BAT­TLE OF THE BOSSES How did Mour­inho, Klopp, Conte and com­pany rate on first week­end of Premier League sea­son?

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport Starts Here -

THE first full week­end of the Premier League un­der­lined why this is be­ing billed as the year of the Galac­tico man­agers. From Jur­gen Klopp giv­ing goalscorer Sa­dio Mane a pig­gy­back ride to An­to­nio Conte jump­ing into the crowd at Stam­ford Bridge, you couldn’t take your eyes out of the tech­ni­cal area.

Jose Mour­inho and Pep Guardi­ola made the big de­ci­sions you would ex­pect of the world’s best, while for Arsene Wenger it was a fa­mil­iar story af­ter 20 years.

Sports­mail looks at how all the lead­ing man­agers fared in var­i­ous as­pects of their per­for­mance. An­to­nio Conte (Chelsea 2-1 West Ham) Tac­tics: The Ital­ian is renowned for play­ing 4-2-4 or with wing-backs but adapted to 4-3-3 with Os­car cho­sen ahead of Cesc Fabre­gas in the en­gine room. Also, with Eden Hazard and Wil­lian — nei­ther nat­u­ral wingers — ei­ther side of cen­tre-for­ward Diego Costa, there was a need for the full-backs to pro­vide width, which left­back Ce­sar Azpilu­cueta did par­tic­u­larly well.

Touch­line an­tics: Diego Sime­one and Jur­gen Klopp rolled into one. Raged and hollered his way through the first 89 min­utes and then cel­e­brated Diego Costa’s late win­ning goal by run­ning to­wards the fans and giv­ing out spon­ta­neous bearhugs. Looked like an Ital­ian man­ager should, sharp suit with slim­line black tie. Ev­ery­thing he did was in­tense, and that was mir­rored by the team’s per­for­mance.

Fan re­ac­tion: Al­ready a cult hero at Stam­ford Bridge judg­ing by so­cial me­dia re­ac­tion. Not only has he got Eden Hazard to say the team are play­ing like ‘tigers’, his emo­tional ap­proach to the game has played well with the sup­port­ers who felt bereft for much of last sea­son af­ter Jose Mour­inho left. His charisma and pierc­ing eyes will make him one of the must-watch per­son­al­i­ties of the sea­son.

Rat­ing: 7/10. The play­ers kept go­ing for their new man­ager and got their re­wards Jose Mour­inho (Bournemouth 1-3

Manch­ester United) Tac­tics: Has said he will play two sys­tems this sea­son; 4-2-3-1 and 4-3-3. With­out the sus­pended Paul Pogba, he opted for 4-2-3-1 with hold­ers An­der Her­rera and Marouane Fel­laini help­ing to snuff out Bournemouth in the early stages be­fore Juan Mata scored and United ex­pressed them­selves. Win­ning foot­ball first, and entertainment sec­ond.

Touch­line an­tics: Made a point from his very first pre-sea­son friendly that he won’t be stay­ing in his seat scrib­bling notes like Louis van Gaal. Stayed up close and per­sonal but didn’t ex­press too much emo­tion apart from show­ing clear de­light when Zla­tan Ibrahi­movic scored his de­but goal. Af­ter his Chelsea ex­pe­ri­ence last sea­son, Mour­inho will be on best be­hav­iour for the time be­ing, the ques­tion is how long it will last?

Fan re­ac­tion: United fans have turned 180 de­grees on their view of Mour­inho hav­ing won only one tro­phy in three sea­sons post-Sir Alex Fer­gu­son. In­stead of be­ing de­rided for dull foot­ball, the for­mer Chelsea man­ager had his name chanted by United fans along­side that of Eric Can­tona. The sign­ing of Ibrahi­movic has been a mas­ter­stroke, he is the type of mav­er­ick star United sup­port­ers love and Mour­inho de­liv­ered him. Once ahead, there was enough panache about United’s play to rep­re­sent the club’s tra­di­tions.

Rat­ing: 7/10: to come Pep Guardi­ola (Manch­ester City 2-1

Sun­der­land) Tac­tics: Pep will bring his meth­ods to English foot­ball rather the other way round. Full­backs Bacary Sagna and Gael Clichy were pushed far­ther for­ward than we’ve seen in the Premier Three points with Paul Pogba League. Willy Ca­ballero was se­lected ahead of Joe Hart be­cause he’s a bet­ter foot­baller rather than shot-stop­per. Debu­tant John Stones was en­cour­aged to pass, pass, pass.

