The 2016/17 Premier League will be the 25th anniversary of the league since it’s inception in 1992. In it’s 24 year old history never has the Premier League seen so many world class managers crammed together in a 20 team league. Pep Guardiola vs Jurgen Klopp, Antonio Conte vs Jose Mourinho, Arsene Wenger vs Claudio Raneri. The permutations and combination that can be made are endless. For now let us stay away from the rivalries and statistics and look at the managers who’ll be making their debuts in the Premier League this season.
Pep Guardiola – Manchester City 2016/17
A mainstay of the Barcelona team during his playing career Guardiola kicked off his coaching career with Barcelona B. In his first season itself Guardiola was able to get his side promoted to the Segunda B. Guardiola impressed the club hierarchy which led to his appointment as the Senior team manager for the 2008/09 season.
In his first season with the Catalan giants Guardiola guided them to a La Liga, Copa Del Rey and Champions League treble. Barcelona became the 1st Spanish club to achieve this treble and Guardiola became the youngest manager to ever win a Champions League.
The year 2009 will perhaps be the highlight of his coaching career recording 6 trophies which included the FIFA Club World Cup, UEFA Super Cup and the Spanish Super Cup in addition to the other 3 from the previous season. Guardiola parted ways with Barcelona at the end of the 2011-12 season but only after racking up a total of 14 trophies with them.
After taking a sabbatical from coaching during the 2012-13 season he returned to action with Bayern Munich for the 2013/14 season. It’s still up for debate whether his time with Bayern was a success as he failed to guide them to a Champions League trophy. He did however win a total of 7 trophies during his time with them which included 3 consecutive Bundesliga titles.
Manchester City offers a completely different challenge to the ones he faced at Bayern Munich and Barcelona. The Premier League is notorious for unpredictability but like his time with his former two clubs he has inherited a talented squad. The money will be their for him to spend but anything else than a League title or a Champions League title will be considered a failure.
Ethic: Possession Football
Cons: The weightage of expectation
Antonio Conte – Chelsea 2016/17
Similar to Pep Guardiola, Antonio Conte had an illustrious playing career with Juventus. His first attempt as manager was with the Italian side U.S.Arezzo in Serie B during the 2006/07 season. Conte was sacked midway through the season but came back in the same season. Despite improved results on his return the team suffered relegation on the final day of the season.
Conte left Arezzo after relegation and returned to management with Serie B side Bari in the 2007/08 season. He took over as manager after Christmas and led the side out of the relegation battle to a comfortable mid table finish. In his second season with Bari he won his first major title as a manager winning the Serie B title and thereby gaining promotion to Serie A.
Rumors emerged linking Conte with a return to Juventus as manager but he would have to wait three more seasons to reunite with his former club. Juventus at that time were struggling to relieve their former glory days failing to win the league title for the past 6 seasons.
Juventus & The Italian National Team
In Conte’s first season itself he led Juventus to the 2011/12 Serie A title finishing the season unbeaten. Conte would remain with them for two more seasons and led the Italian giants to back to back league titles. Conte however was never able to taste European success with them.
On leaving Juventus in the Summer of 2014 he was roped in to manage the Italian National side for the 2016 Euro’s. Despite coming under criticism for his tactics he guided the Italians to the main competition remaining unbeaten in their qualifying group.
The Italian squad heading into the tournament was considered as the worst to have ever appeared in a major tournament. Despite their weakness the tactical brilliance of Conte saw them beating the likes of Spain & Belgium to reach the quarters. In the quarters they were ousted by Germany but only through penalties.
Conte is the only one among the current lot of Premier League managers to have proven his worth in the international stage. His reign at Juventus was impressive but he takes over a Chelsea side that had massively under-performed in the last season. A top 4 finish would be satisfactory but if he can win a trophy the season will be deemed a success.
Ethic: Rock Solid Defense & Short Passing Possession Football
Cons: Roman Abramovich’s trigger fingers
Aitor Karanka – Middlesbrough 2016/17
Karanka was also an accomplished player having won the Champions League thrice and the La Liga title once during his time with Real Madrid. Upon his retirement as a player he spend three seasons under the wing of Jose Mourinho as the assistant manager of Real Madrid. After leaving Real in 2013 his first stint as manager was with Championship side Middlesbrough.
Karanka led the side to the Championship play-off final in the 2014/15 season but saw them losing the game 2-0 to Norwich. Despite the minor setback he was able to led them to the 2016/17 Premier League as the 2015/16 Championship runners-up.
Karanka has done well during his time with Boro. The Premier League though presents a completely different challenge to the ones he has faced in the Championship. He does have a good squad at his disposal and it remains to be seen whether he will sacrifice his slick playing style to a more defensive one. Surviving relegation should be good enough to be deemed a successful season but they might just be the surprise packages this season.
Ethic: Attractive Football
Cons: Untested in the highest level
Claude Puel – Southampton 2016/17
Puel’s only success’ as a player and a manager came with the French side AS Monaco. After recording a total of 601 appearances for Monaco in his 17 year long playing career, Puel kicked off his managerial career with Monaco itself. In his first full season as the French side’s head coach he would guide them to the 1999/00 Ligue 1 championship. Despite the success Puel would only spend another season with Monaco leaving the club in 2001.
