of a midfielder, he would have been a better attacking option than the theree defensive ones who were utelized.

    If agaisnt Vancouver we go that conservative, what will we do Against LA?

  10. @Soccerlogical

    Redbulls are disjointed in the midfield, none of those players are a midfield general. lindpere is not good at the center of the pitch in terms of distribution, marquez is a defender great at dead balls but he plays from the back, richards is best on the flanks and without him redbulls really look disjointed at tmes, Auvary is defensive, mccarty and balluchi are supposed to be the midfield generals but are not successful.

    Wanting players on your team is not what makes great sides, having the right players and system does it. Look at Inter, that is a team of great players who dont play the right system for their skills and style. ManC was a great club last year but the system didnt work for them, but aguero and nasri under mancini’s system have found fluidity.

    Look at DCU, DeRo is a good player but he works in DC because DC’s form is spacious [although pontius’s injury is a setback] with pontius and najar on the wings , davies and etc up top hugging the lines, DeRo has serious space and with the support of the back 4 and simms, a back 4 with mcdonald and jakovic[when he comes back] and Dc have the right system. DeRo never had the space in midfield with Redbulls that he has had with DC. So, Redbulls have great players, but the system isnt right yet for them. Becke has more work to do.

    It could all be the curse of the metrostars though:)

  11. Soccerlogical says:

    CH – Everything you just said has nothing to do with ability of players but Backe’s bad tactics.

    Your statements (and grammar) are totally illogical.

    I recommend avoiding the usage of cliches such as “midfield general” and not comparing MLS sides to the likes of Barca and Arsenal. The likes of Tainio, Marquez and Auvary are more than capable of “enforcing” (by ability and MLS standards) while Richards and Lindpere are more than capable of creating chances… not to forget others like Ballouchy and McCarty.

    “So, Redbulls have great players, but the system isnt right yet for them. Becke has more work to do.”

    Son now you are changing your tune… you just said the midfield players are “weak”?

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