The Warm-Up: Koeman crisis deepens, Arsenal loving life
There was more cruelty and misery for Everton last night, but by contrast, Arsenal are enjoying the Europa League very much thank you.
FRIDAY'S BIG HEADLINES
Koeman can't catch a break
Koeman's win percentage is now 44%, lower than it was at Southampton having spent a great deal more. Rather more pressingly for the Dutchman, Everton have won just two of the past nine games in all competitions. It's unequivocally the kind of run which will get a manager sacked, especially when his side are booed off, as they were last night. And especially if his side are playing so ponderously – surely not linked with the signing of famously sprightly No. 10 Wayne Rooney this summer. And especially when, well, the manager is saying things like this about his players:
"They are afraid in (how they are) playing. It's in the heads of the players, you can help them, support them, make it clear for everybody, give the players confidence, but finally by the whistle I don't play the ball back. It's up to the player - give the player options. We are scared, we are afraid to play forward and that makes it difficult. Maybe sometimes there are not enough options to play forwards but even if there are no options, play the ball in the channel instead of back to the goalkeeper. We know what the fans like, that you go forward, and they don't like to see a team playing back, back. In the first 20 minutes every ball was back and then it's really difficult to create chances."
Arsenal loving life in the Europa League
Failing to qualify for the Champions League this season was seen as some kind of mortal body blow to Arsene Wenger and Arsenal, but nothing could be further from the truth. As well as giving Wenger the chance to rest his senior players for the Premier League – Hector Bellerin, Laurent Koscielny, Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez and Alexandre Lacazette were all given the night off last night – the Europa League is proving great fun indeed.
The man of the match for Arsenal, though, was Jack Wilshere, who decorated the game with his brilliant passing and reminded us once again that there is a player of huge ability in there somewhere. This is the other benefit of the Europa League: allowing fringe players to flourish too, with Theo Walcott scoring twice and Olivier Giroud bagging his 100th goal for Arsenal.
Who knew the Europa League was so great? If they keep on like this, they might actually win the thing – unless crisis-hit Bayern Munich drop down out of the Champions League and impart their customary beating of course.
Aguero injured in car crash
Sergio Aguero has started the season in ridiculous form but in a huge blow to Manchester City, he will be sidelined for an unspecified period of time after being involved in a car crash last night. Aguero was attending a concert by Colombian act Maluma in Amsterdam – two days before a Premier League match against Chelsea? - but fractured ribs when his taxi driver did this:
There are indications he could be out for eight weeks, although it seems a bit early for anyone to really have that kind of information. Either way, as The Sun put it, with a characteristic level of understatement:
"Pep Guardiola will be gutted to learn his star striker is facing time on the sidelines but fans will be pleased he is alive."
At least Injury FC just got a brand new striker though.
IN OTHER NEWS
Clarence Seedorf is unveiled as Shenzhen Kaisa's new head coach +ITWEurosport
And now to a completely unexpected story, with the news that Clarence Seedorf has been interviewed for the Oldham job.
Seedorf, a four-time Champions League winner and former manager of AC Milan, was given a tour of the club's facilities on Thursday and appears to be genuinely in contention to take over the club joint bottom of League One. It's all a bit 'Edgar Davids appointed Barnet manager' for The Warm-Up - the highlight of which was his three red cards as player-manager in the first half of the 2013-14 season.
HEROES AND ZEROES
Hero: Nicklas Bendtner
Is there anything more life-affirming than seeing Nicklas Bendtner lord it over some second-rate European club? No. No there is not.
Zero: Ognjen Ozegovic
The reaction of his Partizan team-mates tells you everything you need to know about the way he conceded a penalty in a 3-2 defeat to Dynamo Kiev. Partizan were 2-0 up at the time and went on to lose 3-2. Ouch.
IN THE CHANNELS
We missed the full interview last night on the Premier League show – go search it out on iPlayer – but this was a great way to trail a chat between former Barca ball boy Pep Guardiola and the cruel striker who never gave him his shirt… Excellent work from the Beeb.
There’s a London derby on TV tonight as QPR host Fulham in the Championship, live on Sky Sports from 7:45pm. Schalke play Leverkusen at 7:30pm on BT Sport, with Monaco v Montpellier, 7:45pm, and Celta Vigo v Girona, completing a near clean sweep of the major European leagues. Up your game, Italy.
Adam Hurrey's under increasing pressure and needs a good Warm-Up to keep the critics at bay - see how he fares on Monday