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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

What Chelsea Has In Common With Muhammad Ali, Spurs Fail To Take a Hint Again, TFC Do 8-In-A-Row, Cologne Relegation A Smoke Screen

Written by on May 6, 2012 | 35 Comments »
Posted in Winners and Losers

Chelsea likes the FA Cup – no doubt about it. A fourth win in the last six seasons and individual player records for Drogba, Terry and Cole. For at least two-thirds of the match Chelsea was cruising to a very comfortable win. Where Chelsea had a plan – no Liverpool appeared to have none.

That changed in the last half hour as Liverpool threw caution to the wind and Chelsea needed a bit of good fortune and a tremendous stop from Cech off a Carroll header to stave off extra time. If the game had gone into an extra time then the smart money would have switched to the fresher legs of Liverpool.

I don’t know if this analogy works but Chelsea over the last few weeks brings to mind the tactics of Muhammad Ali against George Foreman. When Foreman pinned Ali against the ropes Ali simply leaned back and the incredibly loose rung-ropes allowed him to avoid or least cushion the blows.

Chelsea seem to have found some very loose ropes the last few weeks and  have become quite adept in using them. Can they continue their rope-a-dope tactics through May 19th in Munich?

A game that swung so many times but in the end two important points dropped by an Arsenal side that seems intent on playing in next season’s Europa League. A cohesive narrative would take up pages such were the ups and downs in this match.

So instead here goes…great start for Arsenal with a goal from Benayoun but…from Norwich’s immediate reaction and lackadaisical play from Arsenal’s midfield and defense you could see it was not going to stay 1-0…..Norwich unsettled Arsenal with the big man (Grant Holt) and little and speedy man (Simeon Jackson) and high pressing game…..Arsenal open to counter attack and Szczesny has not played well the last few weeks = equalizer….Holt scores from a big deflection – not the first like that conceded by Arsenal this season….can’t get to half time before muting ESPN’s version of the Gossip Girls……second half a story of good saves, bad defending, wasteful finishing …..just when it looks as if Van Persie has rescued Arsenal Song hits a wrong note with an errant pass after being caught in at least two minds – Morison 3-3…..claim for Arsenal penalty…….probably disallowed on account of Gervinho (far more effective on left) being in offside position when ball played across……could have been considered as being active given that the Norwich player had to play the ball before McNaughton pushed Van Persie.

Of course we would find out 24 hours later that Arsenal gained a point on Newcastle and Spurs threw away another opportunity to overtake the Gunners and take third place.

If Chelsea beats Liverpool at Anfield in midweek we will go into the final weekend with Arsenal, Newcastle, Spurs and Chelsea playing for positions three through six with nearly every permutation still possible.

Eight games into the season and eight losses in this 2012 season for Toronto FC. The natives are getting more than a little restless with the team, the coach and the management. Last season almost every Toronto-based pundit was preaching the need for patience and how time was needed for the new Dutch philosophy to pay off. Apparently there was a time-limit on the need for such “patience” because I am not hearing the rallying cry anymore.

I don’t trust fundamentalists and ideologues in any walk of life and I was never convinced that the all or nothing approach to retool Toronto FC was either needed or possible. I stand-by that view.

Sigi Schmid walked into Seattle and within a few months he was able to field a very competitive side in MLS. No one will convince me that TFC in five years time will be in a superior position to the Sounders on account of some magical Dutch technique that creates a production line of exceptional talent.

There is a reason the players in MLS are there – it is because if there were technically superior they would be be playing elsewhere and earning a lot more money. (The exception to that is TFC’s Julian de Guzman who should be charged with taking DP money under false pretenses.)

If anyone is yet to be convinced that the management of Toronto FC is completely clueless then they should be by now after ingesting the Dutch kool-aid by the gallon.

 Cologne’s fans did not react well to a defeat at the hands of Bayern Munich that sealed their relegation to the second division. They set off smoke bombs that engulfed much of the stadium in thick black smoke. By the time it cleared Cologne was down and Hertha Berlin has secured a lifeline courtesy of a relegation/promotion play-off.

Hertha will be hoping to mimic the response of Borussia Mönchengladbach – last season Mönchengladbach only survived in the Bundesliga by way of the play off but this season they finished fourth and in August they will be in the qualifying stages of the Champions League.

