By Tim Stannard
Sports Burst can guarantee that Ronald Koeman will not be on the bench at the Camp Nou on Sunday in a LaLiga clash against Levante. It's a dead cert.
But that doesn't mean that the Dutch coach is going to be sacked. Yet.
Barcelona president, Joan Laporta, still needs to set up a GoFundMe account to do that. Instead, Koeman ended a pretty rotten week with a last-second red card for potty-mouthed behavior at officialdom as his team drew 0-0 at Cadiz. It's another sign of the pressure Koeman is feeling at the crisis club.
That will see Koeman away from the Barcelona technical area on Sunday in a home game against Levante as his team looks to avoid ending the week with three draws in a row in LaLiga. It's a record that has left Barcelona in seventh place with just two wins from five. The only bright light there is that the team is bang on course for a Europa Conference League spot next season.
Gerard Pique is on board with the positivity as well - "I'm absolutely convinced, despite the start we've made, we'll compete. We need the fans to stay with us."
None of this is a problem for one Barcelona player who has gotten out of Dodge. Miralem Pjanic is having a high-time of it at Super Lig-leading Besiktas where he is on loan this season and has racked up two assists already.
👉Catch Altay vs. Besiktas live today for free on beIN XTRA at 12:50PM ET / 9:50AM PT. ⚽️🇹🇷🔥
The light and the dark in Ligue 1
It is the best of times, it is the worst of times going into a new round in Ligue 1.
On the pitch, the soccer has never been better, with just three goalless draws in seven rounds of action and an average of nearly three goals a game.
Saturday's clash between PSG and Montpellier pairs two teams that have scored 35 goals already this season - a guaranteed action-fest whether Lionel Messi has recovered from his knee injury or not. - live on beIN SPORTS at 3PM ET / 12PM PT.
Unfortunately, fan violence is literally making the headlines in France. Nice and Lens are now playing behind closed door due to incidents in their grounds. Marseille supporters are temporarily banned from traveling to away games due to bad behaviour. Lyon fans will not be allowed to attend a local derby at Saint Etienne next week to preempt any trouble.
It's a situation that is worsening as French soccer authorities try to work out the causes and the solutions. Brilliance on the pitch is being matched by unacceptable behavior off it.
Can Europe party their way to Ryder Cup victory?
Normally in sport, the more an event is taken seriously by a competitor, the more successful they are. Except in the Ryder Cup. Team Europe is a gaggle of players with a gaggle of languages who seem to treat the transatlantic bi-annual golf competition as boozy get-together to see out the season.
For Team USA, it's a hand-on-hards, flag-hugging, 'Merica-loving, shade-wearing, serious business against the uppity Europeans and their communist health systems. Yet, it's the chilled out Europeans that have won the Ryder Cup on nine of the past 12 occasions, despite the Americans usually having the far superior golfers on paper. "It feels like a party atmosphere," said Welsh player, Jamie Donaldson.
Whistling Straits is ready, are you? 🚁 pic.twitter.com/SJsUINvA2K— Ryder Cup (@rydercup) September 24, 2021
On Friday, both teams are gathering in Wisconsin for the first Ryder Cup since 2018. Europe will be leading with the Spanish pairing of Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia against Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas. Unfortunately, the feuding pair of Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka will not be hooking up together.
DeChambeau would like a different treatment from the home crowd which tends to heckle the prickly player these days and has asked for support instead - "It's about riling us all up and getting that Ryder Cup back here on US home soil."