Getty Images

Greatest managerial lineup in Premier League history will see philosophies clash

2 Comments

No league in soccer history has ever been blessed with this many world-class managers all at the same time.

Ever.

[ MORE: Every PL season preview ]

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 PochettinoAntonio ConteArsene Wenger and Pep Guardiola will all be managing in the Premier League.

Oh yeah, did we mention Slaven BilicRonald KoemanClaudio Ranieri and Eddie Howe will also be around after overseeing stunning campaigns in 2015-16?

[ MORE: Ranking top 10 players in each position

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.

VIENNA, AUSTRIA - JULY 16: Head coach of Chelsea Antonio Conte gestures during an friendly match between SK Rapid Vienna and Chelsea F.C. at Allianz Stadion on July 16, 2016 in Vienna, Austria. (Photo by Matej Divizna/Getty Images)
(Photo by Matej Divizna/Getty Images)

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.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - JANUARY 13: Jurgen Klopp, manager of Liverpool and Arsene Wenger Manager of Arsenal look on during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield on January 13, 2016 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

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.

Everton’s Calvert-Lewin opens scoring with overhead kick (video)

Overhead kick
Photo by Rob Newell - CameraSport via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored a spectacular goal, and Arsenal’s chaotic defending gave him a big assist.

The Everton man had the Toffees up 1-0 inside of the first minute when he hammered an overhead kick past Bernd Leno.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Calvert-Lewin was first to react when David Luiz could only pop a swirling Gylfi Sigurdsson free kick high into the air.

The forward’s foot flew past Luiz’s mane — it withstood VAR review — after the Gunners looked confused by Sead Kolasinac following his mark into the 18.

The goal is Calvert-Lewin’s 12th of the PL season. He’s scored four in his last five league outings, and 10 in his last 12.

He has seven goals in nine matches under Carlo Ancelotti.

Wolves’ red-hot Jota too much for Norwich City

Photo by GEOFF CADDICK/AFP via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Diogo Jota scored twice and helped produce the third goal of Wolves 3-0 battering of Norwich City at the Molineux Stadium on Sunday.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Mexican star Raul Jimenez scored the other goal for Wolves.

Wolves rise eighth with 39 points, five points off fourth and two back of fifth-place Manchester United.

Norwich City remains seven points back of 17th place with a league-worst goal differential sinking to minus-27.


Three things we learned

1. Red-hot JotaWolves’ 23-year-old attacker was coming off a hat trick versus Espanyol in Europa League play, and had two goals by the half-hour mark at the Molineux. That gives him five PL goals amongst his 14 in all competitions as Wolves threaten both the Europa League and, somehow, remain alive in the top four race.

2. Abject Norwich defending: Daniel Farke‘s men have been praised for continuing their forward-thinking, attack-minded football in the Premier League, but maybe they simply didn’t have the protectors to bunker down in front of Tim Krul. That’s a bit unfair, because it’s admirable that Farke wishes to entertain, but there’s no debating the mess that is the Canaries defense this year.

3. Jimenez is Mexico’s best: Club Leon’s coach made headlines this week when he called LAFC’s Carlos Vela the best Mexican player, and perhaps he’s No. 2, but there’s no North American in the world doing what Raul is doing in Europe. Jimenez went over 3,300 season minutes on Sunday, adding another goal to give him 22 with 10 assists. Only Rui Patricio, Conor Coady, and Joao Moutinho have played more than the El Tri star.

Man of the Match: Jota


Norwich City had two promising moments in the first seven minutes, as Max Aarons hit a terrific through ball that died with a Teemu Pukki extra touch. Then Pukki forced Rui Patricio into a save.

Kenny McLean cranked a shot to Patricio off a Puuki pass in the 11th minute.

A Norwich giveaway allowed Diogo Jota to dance into the 18, but he instead dribbled himself out of room and was tackled.

Jota made amends in the 19th minute, lashing home after a terrific team goal.

It might’ve been 2-0 had Alex Tettey not darted between Jota’s 23rd-minute pass to Raul Jimenez.

