Who could replace Arsene Wenger?

Arsenal have recently lost 1-0 to fierce rivals Tottenham in the North London Derby. Recent reports have suggested that Arsenal may be lining up a replacement for Arsene Wenger at the end of the season and with Ancelotti watching on at Wembley the rumours were fuelled. However, the authenticity of these reports are unknown so it’s best to take it with a pinch of salt because at the end of Wenger still has another year on his contract and it is likely he will see it through considering his reputation of seeing out contracts. Nevertheless, I will be looking at potential replacements, the formation they use, their philosophies, their managerial record and the tactics they use.

Hasenhüttl:

He has enjoyed a good spell in charge at RB Leipzig. Hasenhüttl currently deploys a 4-2-2-2 formation. Hasenhüttl’s system is fast, intense pressing in a counter-press style. Hasenhüttl’s aggressive form of pressing football is combined with a form of long-ball football. The counter-press is similar to how Liverpool play and is designed to win the ball back quickly after the long ball breaks down. The strike partnership is made up of a physical presence and a fast runner with the ball being played into dangerous areas. The counter-press is initiated by a long ball (usually played by the full back), the 2-2-2 will stay relatively close together and hunt in a pack to attempt to win back possession as fast as they can whilst the opposition is disorganised. Last season the two strikers role was to cut the passing lanes to the full backs in order to force the opposition down the middle to win it back in there. But, this season they have reduced some of the intensity which encourages the 2-2-2 to drop into a 4-2. Hasenhuttl is known for introducing youth into his side, players such as: Lookman most recently, Werner, Poulson have all succeeded from being given the chance. Considering all this, here’s how we could line up under Hasenhüttl:

Allegri:

After three seriously impressive seasons at Juventus: winning three Scudetto’s, three Coppa Italia’s, one Super Coppa Italia and earning two Champions League runners up medals. Allegri is a flexible tactician, he has no particular system but sets up the best way for the players at his disposal. However, there is one system he enjoys at Juventus and that is the 4-2-3-1 that drops into a 4-4-2 out of possession. Out of possession they drop deep into their own half to minimize the space in behind and around their own box that could be exploited. The double pivot are both ball playing central midfielders and are often man marked as well as the CAM; this leads to two scenarios. The first being the striker dropping into midfield to pick up the ball in space or secondly, one of the centre backs pushing into midfield to add another body in there. Allegri also uses a inverted winger who has a physical presence in order to dominate the usually less physical full back. This offers his team an outlet and presence who will often win aerial balls. So, here’s how we could line up under Allegri:

Sarri:

Sarri is currently manager of Napoli during what is one of their best recent seasons, top of the league and playing some of the best football in Europe. Sarri uses a 4-3-3 formation with the three in midfield consisting of a defensive midfielder and two central midfielders. Out of possession Napoli will drop into a 4-5-1 and press aggressively in the opponents half with the aim of cutting off opposition passing lanes. Sarri plays a high defensive line and compacts his players into the opposition half forcing backwards passing or clearances, however, at risk of being exposed to pace in behind. On the ball Sarri likes his teams to pass out from the back which will lure opposition forwards and midfielders out leaving spaces to exploit. Sarri likes his team to retain the ball whilst pushing forwards and playing one touch, quick passing football in incisive triangles. The forwards are allowed to cut in because the fullbacks push up making the formation 2-1-4-3 at times. Here’s how Arsenal could line up under Sarri:

Nagelsmann:

Nagelsmann is a young prospect in terms of football managers. Some consider him to not be ready for a big move and there haven’t been many rumours so I see it unlikely to happen. However, I would not rule out the possibility of Nagelsmann to Arsenal at some point. Nagelsmann is an astute tactician who is renowned for having strong, friendly relationships with players. He generally uses a 5-1-2-2. Nagelsmann likes his goalkeeper to have good distribution, his central midfielders are flexible and often drift out wide as do the strikers; the front four is fluid and protected by a solid back six. Nagelsmann has a converted central midfielder at centre back who is given the freedom to push into midfield when the defensive midfielder is isolated or overrun. A key feature to Nagelsmann’s style is hard pressing but not a counter attacking team. Instead, he likes his players to keep possession and build up play slower and wait for the right opportunity. Another big feature is his pendulum system. This is where if a team is attacking down one side the full back on that side presses the man on the ball and the defence shift to a back four whilst the front four shift across to help the full back press. On the ball, Nagelsmann sides tend to play through the middle and enjoy being direct to the centre forwards via the centre back and defensive midfielder. The strikers then try to lay the ball off and pass it on. Meanwhile, the central midfielders are given the license to roam and to collect the ball to drive at opposition with pace. Whilst attacking they can either switch to 3-3-4 or a 3-1-6 when the fullbacks push up into the attack. A feature of Nagelsmann’s management is research into passing lanes that are cut off so that his players can adapt to make more movement and options. Nagelsmann plays attractive football whilst being solid, he uses Guardiola like creative overload movement to create the maximum options available. Here’s how we could line up under Nagelsmann:

