As another extremely eventful Premier League campaign draws to an end and once again English football has continued to develop and amaze.
Perhaps the most significant feature of the 2012-13 Season has been the continued commitment to the replacement of managers. Some changes work, some don’t.
The first manager to go was Chelsea’s Champions League winner Roberto Di Matteo, replaced by Rafael Benitez, an extremely unpopular choice for the Chelsea faithful due to comments made about the club during his time at Liverpool.
Regardless, Benitez has done adequately. Losing the Club World Cup final, losing in the semi-finals of the FA and Capital One cup but guiding Chelsea safely into the Champions League and into the Europa League final.
It seems a certainty that Rafa will not continue as Chelsea manager and few in West London will remember his reign positively.
Southampton manager Nigel Adkins was sacked in January and immediately replaced by Mauricio Pochettino. Many suggest this was a good move, with wins on home soil against the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea guiding the Saints to safety.
However, results have slowed down recently. Southampton haven’t won a game in five attempts and they have scraped to safety due to a couple of vital draws. The real test for Pochettino will come next season.
One may point to Harry Redknapp as an example of managerial change that didn’t work. This seems harsh. As anyone who follows Harry closely will know he described the job of keeping QPR in the Premier league as probably his “toughest ever” task in management.
After all, he joined the club when they had four points from 14 games. Regardless, Harry has done better than Mark Hughes and who knows where they would be if he had started the season at the helm.
So we expect to begin next season with this year’s likely top three; Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea with new managers. With Sir Alex Ferguson retiring and Roberto Mancini sacked officially on Monday.
Do the two teams outside the top three, both vying to finish in that vital fourth spot, have a huge opportunity to mount a significant title challenge next year?
Or will the gap grow between the top three? Bigger spending is inevitable among all three clubs and Arsenal and Tottenham both have a history for trying to spend shrewdly rather than lavishly in the transfer market.
The Premier League is in transition, and in a few years time will be back to its magnificent best; with four teams in the Champions League quarter finals regularly.
The money simply isn’t there in for the long haul in Spanish and Italian leagues and no other league can boast the wealth of competition that the English game does.
As the Premier League’s 21 years have proved though, very rarely do new managers go on to win the league straight away. Only Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti have done it in their first season as managers in the Premier League.
Whilst Mourinho may be likely to be the new Chelsea manager, the situation is much different and question marks about his “special” credentials have been raised due to the extensive reports of upheaval in the Madrid dressing room.
All in all, we can never predict what will happen next season, but I suspect it will involve both the quality of talent and the intenseness of competition getting stronger in the Barclays Premier League.
With Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea all likely to highlight the title as the primary aim for their new manager, not all new appointments could possibly be a complete success and this leaves room for the emergence of another club.
Which it will be may hinge of the events of the final day of the season, but regardless both Arsenal and Tottenham must see next season as the best opportunity in a long time to get closer to first position.
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