Ancelloti v Arteta. They changed clubs together, but which club got the best deal?

By Tony Attwood

‘The perfect appointment’: Everton name Carlo Ancelotti as manager”

That was the full-on, top of the range, up-and-at-em headline in the Guardian when Everton changed their manager – just about at the same time that Arsenal appointed their new man.  A certain Mr Arteta as I recall.  By a strange coincidence, the clubs played each other just as the two signings were made.

Everton confirmed the appointment of Carlo Ancelotti with a four-and-a-half-year contract.  Arsenal gave Mikel Arteta a three and a half year contract.

According to the Guardian, Ancelotti’s arrival at the club “will be regarded as a significant coup for the club and its majority shareholder, Farhad Moshiri. Everton are 15th in the Premier League and had feared becoming embroiled in a relegation fight until a recent upturn under the caretaker manager, Duncan Ferguson.”  (Arsenal, as was noted almost daily, had suffered severely under Freddie).

On the Everton club website there was lots of pomp and talk of the past and future with the new man saying,  “This is a great club with a rich history and a very passionate fan base.  There is a clear vision from the owner and the board to deliver success and trophies. That is something that appeals to me as a manager and I am thrilled at the prospect of being able to work with everybody at the club to help make that vision a reality.”

Upbeat was the order of the day, the Guardian inevitably falling into line with, “Ancelotti…will inherit an improved situation from Ferguson. The former Everton striker has overseen impressive performances against Chelsea, Manchester United and Leicester – as well as the more sterile draw with Arsenal – and Ancelotti confirmed he will remain part of the staff.”

At that moment Arsenal were four points and six goals better off than Everton, an easy gap for Everton with their top man in place, to make up.

P W D L F A GD Pts
10 Arsenal 17 5 7 5 24 27 -3 22
11 Newcastle United 17 6 4 7 17 24 -7 22
12 Burnley 17 6 3 8 22 29 -7 21
13 Brighton and Hove Albion 17 5 5 7 21 25 -4 20
14 AFC Bournemouth 17 5 4 8 19 24 -5 19
15 West Ham United 17 5 4 8 19 28 -9 19
16 Everton 17 5 3 9 20 29 -9 18

The Everton man had of course just been sacked by his last club but that was a mere detail and his failure there was hardly mentioned.  Arsenal were the ones gambling.  You could almost hear the media rubbing their hands with eager anticipation of Arsenal’s failures to come.

Indeed the Guardian said, Ancelotti, “will inherit an improved situation from Ferguson” (the interim manager). “The former Everton striker has overseen impressive performances against Chelsea, Manchester United and Leicester…”

Ancelotti took up the theme saying, “I have seen from the performances in the last two weeks that the players are capable of so much. The work Duncan has done is a great credit to him. Strong organisation, strong discipline and the right motivation are some of the key ingredients in football and I’m pleased he will be part of my backroom team moving forward.”

Ferguson played his part in the propaganda. “We knew … the club were about to appoint an unbelievable manager, that gave everyone a lift,” he said. “We wanted a world-class manager and now we’ve got one, I can’t wait to start working with him and learning from him.”

For yes, Ancelotti had pedigree winning the Champions League three times, and each of Serie A, the Bundesliga and Ligue 1, as well as the double with Chelsea.

But while all was sweetness and light at Everton the media were also highly critical of Arsenal.   Lots of publicity was given concerning Manchester City’s complaints about “Arsenal’s conduct” in offering Arteta a job, as the Guardian put it.  The media were given the story that “until a seven-figure compensation fee was paid, [Arteta] would not be released.”

Thus while Ancelotti slipped neatly into Everton, there was the implication of chaos and cost at Arsenal.  The Guardian next reported that, “The precise makeup of Arteta’s backroom team has yet to be decided. Ljungberg will almost certainly be involved in some capacity while Rodolfo Borrell, who works with Arteta and Pep Guardiola at City, is understood to be a target.  Domènec Torrent, who also coached at City before a 15-month spell as head coach of New York City FC, may be in their thoughts too but Arsenal’s prospects of signing either or both men are unclear.”

No such lack of clarity at Everton, as the transition was said to be smoothness itself.

So what happened?

