Separated by a few feet in the Goodison Park directors’ box, and several decades of experience on their managerial CVs, Carlo Ancelotti and Mikel Arteta viewed a drab and dour stalemate which offered little insight into which appointment will ultimately prove the right approach from these two slumping giants of the English game.
Carlo Ancelotti and Mikel Arteta will not face each other on the touchline today when Everton meet Arsenal at Goodison. The incoming gaffers will wait in the wings, ‘running the rule’, no doubt gaining an insight into the size of their tasks.
What will be telling is just departed Dublin manager Jim Gavin next step. Does he withdraw from public life, J D Salinger-style, never to practice his hard-to-define sorcery again? Or, does he do the circuit? asks
Standing shooting the breeze at half-time on Thursday night, in a humiliatingly half-empty stadium, the like of which we’d not seen since the inauguration of the Gunners new home in 2006, it couldn’t have possibly been more glaringly obvious that Unai Emery’s number was up.
A warning to all those disenchanted Arsenal fans heaving a sigh of relief that the Unai Emery era has drawn to a close: while there are a number of credible candidates who could take his place, I don’t think there is a manager out there possessed of the kind of magic wand which would be needed to cure all the club’s ills overnight. Or, for that matter, any time soon.
On a night when two giants of the European game, and a heady mix of youngsters and world superstars, served up one of the games of the season, it was left to a 20-year-old from Cork to make the telling contribution in the penalty shoot-out.
The pressure is on Unai Emery to deliver at Arsenal this season. Failure to finish in the top four or win a trophy could signal an abrupt end for Arsene Wenger’s successor at London’s biggest club. Wenger’s early success and general brilliance ultimately afforded him 22 years running football affairs so replacing him was always going to be a challenge despite fortunes waning towards the end of his reign.
Republic of Ireland defender Louise Quinn has been one of the punditry stars of a groundbreaking World Cup for women's football. But she won't be satisfied until she has starred in one on the pitch. The Arsenal stalwart won't back away from a challenge, having had to completely change her playing style to become an integral part of a star-studded multinational side now chasing Champions League glory.
Before this season, only five teams in Premier League history had broken the 90-point barrier. The list of exceptional sides who missed that mark includes Arsenal’s Invincibles, Manchester City’s first title-winning team in 2011/12, and Manchester United in 2006/07, who had eight representatives in the PFA Team of the Year.
Quite why United felt it necessary to confirm his announcement before the end of the season is unclear, given that everything was going so well before then. His permanent appointment has coincided with another dismal run of performances.
The debate surrounding a succession of contentious decisions will prolong the fallout from the latest North London derby yet while Arsenal left Wembley Stadium convinced they would have been worthy recipients of all three points, it was Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham Hotspur side who gained most from the stalemate.
Not sure if you have noticed, but Spanish-speaking football managers like to talk about suffering. The word pops up all the time in their post-match interviews. It might be something to do with Catholicism or just a general, Pedro Almodovar heroine-style fondness for tortured emotion, writes