Tag Archives: Max Allegri

Villarreal vs Juventus – Champions League Last 16 predictions

The Champions League last 16 fixtures are finally upon us after a two month break since the group stages.

In an intriguing tie we’ll see the Europa League holders Villarreal take on Serie A giants Juventus, who have just bolstered their squad with a £66 million striker in Dusan Vlahovic during January.

Lets take a look at the tie in more detail and make our predictions to see who will progress into the last eight of Europe’s most prestigious cup competition.

Route to the last 16

La Liga outfit Villarreal were able to secure their path into the knockout stages after pipping Atalanta to the runners-up spot in their group.

Unai Emery’s side suffered defeats home and away to Manchester United, but went undefeated beyond that and had their place confirmed prior to the final group game.

Juventus on the other hand were able to clinch top spot thanks to a 1-0 win over Malmo in their final group game, while Chelsea were held by Zenit.

Max Allegri’s team earned five wins from their six games, but it was a 4-0 thumping at the hands of Thomas Tuchel’s Blues that will give Emery’s side confidence heading into the final game.

Team news

Villarreal will be without their top scorer Gerard Moreno for the game, while Francis Coquelin and Ruben Pena will also miss the game. January signing Giovanni Lo Celso is a doubt, while Etienne Capoue is also expected to be racing against time to be available.

Arnaut Danjuma has been one of the stand out players for the Yellow Submarine so far this season, and his performances have seen him ear-marked as the true danger man for Juventus to deal with.

Juventus welcome Vlahovic to Europe’s elite competition for the first time in his career after his big money move from Fiorentina, and he should start.

Paulo Dybala is expected to miss the game, while Federico Chiesa is out for the rest of the season with an ACL tear. Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci will miss the game, which will likely see Danilo partner Matthijs De Ligt in the heart of defence.

Breakdown and Prediction

This is a game that will be decided by who plays less badly over the two legs, because neither team are particularly good right now.

Villarreal will be sturdy off the ball with their setup there to contain Juventus and pick them off on the counter with Danjuma’s pace.

Juventus are trying to become a ball dominant side who can sustain attacks and apply constant pressure to their opposition, but they’re in shocking form and really struggling this season.

Neither team have much chance of doing big things in this tournament this season, but in a game likely to be close you’d have to make the assumption that individual quality will make a difference.

Ultimately, the goals of Vlahovic will likely prove vital in this tie and the home tie back in Turin for the second leg should see Juventus qualify – just.

Villarreal 1-1 Juventus
Juventus 2-1 Villarreal
(Juventus to qualify 3-2 on aggregate)

Zinedine Zidane resigns as Real Madrid boss as Max Allegri returns to Juventus

The European managerial merry-go-round has begun.

As the season comes to an end, the biggest clubs in Europe are making the tough decisions that can break or break the new season and it turns out that the heavyweights want change this summer.

After Antonio Conte resigned as manager of Inter Milan, he has been followed by Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid who officially resigned for the second time with a year left on his contract.

It had been widely expected that Zidane was going to walk away from Madrid again, as he oversaw a trophyless season with the club. He took the La Liga title race all the way to the final day, where Atletico Madrid’s victory meant they claimed the title.

He also took them to the Champions League semi-finals, where they couldn’t overcome a solid Chelsea side and were dumped out following defeat at Stamford Bridge in the second leg. But with so many injuries throughout the season and the club struggling financially, he wasn’t able to get the squad he was promised and has decided to call it a day with no sign of change this summer.

It was believed he was going to be replaced by Max Allegri, who had been without a job for two seasons after leaving Juventus following five consecutive Serie A titles. However, it was revealed on Thursday that Allegri is in fact set to return to Juventus, with the Turin side deciding to sack Andrea Pirlo.

Former midfielder Pirlo was originally hired as the youth team coach, but was promptly promoted once Maurizio Sarri was sacked last summer after winning the league. Despite his legendary status and strong squad, Juventus only finished fourth on the final day when Napoli failed to win allowing the Bianconeri to leapfrog them in the table.

While Pirlo was hopeful of staying, the decision was taken away from him and it seems now that Allegri will return and be given the keys to the rebuild that the club will undertake.

