Tag Archives: carlo ancelotti

Arteta v Ancelotti – Arsenal pick the right man

Over the last 24 hours a lot has happened.

Firstly we had Arsenal’s senior negotiating team getting “caught” leaving Mikel Arteta’s house in the early hours, then we had the news that Carlo Ancelotti was Everton’s first choice to be new manager.

Arsenal have come in for a bit of criticism and mocking for being “caught” leaving Mikel Arteta’s house, but the situation is odd, almost stalkers.

It was 1am in the morning when the pictures were taking. Was a member of the paparazzi hiding in the bushes outside of Arteta’s house just in case someone showed up? And if so how long has he been hiding there? Or did he tail Huss Fahmy and Vinai Venkatesham from London? It all comes across as a little intrusive, a little desperate from the British media.

I guess ultimately the photographer got his picture, got his money, and will now have a good Christmas from the profits. Still, it’s odd that the British media criticise Arsenal when they promote stalker behaviour to get a story.

So Arsenal, and Everton, both had a choice.

In one corner you have Mikel Arteta. A man who has captained both clubs. Who has been involved in British football over 17 years.

Arteta became one of Pep Guardiola’s first back room staff when was appointed an assistant coach at Manchester City back in 2016.

At 37-years-old, he will be the youngest manager in the Premier League by over 4 years if appointed (Frank Lampard currently being the youngest). He will be the 5th youngest Premier League or English Football League manager.

Arteta has no managerial experience at any level, but is a trusted lieutenant for Guardiola.

Reports coming out of Manchester City are that Guardiola takes a step back on the training ground. More overseeing the session rather than running drills. Arteta has grown into the man in charge.

The importance of Arteta is detailed in Pep’s City: The Making of a Superteam. What comes through is that Arteta, is integral to the work undertaken on the training ground – and particularly with the likes of Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane – and that he has the complete trust of Guardiola.

Having grown up through the Barcelona youth system, Arteta shares the same basic philosophy as his fellow La Masia alumni.

In an interview with the Arsenal website back in 2015, Arteta outlined what type of manager he wanted to be:

‘My philosophy will be clear. I will have everyone 120 per cent committed, that’s the first thing. If not, you don’t play for me. When it’s time to work it’s time to work, and when it’s time to have fun then I’m the first one to do it, but that commitment is vital.

Then I want the football to be expressive, entertaining. I cannot have a concept of football where everything is based on the opposition.

We have to dictate the game, we have to be the ones taking the initiative, and we have to entertain the people coming to watch us. I’m 100 per cent convinced of those things, and I think I could do it.’

Commitment. Expressive, entertaining football. Taking the initiative in games. It is everything Arsenal fans demand. It would be what some claim was The Arsenal Way.

Arteta might be young, he might be inexperienced, but he clearly has the intelligence and confidence to get to the very top.

If Arteta is virgin manager, Carlo Ancelotti is anything but. He is a man who has been around a bit, done everything there is to do.

At 60-years-old, he has won almost everything there is to win in European football, including the Intertoto Cup.

He has led his teams to 19 trophies during his 24 years of management, including 4 league titles and 3 Champions Leagues.

He has managed Juventus, AC Milan, Chelsea, PSG, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Napoli.

Winning the league title in 3 different countries, he has shown tactical flexibility throughout his career – from the defensive style in Italy through to playing expansive football with Real Madrid. He has the experience, success and knowhow to make a difference wherever he goes.

But is he past it?

He was sacked by Napoli with them sitting 8th in the league table.

Ancelotti’s downfall began when he dropped Lorenzo Insigne for his team’s first game against Genk. Insigne to Napoli is what Francesco Totti was to Roma or Alesandro Del Perio was to Juventus. Their talisman. One of their own. Ancelotti was sending a message to his players.

There was mutiny within the ranks. He was unable to keep players in check and had clearly lost the dressing room.

Tactical mistakes were made. 21 goals conceded despite having a defence of Kalidou Koulibaly and Kostas Manolas. Critisicims that have followed Ancelotti throughout his career– that he does not push players hard enough in training – resurfaced. And he left.

It was a similar story at Bayern Munich.

Towards the end of Ancelotti’s reign at the German giant, there were reports that senior players organised secret training sessions.

Kicker ran a story claiming that Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery, Mats Hummels, Jérôme Boateng and Thomas Müller were particularly unhappy with Ancelotti’s relaxed training sessions and had so organised ‘secret’ high-intensity sessions behind his back.

Robben reportedly complained that Ancelotti’s training methods were less strenuous than the ones his son had to do with his school team.

Whilst he may well have a trophy haul that puts him amongst the most successful in Europe, should it be more impressive?

17 years in charge of Juventus, AC Milan, Chelsea, PSG, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich saw him win just 4 league titles. Is this not a failure rather than a success?

He has managed the best teams in their league, with the biggest budgets. Coached some of the best players in the world. But has he ever achieved at any of his clubs? Has he ever improved players? Has he ever taken a club forward from where they were previously?

In 2014 Manchester United appointed Louis van Gaal as manager. A man who came with a similar reputation for success as Ancelotti.