By the end of the season the table looked like this

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
8 Arsenal 38 14 14 10 56 48 8 56
9 Sheffield United 38 14 12 12 39 39 0 54
10 Burnley 38 15 9 14 43 50 -7 54
11 Southampton 38 15 7 16 51 60 -9 52
12 Everton 38 13 10 15 44 56 -12 49

The gap between the two clubs had widened to seven points.  The goal difference between the two was now 20 goals.  Arsenal also had a spot of FA Cup playing to do, as time went by – quite a lot more than Everton who went out in the third round.  Arsenal, you may recall won the FA Cup and Community Shield while Everton won just one in their last six games.  Arsenal won five of their last six matches including victories against Liverpool (twice), Man City and Chelsea.

A league table of matches after lockdown (by which time both managers had settled in) shows Arsenal running neck and neck with Liverpool (they got 17 post lockdown points, we got 16).  Everton however struggled.

Yet still there’s been little criticism of Ancelloti, and no look back by the media to their fine predictions about what life would be like under him – or Arteta.  No apology either for failing to see the way Arsenal would turn themselves around.

Odd that.

10 Replies to “Ancelloti v Arteta. They changed clubs together, but which club got the best deal?”

  1. BOOM!!! Quotes are correct and nothing else needs to be said and here we are. I know as many do we made the right choice. Whilst not expecting winning the league or even the Europa we have a much better chance than the also rans and even have a very good look in to win some silverware in any form.

  2. Depends which way you interpret it. Arsenal managed to get 4 points clear of Everton after 17 games. If they continued on that trajectory then they should have finished 8.9 points clear after 38 games.

  3. Well Mr Ancelotti, that would assume that the first 17 games could be measured as equivalent to the remaining 21 games – but of course that was not the case. There were many variables ranging from who the teams were playing to injuries and on to how many games each club had to play. Because Everton were knocked out of the third round of the FA Cup they have five fewer games to play which meant Arsenal needed more player rotation. In the end I think the arrival of the FA Cup as a trophy counts for something.

  4. Anyone waiting for the media to say anything nice about Arsenal is wasting his time. There have been a propaganda against Arsenal right from the time of Wenger. The FA, the media and the referees all hate arsenal and only want to see arsenal lose or suffer. So I don’t give a damn about them too. We are Gunners and we will keep shutting them up

  5. I remember clearly one or two media outlets stating that Arsenal had failed dismally in appointing Arteta when we should have got Ancelotti…….because the media always no best!

    To our poster above of the same name as the Everton manager (quite a coincidence that!) I would say that I (and I’m sure many others) have no animosity towards Everton and indeed I think thy did well to secure the services of such a distinguished manager. This is about the media and their constant need to find reasons to bad mouth Arsenal. I would bet a pound to a penny that if the appointments had been the other way round, Ancelotti would have been criticised for taking such a massive step down and Everton would have been praised for getting an exciting young manager who had served his apprenticeship under Guardiola and what a brilliant idea it was to appoint someone who already had an affinity with the club having once played for them.

    To summarise, the media are lying, amateurish scum with an agenda and happily ignore facts in order to perpetuate that agenda. The most annoying thing about it all is that we still have fans stupid enough to take notice of the fairy stories.

  6. Wiszey

    “Anyone waiting for the media to say anything nice about Arsenal is wasting his time. There have been a propaganda against Arsenal right from the time of Wenger. The FA, the media and the referees all hate arsenal and only want to see arsenal lose or suffer”.

    Absolutely spot on. Anyone who tries to deny this is simply blind or is part of the agenda themselves.

    The only difference between you and I is that I do care what they say, or rather I care as to what the effect of what they say has on us as a club.

    Unfortunately this constant drip drip drip of negativity seeps into the subconscious of many, including way too many of our own fans. As you say, it is a form of propaganda, and unfortunately human nature is such that if we are told something often enough, no matter how implausible it may be, it can, and often does slip into the subconscious as fact. As you say the media have been doing it for years, way back into Wengers tenure, hence:

    The 8 seasons 05/06 through 12/13 that saw us finish: 4th – 4th – 3rd – 4th – 3rd – 4th – 3rd – 4th, hence qualifying for the NOW ESSENTIAL champions league every season, on a NETT spend of £36 million PROFIT, was constantly derided as failure, when in fact it was actually a quite remarkable achievement.


    The subsequent 4 seasons that saw us come 4th – 3rd – 2nd – 5th and win 3 FAC’s and 2 CS’s was also derided as failure.

