Sunday, 22 December 2019

Daunting tasks for Carlo Ancelotti and Mikel Arteta



Carlo Ancelotti's eyebrow was raised in familiar fashion and Mikel Arteta was impassive throughout as the two new managers watched Everton and Arsenal play out this dismal draw.

It could have been fascination. It could have been concentration. It was probably boredom as the hugely successful Ancelotti and managerial rookie Arteta saw the full scale of the tasks they are taking on laid out before them in this goalless deadlock.

In the wider context there is excitement, especially here at Goodison Park where the confirmation of Ancelotti's appointment an hour before kick-off created a real buzz among supporters elated that such a decorated figure as the three-time Champions League winner has succeeded Marco Silva.

Everton made the most of their managerial coup, with Ancelotti's presence only confirmed once his morning flight had left Italy, pulling up in Goodison Road to an ecstatic reception before emerging into the directors' box for the obligatory selfies.

He was quickly joined by director of football Marcel Brands, who described the Italian as "the perfect appointment".

There is genuine anticipation at Goodison Park at such a coup. It will be Monday when the serious work starts at Everton's Finch Farm training headquarters.

Ancelotti has already studied videos of Everton's recent games and went into the home dressing room after the final whistle to address his new players.

Caretaker manager Ferguson, who finished with five points from three league games against Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal, said: "He gave a fantastic speech. It was wonderful how he spoke to the players."

In some ways, this was a difficult occasion for Ancelotti to make a serious early assessment of the squad at his disposal.

Everton looked leg-weary after three games in six days and even this line-up was disrupted by an early injury to former Arsenal midfield man Alex Iwobi.

Ancelotti remained typically inscrutable throughout as he sat between Everton owner Farhad Moshiri, who drove this appointment, and chairman Bill Kenwright but he will have noted a side short on creation and confidence, although it was clear a tough recent programme had taken its toll.

He will have been pleased with Yerry Mina's domination in central defence and the tirelessness of Dominic Calvert-Lewin but he will need reinforcements to bolster defensive strength and creation.

It may even have been that Ancelotti's presence had an impact on Everton's players, who on occasion looked to be trying too hard and were lured into conservatism and too many mistakes.

Ancelotti will not have a quick fix to apply but there is already a sense that his calm, analytical style and the instant respect he commands might find an intriguing sidekick in the fiery Ferguson, who will stay on his staff after his successful spell as caretaker manager.

Everton will back Ancelotti with funds and this performance illustrated why. They are also banking on his personal stature attracting the sort of players that have been beyond the club in recent years.

Ancelotti, behind the laconic charm, is ruthless. He would not achieved his stellar feats without a steely edge and this is an Everton squad that needs rebuilding.

He at least benefits from the bar being set so low in this final 90 minutes before his official unveiling - and once the disappointment of this game subsides, the excitement will start to build again about the biggest managerial appointment in Everton's history.





Mikel Arteta is an appointment from the opposite end of the managerial scale to Ancelotti - a fiercely driven, intelligent rookie as opposed to the battle-hardened experience of the Italian.

Arteta has, however, learned from a coaching genius in Pep Guardiola during more than three seasons at Manchester City, where his influence has been acknowledged and he has reached the point where he wants to put his own expertise into practice.

He made a brief visit to Arsenal's dressing room at the final whistle, striding around in business-like fashion backstage in the manner of a man desperate for Sunday morning to come when he can get to work with his players at London Colney.

And he will already be aware of a big item on his agenda in the shape of Mesut Ozil, who was the recipient of caretaker manager Freddie Ljungberg's final acidic comments before he hands control to Arteta.

Ozil's petulant reaction to his substitution against Manchester City, strolling slowly off before kicking away his gloves, did not go unnoticed and brought a brutal response from Ljungberg.

Ozil had a foot injury but Ljungberg was in no mood to spare him, saying: "He walked off the game against Manchester City and kicked his things away. For me, that is not how an Arsenal player behaves.

"Mesut was injured but I would not have played him anyway. That is not what I accept from an Arsenal player."

If it was a message for his new manager, Ljungberg could not have made it any clearer had he daubed it on the walls of the Arsenal dressing room.

This is a serious issue for Arteta but not one that will go away quickly with Ozil on a reported £350,000-a-week. He will not be easy to shift.

Arteta did not see Arsenal's soft under-belly defence probed by Everton although he will surely have noted David Luiz's latest accident-waiting-to-happen performance featuring a succession of impetuous fouls.

He did get a glance at some of the younger talent he will work with, although Arteta must add street-wisdom in defence and midfield.

Emile Smith Rowe made his first Premier League start; Reiss Nelson and Gabriel Martinelli their third.

Arteta will have noted their promise but his task is to organise what he has while eventually adding serious quality and steel.

He will have been happy to watch his new Arsenal side take a point here - but both he and Ancelotti will be under no illusions after this turgid experience.

























https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/50880565

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