Premier League, termed as the most competitive and entertaining contest among top five leagues of Europe, has recently become a battleground for high-profile managers in World football.
Pep Guardiola switched to Premier League giants Manchester City after a title-winning campaign with Bundesliga outfit Bayern Munich. Antonio Conte, the former Juventus and Azzurri manager took over the hot seat at Chelsea who had a chaotic previous campaign. These two have enlarged the list of world-class managers which was previously had the names of Jürgen Klopp, who made a move to Liverpool last season and legendary Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger who is still going strong since his appointment back on 1st October 1996, 20 long years back.
Former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho, who came up with a fierce challenge against Arsene’s Arsenal in recent past, is back in dug-out once again in order to regain his lost pride with Manchester United after a dismal 2015-16 campaign with Chelsea that cost him his job. Let’s not forget young Mauricio Pochettino who has put a monumental effort with Tottenham Hotspur to make them qualify in this season’s UEFA Champions League competition. Last but not the least, Claudio Ranieri – formerly known as the ‘Tinkerman’ has earned his place among the elites for his fairy tale campaign with Leicester City by converting them into Premier League Champions from relegation battlers in one single season.
The reason is obvious: other leagues have certain pre-estimated champions and the contest is limited among top two to three sides – be it Bundesliga, Spanish La Liga, Ligue 1 or Serie A. Premier League is different from every aspect: the competition is much higher where the unexpected is now expected as it challenges the managers to test their philosophy, tactics and management skills week in week out amidst intense pressure of tricky fixtures and immense media insistence.
Managers who are going strong
Usually, managers find it difficult to implement their philosophy in a new atmosphere especially when they arrive from some other league. But the likes of Jürgen Klopp, Pep Guardiola and Antonio Conte have proved this wrong so far as they have successfully injected their vision and strategy in Premier League. Klopp’s ‘gegenpressing’, Conte’s 3-4-3 and Pep’s ‘tiki-taka’ have made Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City challenge for the silverware. Veteran Arsene Wenger also belongs to the list with evolving tactics that has helped him to endure in title-race for decades. Pochettino, despite feeling the additional pressure of European fixtures, has been the only unbeaten Premier League manager so far after the completion of game week 12 (6W 6D).
Managers who are yet to find their feet this season
Leicester City, the defending champions, are in trouble and currently 14th in the league table with 12 points – only two points above the drop zone. On contrary, their maiden Champions League experience has been sublime with 10 points from four games as they are still unbeaten and yet to concede. Realistically, they are not expected to have much extended spell in this greatest European competition once they encounter the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Atletico Madid and Juventus. The Foxes are in desperate need to ameliorate in Premier League and the ‘Tinkerman’ must tinker his squad once again before it becomes too late.
Similarly, Jose Mourinho is yet to shake off his Chelsea misfortune and find rhythm with Red Devils despite high-profile signings. Defeats against Manchester City and Chelsea have forced him to rethink on his approach in big games. It’d be premature to rule United out of title race as of now as they are only six points behind fourth placed Arsenal after an unfortunate 1-1 draw against the later on Saturday afternoon.
Managers like Walter Mazzarri and Claude Puel have joined the league of high-profile managers with Watford and Southampton after successful spells in Italy and France respectively. Ronald Koeman and Slaven Bilic are already there who have adjusted well in Premier League circumstances. Mazzarri is the pick of the above lot though as he has pretty much matched the expectations of the fans with some good tactical choices and results.
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