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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

Wolves After An Unlikely Double While Sirens May Be Calling Bolton

Written by on January 13, 2011 | 4 Comments »
Posted in English Premier League, General

Chelsea v Blackburn (Saturday)

With only one win in their last nine games Chelsea have yet to convince anyway outside of Stamford Bridge that happier days are ahead. Chelsea have already dropped 12 more points than league leaders Manchester United and trail 4th place Tottenham Hotspur by a point.

It makes for an interesting decision for Chelsea supporters in terms of who to root for when United and Spurs play each other this weekend.

A positive mindset would hope for a Spurs win while a more negative (or some would say realistic) view might opt for a United win and the opportunity to overhaul Spurs.

It is difficult to categorize Blackburn’s season as anything other than inconsistent. (It is also very difficult to resist the temptation to use fowl puns all the way through a Blackburn preview).

They have only won consecutive games once this season and their longest unbeaten run has been three matches – two draws and a win. Conversely they have not lost more than two games in a row and their longest winless run has been four games.

Two of their last three matches have been 3-1 wins while the other was a 3-0 away loss to Sunderland. This match may offer Chelsea a great opportunity to build on their 7-0 romp over Ipswich in the FA Cup last weekend.

The Blackburn spotlight since last weekend has been on everyone’s favorite pantomime villain El-Hadji Diouf. “Yes he did,” “No he didn’t” barbed comments have been traded all week after it was alleged that the “Ugly Footballer” taunted QPR striker Jamie Mackie as he lay on the turf with a double leg fracture.

Bookies say – Chelsea 1/3.33, Draw 3.6/1, and Blackburn Rovers 6.5/1

Manchester City v Wolverhampton (Saturday)

When these two sides met for the first time this season Wolves pulled off a shock 1-0 win. Unfortunately for struggling Wolves it proved to be a false dawn as they then lost their next four games.

However, on the last weekend in November Wolves started a pattern of win-loss that has now numbered seven games. Last time out it was a 1-0 win over Chelsea and it was the same score against Birmingham and Liverpool. The win at Liverpool is the only away win by Wolves this season. The three clean sheets are particularly noteworthy in that it took Wolves until the 17th game this season to blank the opposition in a Premier League match.

Since that loss to Wolves in October City have only lost once in 12 games and that was to Everton at Eastlands 2-1. City’s remarkable consistency this season is illustrated by only spending three rounds out of 22 outside of the top four in the Premier League.

Bookies say – Manchester City 1/3.5, Draw 3.6/1, and Wolves 7/1.

Stoke v Bolton (Saturday)

A visit to the Britannia Stadium is usually far from a pleasant experience and although Stoke have already lost four times at home Bolton will be sure to receive the usual Britannia welcome.

While Bolton have been receiving many plaudits there are signs of cracks in their form. What may start off as well-earned compliments have an eerie habit of morphing into Siren-calls.

With only two wins in their last eight Premier League matches Bolton are now in danger of getting sucked into a mid-table morass that could easily turn worse.

While not wishing to play the role of chicken-little, any side from 6th down in this year’s league that allows complacency to take hold may find itself sucked quickly into the bottom half or even a relegation battle in some cases. Only 13 points separate 15 teams at the moment so there is no time for self satisfaction with over 40% of the schedule still to play.

Stoke are only three points below Bolton and although only two sides have lost more times than Stoke this season a scarcity of draws has contributed to what has become a consistent mid table position over the last few rounds of play.

Bookies say – Stoke 1.15/1, Draw 2/1, and Bolton 2.1/1


4 responses to “Wolves After An Unlikely Double While Sirens May Be Calling Bolton”

  1. damon says:

    I would live to hear your opinion on why Boltons form has dropped. Is it because Holden has been missing???

  2. Damon

    You could of course point to six points from the last four games Holden has played to bolster his case.
    Without him Bolton have 2 points in the last four that he has missed.

    In total over the last 8 Premier League matches Bolton have gone 2 wins, 4 losses and 4 draws – 8 games and 8 points.

    That is a big drop off from a pace of over 3 points every 2 games to 3 points every 3 games – doesn’t seem much but it is a significant drop – if they could have kept their form up Bolton would have an extra 4 to 5 points.

    However, no matter how much they might miss Holden’s energy I doubt their stumble is purely down to Holden being out. Elmander and K Davies have only scored a goal each in the last games.

    I have mentioned on the FSR that the Bolton squad is a bit thin and I think the season might be wearing on some of the team even though there are still a lot to go.

  3. eponymous says:

    Bobby,

    Looking forward to your comments (here and on FSC) on the upcoming Liverpool-Everton derby this Sunday. Also, check out the following – an analysis of the derby at Anfield for Everton under Moyes.

    http://theexecutionersbong.wordpress.com/2011/01/12/derby-preview/

    I think many Everton fans are hoping Moyes employs the 4-4-2 formation (Beckford and Saha up top in attack and Saha dropping back a bit when in defense) that has served us well the last two matches (Spurs and Scunthorpe) and employ a more attack minded approach.

    However, there is the possibility that Moyes will use the more familiar (and comfortable) 4-5-1. I prefer he stick with the 4-4-2 as I think Everton has a good chance to win at Anfield for the first time in over 10 years. Your thoughts?

  4. Liverpool/Everton piece will be up on Saturday morning

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