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The Warm-Up: These Manchester United reserves look a bit handy

The Warm-Up: These Manchester United reserves look a bit handy

01/12/2016 at 08:04

Jack Lang brings news of League Cup walkovers, a goalscoring keeper and moving scenes from South America.

THURSDAY’S BIG STORIES

When the cat’s away…

The Warm-Up invites you to take part in a thrilling game of textual spot the difference:

Match one: Jose Mourinho omits Anthony Martial from his squad, leaves Henrikh Mkhitaryan on the bench, watches from his dugout, gets angry, boots a bottle, watches his side toil to a 1-1 draw that satisfies no-one and leaves them well off the pace in the Premier League.

Match two: Jose Mourinho plays both Anthony Martial and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, follows the match on television from some unknown location inside Old Trafford (The Warm-Up’s money is on the laundry room), watches his side cruise to their most heartening victory in some weeks.

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho

Manchester United manager Jose MourinhoAFP

How did you get on?

Yes, it’s reductive to attribute the improvement in fortunes to two selections and the absence of a skulking badger-man on the touchline, especially against a West Ham side missing some key men. But there was nonetheless a fluidity and lightness of touch to United that had been wholly missing on Sunday.

Mkhitaryan is a lovely footballer, gliding with an ice-skater’s grace and always looking to combine. He set up the first two and, for the second time in two starts, was named man of the match. Martial, who has struggled to hit the heights so far this term, was at his sinuous best, netting twice.

Both should be starting for United on a regular basis, not filling in for cup matches. Will that fact dawn on Mourinho before he returns to his usual position at the weekend?

Zlatan Ibrahimovic Anthony Martial

Zlatan Ibrahimovic Anthony MartialReuters

Arsenal reserves crash out

The Warm-Up only has one pair of eyes (for now – still hoping to hear back from that back-alley surgeon), so we’ll have to rely on some of our colleagues to bring us news of Arsenal’s performance in the 2-0 defeat to Southampton.

Sounds like it wasn’t great:

Anyway, congratulations to Southampton, who face parent club Liverpool in the next round. Manchester United play Hull, but with the home leg first, heartlessly ruining the pun The Warm-Up had lined up for this section.

Moving scenes in South America

These videos are pretty moving. First, the scene last night at Chapecoense’s Arena Conda, where thousands of fans gathered to pay tribute to their fallen heroes:

Meanwhile, thousands of miles north in Medellin, the supporters of Atletico Nacional – the side Chape were due to face in the Copa Sul-Americana final – flocked to their stadium in a show of solidarity with the Brazilian club. Absolutely spine-tingling.

IN OTHER NEWS

Just when you thought it was safe to be your age again after Tuesday’s despicably youthful goings-on at Anfield, along come Real Madrid.

Their Copa del Rey victory over Cultural Leonesa (no, you’re the cultural lioness!) was fairly routine in most respects. But one of their scorers was ZINEDINE ZIDANE’S SON. Just give me a pension already and meet me at the nursing home.

HEROES AND ZEROES

Hero: This wonderful man

OK, The Warm-Up definitely needs to watch more South African football if this kind of thing is on the menu.

Zero: Adrian

The West Ham goalkeeper was blameless for the four goals he conceded at Old Trafford, but receives our opprobrium for trying to kneecap Zlatan Ibrahimovic on the sly. Not the kind of enemy you want to be making, amigo.

West Ham goalkeeper Adrian – PUB NOT IN UK FRA ESP SWE POL CHN

West Ham goalkeeper Adrian – PUB NOT IN UK FRA ESP SWE POL CHNImago

IN THE CHANNELS

To South America once more, for another touching tribute to those who lost their lives in the Colombia plane tragedy. To coincide with the scheduled broadcast for the Copa Sul-Americana final, Fox Sports Brasil – who lost journalists in the accident – put out a blank screen with the legend ’90 minutes of silence’.

Sometimes, simplicity pays off. Well played. Well played indeed.

COMING UP

It’s not a golden Thursday night, by any means, but there’s enough to keep you out of trouble. QPR vs Wolves (7:45pm) is the main (indeed only) course domestically, but there are a few cup games in Italy and Spain if you’re into that sort of thing. The Warm-Up isn’t judging.

I don’t care if Monday’s blue, Tuesday’s grey and Wednesday too. Thursday I don’t care about you… cos it’s Friday and Tom Adams is doing the Warm-Up.

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