They say football is an unforgiving world, where mistakes are severely punished. The behaviour of the boards of some top clubs in World Football epitomizes this unforgiving spirit. And so it is that two hugely successful coaches of the last few seasons of two hugely historical clubs find themselves under seriously threatening scrutiny today as the lads in their charges struggle to impress their very demanding fan bases and club owners.
Zinadine Zidane may have been a very successful footballer in his prime, winning the ‘Best Player in The World’s Award in 1995. The Algeria-born retired French international footballer may have been one of the best coaches, if not the best, in the world in the last few years after steering Real Madrid past the shadows of eternal domestic rivals Barcelona, winning the LA Liga and being the first coach to win the champions League back to back. The fact is that his Real Madrid side are having a shockingly poor season, placed 19 points behind Barcelona and languishing in 4th place in the La Liga table.
As their top player Marcello put it recently, Real are sinking.
Real Madrid are not a club with a history of wasting time to fire their coach when the players fail to deliver the Spanish League title, and its quite clear that Zidane isn’t going to win it this season.
The same thing could be said of Chelsea in the English Premier League. The Blues won the league last season following a remarkable winning run, after a poor early start. There was more hope amongst Chelsea fans that the team could kick on and give a strong account of themselves in the current season. But it has not been the case so far and the manager, Antonio Conte, who looked invincible for most of last season is beginning to look ordinary now.
The Blues played out a listless home draw with Leicester City last weekend, and though Conte attributed their poor performance to fatigue, after a gruelling Carabao cup semi final match with Arsenal some days earlier, not many fans of the club may be buying it. With each poor result would come the clamor for the head of the manager and Chelsea, like Madrid, do not wait too long to deliver the head of their manager when results begin to suffer.
It’s just the sad part of football that people would lose their jobs, sometimes so soon after achieving major successes for their clubs. The case of Claudio Ranieri springs to mind. The Leicester City boss who led his side to the most improbable of English league titles two seasons ago was so brutally given the boot when Leicester threatened to wade in relegation waters last season. Patience is one virtue that is lacking in some clubs, and sentiments have little place there. It’s just the way it is.
Talking of patience, many could point to Arsenal and the struggles of the club to win a major title for more than a decade now and say “this is what patience with underperforming managers gives you. “
The Gunners have been in turbulence this season as the contract situations if their two best players Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil remains unresolved as they enter the last few months of their existing contracts. Sanchez, it seems, is the one who wants out of the Emirates the more. In Arsenal’s last game, which ended in a humiliating 1-2 loss to relegation -threatened Bournemouth, Sanchez and Ozil were absent and the Gunners fell flat.
The calls for Wenger’s head threatens to be renewed to the ferocious levels of last season. The club is in a dismal 6th in EPL table at the moment, and qualifying for the champions league through finishing in the top four looks impossible with every passing weekend.
Wenger may leave Arsenal one day in an unpalatable way and leave the club in perhaps a tougher state than he net it. But on Sunday at the famous Anfield Stadium, Liverpool beat runaway league leaders Manchester City 4-3 in a very thrilling encounter and, by so doing, reminded us of the enduring legacy of Arsenal Wenger, who remains the only manager to lead an English premier league club to the league title unbeaten.
Man City prior to sunday had looked like the team that would break the invincibles record. Such was their dominance that they had won 20 League games and drawn two before they were felled by Jurgen Klopp tutored Liverpool who dished their famous gegenpress attacking football to leave the world’s best coach Pep Guardiola stunned.