Antonio Conte, Chelsea
INTENSITY AND lots of commitment. That’s what Chelsea fans can expect from Antonio Conte. The former manager of Italy, Conte is known as a tough taskmaster. A key aspect of his tactics is the 3-5-2 formation, which Conte has used both with Juventus and the Italian national team in the past. It will be interesting to see whether he retains the formation in a league where playing with three defenders can be a tricky affair. But Chelsea can take comfort from the fact that Conte led Juventus to three consecutive Serie A titles by relying mostly on this formation. The likes of Gianluigi Buffon and Andrea Pirlo have also lauded Conte’s motivational skills. Perhaps one area of worry for Chelsea will be Conte’s not so spectacular record in Europe. He could not guide Juventus to Champions League glory during his time at the club unlike his successor Max Allegri, who took them to the 2014-15 Champions League final. Conte must, however, be targeting a quick return to the top four where Chelsea have been a mainstay.
Previous clubs managed: Arezzo, Bari, Atalanta, Siena, Juventus & the Italian national team
Pep Guardiola, Manchester City
CONSIDERED BY many as one of the best managers in the world, Pep Guardiola’s teams are built on fast and fluid football. Passing accuracy and strong possession have always been associated with his teams, and these two facets were evident in Manchester City’s first three matches this season. Both Barcelona and Bayern Munich, Guardiola’s previous clubs, not only displayed entertaining football under his tenure, but also scored a lot of goals. Guardiola is known for his eye for detail and discipline and, as per reports, has already banned foods like pizza for City players. Overweight players were excluded from the first team and put on individual programmes to get back in shape. The Spaniard is also known to promote young players—Pedro Rodriguez and Sergio Busquets at Barcelona and Joshua Kimmich at Bayern Munich are some instances—and this bodes well for City’s youth prospects. In all, Manchester City have a proven winner who has lifted a combined 19 major trophies during his time in Spain and Germany.
Previous clubs managed: FC Barcelona & FC Bayern Munich
Jose Mourinho, Manchester United
FOR MANCHESTER United, Jose Mourinho is the much needed boost after Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013. This was followed by disappointing managerial spells by David Moyes and Louis van Gaal, who were accused of playing drab football. Mourinho is expected to bring the swagger and fear factor back at Old Trafford. By getting Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Mourinho has shown that United are still capable of attracting big players. A polished tactician, Mourinho has always valued a strong midfield, with his teams playing three or more central midfielders. Most importantly, he knows how to get results from improbable situations, something that will suit United. As captain Wayne Rooney was cited as saying in reports, Mourinho “wants to win”.
Previous clubs managed: Benfica, União de Leiria, FC Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan & Real Madrid
Jürgen Klopp, Liverpool
IT’S FAIR to say that Jürgen Klopp will have a slight advantage this season. He was appointed Liverpool’s manager in October 2015 and took the club to its first European final since 2007 when it faced Sevilla in the 2015-16 UEFA Europa League final. It eventually lost 3-1. Nonetheless, there were plenty of positives from Klopp’s first season at the Merseyside club. His style of ‘heavy metal’ football and ‘gegenpressing’—pressuring the opponent as soon as you lose possession—is ideal for the Premier League. The German prefers playing with a 4-2-3-1 formation. Players like Philippe Coutinho, Adam Lallana and Roberto Firmino have settled in well under him. One area, however, that the German needs to address in the new season is the team’s defensive capabilities. Last season, Liverpool did play fast counter-attacking football, but also leaked goals at the back. This will be Klopp’s first full season with Liverpool and big things are expected of him.
Previous clubs managed: Mainz 05 & Borussia Dortmund