They could yet be usurped by Bayern should they win the Champions League on May 19th but at the moment Borussia Dortmund are the big winners in Germany. Unbeaten in 28 games and a record 81 points in 34 games was a remarkable achievement for Dortmund and their coach Jürgen Klopp. A capacity crowd of 80,000 watched Dortmund’s final game plus there was another 10,000+ who watched on a big screen just outside the stadium. Next weekend Dortmund and Bayern Munich will decide who can land a double when they face each other in the German Cup Final.

According to so many that profess inside knowledge of the MLS the LA Galaxy were going to be even stronger than last season. With five defeats in just nine games it is not looking that way at the moment. Three of the five losses have come at home and the latest was a 1-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls. The Galaxy was facing a makeshift Red Bulls defense and although they dominated possession and applied almost constant pressure the LA side had trouble creating clear cut scoring chances. Thirty-two crosses is testament to a lack of ideas and poor execution.

After an unimpressive start the Montreal Impact seem to be finding their MLS legs. Their first away win came on Saturday away to Sporting KC by a score of 2-0. Eleven points from ten games is a very decent return but as others have learned before it can be a difficult to maintain through out a long and tiring season.

Patience and opportunism were the hallmarks of Manchester City’s 2-0 away win against a threatening Newcastle side. A win against QPR next Saturday at Etihad Stadium will mean the Premier League title stays in Manchester but with different color ribbons.

The twists and turns of late season were on full view on Sunday in the Premier League. Bolton led WBA 2-0 while QPR and Stoke were scoreless at Loftus Road with only 15 minutes remaining. If the scores had held up Bolton would have vaulted up to 16th leaving QPR to occupy the last relegation spot. But two goals from WBA and a winner from Cisse turned the tables once more and Bolton may be left to rue a golden chance to control their own fate. Wigan plays Blackburn in the Monday night game and that will surely impact the relegation battle.

Nonetheless Bolton needs to win at Stoke next Sunday to have any chance to survive while QPR knows that a point in their final game will be enough to keep them in the Premier League.

Of course there is the issue of QPR having to take the point from Manchester City. 

Congratulations go to Juventus who won the scudetto for the XXth time (fill in your own number depending on your views). A 2-0 win against Cagliari combined with Inter’s 4-2 win in the derby game provided the Turin side with an unassailable lead. Under first year manager Antonio Conte Juventus have rarely been anything less than positive and if they remain unbeaten after next week’s match against Atalanta they will be the first team to go unbeaten in a 38-game Serie A season.

They will also go into next season’s Champions League with a coefficient in the mid-40s which will likely only be good enough for a place in pot 3. Don’t be surprised if Juventus and Group of Death comes up later in the summer.

Diego Milito scored his 4th hat trick of the season and brought his tally to 23 for the season in helping Inter to remain in the hunt (just) for a Champions League place next season. With one game left Inter must beat Lazio and hope that results for Udinese and Napoli go their way i.e. Udinese lose and Napoli don’t win. Milito’s latest hat trick came in a 4-2 win over Milan which put paid to their city rivals hopes of winning consecutive titles. Since 2012 rolled in Milito has scored 19 league goals in 21 games.

Lionel Messi 50 goals in La Liga and 72 on the season so far. Fill in your own superlatives while no doubt a number of Cristiano Ronaldo fans will spent their time discovering weird ways of minimizing the accomplishment.

What were you high and low points on the weekend?

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35 responses to “What Chelsea Has In Common With Muhammad Ali, Spurs Fail To Take a Hint Again, TFC Do 8-In-A-Row, Cologne Relegation A Smoke Screen”

  1. TR says:

    More beating up LA please.

  2. Ed Gomes says:

    Where was that resolve that Wenger so trumpeted just a couple of weeks ago. Oh, oh, no CL pot and RvP will definately be gone. Arsenal fans have to be going crazy that their team put on such a performance on the last home match of the season. No resolve at all.
    Oh yeah, Szczesny pulled an Almunia. I might not to be far off in my earlier statements after all. This one still has to play itself out.

    England fans should be thrilled Harry isn’t the manager. How can the Spurs lose after knowing that Arsenal lost, and Newcastle was playing City. I know, they wee down to 10 men, but that in itself was an issue. Did I miss an injury?
    Spurs should have locked up a CL spot, but have been mismanaged.
    I found it funny how Harry keeps saying that his stars aren’t going anywhere. Someone better explain to him that without CL money guarantees, more than one of his stars will be wearing a different kit.

    I was also sickened by McLeish commenting about Villa’s resolve in their 1-1 draw. They were up a man with 40 minutes to go, yet hey we’re the ones hanging on. Some resolve. Villa fans can’t believe this guy got the job and has somehow maintained it. Very lucky that he didn’t get his second squad relegated two years a row.

