Wednesday, August 10, 2022

3 teams start life led by new managers as EPL resumes

Boardroom goodwill towards English Premier League managers during the pandemic seems to be running out.

Only four lost their jobs in the league last season, a small number by modern-day standards.

Perhaps this was due to a lack of clear fan criticism, while games were played in empty stadiums. Or maybe the economic effects of sacking a manager while club finances were being hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak.

Looks like those days are long gone.

A string of dismissals – five a month – means three teams will play their first game under a new coach when the Premier League resumes this weekend after the latest international break.

Steven Gerrard, a league great as a player with Liverpool, is back in it as manager of Aston Villa. Eddie Howe Returning after 18 months of management, Newcastle was selected as the person to lead the Saudi-backed era. And then there’s Dean Smith, who was fired by Villa only six days later to take a job at last-placed Norwich.

Antonio Conte will lead his second Premier League match at Tottenham. Another Italian, Claudio Ranieri, has only four games in his tenure at Watford.

Meanwhile, the manager who has angered him the most in recent weeks – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – is still in his job at Manchester United, although a defeat at Watford on Saturday left the club’s hierarchy with little choice but to act. can leave.

Former United and England striker Michael Owen sees a downside, however.

“The only problem is that all the best (managers) are currently in the jobs, so luckily finding replacements,” Owen wrote on Twitter. “I can see another couple going this side of Christmas too……”

One thing Solskjaer and the five recently hired managers is their teams’ defensive records, which are among the worst in the league.

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Norwich, Newcastle, Villa and Watford – in that order – have scored the most goals this season, surprisingly leaving them in the bottom five in the standings alongside 18th-place Burnley, whose manager Sean Dyche was fired. There is no danger of leaving. He signed a new contract in September until 2025.

Not that would deter Howe from going on the attack in Newcastle, continuing the philosophy he endorsed at Bournemouth and the style of play adopted by Kevin Keegan’s so-called “entertainers” at St James’s Park in the 1990s Was.

Howe said, “I would love to emulate some of their incredible attacking football, which would have made them an instant hit for Newcastle fans.” They were a beautiful team to watch. I would love to give the crowd some similar special memories.

“My Bournemouth teams always try to be on the front foot. And I’m not going to come here and be a different manager. It will be a gradual move but my training will definitely be very different and in the end, I want to see that.” What kind of football entertains. I think that’s what the Newcastle fans want too.”

He would also like to win football. After all, Newcastle are the only team without a win after 11 rounds, tied on five points with Norwich – five from safety.

Howe’s first game in charge will be at home to Brentford, while Gerrard will also begin his tenure with a home match as Brighton visit Villa Park.

His ties with Liverpool will always be around him and he has been widely tipped as the future manager of the club, for whom he played 710 matches. But Gerrard was keen to emphasize in his presentation as Villa manager on Thursday that his focus was purely on his new team.

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“Everyone around the world knows what Liverpool means to me,” he said, “but the focus and my commitment to Aston Villa is very high.” I have said that I am fully prepared and I promise my supporters that this is the case.”

Smith struggled to get Villa – the club he has supported his entire life – this season after the team restructured following the sale of their captain and star player Jack Grealish. This is the immediate task of Gerard.

As for Smith, he finds himself at a club worse than Villa, even if he is coming off his first win of the season just before the international break, when Norwich beat Brentford 2-1.

“Yeah, it hasn’t been the biggest start, that’s why I’m sitting here,” Smith said this week, after traveling to New York in the middle of a job change, “but if you look at the teams that we had early. It was hard to play.

“The win against Brentford was a big deal for the players. It should give them the confidence to move on now.”

And unlike Howe, Smith’s priority is to fix his new team’s defense starting Saturday against Southampton.

“We want to strengthen the defensive organization and structure,” he said. “I think there’s enough quality. … We won’t shy away from the type of football the club is known for, but fans should expect to see an organized, hard-working team that will leave nothing on the pitch.


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