His next stop was with Lille with whom he would spend a total of 6 seasons. Puel would convert the club into the Ligue 1 regular and European regular even winning the 2004 Intertoto Cup. After leaving Lille in 2008 Puel joined Olympique Lyonnais with whom he would spent another 3 seasons in the French Ligue. He did lead them to a Champions League semi-final appearance but a third place finish in the 2010/11 season after leading the table for most of season saw his exit from the club.
The last of his stops in the French division was with Nice. Once again Puel was able to turn a club struggling to find their place in the league and turn them to a European side. Southampton offers a whole new challenge for Puel and it will be interesting to see how the French man adapts to the English game.
Puel despite 17+ years of managerial experience Puel is untested outside the French league. He has managed clubs similar to Southampton in Ligue 1 and looks like the ideal candidate to continue the good works of Mauricio Pochettino and Ronald Koeman. It will be difficult to replicate or better their 6th place finish from last season. If Puel can lead them to a top 10 finish and register a good performance in Europe the 2016/17 season will be deemed a success.
Ethic: Focuses on bringing up young players and playing attractive football.
Cons: Has spent time as a player under Arsene Wenger. Yet to show he can led clubs to trophies.
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Walter Mazzarri – Watford 2016/17
While not a accomplished player during his days Mazzarri has been active in the managerial scene since 2001. His first managerial experience came as the assistant to Renzo Ulivieri at Napoli in 1998. The 2001/02 season saw him taking over the reigns at Serie C2 side Acireale. The next couple of seasons saw him moving up the Italian footballing ladder with a new team each season.
In the 2003/04 season he led Livorno from Serie B to Serie A and from 2004 to 2007 he helped Reggina stay in the Serie A. The last of those survival campaigns saw them achieving it despite a 11 point dedication at the start of the season.
After leaving Reggina in 2007 he was appointed the manager of Sampdoria whom he led to 6th place in Serie A in his first season itself. In his second season with the club he led them to the Coppa Italia final but ended up losing to Lazio on penalties.
On leaving Sampdoria in 2009 he took over as manager of Napoli who at the time were fading as a top class club. 2009/10 saw Napoli registering a 6th place after a shaky start to the season. The 2010/11 season was the highlight of Mazzarri’s reign with the Blues as they finishing 3rd in the league and won the Coppa Italia.
His final season with the Italian club saw them finishing the season as Serie A runners-up and Mazzarri would join Inter the following season. Mazzari failed to live up to his reputation at Inter as they struggled and he was sacked midway through the season.
The 8th manager to led Watford since 2012. He replaces Quique Sanchez Flores who had led the hornets to a 13th place finish last season. Watford despite the performances of Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo failed to inspire from the midfield. A Top half finish would be ideal but another season of survival should be good enough for the season to be deemed a success.
Ethic: Counter attack
Cons: 1st test outside the Italian league
So these are the five managers who’ll be making the debuts this season. Hull City are yet to name a replacement for Steve Bruce so we may have a 6th debutant. Apart from these 5 there are a few other managers who’ll be hoping to make fresh impressions in the new season.
Yes! Liverpool did play more than 50 games under Klopp last season but it has to be said it was never Klopp’s team. The German national had a good season with the English giants after replacing Brendan Rodgers in October. He led the club to the Capital One and Europa league finals but lost both of them. Klopp has been spend this summer molding Liverpool into his club. As the club doesn’t European obligations this season they should register a top 4 finish.
After a couple of strong seasons with Southampton and guiding them to Europe, Koeman has gone in search of new challenge and find himself with Everton. The toffees has had a couple of average seasons will be looking forward to Koeman’s reign. A place in Europe should be good enough for the season to be declared a success.
The Special One looks to be the Chosen one as he take over the reigns at Manchester United. The tactical genius endured a horrific 2015/16 season with Chelsea and was let go midway through the season. It’s ironic he takes over as United manager from his former mentor Louis Van Gaal. It will be interesting to see whether he can guide them back to glory. A top 4 finish and Europa League success should be good enough to declare the forthcoming season as a success.
From the chosen one at Manchester United to the sacked one at Real Sociedad, life hasn’t been easy for Moyes these last few years. He finds himself back in the Premier League and replaces Sam Allardyce at Sunderland, who has left for the England national team. The goal for Moyes will be to help Sunderland survive and slowly rebuild the side like he did during his time with Everton.
Not many of the casual fans would’ve heard of Guidolin when he took over at Swansea midway through last season. The Swans however are Guidolin’s 16th club as manager. His most notable stint as manager came with Udinese whom he took them to the Champions League and a 3rd place finish in the Serie A. The Swansea hierarchy is expecting something similar from Guidolin at Swansea to work with a shoe string budget.
Last season he helped Swansea who had been hovering dangerously over the relegation places for much of the season to a 12th place finish, picking up 24 points from 15 games under his watch. A higher mid table finish will be good enough but the performances will matter more than their final placing.