    Did anybody else see the comments by Roy Keane in regards to Man United bringing in Bale and Schweinsteiger (sorry for all the spelling mistakes).
    Is he shouting just so he is heard. Isn’t this the same guy that quit on Sunderland and got tossed out of Ipswich?
    Complete joke that I wouldn’t want to see anywhere near Man United in any capacity. It’s one thing to ask for reinforcements, but a whole other in mentioning players and completely harrowing SAF under the bus.

    Congrats to Juve, and I guess we can expect a new manager at Milan. Horrific loss by them.

    I watched the end of the Galaxy vs Red Bulls match. I was actually entertained and might catch another match. Then again, maybe it’s better in small doses.

    I happen to be a Cristiano guy, but there’s no denying the incredible job Messi has done. Barca has slipped and it will be interesting to see what happens without he respected Pep, but Messi’s quality can not be denied.

  3. Boris says:

    So Foxsoccer didn’t show the highlights between Everton and Wolves because there was no goal? There was a goal scored by Everton which was controversially disallowed.

    What a great accomplishment by Messi.

    Spurs had some bad luck today….

  4. John Bladen says:

    It’s becoming laughable even for Arsenal’s long suffering fans, this strange desire to give points away against lesser sides.

    Plenty of blame to go around (GK, 4 defenders and Song at least), but I’d prefer to credit Norwich for a tough battling style that really should have gotten them 3pts rather than 1. Not the first time Arsenal have opened the door for those following them in the table… I really expected either or both to take advantage.

  5. John Bladen says:

    Bobby;

    TFC are a bad club. They have always been a bad club. In both Seattle and Montreal (so far) cases, they had clean sheets to work with and brought in proven MLS players as well as new boys. TFC had different player rules to work with when they joined. Not making excuses on that front as they’ve had plenty of time to fix those errors, but it is the truth.

    While I would have expected better from Winter/Mariner/de Klerk, I’m still willing to give them time. They haven’t been there all that long, and they still have a Mo Johnston mistake or two to clear up. That said, with the exception of Frings (who has a short horizon, let’s be honest) the players they have brought in so far haven’t been effective. Not a good sign.

    Today Ryan Johnson (who has failed to show any scoring ability in most of his professional stops) claimed it was “the defensive system”. Well, that and the fact that he bungled the chances set up for him, I guess…

  6. Jay Houdini says:

    Losers.

    Arsenal fans. poor performance, and we’re only hanging on 3rd because everybody else has bottled it. pathetic Mr. wenger, stop drinking the positive cool aid, or leave already.

    winners: city yaya touré and messi.

    messi beat gretzky’s 50 in 39
    yaya touré was monstruous
    and city is one step closer to a title

  7. RobN says:

    Thumbs up to Montreal and Vancouver pulling off the 2nd ‘Canadian Double’ of the season, and way earlier than I would have predicted. Now if only TFC would pull their weight. Considering they are such lightweights, this shouldn’t be so difficult.

    Seriously though, the TFC game was so painful to watch. It was also interesting seeing John Carver whispering sweet nothings in Alan Pardew’s ear during the Newcastle/Man City game. Makes one wonder if TFC is doomed no matter who’s at the helm or similarly, who would want to take the helm at the end of Winter’s reign. I’m sure some masochist will step in.

  8. fabr04 says:

    Bobby, do you think the quality of goalkeeping in the PL has decreased in the last 5 years? IMHO Cech and Reina have declined, De Gea is no VDS (yet), Szczesny has a ways to go, etc.

    I mention this because, as much as I like and respect Brad Friedel, I have not seen him play well these last few months. Maybe I haven’t seen him play enough, but I feel his “unbelievable save” to “should’ve had that” ratio is…low.

  9. Erik says:

    Winner: MY LOS ANGELES KINGS! GO KINGS GO! GO KINGS GO! I have been passionately supporting this team since I knew what Hockey was. I have been a die-hard (and mostly I have done that – DIED HARD) of the NHL equivalent of the Chicago Cubs for too long to count. MAYBE! JUST MAYBE I can get the ONE Stanley Cup Championship I want before I die and get it THIS YEAR! I am giddy yet I know we are only 1/2 way there – and the toughest 1/2 is yet to come. Sorry if no one here gives a……..about it – I DO and that is all that matters. Jonathan Quick – please keep standing on your head for 8 more wins. I want Lord Stanley to get a Suntan this year! GO KINGS GO!

