Sports

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer clings on at Man Utd, even as managers are sacked around him – The Warm-Up


MONDAY’S BIG HEADLINES

Is Ole ever Gunnar go?

The Warm-Up never thought it would be waking up on Monday morning to address a Premier League weekend in which two managers were sacked – neither of whom were Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. The Manchester United boss continues to dodge his inevitable fate like a rubbish but incredibly fluky Squid Game contestant, just about surviving every game by tiny margins even as the bodies pile up around them in bizarre and distressing ways.

Oof there goes Daniel Farke, sacked hours after his first win of the season. A particularly cruel twist. Ouch, Dean Smith’s gone too, five defeats on the spin leaving him defenceless despite his achievements at Villa, which were altogether more impressive than whittling an umbrella out of honeycomb using a pin. And yet Solskjaer endures; the unmovable manager lurching from one disaster to another yet never getting that ominous knock on the door.

The most telling fact of this whole farcical situation is that neither Norwich nor Aston Villa would likely show any interest in Solskjaer were he on the market, now they are both looking for new managers. Yet he continues to be in charge of one of the biggest clubs in the world despite being so demonstrably out of his depth he may as well be doggy-paddling above the Mariana Trench.

Never was that more apparent than in Saturday’s miserable derby defeat to Manchester City. The scoreline didn’t humble United as the 5-0 defeat to Liverpool had done, but the experience was every bit as demoralising as they were totally outplayed by their ostensible rivals. A fourth defeat in six Premier League games which witnessed just four touches for United in City’s box. What, really, is the point of this United team?

It is hard really to know what more to say. It could not be more clear that United need a new manager and yet they refuse to recognise it. Which really leaves Solskjaer in the truly unenviable situation where he has no authority whatsoever and everyone is just waiting for the official statement to drop. It genuinely has reached the stage now where you just feel sorry for the guy.

Even number one supporter Gary Neville seems to be wavering. There was a rather remarkable moment on Saturday when you could see him talk himself out of his belief in Solskjaer in real time, as he went from saying he would be safe this season to warning he could he gone in a few weeks in the space of about ten seconds.

“I know there are some United fans who think the club should have acted two weeks ago because Antonio Conte was available but this club was never going to appoint Conte and they are not prepared for this moment because they have the plan behind Ole.

“I don’t think there is any chance there will a decision [on the manager] during this season unless it gets so bad, and it is getting to the point where it is so bad. They are 11 points off the top of the league if Chelsea win today [Chelsea drew, so United are 9 points behind] and this United squad should not be [so far] off the top. Nobody has expected this. Nobody would have expected United would sink so low at this point in the season. I think he has a few weeks to sort it out.”

But let’s be honest here: this is not in Solskjaer’s power to sort out any more. His authority has evaporated and there is no coming back from this. All United are doing, against all available evidence and sense, is postponing the inevitable. As The Warm-Up used to be reminded at regular intervals at school, it’s your own time you’re wasting.

Klopp kicks off

As Solskjaer struggles at Old Trafford, the rehabilitation of David Moyes’ post-United career continues apace after West Ham defeated Liverpool 3-1 to skip jauntily above their opponents into third place in the league after 11 matches, level with second-placed Manchester City and just three behind leaders Chelsea. Give it Moysey until the end of the s…. No, no, we can’t go there.

Liverpool were the victims of some dubious officiating, most notably when Aaron Creswell got away scot free after almost removing both of Jordan Henderson’s kneecaps in a ju jitsu-esque move which wouldn’t have looked out of place in the UFC octagon. Klopp was predictably fuming after his first league loss of the season and once again proved that he is as bad a loser as he is as good a winner in a tempestuous post-match exchange with the BBC.

“There are a couple of things that happened during the game that are difficult to take,” he said. “If you don’t take your chances you’re leaving things up to ref decisions.” Asked which decisions he meant, he added: “It’s really interesting you ask that. I’m not sure I want to answer the question if you don’t know the situation I’m talking about. Do you not think [Alisson was impeded for the first goal]? Is your job not to have an opinion? Okay that’s nice.”

When asked to give his take on the Cresswell incident, Klopp followed up with: “My god. I’m not your puppy. Hopefully, you have an opinion yourself. All good.”

Arsenal discover their ruthless side

Who would have predicted Arsenal would be just two points behind Liverpool after 11 games after losing their first three matches of the season? Admittedly, the fact Liverpool have a superior goal difference of 20 tells a rather different story in the relative quality of these two teams but it’s inarguable that Mikel Arteta’s side are in a very good place right now.

Not only are they picking up points on a weekly basis, they have transformed almost overnight into a team of ruthless b******s, on Sunday’s evidence at least.

Their solitary goal in the home match against Watford, scored by Emile Smith Rowe, came after Danny Rose had put the ball out due to having an injured team-mate. Rather than returning the ball via the throw-in as is custom, Arsenal simply decided to have a little go and went and scored. Much to the fury of Claudio Ranieri.

“There is only one thing I’d like to know,” he said. “When there is a man on the ground, everybody expected the ball goes back and it didn’t go. There is a respect in that situation. Then we get the ball with Sarr and go on the counter-attack and there is a big foul. It’s unbelievable. Danny Rose, Moussa Sissoko, everybody says, ‘Hey, give back the ball!’. When you put the ball out, you have to give the ball back.”

When an almost identical situation occurred in the 1998-99 FA Cup and Arsenal scored when Kanu latched onto an attempt from Ray Parlour to throw the ball back to Sheffield United, before squaring for Marc Overmars to slot home, Arsenal offered to replay the match. There has been no such offer as of this morning.

IN OTHER NEWS 1

‘You’re either stupid or pretending to be’ – Mourinho lashes out at journalist

Jose Mourinho’s infamous third seasons, when everything falls apart in a black hole of fear and loathing, are coming ever more early these days and it’s taken just six months in Rome for the wheels to fall off.

A 3-2 defeat to Venezia basically confirmed the Italian capital is already experiencing what Antonio Conte once witheringly described as “a Mourinho season”. And even before this latest reversal, we got a blast of full Jose as he picked a fight with a journalist in his pre-match press conference.

Marco Juric, a reporter for Sky Sports Italia, caused the eruption when enquiring: “It’s been six months since you signed for Roma, would you change anything that you’ve done in terms of choices, statements, requests or anything that you’ve done?”

To which Mourinho responded: “You are here in practically every press conference, but either you are very intelligent and you want people to think you are not or you are not intelligent at all. I want to think you’re intelligent but you like to do what you do.”

IN OTHER NEWS 2

Respect the club, respect the legend, but… this is a bad kit.

IN THE CHANNELS

An eventful Milan derby finished 1-1 last night and the highlight was potentially this quite incredible penalty save from Rossoneri keeper Cirian Tatarasanu. Wow.

COMING UP

There’s no noteworthy football on tonight but then we’ve got two evenings of Women’s Champions League action before the final swathe of World Cup qualifiers get underway…

Join Ben Snowball for his considered take on Salford v Dagenham in the FA Cup tomorrow



Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *