No league in soccer history has ever been blessed with this many world-class managers all at the same time.
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Ahead of the 2016-17 Premier League season kicking off, much of the talk has been about how the men in the dugouts will succeed rather than the focus being on the players they pick to go out on the pitch.
When you sift through the 20 managers in the PL this season, it’s easy to understand why.
In no particular order Jurgen Klopp, Jose Mourinho, Mauricio Pochettino, Antonio Conte, Arsene Wenger and Pep Guardiola will all be managing in the Premier League.
Oh yeah, did we mention Slaven Bilic, Ronald Koeman, Claudio Ranieri and Eddie Howe will also be around after overseeing stunning campaigns in 2015-16?
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And, just to cap it off, there’s plenty of intrigue around new boys Claude Puel and Walter Mazzarri who’ve had plenty of success in Europe, plus David Moyes is back and Aitor Karanka and Sean Dyche will fancy their chances of solidifying their newly-promoted teams in the PL. Then there’s Hull City, who have yet to appoint a manager but Sir Alex Ferguson‘s former assistant manager Mike Phelan will take charge for their PL opener and then go from there.
Who have I left out? Some of the more unfashionable names but they are shrewd tacticians who have got the best from their resources: Tony Pulis, Alan Pardew, Francesco Guidolin and Mark Hughes.
This is insane. No wonder Wenger called this season’s lineup a “world championship of managers” as all-conquering Guardiola arrives as the messiah following domination with Barcelona and Bayern Munich and Conte also lands on English soil for the first time after excelling with Italy and Juventus.
The charisma levels are on overload. The twisting subplots are plentiful. The tactical ingenuity is at an all-time high.
Quite simply we are about to witness a managerial battle unlike anything we’ve ever seen before.
Of course, whether or not a team wins has to do with performances out on the pitch from the players themselves but all of the prep work, the tactics and the decisions on how each team will play comes from the main men.
Styles will clash. Emotions will run high. Technical areas will become war zones.
Pep Guardiola vs. Jose Mourinho in Manchester derbies following their heated battles in Spain with Barcelona and Real Madrid. Arsene Wenger vs. Jose Mourinho will see their bitter rivalry renewed. Arsene Wenger vs. Mauricio Pochettino in the north London derby. Jurgen Klopp vs. Ronald Koeman in the Merseyside derby. Jurgen Klopp vs. Jose Mourinho as two new-look Liverpool and Manchester United sides clash. Jose Mourinho vs. erm… Jose Mourinho because that’s just the way he is.
My head is spinning.
The battles will intrigue. The intensity will be unbearable. The tactical awareness will be astuter than ever before.
One of the most exciting things about this conglomeration of the game’s brightest minds all in one place is that each of their managerial style’s is very different.
From the high-pressing of Pochettino to the rapid counters of Klopp to the fluidity of Wenger and the directness of Mourinho, from the defensive solidity of Conte to the dominant possession game of Guardiola, however you view the best way to play the game, it’s highly-likely a manager in the PL will set his team up to do just that this season.
The Premier League is often a gift that keeps giving. With world-record $120 million players performing in front of packed out stadiums and high drama, it is held up as the beacon for what every major league wants to become in the modern era.
Then, this happened. Something nobody would’ve ever predicted but something that is happening before our very eyes.
Never before has any league at any time in history had such a talented group of managers at its disposal.
There can be only one winner and Klopp, Mourinho, Pochettino, Conte, Wenger, Guardiola and even Ranieri believe they should be lifting the title this season.
Let the fun begin in dugouts up and down the land.