It means that Real Madrid will likely turn their attention to Conte now that he is a free agent. Conte previously almost joined Madrid back in 2018 when Zidane left the first time, but the club in the end went for Julen Lopetegui and we all know how that went.

There is also the chance that the club could go for Mauricio Pochettino, the current PSG manager. After failing to win Ligue 1, it’s believed that he is considering his future at the club after signing an 18-month contract in January of this year.

It was believed that his position could be under threat, but reports in France suggest they are keen to keep him for the upcoming season but he could be tempted to leave with his former club Tottenham Hotspur also back in the race for him.

It’s said that Spurs are confident they could strike a deal with PSG and Pochettino to bring him back to north London less than two years after sacking him. It seems as though both parties are open to making it happen, but PSG aren’t the most keen.

If Spurs and Pochettino were to push for it though, they could look to try and bring Zidane as a replacement. A French legend with plenty of success in Europe as a player and a coach, Zizou could be the perfect answer to the managerial position should it become available.

It’s a managerial merry-go-round in Europe, with the top clubs making big changes at the top. There’s a big summer incoming and there are plenty of twists and turns coming.

Max Allegri the perfect choice to replace Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid

It seems as though the reign of Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid will come to an end this season, whether he wins La Liga for a second consecutive season or not.

Despite taking the title race to the final day with Madrid rivals Atletico, rumours are rife that Zidane has told the players that he will be leaving the club after the game despite having a year left on his contract.

While Zidane has denied it publicly, it seems as though the club have already made moves to begin their search for a replacement with club legend Raul and former Juventus boss Max Allegri linked to the role.

While Raul would be a highly popular choice, there’s no doubt that the best choice for the job is the five-time Serie A winner and two-time Champions League runner-up.

Allegri has been out of a job for the last two years, after resigning from his role at Juventus following a need for a break. Now fully recharged and raring to go again, the Bernabeu job seems perfect for him.

Los Blancos are in desperate need of a rebuild, with so many of their key players into their mid-thirties already.

Sergio Ramos, Karim Benzema, Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, Eden Hazard and Marcelo will all be over 30 next season, while Ramos and Raphael Varane both look like they could leave this summer as the club looks to cut back on their wage bill due to financial cuts.

Zinedine Zidane head Coach of Real Madrid reacts during the La Liga Santander match between Athletic Club and Real Madrid at Estadio de San Mames on...

Allegri has overseen squad overhauls in the past at Juventus and Milan, but maintained an ability to challenge domestically while also staying a threat in Europe too. He has plenty of experience with working with older players, while also being able to adapt tactically depending on his squad to different styles of players.

In a way, he’s quite similar to Zidane tactically. He prefers to keep control in midfield and play a slow-tempo game, while using experienced defenders and technically skilled attacking players to break down defences.

He’s got a good record in the transfer market too, but with the way Madrid work he will likely be given players to work with rather than really get to select his own. But he is the perfect man for the job because of his experience at the top level.

He’s won titles, he’s coached top players and he’s a big name. Bringing in Raul would be a huge gamble that a team with the reputation of Real Madrid at their current point in time can’t afford. We saw at Juventus this season how much Andrea Pirlo has struggled and how Frank Lampard struggled at Chelsea, so Madrid would be wary of bringing a manager in just because of their affiliation with the club.

Zidane is ready to move on, Real Madrid are preparing to move on and Allegri is ready to move in. It’s the start of a new era at the Bernabeu.

Who should Chelsea replace Frank Lampard with?

Another defeat for the London Blues as Frank Lampard’s side were comfortably beaten by Manchester City at Stamford Bridge.

Goals from Ilkay Gundogan, Phil Foden and Kevin De Bruyne saw Pep Guardiola’s side cruise into a 3-0 lead before half-time, as they took their foot off the gas in the second half and claimed three points. Callum Hudson-Odoi came off the bench and continued his good form with a consolation goal in injury time to make it 3-1.

The defeat means Chelsea have now lost four of their last six in all competitions and have just one win in their last six Premier League games.

Almost immediately after the final whistle went, The Athletic reported that Lampard’s job was under threat and that the club were already looking at potentially replacing him.

