Guardiola v Mourinho v Conte – Battle of the bosses.
Posted by Featured Articles | Published on July 4, 2016
August the 13th, the start of possibly the most intriguing Barclays Premier League season to date: Will Zlatan come as a big ego and leave as a flop? Will Leicester’s party fizzle out? Can Klopp bring glory to the Kop? Yet above all else, the most tantalisingly poised mystery is centered around the new managers. Conte appears to fit Chelsea like a hand fits a glove, The Special One seems like the perfect conductor of the Theatre of Dreams and Pep’s genius mixed with Sheik Mansour’s bottomless wallet is a terrifying proposition. This should result in one of the most electrifying title challenges, and in the words of Martin Tyler, we will “Drink it in”… Here is my take on how events will unfold:
Mourinho’s Man United:
Predicted finish: 1st
Likely formation: 4-2-3-1
Big Signings: Ibrahimovic, Bailly and Mkhitaryan is expected to be announced shortly.
Jose holds a huge advantage over his rivals, he has Premier League experience which could prove vital in the long run and make the difference in terms of winning the title. In addition to this, I believe that if these deals get done, he will boast the strongest squad. With Mkhitaryan, Rooney and Martial providing service to Zlatan, goals should be the order of the day; last year Mkhitaryan achieved a stonking 15 assists in the Bundesliga alone and Zlatan scored 38 in Ligue 1. In addition, in terms of drilling defences, Mourinho is the best in the Business so United should concede relatively few. Jose is a very competitive man and will be desperate to prove a point and silence his critics; given the circumstances, I find the notion of another season of failure very unlikely. Therefore, I fully expect United to return to winning ways under The Special One, especially if they complete the capture of this man…
Predicted finish: 4th
Likely formation: 3-5-2
Big Signings: Batshuayi
Antonio Conte’s Chelsea are going to be hard to beat, Italy’s performances at Euro 2016 virtually guarantee this much, with Conte’s system providing large scale defensive stability. In big matches, this system is likely to be highly successful, as it proved to be for Italy against Belgium due to its counter attacking potential. With Batshuayi and Costa as a front two, it will also possess a large degree of firepower which should frighten any defence. However, I believe this system will not be very effective against weaker teams or even Leicester who will happily sit back and deny Chelsea the chance to soak up pressure and counter at pace. Therefore, I believe Chelsea and Conte will have far more success in cups, a format in which Conte has already proved his worth this summer and I’d expect them to end up with at least some silverware. Despite this, Conte could still successfully challenge for the title; in 2013-14, his Juventus side picked up 102 points and won 33 games – both all-time records in a Serie A campaign. In addition to this, he was at the helm when they achieved the second longest unbeaten streak in Serie A history ( 49 games). There is certainly plenty of reason for Chelsea fans to be optimistic, but I expect they will pick up a few too many draws to go all the way.
Predicted finish: 2nd
Likely formation: Very adaptable but Tiki-taka is a certainty
Big Signings: Gundogan and Nolito
The arrival of Pep Guardiola marks the start of a new era at the Etihad; they even have a new badge to confirm this transition. Pep brings arguably the most desirable football in Europe, with incredible possession/passing stats and an ever growing massive list of achievements, he is undoubtedly the best signing of the summer. He has 19 major titles to his name and a stunning 63 percent trophy win rate, two statistics which should have all Manchester City fans salivating like a starving dog at the thought of a packet of pedigree. Despite these statistics, Pep’s revolution is likely to take a while to materialise, the transition will be huge and I expect a record breaking climax to City’s season which wont quite earn them the title. Possession based football has been shown to be relatively unsuccessful in terms of results, with Arsenal stuck in 4th on a seemingly permanent basis, but Guardiola’s system is unparalleled in Europe. It may require some tinkering to make it fit the premier league, but in the long run it will transform Manchester City into the footballing superpower Sheik Mansour dreams of.