    Loser: Sorry Bobby and Michelle – but it was the interview the 2 of you did with Sepp Bladder. This annoying pompous ass blowhard is a waste of human space and giving him ONE SECOND of air time is ONE SECOND TOO MANY! I’d rather listen to Linday Lohan’s parents tell us how to successfuly raise a well behaved child than hear Bladder’s piehole spew crap from it and him actually think we care or want to hear what he says. He is so out of touch it stopped being funny too long ago.

    Winner: Those of us who want The Chicken Farmers to be sent down as payback for what they did to Big Sam last season. The Chicken Farmers are more delusional than the LardASSian Sisters/Family. They will get tarred and feathed if/when the Rivers get sent down and they will have NO ONE but themselves to blame for it – although in typical incompetent management style they will blame everyone but themselves. Someone needs to tell these IDIOTS “Denial ain’t just a River in Egpyt”.

    Winner: ALL OF US next Sunday thanks to Fox. By placing all games on some FOX entity we can follow all 10 EPL games next Sunday (9 on Fox – 1 on ESPN here in the States and my guess is ESPN will try and get Man City as their game) in what could be as fascinating as last season. Just like last season we could very well see a goal after the 85th Minute decide the fate of a team staying up or going down (Wolves last season).

  10. John Bladen says:

    Anyone know if they make those “ignition interlock” things for keyboards?

  11. Erik says:

    John: If they do it won’t stop me from shouting as loud as I can: GO KINGS GO! 🙂

  12. Roberto Senyera says:

    Erik: You’re right! I don’t give a shit about the LA Kings, hockey, and Wayne Gretzky. And I’m Kanadian. Go shove your Wayne Gretzky and your LA Kings up where the sun doesn’t shine. Seriously. This is a footy blog. I can become inhospitable if the need arises, mind you. Ice is best served in alcoholic drinks. Full stop.

    Now, on to serious stuff.

    I would personally like to congratulate Man Utd (and Eoin — who loves them so) for participating in this year’s EPL competition. Be sure to collect your ‘parting gifts’ on your way out.

    I won’t shed a tear for the red Mancs or all of those ‘glory hunters’ (that includes Irish fellas like Eoin). “Glory, glory, Man Utd …”. Hay! My arse.

    I will go one step further. Write this down all of of you non believers:

    Old Red Nose will not win another EPL title in his lifetime (unless he changes clubs). Why? Age, the Glazer family, whiskey, his red nose, Man City, Chelsea, and a cardiac awaiting him around the corner. The only saving grace, that I can see, around the corner is UEFA’s FFP. If it wasn’t for that I would put huge money on my bet against him.

    If there’s a god, he will get that cardiac before he retires. It couldn’t happen to a more deserving and reprehensible human being in the world of football than he.

    I’d prefer that he stays vertical and in his post as he witnesses all those trophies slip out of his shaking hands for the next decade.

    Q) What did Toure say after beating Man Utd and Newcastle Utd back to back?

    A) Ya Ya!!

  13. Roberto Senyera says:

    Oh, and one final thing as I drive by. Man Utd in 2011/12: participated in five competitions, wins 0, that’s 0/5 for all of you keeping score at home for a total of zero percent.

    Better luck next year (*cough, cough, cough*).

    As everyone knows, the first one is the toughest and deepest. Now that Man City will win this year’s EPL, just how many more will they discipline Man Utd with before those dastardly red Mancs win another??

    I say, a long time. Longer than Old Whiskey Red Nose is in the helm. Write it down. I did not studder.

    And it’s high past time, mind you.

    Now it’s time for me to have a scotch.

  14. Roberto Senyera says:

    As U2 sang, it was a “Beautiful Day”!

  15. Roberto Senyera says:

    And about Messi — he is ridiculous. Full stop.

    50 La Liga goals with one game left in the league. CR7 is at 45 this year and held the previous record at 40 last year. Before that, Hugo Sanchez held the record at 38 for more than 20 years.

    Messi is totally ridiculous.

    Even Messi won’t break this La Liga record that he’s posting this year. Can’t see it.

    Now, add 29 assists to his 72 goals in all club competitions this season. That’s 101 goals he’s produced either directly or indirectly this season. He still has two games left to add to this.

    Fourth world player of the year award awaits. Very little question of that. No matter what CR7 and his fan crew does in EURO 2012.

    Just give the trophy to the little magician once again on May 31st and save everyone all the delayed hassle.

