Is the “Premier League manager” becoming a thing of the past?

Well, some might feel a bit surprised at the title, others might feel intrigued at the idea of the Premier League managers turning into remnants of the past. However, for the ardent football fans this title – rather, this trend – might ring a bell and remind them of some instances in past which justify putting forth the bold question. This would be all the more true for gamblers and punters who follow Premier League betting odds, and keeping a track of how the manager’s role is being side-lined. In this article, we have made an attempt to see why and how exactly that change is being brought about.

A Shift in the Trend

As recently as May, Unai Emery was given the baton at Arsenal, but in the capacity of head coach rather than in the capacity of a manager. He replaced Arsene Wenger, who was labelled as the manager of the club for the last 22 years. Another example can be taken by Maurizio Sarri stepping into the shoes of Antonio Conte as the leader of Chelsea. Though he leads the team, he has retained the tag of head coach.

Out of the top rung of English football clubs, Emery and Sarri are among the six head coaches, and 14 other clubs have retained the position of “manager”, for now. Though the number are a minority, it does represents a shift and a trend that the official boss of the team is now moving away from an overarching role of overseeing every activity of the club.

Is there any actual difference?

Mauricio Pochettino changed his title from head coach to manager in 2016 when his contract with Tottenham was extended. He commented that since the time he had been associated with the club, he was more of a manager than just a coach. Well, the difference in the role of coach and a manager might arise in terms of dealing with affairs such as recruitment and transfers. A manager is responsible for various issues of the like nature, as opposed to simply coaching. One rumour behind why Antonio Conte stepped down from his position of manager is because of him not being given the autonomy that a manager wields.

This can also be seen in how Arsenal have created two divisions – head coach (Emery) and head of football relations (Raul Sanllehi), with the two dealing with the different aspects of the game. This rift in managing power and coaching players is also seen at teams like Everton and West Ham, where major decision such as transfers are not taken by the manager or any single person.

Is the Premier League actually witnessing a change?

In light of the above incidents it can be said without a doubt that Premier League football is definitely witnessing a change. Garry Neville, the former Manchester United and England defender, has spent a considerable time studying the different models being employed by football clubs, and he too believes in this changing dynamic of football. He opines that coaches minds are preoccupied with pressing matters such as choosing their teams, training sessions, etc. Hence it becomes taxing for them to take care of matters such as future signings and contract negotiations on top of this.

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Matic to Man Utd: Should Chelsea be selling him?

Matic to Man Utd: The Serbian midfielder is close to a reunion with Jose Mourinho, but are Chelsea making the right decision to sell him to Premier League title rivals?

Matic to Man Utd: Pro’s for Chelsea

The reported fee for Matic to Man Utd is £40m. A similar amount to what Chelsea have paid for Tiemoue Bakayoko, meaning the Blues would break even in terms of transfer spend.

Antonio Conte is stamping his mark on his squad for the new season. He is signing the players he wants and allowing those he doesn’t want to leave the club. So if he is able to do so while balancing the books, he’ll be even happier.

Matic to Man Utd: Con’s for Chelsea

Chelsea are losing an established midfielder. At 28 Matic is in his prime with plenty still to offer. He’s also won two Premier League titles with Chelsea over the past three seasons.

Matic’s replacement is unproven in the Premier League. Bakayoko may need time to adapt to his new surroundings and has far less experience.

Chelsea’s squad depth will be tested unless they sign more midfielders. Conte has already allowed Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Nathaniel Chalobah to depart the club. With the demand of more games this season compared to last, Chelsea are going to need to ensure their squad can handle the busy schedule.

Matic to Man Utd: Pro’s & Con’s for United

Signing Matic will work for United. He is a grafter and will free up the likes of Paul Pogba to have more of an impact on the game in the final third.

Matic registered seven assists for Chelsea in the Premier League last season, more than any other Manchester United player. This shows his creative edge even though his main job is to provide extra cover for the defence. Plus, Mourinho knows Matic well. The Serbian has played a total of 90 games under the Portuguese head coach in the past.

