“A man with new ideas is a madman, until his ideas triumph,” is Marcelo Bielsa’s favorite quote that perhaps best describes him. Add Mourinho's madness, Pep's whining and Ancelotti's swagger to the mix and what it comes down to is a boiling hot recipe for this season's Premier League.
Also called ‘Madman Bielsa,’ he is known for his risky, expansive, and attack-minded strategies. It has been best reflected in his system which operates in a 3-3-1-3 formation. This can, however, be modified into a 4-1-4-1, as is the case most often with Leeds. His system is based on the foundation of pressing high up into the opponent’s half, quick passage of passes, and fast counterattacks. His obsession with a high press is reflected in his inverted wing-backs who often move into midfield. This allows his number 10 and 9 to operate in an array of space with his wingers getting the chance of taking opposition fullbacks one on one. His inclusion makes the Premier League even more interesting this season. A fitting counterpart of such a systematic approach is that of Klopp’s Liverpool. Klopp’s 4-3-3 approach may never have been this complete. With the addition of Thiago in midfield, he has added another creative outlet to his front 3. Defensively, Thiago adds much more with his positional awareness and dictating ability.
Speaking of additions, one must address Pep’s acquisitions and his desire to strengthen the defence. With over 500 million spent only on defence, Nathan Ake and Ruben Dias are the latest addition. Pep’s City side will be looking forward to a centre-back pairing that can prove rock solid. While bolstering defences are concerned, Chelsea may have hit a bargain with the free signing of Thiago Silva. With Rudiger set to leave, Lampard will be bound to address his defensive issues with Silva leading from the back. Attacking additions such as Havertz, Werner, and Ziyech, alongside Pulisic, have the fans upbeat. Now, the question remains if Frank can accommodate all of his attacking outlets in a system that delivers.
While Lampard basks in the light of new signings, Ole seems to be under the shade of gloomy clouds. Although we can see glimpses of the old Red Devils, it's far from soon. Donny Van De Beek seems to be a fitting addition. But the right flank still yearns for a deserving number seven. Before Manchester United get things right on the field, Ole must first win the tug of war with the board. Although United have a decent XI, their squad lacks quality in depth. It’ll be interesting to see how Ole keeps his main eleven fresh for the majority of the season.
Speaking of boards, Everton has been an example in terms of backing their manager with shrewd business. With Carlo Ancelotti at the helm, Everton is expected to play his preferred 4-3-2-1 or Christmas tree formation. Tactically adaptive, Ancellotti’s side falls back to a 4-4-2 while defending. With the addition of Allan, Doucoure in midfield it’ll enable his fullbacks to play higher up in the pitch providing crosses for Calvert Lewin to head home. The addition of James Rodriguez is perhaps what completes the creative flow of his side’s attack. Another coach whose side resorts to a 4-4-2 while defending is Arteta. The influence of Pep is clearly seen in Arteta as Arsenal now develop their game from the back. With Xhaka dropping in as a left-sided centre-back, he can play the ball down the left flank or cross field. Swift ball progression along with Aubameyang drifting into central areas has proved to be fruitful for Arsenal.
When it is about fast-counter attacking football, Mourinho’s Tottenham side fits the bill. The addition of Reguilon and Doherty indicates that we may see a 3-5-2 deployed with fullbacks attacking high up the pitch. While many argue Harry Kane’s effectiveness in the system, his natural eye for goal will certainly benefit him. With such acquisitions, Mourinho will be vying for a top -4 finish and perhaps a trophy to add more to his second season magic.
Wolves have been born anew, under Nuno with a Portuguese identity. With an inform Raul Jimenez leading the attack, and some necessary signings, Nuno will be eyeing for a champions league spot. Someone who'll definitely want champions league football is Brendan Rogers. They have started off in style with Jamie Vardy looking young as ever. Additions such as Castagne and Under have bolstered both defensive and attacking options. What now remains is to keep the side injury free, especially key players like Madisson, Ndidi.
The promise of pure football entertainment has never been this high from the Premier League. With a new dawn of managers on the horizon, the tactical flow of teams has diversified like never before. With proven managers and club legends at the helm, and many more making their way, the Premier League should be a beacon for some scintillating display of football entertainment.
Naveed is a student of marketing at BUP.