    So despite 8 seasons of Champions league qualification whilst operating on a less than a ZERO Nett spend, (at a time when Man City, Chelsea and Man Utd were spending on average £30 Million Nett per season each) followed by a rather enjoyable 4 seasons of trophy after trophy, which after all is what we were constantly told it was all about, Wenger and Arsenal were still endlessly ridiculed as ‘failing’ by this media agenda of which you speak.

    But worse than the media was our own fans that swallowed this agenda hook line and sinker.

    So the effect of all this was that when Wenger actually DID have a down turn in performance in seasons 17/18 – 18/19 those 2 seasons were portrayed by the media and the AAA types as just being the culmination of ‘years’ of failure and mismanagement, when as I have shown, that was clearly untrue.

    I have said many times I will not stand by and let people re write history in a malicious attempt to undermine the amazing achievements of Arsene Wenger. I have also stated that due to the poisonous and ultimately unsustainable atmosphere that these endless assaults cast over the club, Wengers departure was alas inevitable. From that point on it was all about how we move on into the next chapter.

    Despite my admiration for Wenger and determination to defend him and his legacy, when and where I see fit, regardless of comments to the contrary, I do not live in the past. I have supported Arsenal for over 50 years and have seen the departure of many wonderful players and some great managers. It happens. It’s all part of supporting a team. As such it’s not only Wenger I would defend, I would be as vociferous in my support of many other ex Gooners I loved and admired, if so needed.

    As for the future, I am extremely excited about what that has in store for us. Arteta seems, I say seems because it is early days, to be the real deal. Everything about him just feels right. His man management. Tactical nous. Communication skills. Media management. Only time will tell.

    As they say, The King is Dead, Long Live the King.

  7. OT

    On the guardian, Sanchez tells how after one training session at Manure he asked his agents if he could go back to Arsenal….one training session….
    Telling to have such a player choose Mr Wenger instead of Boorinho after a few hours with the later…..

    Say what you want, but there is a whole raft of players who did well at Arsenal under Mr Wenger and when they left, many for quite a lot of money, never played any better.

    Not that I feel sorry for the guy, I mean with the money he was making…. But it just shows that them players are not just objects you can move around on a board and it takes a lot of peoples skills to get the better out of them.

    Skills I believe Mr Arteta has quite a lot, more then many other coaches around the PL.

  8. And just for a little perspective of how other more, shall we say, ‘media friendly’ teams are portrayed, lets have a look at Liverpool and Spurs.

    Can anyone remember Liverpool endlessly ridiculed in the media ?

    Can anyone remember their ex players, Thompson, Hanson etc. endlessly ridiculing their club a la Wright and co ?

    Can anyone remember planes flying and black scarves waving ?

    Despite Liverpool going 12 years between seasons 06/07 and 17/18 with just 1 League cup to show for it ! That also included 2 x 6th, 2 x 7th and 2 x 8th placed finishes.

    Or SPURS, now please promise not to laugh:

    Since season 1992/93 and now Spurs have managed a grand total of 2 x League cups.

    During these periods of what could in reality be called abject failure, we hardly had a murmur of critisism. It was always about next season will be their season. Next season we will see a shift of power.

    Ok finally after all those years Liverpool have finally produced, but that’s not the point, it’s how in comparison to us, they were pandered to during those baron years. How the media never once tried to agitate the fans in to rebellion as they did with ours. How their ex players stuck by them through all those years, all sat there in the stand with their Liverpool scarves rapt snuggly round their necks.

    As for Spurs, even though we are in one of our worst situations for years Artetas still won more trophies in 8 Months than Spurs have won in 21 years. Ok you can laugh

  9. @Nitram,

    Mr Arteta’s record at Wembley : 9 games, W9 D0 L0, 4 trophies, 2 as player, 2 as manager,

    Beat that !

    In fact I doubt this will ever be beaten. Nor will Mr Wenger’s 7 FA cups.

  10. Chris

    I know, pretty remarkable.

    But just imagine what he could of achieved had he played for and managed a decent team, as opposed to that incompetent rabble at the Emirates ?

    I mean, just look at what he’d of achieved if only he’d rocked up at white Hart Lane instead !!

    Still, it’s all about that not a trophy trophy now apparently. Funny that.

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