As a football fanatic, I have spent most my life watching football. There are managers who are perceived to be good but really arent. Most importantly they earn the trust of their players, especially the key players, they protect their teams and willing to take the blame when things go wrong. They appeal to the media, they encourage their respective team to play entertaining football, are very good to journalists and never shy away from questions, almost to the extent when they fall short their persona gives them more time.
There are a list of Managers who fall in this category, but today I would focus on Roberto Martinez
Roberto Martinez – Martinez is vibrant, Elegant and confident. When he speaks he captivates the listener, never shys away from the media, has a strong belief in free flowing football, likes his team to entertain and score a lot of goals, he ticks all the right boxes. Highlight of his career is winning the Fa Cup.
While others may adore the man, I dont think his neccesarily a good coach overall, although he miraculously he won the fa Cup in 2013 havent been relegated in the same year. Martinez in my opinion only knows one way and thats attack, if he was to play against a legaue 2 side he would play them the same way he would play against Barcelona. My point being tactically he isn’t sound, his team conceeds quite a lot of goals, reason Wigan got relegated was because he set out his team to attack, even when ahead he wouldnt change the mindset of the team, Managers should set thier team based on the opposition the face, when ahead and also when chasing the game.
Here are Stats to back me up from this season alone
Everton have dropped eleven points from winning positions this season
Roberto Martinez’s side have conceded two equalisers in the 98th minute
Since Roberto took charge Everton have lost 45 points from winning positons
Martinez as lovely as he appears is somewhat naive, in January he also said this;
“Would I base the performance on wanting to keep a clean sheet? No… My philosophy is winning games, not keeping clean sheets.”
Martinez needs to learn that there should be a balance between attacking and defending, Everton this season are 12th in the league but easily could be in the top 6.
last game for example they were two goals up agaisnt West Ham, and a man down rather than try defend the lead he brings on a striker for a winger and they lost 3-2, conceeding 3 goals in less than 15 minutes.
I like Martinez as a person, he gets the best out of his forward thinking players, he has the attributes of a good coach, but to be a successful or great manager you need to have a balance and control over your team. His abit like Keegan, he’ll rather win 4-3 than 1-0. He needs to implement his team to defend better.
Till then, Martinez to me would be one of those who flatter to deceive.
Everton have an exciting team, they have a good balance and well equiped to challenge the top 4. In Lukaku they have a young hungry striker who would guarantee you 15 or more goals a season, in Barkley they posses an exciting player who can make things happen, has an eye for a pass, energetic and is now adding assists and goals to his game, In Stones they have a ball playing defender who has a lot of talent but needs to be nurtured properly and could go on to captain the team and National team as his composed and fearless, althought he makes mistakes his not afraid to express himself.
This year’s title run in is potentially the best title run in a long time. it’s certainly intriguing in many ways, defending champions Chelsea closer to the bottom of the league than they are to the top, Arsenal being Arsenal showing glimpses of brilliance every so often, while people wait for them to crumble, Man city who by right should be far ahead at this stage but have been inconsistent, then you have the so called “underdogs” Leicester who seem to be proving every doubter wrong as the season’s end draws closer.
This leads many to say that the the Premier league is the best league in the world.
The Title Candidates
This Leicester team is as solid as they come. This team is balanced, although Vardy and Mahrez get most of the plaudits, the likes of Kante, Simpson, Drinkwater, Okazakhi and Schmeichel, have all played an integral part to the success of the team. when you consider the lack of so called star name players, its a bit surprising how they have managed to score and create so many goals.
Leicester were tipped to get relegated last season, but put in a marvellous effort in the last quarter of the premier league to beat the drop, the players are almost the same, the formation is the same. The passion and the momentum that got them through last season has certainly carried on into the season.
Vardy who barely scored last season has matched Ruud Van Nistelrooy’s record of scoring in 10 consecutive games.
Ranieri formally known as the ” the Tinkerman ” during his stint at Chelsea, was known for his rotation of players, especially after the money influx from Abramovich. The 2002-2003 season to be exact he rotated the team quite a lot.
Ranieiri’s appointment at Leicester was a bit of a surprise, his previous managerial posts were unsuccessful, nobody expected him to have the type of start he’s made till now, the so called ” the Tinkerman ” is no more, his more or less used nine out of eleven players consistently.
He comes across as a coach who installs belief in his players, his not one to criticise them openly, his interviews would show how he emphasizes on how its all about the team and not about Vardy and Mahrez.
At Chelsea he wasn’t given a proper chance to finish the project he started, a lot of players were brought in and probably needed two seasons to maximise the true potential of the squad he hoped to assemble.
At Leicester, he’s given the players the will to express themselves, his identified key positions, given the team a strong foundation to build on. He has the full backing of the owners and fully trust the players , His managerial experience is impressive he’s managed Valencia, Athletico Madrid, Roma, Juventus, and Inter Milan and has international experience with Greece.
Ranieri is the chief Architect of this team, he’s intelligent, vibrant and has the full support of the owners and the players. Even with all his credentials nobody expected Leicester City to be the league leaders after 23 games.
The strength of this team is their work ethic, when you see Leicester play they run tirelessly and cover quite a lot of ground. They also press from the front, Vardy and Okazaki without the ball are almost like defenders continuously chasing down all loose balls, which leads to opposition trying to get rid of the ball almost immediately.