  16. Roberto Senyera says:

    Question for Mr. Bobby:

    Q) You say that you don’t trust “fundamentalists and ideologues” in any walk of life. Would you say that Johann Cruyff knew what he was doing when he established the modern framework of Barcelona? Cruyff was definitely a “fundamentalist and ideologue” and remains to this day.

    Mind you, I’m not saying that it can work at TFC. But that’s not the question.

  17. Roberto Senyera says:

    And the problem with TFC is the same as with the Toronto Maple Leafs — ownership. They both have the same ownership and they have proven to be inept over many years.

  18. Roberto – said I didn’t trust them – I didn’t say that what they propose never works. The fact that it took well over 10 years for the Cruyff vision to mature reinforces what a lot of guff we have heard from TFC.
    Everyone wants the success but few want to put in the hard work and attention to detail that is required.

  19. Erik – sorry for you being upset but some of us have to operate in the real world.

  20. Ed Gomes says:

    A lot of vile towards Man United and SAF. I would guess Roberto is a City fan but truth be told he’s most likely a Man United hater first and foremost.
    The biggest and most loved is always the most hated as well.

    Let me point out that Cruyff has been more of an ass lately in regards to Ajax. The guy isn’t committed to anything, refuses to leave Spain yet wants to run the show.
    Like you said Bobby, it takes years and commitment and more than just one persons vision.

    I forgot to mention Chelsea earlier. I’m shocked that they’ve managed to get it together. But please keep in mind that I don’t think its something they could of sustained over a whole season.
    Will current run, a CL Title would be a miracle, slow down turn over of squad. Not many more pieces are needed and worked in.

  21. Ed Gomes says:

    Almost forgot.
    The NHL might have the most exciting playoffs of any sport, but nobody watches hockey.

  22. Alberta Gooner says:

    @Bobby

    “can’t get to half time before muting ESPN’s version of the Gossip Girls”

    I didn’t make it to the tenth minute before muting McManaman and Darke so credit to your fortitude in listening to their witterings for almost an entire half.

    @JohnBladen

    “It’s becoming laughable even for Arsenal’s long suffering fans, this strange desire to give points away against lesser sides.

    Plenty of blame to go around (GK, 4 defenders and Song at least), but I’d prefer to credit Norwich for a tough battling style that really should have gotten them 3pts rather than 1. Not the first time Arsenal have opened the door for those following them in the table… I really expected either or both to take advantage.”

    We’ve failed to win a match where Arteta has not played during this season. His influence has been sorely missed, in part, because Aaron Ramsey is playing with heavy legs and out of position. Part of that is a consequence of having Wilshere and Diaby injured all season. Certain players are going to have to step up their games next weekend and our best defender had his leg snapped for the second time. This season has probably cost me five years of my life.

    “Anyone know if they make those “ignition interlock” things for keyboards?”

    Hahaha! That’s hilarious!

  23. J Rob says:

    Partial winner – Andy Carroll. With a slightly better directed header he would have scored 2 goals in 20 minutes in the FA Cup final. (fantastic reaction save from Czech who like all of the Chelsea old-guard has proved his doubters wrong in the last 2 months.)

    Overall by far Carroll’s best performance in a red shirt since the one against Man City in the league at Anfield last season. In addition to his energy and skill his positional sense was spot-on for the first time all-season.

    Question – does Hodgson gamble on him, Grant Holt or Bobby Zamora for the Euro-Championships? My guess is yes – one of those big forwards will be in the squad.

  24. J Rob says:

    Re: Man Utd and Man City this could be the second time in three years that Man Utd have lost to their closest rivals in the EPL because they failed to take just one point from them in their 2 match-up games. Man Utd fans probably can’t believe that they let a 2 goal cushion slip against Everton. All my Man Utd friends thought it would be City who would choke.

    Interesting to read Chelsea’s 1 billion pound plans for a new ground at a West London landmark.

    What, if any, are the implications re: Financial Fair Play and a new stadium. Does its cost get factored into equations of spending vs revenue?

  25. Losses incurred on stadium development and youth development is excluded from FFP regulations.

  26. Wigan – I cannot fathom the strength of character that Martinez must have to stick by the players and to believe that things will come right. Kudos to Dave Whelan as well.

  27. John Bladen says:

    J Rob/Bobby;

    As far as I’m aware, Chelsea’s “property partners”/leaseholders still control what the land Stamford Bridge sits on is used for. As I recall, the club sought permission from them to redevelop in the event they could find a new ground last year and were refused.

    Having a grand plan and wealthy owner is one thing. Would they be willing to challenge their own leaseholders in court if need be for either permission to move or redevelop?