However, another midfielder gives Mourinho a selection dilemma. He has at least four players who can play in a similar role. So adding Matic to the squad could lead to some discontent among those vying for a place in the starting lineup.

Photos of Matic in Man Utd training wear have appeared online over the weekend, suggesting a deal is all but done. Although the legitimacy of these is yet to be stated, it certainly looks like Matic has played his final game for Chelsea.

Diego Costa staying? Chelsea’s striker crisis could be solved

Chelsea have shown little intent in the summer transfer window so far. The main talk has been about the future of their controversial striker. Antonio Conte has been looking to offload him, but is Diego Costa staying?

The Blues have struggled so far to bring in a replacement for Costa. They have seemingly missed out on bringing Romelu Lukaku back to Stamford Bridge. With the Belgian closing in on a move to Manchester United, so Chelsea are running out of options.

It is reported that Chelsea manager Antonio Conte could be set for a U-turn on his decision to sell the Spaniard. If Diego Costa’s staying, Chelsea’s striker crisis could be solved. Chelsea’s preseason is days away and a solution before then would be ideal.

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Diego Costa staying: Positives

Costa is a two-time Premier League champion, he has proven his worth. His goalscoring record speaks for itself, with 58 in 210 appearances meaning he averages just under a goal every other game.

Chelsea’s number 19 has a great relationship with his teammates and the fans. Although no players have crossed Conte’s decision, they have spoken of their fondness of Costa.

With the possibility of Diego Costa staying, Chelsea do not have to spend money on a new striker. This means they can spend money elsewhere in the team and try to sign other players they need. And if he does stay for the rest of his contract, Chelsea won’t need to sign a striker until 2019.

Is Diego Costa staying at Chelsea?

Diego Costa enjoying his holiday. Via: @diego.costa on Instagram

Diego Costa staying: Negatives

Costa and Antonio Conte already have a rocky relationship. It will be difficult for them to see eye to eye and problems will more than likely happen again. If the pair clash midseason it would be impossible to see anything positive come from Diego Costa staying.

The Spaniard has already asked to leave Chelsea more than once since signing in 2014. He clearly feels he has unfinished business at Atletico. Once their transfer ban is over, Costa will probably look to force a move again. So this might leave Chelsea with the same problem of needing to sign a new striker in January.

Is Diego Costa staying? Would this be good for Chelsea?

Chelsea set to beat Spurs to PL title by 11 points if these results are anything to go by

The race for the Premier League title is continuing to keep fans guessing after Tottenham closed the gap on leaders Chelsea to just four points over the weekend. The two are set to face off for a place in the FA Cup Final this weekend in a huge game which will no doubt create even more talking points for who is going to end up winning the title.

Chelsea have a more favourable run-in on paper according to many fans and pundits alike and by looking into the results in the reverse fixtures, it is clear to see why that is the general consensus.

Chelsea’s remaining fixtures:

Southampton (H)
Everton (A)
Middlesbrough (H)
West Brom (A)
Watford (H)
Sunderland (H)

There is no easy game in the Premier League but Chelsea play four of their six remaining games at Stamford Bridge. The reverse fixtures saw Chelsea take maximum points and while the title race is still in their hands, Antonio Conte’s side will want his side to get the job done as soon as possible.

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Tottenham’s remaining fixtures:

Crystal Palace (A)
Arsenal (H)
West Ham (A)
Manchester United (H)
Leicester City (A)
Hull City (A)

Spurs have been in incredible form of late, but there is no doubting they have some tough fixtures in their run-in. Unlike Chelsea, four of their last six are away from home, while their two remaining home games are against top four chasing Arsenal and Manchester United.

If Mauricio Pochettino’s side do not improve on their results in the reverse fixtures they have very little chance of winning the league. They drew against Arsenal, lost to Man United, drew at home to Leicester and won the other three games, giving them a total of 11 points from a possible 18.

While it is unlikely both Chelsea and Spurs will replicate the exact same outcomes in their remaining fixtures, it does give some insight into potential results. Chelsea would hypothetically finish the season on 93 points, if they picked up the maximum 18 on offer, while Spurs would stand to take 11 points, putting their final tally at 82.

Are Chelsea going to win their 5th Premier League title or will Tottenham pull off an incredible turnaround?

Chelsea still on course to be the greatest Premier League champions of all time

Chelsea took another huge step towards the Premier League title with an important win away at West Ham on Monday evening. The Blues are ten points clear once again after their title rivals closed the gap at the weekend, making the three points gained all the more impressive. With 11 games remaining are they on course to break the record for highest number of points reached in one season?

Back in the 2004/05 season, under the guidance of Jose Mourinho, Chelsea swept all before them and reached an astonishing 95 points, losing only one game and conceding just 15 goals. The Blues are currently on 66 points and with 33 points left to play for they could actually end the season on 99 points.

Remaining Premier League fixtures

Stoke (A)
Crystal Palace (H)
Manchester City (H)
Bournemouth (A)
Manchester United (A)
Southampton (H)
Everton (A)
Middlesborough (H)
West Brom (A)
Sunderland (H)
Watford (H) (TBA)

Chelsea’s run in is far kinder than some of their title rivals. They have played all of their away London Derbies and their toughest trip on the road will be Man Utd. The standout fixture is City at home, but there are no guarantees they will win every game. We can expect every side to be out to cause Chelsea immense difficulty, while they face some fixtures against teams who will be fighting against relegation.

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Conte’s squad

Antonio Conte has just 11 different starting lineups this season, the lowest of any Premier League side and the consistency is there for all to see. Every player has been a top performer and it’s easy to see why the squad are enjoying themselves so much. Diego Costa netted his 17th league goal of the season against West Ham and Eden Hazard added his 11th in the league – the pair have been scoring freely. But a mention has to go to Pedro, who completes the attacking spearhead, his Premier League contribution has been seven goals and seven assists.

N’Golo Kante

Kante looks set to win back-to-back Premier League titles and, given his impact on a side, there aren’t really any surprises. There is nothing else to say about the Frenchman that hasn’t already been said, but he will no doubt be the key player if Chelsea are to rack up eleven more wins this season and break their record.

No European fixtures

Chelsea have benefitted from not having European fixtures all season, their rivals in the title race have had more games. The Blues have their full attention on the games against City and United, while the two have Europe as a distraction. Conte’s side are still in the FA Cup but extra fixtures have rarely interrupted their domestic campaign.

Can they do it?

Given their performance levels this season Chelsea are more than capable of winning every game until the end of the season. It is a huge task for any side to go on an unbeaten run, let alone a winning one, so while it would be nice for the fans, chances are they will not be too worried if they don’t break the record, considering it’s theirs anyway.

Will Chelsea reach 99 points?

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Chelsea vs Arsenal

Competition: Premier League – Chelsea vs. Arsenal 

Venue: Stamford Bridge – Saturday, February 4 – 12:30 GMT (07:30 ET)

Match Odds: Chelsea 10/11 – Draw 5/2 – Arsenal 29/10

Match Preview 

It’s a huge game in the Premier League title race as Chelsea welcome Arsenal to Stamford Bridge on Saturday in the standout fixture of the weekend.

If Antonio Conte’s side win this one they will be 12 points clear of Arsenal at the top of the league, which given Chelsea’s form, would almost certainly put The Gunners out of contention for the title.

Chelsea come into this one having drawn 1-1 away at Liverpool in midweek. It was a solid point but they’ll be ruing a missed opportunity to have extended their lead at the top of the table as results went their way on the most part. Diego Costa’s penalty was saved in the latter stages of the game, he’ll be looking to make up for that in this one.

There will be an added hunger for Chelsea to win this game as they were hammered in the reserve fixture, 3-0 early on in the season, many have dubbed that the game that won Chelsea the league, as it inspired Conte’s changes and sparked their tremendous winning run.

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Arsenal have to win this game. They lost in midweek at home to Watford a game which has dealt them a significant blow and they need a response.

Arsene Wenger’s side found themselves two goals behind in the first 15 minutes of that game, if their defensive struggles are repeated in this one they will be in for a long afternoon.

The Arsenal squad are going to need to step up here, they cannot afford to allow Chelsea to gain any momentum. What worked so well for them in the reserve fixture was a highly intense start, but they’re all too aware this is a different Chelsea side altogether.

Just five points separate second and fifth place in the table, if results go against Arsenal this weekend they could find themselves outside the top four.

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Team News  

There are no real injury concerns for Chelsea heading into this tie. David Luiz and Eden Hazard are expected to start the game despite picking up slight knocks in midweek.

Arsenal are expecting to be without Santi Cazorla, Mathieu Debuchy and Aaron Ramsey through injury, while Grant Xhaka is suspended and Mohammed Elneny remains on international duty.

Key Points 

Chelsea’s form: W/L/W/W/D

Arsenal’s form: W/D/W/W/L

Key Stat: Chelsea have won their last eight home games in the Premier League.

Key Player: Eden Hazard – The Belgian had a quiet game against Liverpool but if plays to his usual high standard he will cause the Arsenal defence problems.

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Score Prediction

Chelsea 2-1 Arsenal – Chelsea to come through a difficult week of fixtures unbeaten and land a heavy blow to Arsenal’s season. This has the makings of a tight affair and it is a game that has a history of boiling over as emotions run high.

Why Chelsea could have the Premier League title wrapped up by February 4th

Chelsea moved eight points clear at the top of the Premier League following Sunday’s 2-0 win over Hull City, following a weekend in which four of the chasing pack dropped points.

The Blues have won back-to-back games without conceding following that 2-0 loss at Spurs in early January and look like a side ready to clinch the Premier League title, even if it is only January.

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It does seem to be a case of ‘when’ as opposed to ‘if’ when discussing Chelsea’s title chances, and it’s difficult to question their credentials given their form this season under the magnificent Antonio Conte.

The Italian’s tactics have taken the league by storm, with the 3-4-3 formation impenetrable more often than not, while his handling of the Diego Costa issue over the past week or so has proven that he is just as good a man manager as he is master tactician.

The Blues are top of the table with 55 points after 22 games – it’s only the fourth time that tally has been reached at this stage in Premier League history – but they are now preparing for arguably the biggest two weeks of their season.

After their home FA Cup tie with Brentford next weekend, Chelsea travel to Anfield to take on Liverpool in what is an enormous game for both sides on Tuesday, January 31. That comes just four days before the Blues then take on Arsenal at Stamford Bridge.

If they can win their next two league games, Chelsea will have at least one hand on a fifth Premier League title.

Both matches present stiff tests, with Liverpool and Arsenal desperately hoping that can close the gap to the league leaders over the next two weeks, but Chelsea have gone about their job in an impressively professional manner this season and it’s difficult to imagine them losing back-to-back games, no matter the opponent.

Six points from their next two would leave Chelsea at least 11 points clear of Arsenal and 13 in front of Liverpool – margins that would all but rule both sides out of the title race with 14 games to go.

Manchester City and Manchester United are already 12 and 14 points behind, respectively, so wins in their next two would leave Chelsea primed for glory.

They might not be crowned champions on February 4, but the Blues could well be on the home straight by then, if they are not already.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Leicester City vs Chelsea

Competition: Premier League – Leicester City FC vs. Chelsea

Venue: King Power Stadium – Saturday, January 14 – 17:30 GMT (12:30 ET)

Match Odds: Leicester 9/2 – Draw 29/10 – Chelsea 8/13

Match Preview

Leicester welcome Chelsea to the King Power Stadium on Saturday evening in a game, a tie between two teams with reversed roles compared to last season.