First half of the season Leicester played a game of if you score two we’ll score three, even when they conceded first, they still managed to come back to either win or draw. Credit to Ranieri as he has tweaked it a bit, although they still play expansively, they aren’t conceding as much which leads me to believe they should be considered serious title contenders. Goals for Mahrez and Vardy isn’t as frequent as it was earlier in the season, but it was foreseen this would happen, but others have chipped in and the team has learnt to win as well as keeping a clean sheet.
Funnily enough the strength of this team is a potential weakness, the constant running and use of the same players could lead to team fatigue. For instance vardy scored in 10 consecutive games, its said he played through injury, during that time and went on a goal drought which coincided with the teams dip in form.
It’s interesting Ranieri didn’t sign any players, my take on it is his trying to avoid ruining the teams momentum. if he adds a known player who will command a hefty fee and wage, others would feel they deserve the same if not more.
Another issue is the number of players used, due to the start made, Ranieri has been forced to use the same starting 11 a couple of times in other to carry on with the winning formulae. Player’s such as Inler who was tipped to fill the void left by Cambiasso can’t break in to the starting 11.
Where will they finish?
Before the Man city game I had Leicester to finish 3rd, but havent watched them again i believe they could push city all the way and could either win it or come second. The notion that this team lacks experience and quality in depth deminishes by the day, I see this Leicester team finishing second. reason behind this is , they’ve been on the front foot from the start, they haven’t got the experience, fatigue could come into the equation and could suffer the same faith Liverpool did and crumble in the end.
I would love for them to win it, as they are a joy to watch, there isn’t many teams you could watch today that give 100 percent from beginning to end. They play for each other, they keep a solid shape, the players belief in themselves but also not getting carried away, they have neutrals as well as their own fans on their side, you just cant help but love this Leicester Team. it would give hope to other teams and it adds to the excitement of the league and shows how you don’t have to play like Barcelona to win games and proving that having the best players doesn’t guarantee success.
Only 5 teams have won the premier League since its existence. (Man united, Man City, Chelsea, Blackburn and Arsenal)
Could Leicester join them ?
(2) Man City:
By Right this team ought to be miles clear at the top, especially with the new signings made. At the moment there are only three points behind Leicester and there’s quite a lot of football matches to be played. City arguably have the best squad, they have at least two players in each position. They have the best centre back in Kompany when he’s fully fit, the best striker in Aguero, also Lets not forget Silva and Toure who are capable match winners as well as Kevin de Bryne, Sterling and Navas, who combine trickery and pace.
Unfortunately Kevin de Bryne is out for 10 weeks and even when he returns, would take him a game or two to reach full match fitness.
Guardiola is confirmed to take over next season, Its assumed with his presence alone City will be Champions on many fronts next season. At the moment City is seen as the best team in England, but ideally they want to be seen as the best team in the world. Guardiola almost guarantee’s success, but the premier league is different to La Liga and Bundesliga.
Guess time will tell what happens, if we think this season was mind blowing, imagine a season were you have Guardiola, Klopp, Wenger and potentially Mourinho Fighting for the title, dunno about you but it has me intruiged.
This is a little more difficult to analyse as the team itself contradicts a lot. City have a number of game changers that work well as a unit but when one is missimg the team crumbles.
For instance, Toure could be abysmal for 85 mins but in the last 5 mins, could win you a game with his burst of speed, Aguero is the complete striker, he has pace, has a good shot on him , excellent header of the ball, good work ethic, runs all channels on the pitch and needs only one chance to score, Silva although doesn’t score or create a lot but he’s the linchpin of the team, he keeps the team moving, he has an eye for a pass, and has complete control of the ball at all times, his presence alone takes two or three players out of the opposition team as his being man marked or pressured, but with his Messi like frame sill wanders about and makes something happen.
Looking at the announcement of Pep Guardiola in a positive manner. Pellegrini is perceived to be a well respected manager, and players might want to give their all for him, which could lead to multiple titles and would be the best way to leave the club.
This is my take on the team;
Man city have a collective group of players who are natural winners, but lack the drive and will to strive for more. There’s an unusual pattern with his team, since the new team was assembled , they have won the title twice, but never twice in a row. the season they won it, it was well deserved, then the next season they slacked and played effortlessly, then the following season they buckle up and show glimpse of their abilities and regain the title.
When city play to their best, they are lethal, the problem is having Silva and Toure, silva is a magician, almost the heart beat of the team, he creates and makes things happen, but lacks any defensive responsibility. Toure on the other hand has several attributes as well as Silva’s but chooses to turn it on when he pleases. Toure can score goals, create goals, defend and be the driving force needed in the team. The manager for me has to pick one, problem is who, you have two potential match winners, with contrasting attributes that help the team offensively, but defensively they don’t offer much. so when you try to accommodate the two together, the balance of the team isn’t quite right, this is evident when City play against other European elites.
Secondly looking at the announcement of Pep Guardiola in a negative manner. How does a team that lacks focus, react to a manger who they know wont be there next season regardless of how the season ends. Would pellegrini still retain respect of the team ? Would he still be fully committed ? these are some questions only the man himself can answer, guess as the season unfolds will find out a little more, with how he reacts to his team performance with regards to substitutions, and loss of form.
Where will they finish?
Despite the future departure of Pellegrinni I see them as champions. they have all round characters and proven winners who would like to prove a point. They might just edge it just to give the manager a befitting end. They have the squad, individual strengths as well and have the mental edge against the rest.