Friday, March 23, 2018

Guardiola v Mourinho will be box office in the Premier League

David Nugent in Editorial, English Premier League 31 May 2016

Pep Gaurdiola and Jose Mourinho will renew their managerial rivalry next season in the Premier League

Pep Gaurdiola and Jose Mourinho will renew their managerial rivalry next season in the Premier League

Last season was undoubtedly one of the most extraordinary in Premier League history. The biggest surprise was obviously Leicester’s amazing Premier League title triumph.

Something tells me that the old order may not be as easy to overthrow next season.

The appointment of Pep Guardiola at Manchester City and Jose Mourinho at city rivals Manchester United means that neither will be so disappointing in the new campaign.

The pair will be renewing an old rivalry that was cranked-up in the Spanish top-flight when they managed on either side of the Barcelona and Real Madrid divide.

Old foes go head-to-head once again

Two of the world’s most acclaimed bosses at two of English football’s richest clubs will just add to the excitement of next season for many fans. The pair are fierce rivals from not only their time together in Spain, which proved explosive, but also their meetings in the Champions League.

Mourinho enjoyed rubbing Guardiola up the wrong way in the press and the pair were constantly bickering in the press. The new United boss usually got the better of the media, but it was the new City boss who came out on top more often on the pitch.

From 16 competitive meetings between the pair, Mourinho claimed just three wins, six games were drawn and Guardiola recorded seven wins. The Portuguese boss will claim that he does not care about those stats, but deep down he will be looking to better that record in the coming years.

The one feather in Mourinho’s cap in his battle against Guardiola is the fact that the Portuguese boss beat the Spaniard to the 2012 La Liga title. That campaign turned out to be Guardiola’s last at his beloved Barcelona.

Bosses have similar jobs to do

The fact that the pair are managing in the same city and will have the same goals next season for their new teams only adds to the spice brought by their arrival, or in Mourinho’s case return to English football.

In many ways the tasks of both Guardiola and Mourinho are very similar. Their job is simple win the Premier League title. There was not a great difference between City and United in the league table last season.

In fact City finished in fourth spot, on level points with fifth-place United. Only the Citizens superior goal difference saw them finish above their bitter-rivals in the table. The two clubs were perceived as underachievers last season. That is a fair assumption considering the amount of money invested in both teams last summer.

Neither job will be easy for the new men at the helms of the respective clubs. City and United both proved last season that their squads need upgrading this summer and that they are not good enough to mount serious title challenges.

Guardiola has at times made mistakes in the transfer market, while Mourinho is regarded as a guy who gets it right more often than not. Neither man has much room for error with their summer recruitment drives.

Favourites for the Premier League title

Despite the two teams finishing 4th and 5th respectively in the Premier League last season, the Manchester pair are already regarded as favourites for the title next season.

Just the appointment of Guardiola and Mourinho was enough to send punters into a betting frenzy. City are 21/10 favourites to win the title next season, with United odds of 9/2 to be crowned champions in Mourinho’s debut season at the club.

The likes of Chelsea, Tottenham, Liverpool and Arsenal will be hoping to have a say in the title race, while reigning champions Leicester will be looking to repeat their incredible achievement from last season.

However, despite all the high-profile managers elsewhere and prospective new summer signings it will difficult to take attention away from the battle in Manchester.

The Premier League may have been a great spectacle last season for the surprises, but something tells me that City and United will be restored to the top of the English football tree in the next few years.

For all their critics Guardiola and Mourinho have managerial records that most football bosses would envy and most clubs would die for. The addition of the rivalry will certainly make the English top-flight an interesting watch next season, even if it is not as surprising as last season.

Will either Guardiola or Mourinho be celebrating a title victory next May?


David Nugent

David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The 33-year-old has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.



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