This time last year Chelsea were loitering in mid-table, while Leicester were well underway to completing the seemingly impossible. The foxes are struggling to recapture their from from 2015/16 and are currently just six points above the relegation zone.

Claudio Ranieri will be hoping his side can pick up a positive result against his former employers, who have already been tipped to be crowned Premier League champions only halfway through the season.

Leicester’s last Premier League fixture ended 0-0 away at Boro, they look to have turned over a new leaf, having also progressed in the FA Cup with an impressive win away at Everton.

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Antonio Conte’s side bounced back well after their 13 game-winning streak was brought to an abrupt halt at the hands of Spurs in their last Premier League outing.

Chelsea responded well, having also progressed in the cup and now their attentions turn to reminding the chasing pack just how clinical they have been this season.

The Blues are only five points clear at the top and with some very tough fixtures coming up, there is much work to be done.

The Chelsea fans will be hoping their star players will be feeling fresh following a rest in their cup tie. They looked off the pace in their last fixture and an impressive display here will continue to strike fear into their competitors.

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Team News

Leicester City’s forward options are limited ahead of this tie. Islam Slimani and Riyad Mahrez are both at the African Cup of Nations, while there are doubts around the fitness of Jamie Vardy and Leonardo Ulloa. Daniel Amartey is also at AFCON, while Andy King could miss out through fitness.

Chelsea will be without captain John Terry following his dismissal in their FA Cup win last weekend, his appeal was unsuccessful and the ban was upheld. However, the former England captain would have most certainly returned to the bench had he been available for selection. Marcos Alonso is Chelsea’s only injury concern, he is a doubt.

Key Points

Leicester’s last five: L/D/L/W/D

Chelsea’s last five: W/W/W/W/L

Key Stat: Domination – Chelsea are unbeaten against Leicester in 11 of their last 12 meetings in all competitions.

Key Player: N’Golo Kante – This is a huge game for arguably the most important Premier League midfielder. It marks his return to the King Power since winning the league with Leicester last season. He will need to remain focused regardless of whatever reception he receives.

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Score Prediction

Leicester City 1-2 Chelsea – Leicester City to fall short here. They are missing a number of key players and face a Chelsea side who have been in scintillating form. Chelsea have conceded five goals in their last three games, their defence had only been breached twice in nine games previous to that run, so Leicester will feel they have a chance of finding the back of the net here.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Crystal Palace vs Chelsea

Competition: Premier League – Crystal Palace vs. Chelsea

Venue: Selhurst Park – Saturday, December 17 – 12:30 GMT (07:30 ET)

Match Odds: Crystal Palace 17/4 – Draw 3/1 – Chelsea 8/13

Match Preview 

Crystal Palace welcome Chelsea to Selhurst Park on Saturday morning, with the London Derby being the first game of the Premier League fixtures this weekend.

Alan Pardew’s side come into this one off the back of their midweek defeat against United, a game full of controversy. It was a tough result for Palace to take but they have to pick themselves up and be ready for this tie.

Crystal Palace are just three points above the relegation zone and need to get on a run of form sharpish to ensure they’re not dragged into the battle to avoid the drop. A positive result here and stopping Chelsea’s winning run would do wonders for the confidence of both the players and fans.

Worryingly for Palace, they have won just one in their last ten Premier League games, picking up just five points from a possible 30.

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There is not much to say about Chelsea’s run of form that hasn’t already been said, however they are only six points clear at the top of the table and the Premier League throws up never ending surprise results.

Antonio Conte’s side have won their last ten games in a row but know they’re going to be in for another tough afternoon here. Chelsea will be expecting to remain tight at the back and clinical as they move forward.

Chelsea’s defensive displays have been resilient, especially in their last two one-nil wins. They have kept eight clean sheets in their run of ten wins and will be hoping to add another to that list this weekend.

Conte has strength in depth at his disposal, he has already started making more use of his squad, with the likes of Cesc Fabregas working his way back into the side, it wouldn’t be surprising to see another change in the middle for this tie.

