The Warm-Up: Leo Messi, Neymar and Liverpool's frivolous appeal
Plus: Roy Hodgson is back, and so are the Vines!
WEDNESDAY’S BIG STORIES
The Chaaaaaaaaaampions... are hopelessly overmatched
Ah, Champions League football. Europe’s finest tactical brains locked in a tense game of three-dimensional chess.
Which is presumably why the first eight games of the group stage threw up scorelines including 3-0, 0-5, 3-0, 6-0 and 3-0.
As romantic as the notion of guaranteeing national champions more places may be, it also produces some woeful mismatches, as anyone who witnessed Qarabag’s group stage bow will attest.
The Warm-Up has a funny feeling that this goal will end up as Davide Zappacosta’s defining contribution for Chelsea.
And, after a summer of turbulence at Barcelona, let’s all remember that they still have Leo Messi.
Renaissance Roy’s return
Remember when people considered Roy Hodgson football’s ultimate renaissance man?
But certain events – by which we mean the invention of Vine and losing to Iceland – caused Hodgson’s public persona to shift dramatically. Now he’s just that out-of-touch old man with the bemused half-smile.
Sweden, Switzerland, Italy... Croydon. Hodgson’s progressively less adventurous job appointments have given his career the look of someone spending 40 years spreading their wings in reverse.
So it’s entirely fitting that his (possibly) final appointment takes him back to his home borough and Crystal Palace.
Should we assume that Frank De Boer’s Ajax team that won four consecutive Eredivisie titles wasn’t organised?
De Boer was organising Palace – just not in a way that suited the players or a board unwilling to wait more than four games for the Total Football revolution to take hold.
Mane appeal fails like we all knew it would
Manchester City’s Ederson Moraes is fouled by Liverpool's Sadio ManeGetty Images
Remember when frivolous appeals were a thing?
Back in 2010 Rio Ferdinand had a three-match ban increased to four games – the appeal was in fact calculated to free him up for a Manchester derby.
We mention this only because Liverpool’s appeal against Sadio Mane’s ban seems to bear all the hallmarks of frivolity.
- Mane basically maimed an opponent.
- Liverpool’s defence rested on the irrelevant assertion that Mane didn’t mean to maim an opponent – ignoring that it’s quite possible to commit dangerous play without intent.
- Jurgen Klopp admitted the appeal was “a waste of time”.
" It was our duty to appeal. We did it and, as I said after the game, it was a waste of time obviously."
IN OTHER NEWS
Yet another Adam Hurrey find. Here’s Roy Hodgson hiding from a monster in a 1960s comedy. No, we have absolutely no idea either.
ZEROES AND HEROES
Zero: Anthony Ralston
Sure, it’s good to show a bit of pluck when confronted by the world’s most expensive player. But Ralston’s gobshitery would mean a lot more if Celtic hadn’t been on the end of an absolute shoeing from PSG. This is the pound shop version of Scott Brown kicking Barcelona players.