  28. John Bladen says:

    Bobby:

    Re: Martinez & Wigan.

    I am pleased to report that Martinez & co have afforded me the opportunity to extend my streak of selecting them as ‘certain to be relegated’ to a fifth consecutive year… at least!

  29. Andre says:

    Klopp deserves all the credit in the world for what he has done at Borussia Dortmund. Beyond just winning trophies with a somewhat modest club but the fact he was able to overcome the loss of key players from last season through both injury and transfer and still win.

    I think his name should be in among the usual suspects when a vacancy opens at a big club. Although he seems like the type of manager that wants/needs patience in order to build something that will last, not obsess about the first three results of the season after signing a 4 year deal.

  30. fabr04 says:

    RE Wigan, I will say again what I’ve said before: Arsenal would be very fortunate to hire Martinez, a manager who would put aside the culture of excuses and denial that has characterized Arsene Wenger’s recent reign. At the very least Martinez would have the decency to shake the hands of opposing managers after a defeat.

    A few weeks ago I noted on this blog that in 2011 and 2010 Wenger’s “mentally strong” teams won 1 match of their final 5. This year Arsenal will win either 0 or 1 of their final 5. This is progress?

  31. Ed Gomes says:

    Martinez really impressed me during the World Cup. It was great having him break down players, teams and tactics amongst village idiots.
    I guess everyone was wrong about Wigan staying up on the last day.
    The question i have is, will anyone come calling for any of these players? I don’t know how many are on loan.
    What I’m trying to say, if left intact with Martinez at the helm a top of the table finish isn’t out of the question.

  32. Astronomer says:

    Talking about winners, yes, Jurgen Klopp definitely is turning out to be one of the most intriguing coaching prospects (for the big clubs) at the present moment. Borussia Dortmund play with verve and gusto and is frequently a pleasure to watch (I do have a soft spot for teams that have a high tempo playing style). The gung-ho, damn-the-torpedoes-full-speed-ahead attitude that his team exhibits in the Bundesliga is one of the key reasons for their success in that league.

    However, on the negative side, I have questions about his tactical nous (especially, in making defensive adjustments during games) — it is something that matters a lot in knockout tournaments. His team’s performances in last year’s Europa Cup and this year’s CL have been distinctly underwhelming. Let’s see what happens in next year’s CL. Hopefully, there will be some improvement.

    And now for a loser …… I will select one from outside the world of soccer. My girlfriend is from France, so in the last year or so, I have taken interest in both French football and politics. Well, yesterday’s elections saw the Napoleon of our times finally meet his Waterloo. Good riddance, buddy — enjoy your forced exile in St. Elba !

    _________________________________________

  33. John Bladen says:

    Erik, we disagree on most points, but you are a good sport… cheers!

  34. John Bladen says:

    AG: Midfield has been a problem… not surprising I guess given the departures, but I sometimes think that that particular failing is partially hidden by the appalling defensive efforts… just not a good day for anyone in the side on the weekend. Despite his scoring touch, RvP missed a couple, as did his alleged supporting cast up front.

    IMO, Arteta isn’t the ‘answer’, but they are obviously much better with him than without. Interesting to see who comes in during the summer (assuming anyone does, of course…)

  35. Ed Gomes says:

    Some news/controversy coming out of Braca.
    Mascherano told the newspapers, that he told Messi to go over and dedicate/ celebrate his fourth goal with Pep.
    Messi comes out today and denies that. He said he had to go to Pep due to the emotional state he was in, and thank Pep for all he’d done.
    I’m actually with Mascherano on this one. Why didn’t Messi go to Pep and dedicate the goal to him after the first one? How did he know he was going to score multiple goals, four no less?
    It is going to be very interesting to see how things play out at Barca next season.

    What are you guys talking about. Podolski is coming, so you’ll be fine. A top four just might be easier next season. Spurs will be selling off big ticket items, and Liverpool will still have Dalglish at the helm. Newcastle will still be adjusting to playing on multiple fronts. We’ll see what Man United and Chelsea due in the transfer market.
    I will say that it’s imperative to get 3rd this season. There’s a huge difference in guaranteed Group Stage money and playoff games in July.

    Tough dilemma for me. I really dislike Hughes and would have loved for him to go down, but I really need him to at least draw with City.

    McLeish is crazy. He’s blamed players by name, he’s blamed tough luck, he’s blamed injuries, but now he comes out and says he won’t cover for the players next season. I thouht maybe the fans hated him since he was from the other side of town, but now I think it’s just due to him being an awful manager.

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