While the report listed no names immediately under contention, social media was lively with suggestions.

Some Chelsea fans went with the comedic approach, offering their own services since the club like hiring inexperienced coaches. Others were slightly more cautious about parting ways with Lampard in the middle of the season, since they see next to no benefit to it at this point.

But what is the best option and who are the best candidates?

Sacking Lampard seems like the obvious choice at this point, especially considering the reports that have been leaked out now. While good performances could see him prolong his stay, this type of report will constantly loom over his head at every bad turn.

Keeping him until the end of the season seems like it could be a positive, but if everyone knows he is going to be going then motivation for players and the manager himself becomes an issue.

The best option seems like moving him on and the optimal replacement is likely to be someone who has just come out of a job himself.

Thomas Tuchel was recently dismissed by Paris Saint-Germain and is now available to manage elsewhere. He was replaced by former Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino, which immediately rules the Argentine out of the running for another job in London any time soon.

Tuchel though is arguably the best man for the job anyway. The German’s previous coaching exploits at Borussia Dortmund and PSG have seen him get the best out of young, attacking talent and put together charges domestically and in Europe.

Chelsea’s squad is full of young talent with a high potential and Tuchel would be able to mould them into a competitive team. He has also previously worked with Thiago Silva in defence, while the club’s two struggling Germans in Kai Havertz and Timo Werner could benefit from a more experienced coach with a more structured philosophy.

Other options could see Roman Abramovich look to tempt a former Chelsea coach to the club – Brendan Rodgers.

Leicester City v Chelsea FC - Premier League : News Photo

The former Liverpool and Celtic boss made his name as a coach as an assistant to Jose Mourinho during the Portuguese manager’s first spell in charge at the club. Since then, Rodgers has gone on to prove himself as a top young coach when it comes to attacking football and developing young talent.

At Leicester he has seen the club use youngsters like James Maddison, Wesley Fofana, James Justin and Youri Tielemans while also identifying top talents like Ricardo Pereira and Caglar Soyuncu.

He has a history with the club and his attacking style will certainly be something fans would like to see. He’s won trophies with Celtic, leading them to a triple treble before leaving mid-season before another title to take over just under two years ago. Since taking over at Leicester, he has turned them into a side that consistently challenges for the Champions League places too.

A familiar face at the club could be a way to keep Abramovich’s standing with fans high after dismissing a club legend in Lampard, so Rodgers fits the bill in that regard.

Another name that has cropped up is that of Julien Nagelsmann of RB Leipzig. The young German coach is another who is widely associated with attacking play and youth development, something that Chelsea and their fans seem intent to have in whoever the new appointment is.

Paris Saint Germain v RasenBallsport Leipzig - UEFA Champions League : News Photo

If Abramovich doesn’t care about that, then it’s possible he goes for the experienced Max Allegri.

The Italian has been without a job since leaving Juventus in 2019, when he was replaced by former Chelsea Maurizio Sarri. He has reportedly been learning English in anticipation for his next job but his appointment would certainly come at a lot of fans behest.

Allegri isn’t an expressive manager and doesn’t have the best of reputations when it comes to young players. He is more of a pragmatic coach than all the others listed but he has a lot of trophies on his résumé.

He may not be the most popular appointment at Stamford Bridge among fans, but he’d certainly be the most accomplished and would likely be the best option to get immediate results.

Many foresaw the issues they have had with Lampard, a club legend who had just a single season of management experience. Chelsea are in the process of planning their future and they need to get it right. Now more than ever.

Who Can Replace Mikel Arteta As Arsenal Manager?

46 years later and Arsenal have officially got a new worst start ever to a season.

Mikel Arteta has led Arsenal to just 14 points from their opening 14 league games, with eight defeats and just 12 goals scored so far.

The performances and form of the Gunners have seen the pressure mount on their former captain, but the options to take over from him seem slim currently. Lets take a look at who the contenders are to take over and how they could potentially fare.

The bookies favourite is former Juventus and AC Milan boss, Max Allegri. The two-time Champions League finalist has been without a job since leaving Juventus in the summer of 2019, having won five Serie A titles in a row.