Jota got his second in the 30th off a corner kick, as Romain Saiss slashed a pass across the six that any of three Wolves would’ve put in for a two-goal lead.

Tim Krul made a great save on a Ruben Neves free kick after Jota was injured drawing the set piece atop the 18.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

Jota smashed the post moments before Jimenez deposited Wolves’ third goal of the game, a 3-0 lead arriving in the 50th minute.

Fernandes runs the show as Manchester United crushes Watford

Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Bruno Fernandes scored a goal and helped set up two as Manchester United beat Watford 3-0 at Old Trafford on Sunday.

Anthony Martial recorded United’s second goal with a magical finish off his own rebound after Fernandes sent him through on goal, while Mason Greenwood added a late goal after a 1-2 with the Portuguese.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

United is now fifth with 41 points, three points back of fourth-place Chelsea.

Watford had a goal chalked off by VAR, and remains in the bottom three with 24 points. That’s one point off 17th and two off 16th.


Three things we learned

1. Bruno as advertised: There was no question Fernandes addressed a need for the Old Trafford set, but few would’ve seen the Portuguese revolutionizing the team’s attack so quickly (and also underlining how badly United has missed Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba). It’s not silly to say Fernandes could’ve had four assists on the day. Magnificent stuff from the 25-year-old. No surprise he has Cristiano Ronaldo’s endorsement.

2. Greenwood shows another glimpse: The Mason Greenwood hype train hasn’t been as pronounced as Marcus Rashford’s of years past, and we’re grateful for that. But his shoulder move and sick cut before dribbling 50 yards to combine with Fernandes on the third goal of the game was gorgeous stuff. More hope for the future.

3. This: It’s easy to forget the heights of which somewhat-mercurial Anthony Martial is capable.

Man of the Match: Fernandes had four key passes and was perfect in his take-ons and ground duels. Incredible show.


Poor communication between Harry Maguire and Nemanja Matic sprung Troy Deeney toward goal, but United left back Luke Shaw saved his teammates further blushes with a block.

Abdoulaye Doucoure then ran onto a dummied Gerard Deulofeu pass but found himself closed down by David De Gea.

United should’ve been up through Wan-Bissaka when Foster parried a cross onto his path, but the English back struck the ball tamely into the outside of the goal.

Bruno Fernandes led a terrific 38th-minute move, and Daniel James eventually teed up Fred for a shot that curled wide of the goal.

The January signing danced past Ben Foster and hit the deck when the Watford goalkeeper went to ground. VAR stayed with the call on the field, and Fernandes finished well with a little hop step.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

Deeney looked to have made it 1-1 in the 52nd minute, thumping a. ball into the top of the goal when a corner kick was turned off the post by Craig Dawson‘s arm. It was attached to his body, but that does not matter in the attacking box.

Martial instead made it 2-0 off a Fernandes feed, collecting his own rebound before dribbling Watford dizzy and spinning a chip into the goal.

Fernandes spotted Maguire with a seeing-eye cross in the 69th, but the defender’s header was poor.

Greenwood scored his goal in the 75th, carrying the ball 50 yards before working a 1-2 with Fernandes and finishing with aplomb.

Odion Ighalo came close to getting on the board for his new club against his old one, but Adam Masina deflected his shot off the post.

Watch Live: Arsenal v. Everton

Arsenal v. Everton watch live stream link
Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Everton and Arsenal both look to stay in the top five discussion when they meet at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday (Watch live at 11:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

Carlo Ancelotti has Everton on 36 points, five back of fifth, while ex-Toffees midfielder Mikel Arteta has the Gunners on 34 points.

[ WATCH: Arsenal v. Everton ]

Andre Gomes returns to Everton’s bench after his gruesome injury earlier this Fall, and Ancelotti makes five changes to his Starting XI. Ex-Arsenal man Alex Iwobi will start for the Toffees.

Nicolas Pepe rejoins Arsenal’s Starting XI after a Thursday match in the Europa League.

LINEUPS

Arsenal

Everton