Is Mancini slowly veering towards Arsene Wenger’s infamous philosophy? And how must Manchester City’s entrusted Italian chief steer clear?
Ongoing managerial feuds; ranting and raving from the touchline; cautious tactics and inconsistent results beg the question: is Mancini slowly veering towards Arsene Wenger’s infamous philosophy? And how must Manchester City’s entrusted Italian chief steer clear of the strategy which so often disrupts Arsenal's title challenge?
Mancini and Wenger: Persona
Roberto Mancini is wavering towards taking every thrill and spill that he has to contend with to heart. As passionate bosses go, they feel everything their respective team has to offer. It has been the infamous livelihood of Arsene Wenger for decades.
Picture The Scene:
It was tied at 0-0. A sea of followers filled the seating of a modern-built stadium. Waves began to metaphorically crash into concrete hoardings, and flooded onto the pitch. Supportive chanting from the home section had descended into intense murmuring. Fiery foreboding quickly reached deafening decibels, which looked to disturb the home team and complimented the travellers. Tick. Times wears on. It scratches at the skin of success in the managers’ hands. Tick. The home team were urged and obliged to score against supposedly weaker opposition. They couldn’t, so they were on the verge of being transpired against by their own devotees. Tick.
Unsettled remarks began to rain on the suited figure from the faces of thunder up in the terraces above the ageing coach, as he strode back and forth. Another attack came to an end. He swung his arms relentlessly out of his pocket once again. Turning to face vast criticism aimed at his side’s lacklustre efforts, anxiety etched upon his face. He tended to be renowned for certain spite. He possessed a type of acid tongue. His next antagonistic remark would be timely, which was why the spotlight firmly shone straight at him. All gazes fixed in the same direction. Away from a usually unflappable nature, his vindictive side was well and truly unleashed. Turning his head once more, he cast his predator-esque, bulging eyes away from the game which he had all but given up hope on. All he could do was hope, pray and issue instructions to his oncoming substitute.
Man City and Arsenal fans, does this seem a familiar scenario at your ground?
Admittedly, that piece was rather a descriptive account of a typical saturday in the life of Arsene Wenger than Roberto Mancini in the current climate. The truth is, this could be a scene starring Man City boss Mancini more and more.
Complaints in press conferences leading to Mancini and Wenger having been miss-treated and victimised by the media, plus referees most weeks, are proof that it all gets too much to handle. Both men regularly have animated body language telling of disgruntled drivels running through the minds of two easily frustrated men. They are carbon copies of eachother. Men burdened with morbid pressure and a monkey of expectation on their backs. Frequent antics in the technical area signal pure, uncontrollable emotion.
Dealing with a dreadful let down is hell breaking loose on football. The stresses of the game simply can't be compared to work, school or even a relationship. Add the prospect of seeing your club triumph to the happiness equation and you add another dimension, to the lengths of a parallel fantasy world that the football world seems.
It's a known fact that the prospect of football drives folk on in sometimes un-fulfilling life. More reason to find trials and tribulations on a never-ending, all-consuming, extravagant, rollercoaster ride more heart-felt - and this is just being a fan. You can only imagine how emotionally attached the people who do it for a living must grow.
Something with so much riding on the outcome means emotions mounting high. The result usually ends in a whim of afflicting confrontation with counterparts. Wenger has had his share through the Premier League's ages, totalling fines of around £55,500 for four separate threatening actions by UEFA and FA boards in his career, especially with one Sir Alex Ferguson. Mancini was caught up in one with Paul Lambert at the end of a League Cup tie this week. Mancini will do better than to verbally brawl with Sir Alex as tensions run high once more; only inevitable, considering the vindictively charged alliances between both Manchester clubs heat up.
On a sincere note, forgiveness circulates. Confrontations can be forgiven with a handshake. What is less forgiving is a manager such as Wenger or Mancini persistently standing in a bolt straight position, arms folded. Why do they refuse to forgive and forget when it's considered that managers are classy for being a better man? However, business is business, and the personalities of Mancini and Wenger surely don’t reflect themselves in their daily lives. Mancini certainly is the new Wenger, with regards to heated drama versus Sir Alex Ferguson.
Mancini & Wenger: Methods
It's not only the two managers' antics pitch-side that are on a level. Contrastingly, as are the tactics; an integral part of being a Premier League coach. Wenger religiously pledges his faith in a cautious passing style unable to penetrate quickly. It's highly a steady retention of possession without the threat of a cross. There are two sides to the possession game coin. One is over-passing to inadequate measures and the other; well, clinical. Possession is not the be all and end all; Liverpool, for one prime example, conform to modern ideology, as proof that superior passing stats alone don’t necessarily reflect goal advantages thus far under Brendan Rodgers.
The problem for Man City is that they near Arsenal's levels of caution, with productive quality of pricey individuals seeing them play at a class above the Gunners. Without the hefty money bags making illustrious phenomenon aplenty available, crucially, City would not have the strength in depth to wins titles. Instead, they would have a team placed near Arsenal.
The team built by Mancini holds mighty zeal which helps to repay the gargantuan investment by Arabian billionaires. Vincent Kompany and Yaya Toure provide an attitude based on battling to win.
