So it’s becoming a classic tale these days; a club gets a new flush owner that throws money at the current manager. Despite any success under the current regime, current manager gets sacked and in steps overpaid successful foreign manager.
This has been the case at both Chelsea and Man City in recent years and the latest Italian additions to the clubs have certainly made an impact.
Carlo Ancelotti has been incredibly successful already at Chelsea. He has already lifted the Premier League and FA Cup trophies with a win ratio currently sitting at over 70%.
Roberto Mancini is yet to have the same success. Despite a reasonably decent win ratio above 50% during his short time in charge at Eastlands he is yet to win a trophy.
It can be pretty hard to compare the two Italians on their English club success given the squads they both inherited. So lets have a look at the changes both men have brought to their prospective clubs.
In the transfer department, Ancelotti has had little to do to build on the world class squad left behind by Mourinho. Looking at the starting 11, it would be very difficult to really notice much of a difference.
The only definitive key player brought into the Chelsea squad has been the hugely impressive Yury Zhirkov. The Russian was purchased very soon after Ancelotti’s appointment in 2009.
Since, there has been little else brought in. We are yet to see the best of newboy Ramires, though Daniel Sturridge has looked to be going from strength to strength since he joined the pensioners under the former AC Milan manager. Yossi Benayoun’s ability is rarely under-enthused, though, he has spent most of his time at Chelsea in the treatment room since his arrival from Anfield in the summer.
Mancini on the other hand has been very busy since he took the helm from Mark Hughes. Looking at the starting 11 you will see messers Milner, Boateng, De Jong, Johnson, Vieira and Yaya Toure often gracing the pitch at Eastlands; all of which have been purchased in the small time frame Mancini has been at the club.
Certainly City needed major investment to really start to compete with the big boys and their hard fought draw with United on Wednesday proved that they have built a sturdy ship. It is also a point of note that despite the large sums of money invested, there are few players under Mancini that are yet to justify their move to Manchester.
It’s arguable that the same can’t quite be said for Ancelotti as of yet. Most of his signings still warm the bench at Stamford Bridge. Though, his lack of big money signings does release a statement of intent that reads something along the lines of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.
In terms of styles of play, both managers share a similar ideal. They seek to build a strong back four to soak up pressure and employ a powerful defensive midfielder to cut up attacks and move the ball forward to playmakers. City and Chelsea also use wing attacks to great effect, regularly scoring from wide areas in quick counter attacks.
I do feel Chelsea are much more effective in doing this, but I am greatly impressed with City’s progress so far. The Chelsea squad could probably play near blindfolded and have an idea of where their teammates generally are and that takes time.
Mancini’s men aren’t quite the finished product, but you can see the foundations are there, possibly just lacking that goal poacher to tap it in. Possibly the ill-tempered Balotelli could be that man, we shall see.
So what’s the difference? In my opinion, very little.
Mancini has been smart in the transfer window, he’s had to spend big as City are forced to pay over the odds due to their rather public injection of funds; though he’s bought players he felt he needed unlike the Robinho style spending days of Mark Hughes (though I’m not convinced that was his decision as such).
The same goes for Ancelotti. He would have had access to funds but he’s bolstered his squad rather than attempting to improve it. He knew he had a squad worthy of winning any competition in the world, so he added a few touches here and there to try and complete the puzzle.
Tactically, they both play very quick and direct attacking football. Using the pace and power of their hugely talented wingers and strikers, both managers take advantage of teams at pace. However, both can suffer when faced with the packed penalty area of a team willing to defend deep.
I started this article with the view to try and decipher who was the more talented Italian gaffer. Mancini has the most league titles but Ancelotti has won the Champion’s League twice. Ancelotti has the most titles to his name but Mancini is 6 years younger. The more I think about it, the more they become one. Didn’t they both manage in Milan too?
So who do you think will end up higher in the hall of fame? Do you think Mancini has what it takes to take City all the way? Or do you think Ancelotti has done enough to prove his class at Chelsea and continue to keep winning honours? Answers below my friends.
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