Following Bayern Munich’s historic 3-0 Champions League drubbing at the hands of PSG in September, Carlo Ancelotti was dismissed from his post as manager. Talk soon switched from whether Rumminegge might have pulled the trigger prematurely to the more apt question in football being applied: what is next for Mr. Ancelotti?
The likely destination for Ancelotti has surfaced as Arsenal who have endured their own managerial conflicts over recent years. Fans believe that Arsene Wenger has not only come as far as he can with the club, but has actually regressed over the last few years, undoing much of his 20+ year tenure’s achievements.
You need not look much further than the criticisms from Ancelotti’s previous spells to realise why this would be a disaster for both Arsenal and Ancelotti. Often branded a cup manager, the Italian has only managed four league titles during a 20-year managerial career – most of which has been conducted at top clubs including the likes of AC Milan, Chelsea, PSG, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.
Quite simply put, his return of league titles is not nearly as significant as it should be for a manager of his supposed calibre. It’s indisputable that he is a fine coach, but banding him in the same category as Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho is unmistakably false.
Guardiola, surprisingly, also has his fair share of critics. Frequently labelled ‘Fraudiola’ by naysayers, many believe the squads he has inherited have largely contributed to his success. And while this is somewhat accurate, his ability to progress individual players while upholding his philosophy and providing a significant return of trophies speaks volumes for the man’s talent. His Munich and Barcelona sides played fantastic football and deservedly earned their titles as two of the most feared sides at the time under his reign.
If Guardiola’s incompetence is to shine through, it will be during his most difficult test yet in Manchester City, so we have to wait on that front. But as for Ancelotti, his shortcomings have revealed themselves consistently throughout his career.
Funnily enough, he and Arsene Wenger share many of the same problems. Wenger has been heavily criticised for his stubbornness and his inability to develop his tactics over a number of years which are the same criticisms you could also accuse Ancelotti of being guilty of.
Both their modicums have involved signing average players who struggle to fully integrate themselves into the established system and also failing to significantly improve existing players. You could even argue that the two have unsuccessfully implemented youth into their sides – or completely ignored it in Ancelotti’s case.
There’s been much optimism towards this potential appointment, with some claiming it to be a perfect fit for all parties but this couldn’t be further from the truth. More of the same is what Arsenal desperately need to avoid if they are to lift themselves out of this current slump.
The worrying difference between the two is that Wenger is actually far more capable as a manager and for better or worse, knows Arsenal inside-out. Any new manager would struggle to garner a better understanding of the club’s situation and how to get themselves out of it than the man who’s filled the hot seat for over two decades. Couple this with the fact that Wenger is infinitely more tactically savvy than his Italian counterpart and you have a possible recipe for disaster should this speculation come true.
Ancelotti’s laid back approach to coaching has been well documented at Bayern. Players have explicitly made their disappointments known in this area, particularly highlighting the planning and execution of training sessions as a major factor. The shift from Guardiola’s stimulating, tactic-oriented sessions to Ancelotti’s much lighter, less gruelling sessions have left a lot to be desired for his squad. His hands-off approach has rubbed people the wrong way which comes after initial claims that his man management had finally restored enjoyment back at the Allianz Arena after the Pep-chains were unshackled.
But this is obviously going to be the effect, at least initially. Ancelotti’s style was always less focused on micro details and favoured managing his players intimately, giving them a liberating sense of freedom from Pep’s harsh system. But the results speak for themselves. While the latter approach requires more effort, concentration and commitment from players, they reap the eventual rewards.
Thomas Muller was quoted as saying that Guardiola trained his players at an intensity that not only rivalled matches, but surpassed them; meaning that when games rolled around, his sides were much more prepared for them than any other team could possibly account for. Details like this only serve as further evidence to pinpointing where it went wrong for the Germans following Pep’s exit and Ancelotti’s appointment.
What Arsenal fans should be asking themselves is: where is that drive and determination going to come from in an Ancelotti-Arsenal side?
If a manager cannot make the tough decisions and instill some much-needed vigour into a lifeless, uninspired team, then how is he supposed to deliver on the enormous expectations he himself, the board, and most notably, the fans, will hold?
His lack of domestic success is something Arsenal need to overcome as they search for a route back into the race for the Premier League title after years of absence. A super club mercenary would be the worst decision for them to deploy after Arsene Wenger’s departure. His managerial spells have often been synonymous with hopping from club-to-club with moderate success and eventually leaving without any foundations for the next man to step in and build up from.
And while the Italian might restore Arsenal to the Champions League competition, this would be at the expense of a complete overhaul and at rebuilding Arsenal Football Club for the foreseeable future – something they absolutely must not ignore if they are to return their status as one of English football’s dominant figures.
Do you agree with this Arsenal fans? Let us know who you would like your next manager to be in the comments below!