He’s been linked with several top jobs including Real Madrid, Manchester United, Tottenham, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain too but Arsenal seem to be the closest to him right now.

Stylistically, he goes against what Arsenal’s reported values are when it comes to on the pitch. He is very pragmatic as a coach and often relies on individual ability in attack. It’s no shock that he was the man in charge of Juventus when Cristiano Ronaldo came to the club, but defensively he is able to organise a team very well.

AC Milan's coach Massimilliano Allegri g : News Photo

It doesn’t come across as much different to Arteta, other than he brings some name value to the team. I can’t see that he would be interested in going to the Emirates in their current state but Arsenal would do well to get a bigger name than him.

Another option that has just become available is another ex-captain of the club, Patrick Vieira.

The legendary French midfielder was recently sacked by Nice after two years in charge of the Ligue 1 club. He got them into the Europa League but following five successive defeats and elimination in the group stages, he was let go.

But with the current trend of hiring legendary players as manager, Vieira has a shout at the Arsenal job. Beyond being arguably the best captain in the club’s history, there isn’t much more that makes him deserving of the job.

A shout that a lot of Arsenal fans are making online is for Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl. The Austrian has received widespread praise for the job he has done with the Saints, with the south-coast club playing attractive football despite a weaker squad than a lot of the division.

Tactically, he could be the answer but whether he is the type of profile that a club like Arsenal should be looking at is questionable.

Some could argue that where Arsenal are at the moment, they can’t be too selective about who takes charge. But that is arguably what got them in the trouble they’re in now, opting for the hipster pick rather than going with someone more proven.

For me the best options would be someone like Peter Bosz, Erik Ten Hag or a cheeky move for former Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino.

These guys have proven themselves at the elite level, play attractive football and have shown they have the qualities to build a squad to compete, even with a budget.

Whether they could be tempted to leave Leverkusen or Ajax or whether Pochettino would opt for the job considering his recent comments about wanting a top project is a different story.

Arsenal need to seriously consider this next appointment because not only do they need instant results, but they need someone who can produce in the long-term too and get them back to where they feel they deserve to be.

Europe’s Elite On The Edge As Max Allegri Waits For New Challenge

Europe’s best managers are on red alert after it emerged that Max Allegri is ready to return to management ASAP and he wants a top job.

The former Milan and Juventus manager has been out of a job since resigning from his position at Juventus in 2019, after winning a fifth straight Serie A title but crashing out of the Champions League at the quarter-final stage.

During his time at Juve, as well as winning Serie A five times he also won the Coppa Italia four times and reached the Champions League final twice, losing both times to Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively.

After taking a year out of the game to recharge his batteries, Allegri has come back to a football world where top clubs all have a manager but may not be as secure as they seem.

PSG manager Thomas Tuchel is reportedly under pressure having failed to deliver the Champions League trophy once again despite making the final, while Europa League runners-up Inter Milan are also considering parting ways with Antonio Conte after a fallout with the former Chelsea boss wanting more backing from the board.

In England, Ole Gunnar Solskjær is secure at the moment at Old Trafford but the club will know that if Allegri is available he is a manager with pedigree and reputation that could take over easily if things went downhill. Pep Guardiola is expected to leave at the end of his contract next summer so it’s possible City could move quickly to secure Allegri early, much like they did when Guardiola agreed to take over back in 2015. Frank Lampard is also secure at Chelsea but with the club spending in excess of £200million this summer to boost his squad, under-performance won’t be tolerated and he will be walking a tight-rope all year.

Zinedine Zidane’s job is secure for as long as he wants it to be, with the legendary Frenchman building up enough equity during his time there that they will stick with him but at Barcelona they’ve just brought in Ronald Koeman to replace Quique Setien. Setien himself was only brought in in January, following the dismissal of Ernesto Valverde. That in itself proves that Barcelona aren’t afraid to pull the trigger if necessary and while Allegri doesn’t fit their usual style, he would surely be an option if the role opened up again.

While he is still waiting in the wings as of this writing, with Inter and PSG both likely to become vacant in the near future it’s almost time for the return of Max Allegri to Europe’s elite.