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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.


Villa Vunerable to FA Cup Shock But Face Dull Blades

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

One of the ways to pick out possible Cup upsets is to look for team performing poorly drawn away from home to a team from a lower division.

The formula fits this match but then a look at Sheffield United’s form and you quickly realize that Aston Villa has drawn a team in Sheffield United that is having as much trouble as they are – and one division lower.

It has been a tough road for Sheffield United since their controversial relegation from the Premier League at the end of the 2006/07 season. Manager Neil Warnock left to be replaced by Bryan Robson but his tenure proved to be a short one – a ninth place finish in 2008 leaving the Blades out of play-off contention.

Kevin Blackwell was next in line and he took United to within a whisker of an automatic promotion. Hopes were high for the play-offs but a 1-0 loss to Burnley in the Final brought an end to the hope for a return to the Premier League.

What’s more there was no follow through last season and the team slipped back to a 8th place finish. When this season started badly Blackwell was shown the door and replaced by Gary Speed. A few weeks ago Speed opted to take on the job of manager of the Wales national team and so the managerial roundabout continued.

This time United went for a home town boy and the much travelled Micky Adams. This is the tenth manager’s position Adams has held in 15 years. There have been spells at Fulham, Brighton, Leicester, Coventry and prior to this last move he was at Port Vale.

Adams will need all of his experience to keep the Blades from slipping further down the English football pyramid.

Sheffield United sits only one point above the three team relegation with over half the campaign gone. The Sheffield squad pretty much mirrors 80% of the teams in the Championship – names you recognize from hanging around the Premier League long enough for a cup of coffee or players that went up and back down in one season.

Top scorer is former Manchester City striker Ched Evans who has 7 goals so far. In goal is former Everton and Stoke keeper Steve Simonsen, Nyron Noseworthy is on loan from Sunderland and another former Stoke player Richard Cresswell plays in midfield.

Neutrals may also recognize the names of Mark Yeates (ex-Spurs and Boro) and Darius Henderson ex-Watford.

Mascot note
You know that things are bad when the highlight of the holiday fixtures (for Sheffield United 3 losses and a draw) was the United mascot Captain Blade expressing solidarity with the Deepdale Duck, mascot of Preston North End. The Duck was led away after complaints that he was unduly distracting the Derby goalkeeper. No truth in the rumour that the Deepdale Duck was on loan from Manchester United and had been recalled by Sir Alex Ferguson.

Bookies say – Sheffield United 2.4/1, Draw 2.3/1, and Aston Villa 1.15/1

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7 responses to “Villa Vunerable to FA Cup Shock But Face Dull Blades”

  1. Gus Keri says:

    Uzbekistam – Qatar: 2-0

    Uzbekistan fully deserved their win. The Asain Cup opener was very exciting game, full of attacking soccer, very unusual for an opener.

    The openning goal of the tournament was a fantastic long-range strike by Akhmedov. An early candidate for goal of the tournament.

  2. The Stingy One says:

    Good evening Bobby,

    I know this question is off topic but it is a timely one. It’s about the January Transfer Window. Barça signed Afellay recently. Barça and PSV agreed to the transfer back in mid November and the player signed before January (around December 24th I believe). Both the verbal agreement and actual signing occurred outside the month of January. Don’t both the verbal agreement and player signing have to occur within the month of January? Also, are the rules of the transfer window uniform throughout UEFA or are they somewhat different across national leagues (i.e. La Liga vs EPL vs Serie A etc.)? Greatly appreciate enlightenment. Thank you.

  3. It is when the move is registered that is key. And you can’t play until the registration is processed and approved. There is nothing to stop a transfer between clubs being arranged out with the windows – just can’t register the move and if you can’t register you can’t play.

    There may be slight administrative differences between the leagues you mention but I am not aware of any of significance.

    There are variations within Europe for countries that operate on a schedule that is impacted by severe winter conditions – e.g. countries like Norway

    I st

  4. Gus Keri says:

    For those who are going to be following the Asian cup, check my last blog by clicking on my name above or on this link:;_qatar_under_the_microscope

  5. Gbenga Subair says:

    If Villa and Liverpool win their FA Cup matches this weekend, It might be the turning point they are looking for… Those two teams definitely need a spark…

  6. Gbenga Subair says:


    Nice blog… The Asian Cup should be interesting and I’ll be following it very closely. Interesting games coming up…

  7. Gus Keri says:


    Thank you

    It has been an interesting morning so far. Watching Arsenal vs. Leeds (on TV) and Kuwait vs. China (on PC) at the same time.

    What an aweful performance by the Australian referee in the Asian game. He single-handedly distroy the match. I have never seen a referee giving a warning to the losing team’s goalkeeper for wasting time. He allowed the physical Chinese team to go on and on fouling the Kuwaitis and disruptiing their game without even a warning. He denied the kuwaitis a legitimate PK after the Chinese defender almost broke the Kuwaiti player’s foot in the penalty area. He sent off a Kuwaiti player in the first half for retaliation without giving the Chinese player a similar card for instigating the contact with a similar kick to the chest.

    The Kuwaitis fell apart after conceding the first goal on a deflected strike and gave up completely, although they still have almost a half hour to go.

    China won 2-0. A very undeserved win.

    What a horrible game made worse by a very bad refereeing.

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