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On December 20, 2019, Mikel Arteta was appointed Arsenal’s new manager. On December 21, 2019, Carlo Ancelotti was appointed as Everton’s new manager. The duo watched their first match at their clubs. against each other on December 21.
Almost exactly a year later, the two coaches clashed once more.
However, many things have changed in that year. The trajectory of the two clubs could not be more contrasting, as Saturday’s result propelled one team to second place in the Premier League table, while the other stared nervously over their shoulders towards the relegation zone. .
Hands up, honestly, who would have predicted it would be Everton crawling into the top four and Arsenal shamefully floating over the hatch?
But that’s where we are, 14 games in the 2020/21 campaign. The gunners slipped to their eighth loss of the season, losing 2-1 to the Toffees at Goodison Park, increasing the pressure on their rookie coach to almost unbearable levels.
Once again it was an abject and terrible sight for all the gooners as their team fell behind with an own goal, found a way back to the match, and then handed the hosts all three points with a poor mark from a corner. Schoolboy things.
As the seconds ticked by, Arsenal pushed for the tie. But frankly, does anyone Really do you think they were going to tie? Those who live on planet Earth did not, anyway. Arteta and Ancelotti hugged at the final whistle, one understandably happier than the other.
This meeting of the two coaches celebrating the anniversary only put in stark context what Arsenal is an absolute disaster as a club, top to bottom. Both the Gunners and the Toffees appointed their new men with one ambition in mind: to book the Champions League as soon as possible.
For a club like Arsenal, this was perceived as much more realistic than for Everton, who have only achieved this feat once in Premier League history. And when the curtain fell on the 2019/20 campaign, those hopes turned to expectations for the Gooners.
Arteta turned his new side into a well-honed and well-trained beast, capable of fending off threats of all levels while instilling a counterattack and surgical style of play. The season ended with the Spaniard lifting his first trophy as a coach, after the Gunners clinched the FA Cup in impressive fashion.
Something to build on, then.
In Merseyside, Ancelotti’s men finished the season poorly, losing the final game of the season to relegated Bournemouth, and residing 12th in the table. They also suffered the humiliation of being left out of the FA Cup against rivals Liverpool, who lined up an incredibly youthful team. The Italian seemed unable to convey his ideas to his players, and they were not responding to his ego whispering.
A step too far for the great coach, perhaps.
And yet, four months later, these two worlds have turned upside down. Everton endorsed their coach in the summer, who had a list of specific players they had worked with in the past to build their new look.
Allan, James Rodríguez and Abdoulaye Doucoure arrived, while the coach backed Dominic Calvert-Lewin to become one of the best poachers in the Premier League. What a masterstroke that was.
It’s time for us to acknowledge the clever quote the Everton board made. Ancelotti took those last months of the season to analyze his squad, understand where he needed to reinforce, who he could mold and who he could not trust. Those he couldn’t trust wouldn’t make the cut. Simple.
The Italian has transformed Calvert-Lewin into a lean and mean goal machine, while James is playing soccer with that beautiful smile on his face once again. Richarlison smiles less, but is also thriving with the new system in place. All the team jobs.
Ancelotti has exceeded expectations, using his contact book, his transfer knowledge and his unmatched man-management skills to put this team in shape and make them a competitive team. Although the team lacks depth, there is something special bubbling under the blue half of Merseyside.
Now, sadly for the Gunners, we are back in the mess at the Emirates. The wellness factor was removed from the club by the behavior of the hierarchy during the summer months, forcing players to accept pay cuts to save jobs, then slapping widespread layoffs across the board, as well as the hero of Gunnersaurus cult.
This public relations catastrophe was compounded by the decision to sign WIllian to a three-year contract, generating a weekly salary in excess of £ 200,000. Talk about misinterpreting a room.
This killed the atmosphere at the club, and the poor transfer business would have done little to cheer up the fans. That malaise has seeped onto the field this year, as players seem unable to raise their game to the required level, or simply don’t want to.
The Chaos Club Series. Internal discussions between players (both on and off the pitch), the inability to perform the most basic tasks, complaints from fans about the operation of the club at the board level and a manager who looks like a rabbit caught in the headlights .
Arsenal’s bloated squad is filled with underperforming, underperforming and overrated footballers. How many of the top six teams would players like Rob Holding, David Luiz, Mohamed Elneny, Ainsley Maitland-Niles or Willian enter? None. Absolutely none of them. So how can we expect Arteta to transform these ugly ducklings into swans week after week?
The success of the FA Cup in August feels like a distant, distant memory, compared to the dire situation now unfolding at Arsenal. 14 points from 14 games, ranking 15th in the Premier League table.
Arsenal: 15th in the Premier League. In December. It is simply unheard of. Fans are quickly getting tired of this new low, and we’re all fed up with seeing “funny” and overreactions online from fans, adding to the embarrassment of his own club.
Questions are now being asked about Arteta’s credentials, and with good reason. But the house that burns around the Spaniard is far from his doing. The old, soggy carpet in the living room has been leaking fuel for years, and many have come close to setting it on fire with a cigarette butt or two.
But now we are approaching full implosion, make no mistake. Some fans are pressing the panic button, ready to bid farewell to this brave new era under Pep Guardiola’s protégé. They must be wondering if this risk was really worth it.
After all, there was a tried and tested winner available around the same time that they decided to bet on Mikel Arteta’s expertise. A highly respected league champion as a player and boss. An Italian coach, Carlo something …?
I wonder what he’s doing now.