The Warm-Up: Arsenal have a surreal night, Everton have a nightmare
It was a strange, strange night at the Emirates, but at least Arsenal got a decent result and, eventually, performance - unlike Everton...
FRIDAY'S BIG HEADLINES
Competence amid chaos for Arsenal
There were unsavoury scenes outside the ground and reports of stewards being attacked as Koln fans tried to vault into the away section before kick-off. But there are often individuals who seek out violence on such occasions. After a rocky start, much of the night passed off without any serious trouble. As one overreaching and unintentionally hilarious headline revealed.
Largely speaking, the trouble seemed more boisterous in nature, the symptom of a grand occasion for a club which does not have many of those.
This was the key contrast. For Koln supporters, this was a truly special night, a reason to travel en masse to London, drink beer all day and watch their team play against Arsenal at Emirates Stadium on the European stage. It teetered on the brink of being called off, sure, but it was a real occasion. For Arsenal fans, this same night, this same competition, was a borderline joke, an ironic event which invited comments about The Banter Era and the ceaseless farce that is supporting Arsenal.
It was a collision of perspectives: one emotional and engaged, the other disillusioned and detached. Koln certainly brought some atmosphere to the occasion, though, especially when they went 1-0 up thanks to a combination of David Ospina's awkward clearance and Jhon Cordoba's quick-thinking as he scored from long-range. At that stage it almost felt like an away game for Arsenal.
But class told. A half-time switch to a back four and the appearance of Sead Kolasinac from the bench brought immediate reward as the summer signing absolutely walloped home an equaliser. Alexis Sanchez then scored with a sensational effort and Hector Bellerin made it three when reacting quickest to a Theo Walcott shot which was parried.
A defeat in their first European outing for 25 years, but a night Koln fans will never forget, and a night Arsenal fans will remember for a while too. Not for entirely positive reasons, and especially not for those caught up in any intimidating scenes, but certainly more memorable than countless identikit Champions League group stage matches with little but the weary inevitability of a defeat in the last-16 to follow. At least this was something a bit different.
And finally, just spare a thought for the many Koln fans who apparently signed up for Arsenal memberships, bought scarves and shorts and even, in some instances, changed their phone wallpaper to the Arsenal crest in order to ensure safe passage past the police and stewards. You'll be groaning about Groundhog Days and Wenger and Francis Coquelin before you know it.
Everton go from bad to worse
Wayne Rooney for Everton at AtalantaReuters
Self-flagellating to such an extent that he resembled a murderous monk in a Dan Brown novel, Koeman thwacked himself on the back again and again as he tried to explain a pitiful display which saw his side three goals down by half-time.
" I'm really sorry for the fans. that's a question to myself, what I did wrong. It's easy to criticise the players, the team, and individual mistakes, but finally, the team was not prepared judging by what I saw in the first half. It's now time that we showed this is really the wake-up call. If not, then the problem is even bigger."
Three defeats in a row, eight goals conceded, none scored. Still, at least they had the summer.
Best of the rest
Andre Silva, Hakan Cahlanoglu, Austria Vienna-Milan, Getty ImagesGetty Images
Elsewhere in the Europa League last night, AC Milan stated their intentions for the campaign with a 5-1 hammering of Austria Vienna in Vienna, Austria. Andre Silva, a £34m capture this summer, scored a hat-trick for a club which could quite easily win the competition this year.
And one final mention, for Swedish club Ostersunds, who defeated Zorya Luhansk away in Ukraine. Why the mention for this apparently nondescript fixture? Ostersunds are managed by an Englishman, Graham Potter, of a Stoke, West Brom and York fame.
HEROES AND ZEROES
Hero: Sead Kolasinac
Arsenal's Sead Kolasinac celebrates scoring their first goal with team matesReuters
The left-back who arrived on a free transfer now has as many goals this season as the £50m striker. Kolasinac has also picked up two assists and, quite aside from these amazing contributions in the final third, has already become a bit of a cult hero with his barrel-chested exuberance and raids down the pitch. His emphatic finish last night was symptomatic of the impact he has made and, to top it all off, he had a joke at the expense of Koln fans too. What a guy.
Zeroes: Real Madrid supporters
It probably should be no surprise that a crowd who are prepared to whistle Cristiano Ronaldo are prepared to whistle Gareth Bale. But this week, the Bernabeu boo boys, as they must be known, took things too far when barracking Bale for having the temerity to hit a few bad passes *after collecting two assists* in the Champions League match against APOEL. "Whistling your own player is sometimes what happens here, and Gareth doesn't deserve that, nobody deserves that,” said Toni Kroos. Quite. Especially when they are actually playing pretty well.
" So this is how it feels to be there when the English turn up, to be over there when we go over there. On a night of confusion, anxiety and some mild outbreaks of violence around the Emirates Stadium, London had a taste of what it feels like to be caught on the hop by thousands of boisterous, tribal, boozed-up football fans in search of a space to call their own for the night."
Get the fish and chips in, it’s a Friday night South Coast derby in the Premier League as Brighton travel 100 miles east to face Bournemouth in a battle of two potential relegation strugglers. Kick-off is at 8pm and you can join us for live text commentary from 7.15pm.
Adam Hurrey was supposed to be doing Monday’s Warm-Up but his home office has been besieged by Koln fans so it’s looking like it might be called off at this stage.