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Team News

Crystal Palace are expecting to be without seven players for this London Derby as Papa Souare, Jonathan Benteke, Connor Wickham, Steve Mandanda, James Tomkins, Bakary Sakho and Loic Remy are all doubtful.

Chelsea’s injury list remains minimal, Kurt Zouma, John Terry and Marco van Ginkel are all still working their way back to fitness, while Oscar, Eden Hazard and John Obi Mikel are all doubts.

Key Points

Crystal Palace’s last five: L/L/W/D/L

Chelsea’s last five: W/W/W/W/W

Key Stat: Emphatic – Chelsea have won their last ten Premier League games in a row. They are four games away from equalling the current record for most consecutive wins in the Premier League era.

Key Player: Diego Costa – The Spaniard is on fire. Chelsea’s run of form has been impressive but would probably not have been possible without Costa being as clinical in front of goal as he has been. Expect him to be in the thick of the action this weekend, he does however remain one booking away from suspension.

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Score Prediction

Crystal Palace 1-2 Chelsea – Another hard-fought game for both of these sides. Palace are expected to set up to frustrate Chelsea in this tie and it will be down to Conte’s men to break down a solid side once again.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Manchester City vs Chelsea

Competition: Premier League – Manchester City vs. Chelsea

Venue: Etihad Stadium – Saturday, December 3 – 12:30 GMT (07:30 ET)

Match Odds: Manchester City 11/10 – Draw 5/2 – Chelsea 12/5

Match Preview

Manchester City welcome Chelsea to the Etihad Stadium on Saturday lunchtime in a mouthwatering fixture in the race for the Premier League title.

Pep Guardiola’s side trail league leaders Chelsea by just one point ahead of this tie and just three points separate the top four. This is a crunch game for City, who need to make sure they win and put an end to Chelsea’s winning run.

City come into the game having come from behind to beat Burnley in a scrappy game that showed their resilience to win, something they’ll need to show once again here.

While many are saying it is too early for results to impact the race for the title, a loss for City here could be disastrous for the squad mentally. Guardiola has experience coaching against Chelsea and will know his side are up against a team that never know when they’re beat.

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Chelsea are the inform team in the Premier League. They have won seven in row, conceding just once and scoring 19.

Antonio Conte is pleased with his side, especially the spirit they showed to come from behind to beat Spurs last weekend. Many have questioned whether or not going behind would upset the balance for Chelsea in their unbeaten run, but they proved they are capable of turning a game in their favour.

Chelsea have struggled at the Etihad, they have won just once in their last eight visits in all competitions and, like practically every Premier League club, have constantly been on the receiving end of a Sergio Aguero masterclass.

This a game Chelsea have to avoid defeat in. It will put them in a really good position for their upcoming December fixtures, while no league game is easy, they have some favourable games over the Christmas period and could capitalise on that to give themselves some cushioning at the top.

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Team News

Vincent Kompany remains out for Manchester City, while there are concerns about Fabian Delph and Raheem Sterling, who are both doubts.

Chelsea are expected to remain unchanged for the eighth game in a row. John Terry will be out, while Kurt Zouma and Marco van Ginkel are not yet ready to be considered for selection. Diego Costa is one yellow card away from a one-game ban, it wouldn’t be a surprise if he picks that up here given the intensity of this tie.

Key Points

Manchester City’s form: D/W/D/W/W

Chelsea’s form: W/W/W/W/W

Key Stat: Chelsea have conceded just once in their seven-game winning streak.

Key Player: Thibaut Courtois – This is easily the biggest challenge of the season for the Chelsea backline. They have been performing very well but face a completely different opponent with the way City will press them on the ball. Courtois will have to be at his best to ensure his side can come away with a win.

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Score Prediction

Manchester City 2-0 Chelsea – Manchester City are going to give Chelsea a different style of game that no other side has done this season. Their pressing and ball retention will make this a difficult afternoon for Conte’s men. Historically, it is not a happy hunting ground for Chelsea and Aguero & co will make it another to forget for The Blues.