The Warm-Up: Crystal Palace's shambolic melange of ideas
Plus: Slaven Bilic gets some respite and Patrice Evra confirms what a wonderful man he is
TUESDAY’S BIG STORIES
De Boer out, Uncle Roy in…
There is, we suppose, a virtue to realising you’ve made a mistake and then very quickly correcting it. It is, you could argue, better than the alternative, to plough on regardless and compound the mistake. It’s good to hold one’s hands up and admit a balls up rather than sticking a pillow around your head and shouting ‘LA LA LAAAAAA’.
Still, Crystal Palace look pretty stupid today, don’t they? A little under three months after announcing his appointment, Frank de Boer is out. It didn’t look brilliant from the outset really: a club losing Sam Allardyce, wanting to appoint his pragmatic and probably more sensible natural heir in Sean Dyche but instead going for the aesthete, a man who would completely change Palace’s style of play and make them perhaps more befitting a club whose offices are not in the relative suburbia of Norwood, south London, but next to an Italian tapas restaurant and cocktail bar in Soho, very central London.
Frank de Boer, Roy HodgsonGetty Images
Turns out four league games was the window he had to completely change that style, but four defeats, zero goals and a fair bit of confusion later, he’s gone, and replacing him is supposedly Roy Hodgson, last seen shrugging and not understanding why he had been asked to face the media in the wake of England’s defeat to Iceland.
It’s quite a shift in thinking, really. To go from Allardyce, to wanting Dyche, then to De Boer and now Hodgson. ‘Shift’ might be too kind a word, actually: a shambolic melange of incompatible ideas that make you question whether Palace, about to appoint their fifth permanent manager in the last three years, will ever be able to achieve anything like stability.
Bilic gets a bit of respite at West Ham
West Ham United's Pedro Obiang celebrates scoring their first goalReuters
Even before last night’s game against Huddersfield, Slaven Bilic might have been breathing a healthy sigh of relief, given that the shambles at Palace at least took the heat off him for a little while. But heat was removed in a more conventional manner, by way of a victory. Not an especially convincing victory in a fairly drab game at an unsettlingly quiet London Stadium, but any 2-0 win will be fine by Slaven at the moment.
Goals from Pedro Obiang and Andre Ayew did it for the Hammers, overcoming a Huddersfield side who never really looked like doing a great deal more than chugging along, as their nascent Premier League life continues. “It was a deserved defeat,” said Huddersfield manager David Wagner afterwards.
Bilic, for his part, seems only too aware of the threat from the potential ol’ tin tack. “I’m 49 and I’ve been in serious football for 31 years,” Bilic said. “I know how it goes, especially today, and I’m not going to lie, [De Boer] was in the back of my mind. But I’ve come to the zone where I don’t care about that. I care about the team. I saw my team really focus, not just today but yesterday, the day before.”
Liverpool are appealing, etc and so on…
Bad news, everyone: it looks like we’re going to have another round of people having opinions about Sadio Mane’s red card against Manchester City at the weekend. For Liverpool are going to appeal the length of Mane’s ban, if not the sending off itself, seemingly of the opinion that three games is too draconian for kicking someone in the face.
“It never works,” said Jurgen Klopp of any appeal against the red card. “It would be another waste of time, like the game today. It was an accident. [Mane] is very unlucky. The situation I think everyone knows he didn’t see the goalie. There was not one second he looks on the goalie. He just wanted to get the ball as soon as possible. Hopefully the goalie is not seriously injured.”
IN OTHER NEWS
Honestly, we don’t know how anyone can muster the courage to name a child. What if your child, later on in life, turns out to share a name with a murderer, or a figure of great ridicule, or a Tory MP? Or, in this case, a relatively low-level Premier League goalkeeper? Still, at least they seem to be having a chuckle about it.
HEROES AND ZEROS
Hero: Patrice Evra
What a man.
Zero: Nile Ranger
You’ll remember Nile Ranger from his assorted scrapes with various aspects of the law down the years. He has, inevitably, been at it again, released from prison in August after serving a portion of a jail term for online banking fraud, and free to play for his club Southend. Well, almost free: Southend play Shrewsbury tonight in League One, but Ranger won’t be allowed to play because the terms of his release stipulate he has to be at home by 7pm each night, a curfew enforced by his electronic tag. “Unfortunately the tag is causing me a problem,” said Southend manager Phil Brown, with typical understatement.
"Why sack De Boer for managing like De Boer? Surely he needed proper time, and more investment, to instigate the change in style even Parish had acknowledged was desirable? Did the improved performance at Turf Moor, where 23 chances were created but none taken, not demand a stay of execution at least until Saturday’s visit of Southampton?"
It’s the first day of the Champions League, and just as they did 19 years ago Manchester United are at home to a team in blue and maroon. Granted, Ricky van Wolfswinkel’s Basel today perhaps aren’t quite as fearsome as Rivaldo’s Barcelona were back then, but if the two sides can serve up a humdinger along similar lines, then we’ll all be very happy indeed.
The Chaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaampions. Yes, it’s back baby, eight games of delicious, succulent Champions League action, and it starts with a bit of a bang too. The standout game is Barcelona v Juventus, but if you don’t fancy that then Celtic v PSG should be spicy, Roma v Atletico Madrid will be a humdinger and English interest lies in Chelsea v Qarabag and Manchester United v Basel. Plus, if that’s not enough, there’s also a (nearly) full slate of Championship, League One and League Two games to keep you tickled. SPORT!
Tomorrow’s Warm-Up will be brought to you by Alex Chick, always ready, prepared, braced…and so on.