Tuesday, September 24, 2013

2013-2014: The Year of the Managers

Ball Harambee By Bagga Wilks

This season, 2013-2014, has seen quite a movement of managers at some of the top clubs in this global sport. Owners are not shy to show managers the door and managers are not reluctant to confine players to the bench or not including them on the eligible roster.

The Chelsea manager, Mourinho, has won titles in La Liga, Serie A and the English Premier League. He cut his teeth as a manager in the Portuguese League. His managerial strategy has evolved in recent years as he is no longer defensiveminded but he remains a player provocateur and his criticism of players are not done in the office but in the glare of press conferences.

Juan Mata had an outstanding season last year as Chelsea’s playmaker and as a goal scorer. With the second coming of Mourinho to Chelsea, Mata has lost his starting place and has been told he will have to change his game or he will be a “tit-bit” player for the duration of the season. Oscar is the new playmaker with the newly acquired Willian as his understudy.

Against Fulham, David Luiz was also placed in Mourinho’s dog house and was confined to being a spectator. Mourinho punished him for the loss in the Championship League against Basel. Mata and Luiz are set to have ongoing confrontations with the combative Mourinho.

David Moyes is finding that Sir Alex Ferguson’s big shoes are not easy to fill. He received quite a spanking from Pellegrini’s Manchester City.

Yaya Toure was the towering figure in mid-field and turned the giant figure of Fellani into a dwarf. Pellegrini seemed to have figured out his starting eleven while David Moyes is busy criticizing his players like Ashley Young in the tabloids.

Arsene Wenger has silenced his critics. Without any great midnight shuffler, just the acquisition of Ozil, Arsenal is playing the best football in many a season. The obstinate yet visionary Wenger stuck with his young prospects like Ramsey and Wilshire who have emerged as big league impact players.

Managerial changes have taken place at Real Madrid, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Roma and Bayern Munich. Next year is the World Cup in Brazil and players’ fortunes in Brazil will be impacted by the decision of managers. In this era of coliseum spectacles, gladiators can be chewed up by the managers who are the Kings of the Jungle.

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