Arsenal, however, have lacked the no-nonsense players which graced a formidable spine once upon a time. A stalwart back line assembled by Tony Adams, Steve Bould, Martin Keown, Lee Dixon and Nigel Winterburn, including the physical presence of John Hartson, an old-fashioned centre forward, boosted 80s cup-winning exploits. No Gunners' XI had ever dismantled anyone with sheer brutality ever since. Days of "1-0 to the Arsenal" are upon us. No. It's more like either "run out 4-0 winners Arsenal" or "losing 1-0 no-show Arsenal", opposition-depending. The results slogged out that are dubbed ‘title-winning games’ are definitely non-existent under the Wenger reign. The great Arsenal from the past had a rugged presence that has long disappeared. The onus lies with Roberto Mancini to eliminate this diabolical possibility from defacing Manchester City’s chances. He must instead look to culminate graft with craft within his squad.
Football may have moved on from the abyssal doldrums of a trip to the pub, win, lose or draw, but Wenger entered North London with a scientifically vigorous approach to a new regime. Groundbreaking research towards performance undertaken by Wenger at Negoya Grampas Eight in Japan by hailed Wenger with the title "Le Professour". Inadvertently, he eradicated the type of aggressive players which marshalled the 1980s to early 90s era, 'one for Arsenal and all for Arsenal', were ordered out of Highbury, which called for cultured, if multilingual, products to revolutionise terribly irresponsible ranks.
Bruce Ricoh's successor, Arsene Wenger, came to the fore with ideas of a rotatory system, meaning planted crops take years to grow. With it, Arsenal lost its soulful heart. Arsenal lost its will to win. Those days of credentials worthy of winning anyone are hidden away at the back of loyal Gunners' minds. The reasons as to why will be touched on.
Wenger earned a reputation for spotting young talent and has retained a focus on developing a youth system, where his clubs develop young players instead of buying expensive, experienced ones. The results are that Arsenal fans scratch their heads at generations of prematurely graduated youngsters until they grow into the boots of their well-documented potential. He has faced criticism for sticking closely to his principles, with some commentators questioning his ambition to win trophies.
In terms of quality and also in relation to the league standings, the foundations built by Arsene 4 seasons into inheriting a well-knit team producing already prolific results corresponds with the first Man City side developed by Roberto Mancini.
Mancini's was excessively brought to reach the next level, via the heavy moneybags of the Arabic billionaires behind an oil tycoon.
The future of Man City depends on the moves Mancini makes from now on. He may even have to resolve to the Wenger methods which cause concern, in light of Financial Fairplay regulations established by FIFA earlier this year, ruling a limit on net loss. Financial Fairplay could hinder City and their inflated spending in the long run if their trophy bids falter. Progression into a force to be reckoned with Europe's elite in the bigger picture depends on Man City's showing in the foreseeable future.
Arsenal reap the rewards of first-teamers' values escalating by the sale of a host of bred footballers to have emerged to stardom. Instead of spending the cash, Arsenal's scouting representatives scour the globe in hope of investing in blessed youngsters. With that process come fruitful finances, opposing success of the first team. Yes, Man City are frequently the ones cherry-picking names on the transfer market from Arsenal, but Man City could well be the ones having to sell want-out men hungry for trophies elsewhere to free up funds.
Currently, financial losses are at a minimum, following the grasp of the Premier League trophy and an FA Cup written into the history books to earn prize money. This season though, things have plummeted. Performances have contrasted- with not one win in 4 games- threaten to terminate City's long-term hopes, which work hand in hand with short-term potency.
Conclusively, potential contenders for major honours need to generate cash and preserve their squad fairly to win silverware. Mancini can afford to spend big on marquee signings for now, although if this recent drought in results prevails, he could become suspect to Arsene Wenger's methods. Financial Fairplay may only pay dividends in the future. Mancini’s squad could potentially last 4-6 years. Its average age now is 26; perhaps the peak age of a modern-day footballer. Chelsea will tell you that spending sprees lead to an inadequately ageing squad years along the line. Chelsea’s ploy is criticised as ‘closed’ and it’s proven to be a short-term job to oversee it. The same could be featured at the Etihad once players get over the hill. Either that, or the plan made famous by Arsene Wenger.
Wenger can be understandably commended for keeping The Arsenal in domestic contention, even with his discovered assets departing to so-called “bigger clubs”, yet Wenger re-investing on cheap, foreign youngsters, in preference to gambling on proven internationals with the money gained from selling warrants scrutiny. You can’t condemn Mancini flexing City’s mammoth financial muscle on such players. He is not a bad manager for making the most of his employers’ finances. Mancini’s job is in contrary to a 10 year-old managing City on the Football Manager game. To achieve with an endless budget can be done almost with your eyes closed on a matchday. This article has raised questions that link City to restrictive motives. The solutions in years to come are: buy young, or spend less on popular talents. Only in 4 to 6 years will Mancini be judged accordingly on team-building; Wenger’s specialist subject.
The future isn’t all bright. Young City fans, fear the worst depths of celebration deprivation suffered by the Arsenal faithful. The sign of times will be in Roberto Mancini's expressions.