Jardim:

Jardim is a manager who brings through youth and develops them into top players rather than spending big on already top players (largely due to financial fair play). He is renowned for his aggressive attacking football which was showcased in Europe last season, reaching the Champions League semi-final and being lauded the best attacking team in Europe. After big departures in summer Monaco have remained competitive. Perhaps not winning the League title like last season after PSG’s massive spending, but they are a top 3 side and have been impressive after the big name departures of: Mbappe, Silva, Mendy, Bakayoko. Jardim uses a 4-4-2 formation. He likes his full backs to push high into the attack sometimes transforming it into a 2-4-4. The two in midfield are powerful dominating players: one box to box and the other defensive midfield. The box to box is a powerful runner with the ball and joins in on the attack with late runs and the defensive midfielder sits back and covers the two centre backs. The two in midfield paired with the two at centre back are comfortable ball players and retain possession until the fullbacks push on and allows for more dynamic passing from the midfield. The fullbacks are also influential to the wingers. Jardim uses two orthodox wingers who have a license to roam into the centre. The fullbacks are important to this because they offer the width that will be left behind by the wide players. The high pushing fullbacks combined with late runs from the box to box midfielder and the creative influence from the free roaming wide players and two upfront means Jardim’s side are one of the most exciting in the world. Here’s how Arsenal could line up under Jardim:

Ancelotti:

Now, Ancelotti is an interesting manager. His career honours are incredible. 21 honours which include: 1 Premier League, 1 FA Cup, 1 Community Shield, 1 Serie A, 1 Coppa Italia, 1 Super Coppa Italia, 3 Champions Leagues, 1 Ligue 1, 1 Copa Del Rey, 2 FIFA Club World Cups, 3 UEFA Super Cups, 1 Bundesliga, 2 DFL-Supercup, 2 World’s best club coach. However golden this looks on paper everywhere he has gone has never really lasted a long time and has ended sourly. Ancelotti is a manager who seemingly enjoys success n the early years of his term for the club he is in charge of. Similar to Allegri he is a manager who has no particular system but will in fact play to suit the style of the players he has. Ancelotti tends to play players in similar roles to the one the previous manager has set them only making them more composed on the ball and solid defensively. However, Ancelotti has been known to pack his midfield and get the best out of his players. He likes playing a regista or deep lying playmaker which could spark a revival for Granit Xhaka. Ancelotti in my opinion would be an excellent stop gap for the difficult period we will be in post Wenger. Here’s how Arsenal could line up under Ancelotti: 

Löw:

Low is a strange manager in the media. Abused for his gross habits but hailed for his tactical excellence. When he took over the German National side in 2006 it was considered to be one of the worst German sides ever. Low changed things. In his rejuvenation which ultimately lead to Germany conquering the world again at the 2014 World Cup. Low has been hailed as tactically perfect, holding a firm defence but using influence from Aragones’ or Guardiola’s style of football. Low uses a 4-2-3-1 formation but he is tactically versatile. Often changing personnel to suit specific games. Generally, Low likes to have a sweeper keeper so that his defence can take more risks and to play the ball out from the back. The defence is watertight (It helps that Germany’s is the best in the world), nevertheless, a solid defence. In front are two deeper midfielders. One defensive motor and one dynamic driving midfielder. The three in attacking midfield is made up of two inverted wingers and a creative genius (our very own Mesut Ozil). Low is known for being strong defensively and creative and dynamic going forwards, as well as, tactically brilliant. Despite all of this I have my doubts. It is over 10 years since he has managed at club level and we have seen managers struggle when transitioning back to club level, Louis Van Gaal’s demise being paramount to this. It would be a gamble, but if it has any kind of fortune similar to what happened at Germany it would be a successful gamble. Here’s how Arsenal could line up under Low:

The decision on who will replace Wenger is going to be one of the biggest in the club’s history. We all know what has happened at United following Fergie’s exit and if anything similar to that happens at Arsenal it would be unacceptable considering they have seen what happened at United. In my opinion Allegri is the manager best fit to replace Wenger. He is in his late forties (fairly young for a manager) and is one of the best coaches in Europe and will have the influence to project Arsenal to the next level. Ancelotti would also be a good stop gap to stabilise the club during the early post Wenger period and to achieve success so that a solid platform is created for the likes of Nagelsmann, Sarri and Jardim to step in. As much as I would love a revolutionary such as Jardim or Sarri I don’t think their aggressive attacking style of play might not do Arsenal a favour for Arsenal whose defence is the weakness anyway and someone is first needed to come in and solidify the defence before they arrive. Nagelsmann I feel is too young and inexperienced for the massive task of a great club like Arsenal; don’t rule out a move in later years. Low would be an interesting one for me. Seeing managers struggle to adjust to club football from international football I would have my queries. Nonetheless, his managerial career has been extraordinary for Germany and if he could transition it would be an amazing move. Let me know what you guys thought. Who would you like to replace Arsene Wenger?

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