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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.


Raves and Rants – Champions League Final Special Edition

Written by on May 27, 2011 | 1 Comment »
Posted in Barcelona, Manchester United, UEFA Champions League

Some of the best of the soccer web with an atrocious piece thrown in now and again – Champions League Final edition.

Jonathan Wilson looks at the tactical options available to Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United.

An excellent portrait of Lionel Messi by Jere Longman and……  neat video and graphics to go with it.

The Economist takes a business view of Barcelona and in particular how the club deals with the organizational problems of values, hiring stars or developing a team.

Barney Ronay visits the UEFA Champions League sideshow.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s first success in Europe came at Aberdeen.

Lessons that Bob Paisley taught a young Alex Ferguson.

Hristo Stoichkov thinks Barcelona will have an easy time of it against Manchester United on Saturday.

Sometimes the oldest heads need the hardest tap.

On May 18th 1994 at the Athens Olympic Stadium the Barcelona “Dream Team” – including Stoichkov – lined up against a Milan side that was considered to be a massive underdog.

Milan was missing their centre back partnership of Franco Baresi and Alessandro Costacurta but they still won 4-0.

Grant Wahl has his five things to watch in the Champions League Final. I  disagree with his assertion that Pepe man-marked Messi in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final.

If he had Messi would have simply dragged Pepe into areas where he would have been uncomfortable – deeper and/or wider – and left space for other Barca players to exploit.

Pepe plugged and occupied the space that Messi normally exploits which is just in front of the back four. That is the area he attacks effectively more than any other player of this era.

Pepe’s range, mobility and bite in the tackle took that space away and it made life much more difficult for Barcelona.As we pointed out in the Champions League podcast Manchester United simply don’t have a Pepe-type player but they will still need someone to plug that space.

Jonathan Wilson on “lessons-learned.”

Icelandic volcano comes up with tactics to disrupt Barcelona for a second consecutive year. It is rumoured that Chelsea is in talks with the volcano’s agent.

Sid Lowe says that Pep Guardiola is on the verge of greatness but the caveat is whether his style is for export.

Heineken extend their sponsorship of the competition for another three seasons. More “CHAMPIONS”

Gabriele Marcotti thinks that Ferguson’s squad rotation might be a factor on Saturday.

Ben Lyttleton’s player-by-player match ups.

Mark Ogden claims to have insight into how Manchester United will set up on Saturday. However, he does himself no good with this comment – “Barcelona’s key players will arrive at Wembley and perform on a traditionally taxing pitch.”

“Traditionally taxing pitch” – we are discussing a pitch that has been laid more often than Paris Hilton.

The old Wembley was known for sapping the strength from legs. At the New Wembley however, everyone is just happy that they have seemed to overcome the pitch problems.

There were no indications in recent matches that the current pitch is anymore taxing than any other large piece of grass.

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One response to “Raves and Rants – Champions League Final Special Edition”

  1. Gbenga says:

    Excellent break down Bobby… It’s going to be an interesting final… I see a high scoring game. If Barca senses an opening, they will run up the score against Man U… I predict 3-0…

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