It’s holiday time. And manager sacking time. The period right before the January transfer window is when clubs in the bottom-half sack their managers. Although not too many clubs have fired their managers this season yet, Alan Pardew was given the pink slip on the 22nd of December by Crystal Palace.
Carlo Ancelotti – The Wise Italian
AC Milan under Carlo Ancelotti were a side to be marvelled at. The team went through a lot of tactical deviations due to Ancelotti’s eagerness to follow the upcoming trends of football. However, his unique approach payed off. During his tenure, he managed to win:
- Two Champions League trophies – 2002-03, 2006-07
- Two UEFA Super Cup trophies– 2003, 2007
- One FIFA Club World Cup – 2007
- One Serie A title– 2003-04
- One Coppa Italia – 2002-03
- One Supercoppa Italiana – 2004
Both Manchester City and Arsenal were under scrutiny in the build up to the fixture, in which both teams were planning to make a statement of intent to the rest of the league. Arsenal had suffered just their second defeat of the season midweek to Everton. Manchester City, and more specifically Pep Guardiola, were under the microscope as fans, journalists and pundits alike were beginning to question Guardiola’s ability to adapt his tactics to the English Premier League.
Currently, AC Milan are the second most decorated club in Europe, boasting a massive trophy cabinet stockpiled with European and domestic titles. However, Milan, and Italy in general, didn’t have much to offer before the entrance of Arrigo Sacchi, the man who reinvented Calcio. He singlehandedly took an Italian side which was plagued with lacklustre, dreary, dull, and dangerously cautious, defensive football, and, over the course of a few years, made Milan one of the best teams in the continent.
This year, Leicester City decided to soldier on with the strategy they used last year that won them the title. They bought players from peripheral or lower leagues, which means I can’t say whether Islam Slimani, their most expensive signing this year, was any good. Incredibly annoying. Anyway, for the players I can evaluate, here are their stats.
At the beginning of the season, when Claude Puel took over from Ronald Koeman as Southampton manager, a new era started for the Saints. The two years’ tenure of Ronald Koeman brought to Southampton the highest ever Premier League finish, with a 7th and 6th final places. So, the expectations for Puel are demanding, but the performance in these first 13 games look really promising.
After 12 games newly promoted Middlesbrough sit in 15th place with 11 points. They are one point from the relegation zone and have scored just 10 goals while conceding 13. While not supporting a single Premier League team I do have a soft spot for Middlesbrough, and this made me want to have a look at how they are performing.