WEDNESDAY'S BIG STORIES
MAKE IT ONE LEG
So in the Champions League we have Liverpool playing their away leg with RB Leipzig in Budapest and Manchester City also heading to the Hungarian capital for their away leg against Borussia Monchengladbach too.
'I can't wait to have that experience' - Arteta, Nuno preview 'special' NLD
Okay, fair enough. Travel restrictions and all.
It also looks like Chelsea are set to play their away leg against Atletico Madrid in Romania or Poland.
Then in the Europa League you have Manchester United playing their away leg against Real Sociedad in Turin.
Again, fair enough, same reasons The Warm-Up supposes.
And then you have Arsenal playing their last-32 tie with Benfica in Italy and Greece, with away goals counting.
Wait. What? For which team exactly?
You gotta do what you gotta do, but with the home-and-away format quickly becoming the neutral-and-away, home-and-neutral or in Arsenal’s case the neutral-and-neutral format, why not just make these European knockout ties a one-legged affair?
Of course, broadcast revenue will dictate otherwise, but if one team is travelling away for two legs then there is a clear advantage – unless both teams have to like Arsenal.
With that being the case, scrap the two legs and make two become one (I need some love like I never needed love before…). Simple.
FA Cup: Immediate disclaimer
With football on every day The Warm-Up decided to give, checks notes, Manchester United v West Ham in the FA Cup a pass. That’s not very professional when you have a blog coming up, but let’s skip past that admission shall we and say hey, what a goal that was from, checks Twitter, Scott McTominay, who during extra time helped Manchester’s United overcome West Ham’s United and reach the, returns to notes, quarter-final of the FA Cup.
Extra time? Blimey. Twitter tells it was a pretty turgid affair. Falling after and before a Premier League weekend of action, and also the week before European football starts, and also just a month after the FA Cup third round, which means the fourth round has also taken place, it’s hardly a surprise to hear it was so flat. Next.
Pep misses the point
When discussing racial abuse on social media or the death threats aimed at a referee, a little tip, don’t bring up a moment which, and The Warm-Up shall safely quote from the FA here, led to your player being banned for a match, fined £50,000 and sent on an education course after his post on social media was deemed “insulting and/or improper and/or brought the game into disrepute” as it “included reference, whether expressed or implied, to race and/or colour and/or ethnic origin”. That’s all we’ll say here.
IN THE CHANNELS
Okay, something brighter. This turn.
Feliz cumpleaños Radamel Falcao. The Colombian striker is 36 today, so here he is hitting goal after goal after goal.
I am just happy to be a footballer again.
A nod to Nizaar Kinsella’s exclusive interview on Goal with Chelsea loanee Marco van Ginkel, who reflects on his 983 days out injured. 983.
MORE FA Cup midweek fifth-round action for you. We have Swansea City v Manchester City at the obvious kick-off time of 5.30pm GMT, then Leicester v Brighton and Sheffield United v Bristol City both starting at 7.30pm. For dessert, Everton v Spurs in a match which Everton and Spurs-supporting friends described as a tie both clubs could simultaneously lose.
And Andi Thomas will be here to take you through that
Parker's Picks: Wins for Chelsea, Arsenal in NLD; Brentford to hold Liverpool
Opinion: More than bragging rights at stake for north London rivals