Touch­line an­tics: Im­mac­u­lately turned out in a snappy two-piece suit and trade­mark V-neck jumper, Guardi­ola was ever-present in his tech­ni­cal area, ca­jol­ing and ges­tic­u­lat­ing to his play­ers at all times. Even man­aged to look cool when Sun­der­land equalised, non­cha­lantly tak­ing a swig of his wa­ter as if he knew City would go onto win.

Fan re­ac­tion: Made a big call by drop­ping Hart, some­thing that hasn’t gone down well with a sec­tion of City fans who view the goal­keeper as the soul of the dress­ing-room along­side Vin­cent Kom­pany and Pablo Za­baleta. But Guardi­ola will be given time by City’s sup­port­ers, they have chased him for three years.

Rat­ing: 6/10: Saved by Paddy McNair’s late own goal.

Jur­gen Klopp (Arse­nal 3-4 Liverpool) Tac­tics: Opted for a false No 9 in Robert Firmino with Daniel Stur­ridge in­jured and Chris­tian Ben­teke and Mario Balotelli for sale. It worked, par­tic­u­larly in the sec­ond half, be­cause of the fan­tas­tic move­ment around him with Sa­dio Mane, two-goal Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lal­lana. But couldn’t get go­ing for 45 min­utes.

Touch­line an­tics: Klopp is one of the new gen­er­a­tion of su­per-pumped up man­agers. Can’t keep still, lost his glasses twice and giv­ing Mane a pig­gy­back ride to cel­e­brate Liverpool’s fourth goal was pure theatre. Don’t ex­pect to see Jose Mour­inho be­ing able to do that for Zla­tan Ibrahi­movic! Klopp’s ex­u­ber­ance nearly back­fired with Arse­nal com­ing back from 4-1 down to 4-3.

Fan re­ac­tion: Has the charisma and per­son­al­ity to be the nat­u­ral suc­ces­sor to Shankly, Dal­glish and Ben­itez and true Kop icons. Even the song ‘Jur­gen Klopp, la la la’ has a kind of an­ar­chic feel that suits the man­ager. With no Euro­pean foot­ball, Liverpool fans will feel they can be the dark horses in this sea­son’s title race as they were in the Luis Suarez sea­son 2013/14

Rat­ing: 8/10: Im­por­tant win as first three games are away from An­field

Arsene Wenger (Arse­nal 3-4 Liverpool) Tac­tics: Oblit­er­ated by in­juries and Euro 2016 fa­tigue, Wenger played Alexis Sanchez up top but missed his en­ergy play­ing be­tween the lines. Every de­ci­sion Wenger made seemed to back­fire. He rested his Euro 2016 play­ers opt­ing for rookie de­fend­ers Calum Cham­bers and Rob Hold­ing ahead of Lau­rent Ko­scielny, yet played Aaron Ram­sey, who then pulled a ham­string. Why £35 mil­lion sign­ing Granit Xhaka didn’t start is a mys­tery.

Touch­line an­tics: Ir­ri­ta­ble and ag­i­tated as Arse­nal’s 1-0 lead was lost by Coutinho’s free­kick on the stroke of half-time fol­lowed by a dra­matic sec­ond-half col­lapse. The chem­istry be­tween Wenger and his as­sis­tant Steve Bould doesn’t feel like one that pro­vides an­swers, they spent a lot of time sit­ting glum and be­mused. His mood can’t be helped though by the at­mos­phere at The Emi­rates which is ready to turn on the team and man­ager at any mo­ment.

Fan re­ac­tion: In­stead of look­ing for­ward to the man­ager’s up­com­ing 20th an­niver­sary, there is out­right hos­til­ity to Wenger from large sections of the crowd. The boos were never louder when Arse­nal re­lied on a Petr Cech save to stop go­ing 4-1 down. In fact, they did soon af­ter and if Alex OxladeCham­ber­lain hadn’t hit back with a goal al­most im­me­di­ately, the at­mos­phere could have turned nasty.

Rat­ing: 4/10: Night­mare open­ing leaves Arse­nal play­ing catch-up again. — Sports­Mail

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