After 22 years as Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger is finally stepping down.
While his final few seasons, have been rather turbulent, one cannot understate his achievements. 473 Premier League wins, 3 titles, 7 FA Cups, and the only unbeaten season in Premier League history.
While the footballing community will undoubtably pay tribute to Wenger in the coming weeks, Arsenal must look ahead to a new manager. According to Bleacher Report, six candidates have been identified by bookmakers as favorites for the new position:
Patrick Vieira, 2/1; Thomas Tuchel, 4/1; Brendan Rodgers, 4/1; Carlo Ancelotti, 6/1; Joachim Low, 7/1; and Massimiliano Allegri, 8/1.
Let’s take a look at all six of those managers, and evaluate their credentials.
Current position: NYCFC manager (MLS)
Pros: He’s an Arsenal legend. Vieira was at the club from 1996 to 2005. He enjoyed an extremely fruitful spell in North London. Winning three titles and four FA Cups. Vieira knows the club well; is respected and beloved by fans.
He is currently in his third season managing NYCFC at MLS. City have finished second in the Eastern Conference and made the postseason each of his two years in charge, and are currently in first place atop the East. Winning 5 and drawing 2 they sit first in the race for the Supporters Shield after 7 games.
Cons: Vieira lacks real, concrete managerial experience.
While New York City’s media is unforgiving, their attention is almost always on the more prominent teams (think the Yankees and the Knicks). NYCFC, and MLS in general, receive a small amount of media scrutiny relative to their neighbors.
The British press, as well as Arsenal Fan TV, are hyperbolic and quick to judgement. While Vieira’s status as a club legend should grant him a grace period. If results don’t go his way, the media could turn on him.
Additionally, his failures in the postseason with NYCFC should not go ignored. In 2016, NYCFC lost their two legged tie with Toronto FC 7-0.
In 2017, they lost 4-1 to Columbus on the road, and were unable to overcome the deficit in the second leg. Vieira has 2 aggregate defeats, with 11 goals against and 3 for in his two postseason runs.
He has shown he can navigate a league season. However, his management in cup ties leaves something to be desired.
Current position: Unattached
Pros: He was terrific at Borussia Dortmund over two years. Winning the German cup in his second season and finishing second in his first campaign. Ten points behind Bayern is a success for any manager.
Tuchel also did wonders managing both Henrihk Mhkitaryan and Pierre Emerick Aubamayang at Dortmund. They have since proven to be hit or miss at Arsenal. Notably, Aubamayang scored 56 goals in 63 league games under Tuchel.
The German manager also made some shrewd signings. Particularly Ousmane Dembele to offset the loss of Mhkitaryan. He has shown trust in youth players like Christian Pulisic who thrived in Tuchel’s system.
Cons: Tuchel’s style of play may contrast what Arsenal need right now.
His fast, free flowing system that utilized pacy wingers may not fit Arsenal’s personnel. Mhkitaryan and Mesut Ozil are not quick at this stage in their career. Alex Iwobi has not shown the ability to star just yet, and Danny Welbeck is getting older.
There is no Dembele or Pulisic on the teamsheet, meaning Tuchel would have to splash the cash to find a similar player.
Additionally, much of Tuchel’s success was built on having a solid midfield base. Julian Weigl and Gonzalo Castro gave the midfield steel and defensive solidity. This pairing allowed for a more free flowing attack. Arsenal don’t have those players either. Granit Xhaka lacks pace and discipline. Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere lack defensive qualities and longevity.
Essentially, Tuchel would need to overhaul the squad to get his desired brand of football. A task he can do far easier at PSG, which is where he is rumored to be heading.
Current Position: Celtic Manager
Pros: Rodgers has Premier League experience managing Liverpool from 2012 to 2015. In 2014, he spearheaded one of the best Premier League teams to not win the title. The attack of Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge, and Raheem Sterling was among the most lethal in the world that year.
Rodgers has also been incredibly successful at Celtic, winning his first four domestic trophies and stretching the clubs unbeaten domestic record to 65 games.
Cons: Rodgers tailed off at Liverpool mightily. Ultimately, he failed to recover from the debacle at the end of the 2014 season, where Liverpool threw the title away at Selhurst Park. They finished sixth in 2015, ending the campaign with a 6-1 loss to Stoke. In 2016, they were 10th after 8 games before he was sacked.
Jurgen Klopp took over and Liverpool are currently in the semifinals of the Champions League.
Rodgers has experience, but his pedigree may not be at the level Arsenal are looking for. This would not be the most inspiring signing, and would definitely be met with criticism from fans and pundits alike.
Current Position: Unattached
Pros: He has won everywhere. He is a domestic title winner in Italy, France, England, and Germany. He has reached the Champions League final four times, winning three of them (2 with Milan, 1 with Real Madrid).
There are few managers with Ancelotti’s experience managing big clubs. Fewer with his pedigree. He would be a smart signing.
Cons: There is no denying that Ancelotti flopped at Bayern. He put too much trust in big name players as opposed to form. He would have to learn from his mistakes, something that is uncommon for someone who has as much experience as Ancelotti.
Additionally, he hasn’t managed in England since he was with Chelsea in 2011. There will most definitely be an adjustment back to English football after spells with PSG, Madrid, and Bayern.
Current Position: German National Team Manager
Pros: A proven winner. Low won the 2014 World Cup with Germany. He also took them to the semifinals in 2010, and in Euro 2012 and 2016. He has been at the helm of the German national team since 2008, and has done nothing but exceed expectations.
Cons: Low has held only one managerial position outside of a German speaking country. He managed Fernerbahce in 1998/99, which did not go particularly well. His lack of experience at a club, rather than a country, and in English football would mean that there would be an adjustment period.
Despite Arsenals current German contingent (Ozil and Mustafi), Low does not have his never ending pool of superstar talent at Arsenal. Without players like Manuel Neuer, and Toni Kroos, and Thomas Muller, will Low be able to achieve the same success?
Current Position: Juventus Manager
Pros: He has done nothing but win for Juventus since coming aboard for Antonio Conte, winning three Scudettos and three Copa Italia titles. He also navigated the club toward the Champions League final in both 2015 and 2016.
Allegri, as many Italians are, is tactically astute, and capable of outthinking his opponents. Additionally, his defensive mindset and calming demeanor could solve two of the biggest issues at Arsenal: defensive organization (or lack thereof) and crumbling under media scrutiny.
Cons: Why would Allegri leave Juventus? He has enjoyed tremendous success with the Old Lady, and has added new and exciting talent to the fold. His signings of Paulo Dybala, Gonzalo Higuain, and Douglas Costa, among others, have been wildly successful.
Leaving his current situation would present a great challenge, and one that may not be worth Allegri’s while.
What do you think of these managers taking over for Arsene Wenger? Anyone left out that should be considered? Who should not be considered? Let us know in the comments below.
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