Arsenal late show
Manager accuses his sloppy Toffees of lacking passion and fight
Arsenal hit back from behind to beat Cologne in their delayed Europa League opener against a backdrop of crowd trouble at the Emirates Stadium last night.
Manager Arsene Wenger said he was planning a date for a rearranged Europa League fixture against Cologne as crowd trouble threatened last night’s game at the Emirates Stadium. The Gunners ran out 3-1 winners in the Group H opener, which kicked off an hour late after away supporters caused havoc outside the stadium.
As many as 20,000 Cologne supporters are believed to have made the journey from Germany despite only 3,000 tickets being made available.
That meant many attempted to enter without tickets or with tickets for the Arsenal sections, where it soon became clear ahead of kick-off that plenty had succeeded.
Arsenal fell behind early on to a long-range strike from Jhon Cordoba that punished a poor David Ospina clearance. But the hosts rallied after the interval as substitute Sead Kolasinac levelled with a volley before Alexis Sanchez and Hector Bellerin wrapped up the result.
Wenger said he was expecting the contest to be postponed but said he was unsure if the confusion was to blame for his side’s poor start.
“It’s difficult to say,” he said. “It was similar for Cologne but we had some problems to get off, to start, yes. I don’t know, was it mental? But our game was a bit too slow. We live in a society of 100% security and I thought they would never take a gamble to play this game when I saw the images around the stadium.”
Four arrests were madeby the Metropolitan Police.
Wenger said Cologne supporters had been “very clever” to enter the stadium undetected, with both sides now likely to face Uefa charges.
Everton manager Ronald Koeman apologised to the club’s supporters after the dismal 3-0 Europa League defeat by Atalanta and stressed he was responsible for what had happened.
Five days after the 3-0 home loss to Tottenham, the Toffees’ Group E opener in Reggio Emilia saw them produce a second successive dire display, with their sub-standard effort thoroughly punished by a dynamic Atalanta side which scored three times in the first half.
Koeman had emphasised in the build-up the need for Everton to “react” in Italy after lacking “the right aggression” against Spurs, as well as his confidence they would do so.
What they subsequently delivered prompted plenty of boos from Everton supporters, who had travelled to the Mapei Stadium, and when asked in his postmatch press conference if he shared the supporters’ anger, the Dutchman said: “Yes, of course. I’m really sorry for the supporters.”
Koeman also posted a message on Instagram, in which he said: “A really poor first half in all aspects, without the right attitude and I am responsible.”
Atalanta scored three times in the first half through Andrea Masiello,
“It’s now time that Everton showed this is really the wake-up call”
captain Alejandro Gomez and Bryan Cristante.
Koeman admitted in the press conference he had been left questioning his ability to prepare his players.
“It’s a big lesson today,” he said. “I thought it was happening after the third goal against Tottenham, but OK – I need to ask myself the question, what I did wrong.
“Because what I saw on the pitch was a big difference between Atalanta and Everton in belief and confidence, and also in aggression and passion.
“You can be poor on the ball, like we were in the first half, make many mistakes.
“They showed to us really the passion you need to have.
“So that’s a question to myself, what I did wrong.”
Everton made a series of signings over the summer and Koeman added: “I don’t see a team on the pitch. I see 11 individual players.”
When asked about the expectations there have been about Everton’s season, Koeman, whose side faces Manchester United away on Sunday, said: “Maybe my personal expectations are a little bit different than most of the people. I think most of the players are not at the level we expect.
“It’s now time that we showed this is really the wake-up call. If not, then the problem is even bigger.”
EURO WOE: Wayne Rooney on the ball for Everton last night