Like Ancelotti, he was coming to the end of his career. His faults were well known. He did not revolutionise United and the nagging doubts over style of play became a bigger talking point than results.

Ancelotti’s faults are well known. How long until noises are being made at his next club that training sessions are not intense enough? How long until he loses the dressing room for the umpteenth time?

So Arsenal (and Everton) have a choice.

The experienced winner, who has not won as much as he perhaps should have, who has been sacked from his last 2 jobs in similar circumstances. Or the virgin former captain who is rated highly as a coach but comes with zero track record.

I think what swings it for me is the view of those who know a thing or two about management.

Arsene Wenger

‘He has all the qualities to do the job, yes and I think as well he is one of the favourites

‘He was a leader, and he has a good passion for the game and he knows the club well, he knows what is important at the club and he was captain of the club.’

Mauricio Pochettino

‘For me, he’s going to be one of the best coaches when he decides to be a coach. ‘He has the capacity to be one of the greatest coaches in football, for sure.

‘Yes of course, he’s going to be. ‘He’s top, a top personality, character. ‘I think he has the qualities to be one of the best.’

Pep Guardiola

‘He is an incredible human being and works a lot. I said after a few months together he would be a manager. He is already a manager – he behaves like a manager.’

The opinion of Wenger, Pochettino and Guardiola is more valuable than someone on Twitter.


Who is in line to replace Arsene Wenger at Arsenal?

Yesterday we discussed who would replace Arsene Wenger in the short term, were he to leave his role before the end of the season.

The reason this was discussed was mainly down to top targets not being available in the summer. Someone like Joachim Low is busy with preparing to led Germany to the defence of the World Cup they won 4 years ago. He will not chuck that in to become Arsenal manager 4 months early.

The likes of Andres Jonkier, Marco Silva and Carlo Ancelotti were mentioned as possible short term replacements, if Wenger were to leave this week. So who are the long term replacements?

Carlo Ancelotti – The experienced Italian is immediately available and could come in as a short term option who could be kept on for the long term if the club performs.

He is a Premier League winner with Chelsea and is one of the most highly rated managers in the game.

However, he has only won 4 league titles since 2000, despite having managed AC Milan, Chelsea, PSG, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich. Critics will say he is too similar to Arsene Wenger. That he does not concentrate on tactics to stop the opposition and leaves a lot to the players to make decisions on the field.

He left Real Madrid and Bayern Munich in similar circumstance, and there is talk that his methods are now outdated. Would he just be Wenger Mark II?

Leonardo Jardim – when you have unlimited funds, and manage the likes of Manchester City, PSG or Manchester United, you do not need to be a coach. You do not need to improve players. If someone is not good enough, you merely sign a replacement.

In 2017, Leonardo Jardim led Monaco to the French league title, as well as a Champions League semi-final, with a vibrant young team. Up against PSG in France, he had to bring through and develop talents like Kylian Mbappe, Thomas Lemar and Fabinho.

His team knocked Arsenal out of the Champions League three years ago and he has a contract until 2020. At just 43, he is young and fresh, whilst also have 10 years experience as a manager.

Joachim Low – With a set up that is set to include Germans Sven Mislintat & Per Mertesacker, German national team manager Joachim Low looks a fairly natural fit. Add in Shad Forsyth, who spent 10 years working with the Germany national team, and Low could fit right in.

With Mesut Ozil,  Shkdoran Mustafi, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Granit Xhaka and Sead Kolašinac all having come from the Bundesliga, German could be the new French at Arsenal.

The only question mark over Low is his club management credentials. He has not managed at club level for 14 years and he had 7 jobs in 5 years.

Brendan Rodgers – A lot of fans will mock any opinion that Brendan Rodger should be anywhere near the list of potential Arsene Wenger replacements. But it has to be remember he was one Steven Gerrard slip away from winning the title with Liverpool.

He has since gone to Celtic to rebuild his career.

Whilst any success in Scotland with Celtic is nothing to shout abut, his methods and experience would be suited to Arsenal. The biggest problem is the supporters. His appointment would fail to unify the fan-base following the intense and often angry debate that has surrounded Wenger.

Mikel Arteta – Currently working as an assistant to Pep Guardiola at Manchester City and, while he has no managerial experience and would represent a gamble, he is well regarded at Arsenal following five years there as a player, including two as club captain, between 2011 and 2016. He is well known to Raul Sanllehi, Arsenal’s new head of football relations, as well as to Gazidis.

Roberto Martinez – I thought Martinez’s name would no longer appear on lists involving “next Arsenal manager” after he was sacked by Everton, but he needs to be added back on. Not because of himself, but because of who he might bring in as an assistant.

Currently managing the Belgium national team, Martinez was joined in the set up by Arsenal Club record-scorer Thierry Henry, who saw working with Martinez as an opportunity to gain experience.

Henry returning would unite the fans. The only issue is having said that being managing Arsenal  would be a potential “dream” job , would he really give up that comfortable, warm, 2 days a week job with SkySports, for a similar paid job as Martinez’s assistant at Arsenal?

No Henry, no Martinez.