Carlo Ancelotti got Arsenal fans’ pulses racing – albeit in a strictly non-erotic way – after the North London derby when he showed up at Wembley to watch the clash.
Ancelotti has been linked with the Arsenal job when Arsene Wenger stands down and, considering the Italian has won the Champions League three times, as well as titles with Chelsea and Bayern Munich, most fans are pretty excited at the prospect.
However, considering the 58-year-old was sacked by the Bundesliga giants last September and has been out of work ever since, some Arsenal fans are reluctant to get too overjoyed.
Therefore, I’ve been looking into why Ancelotti was sacked and if he could actually be a good manager for Arsenal.
Ancelotti’s season-long reign in Germany came to an abrupt end after Bayern lost 3-0 to Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League.
Before that, his side had drawn 2-2 with Wolfsburg but, other than a 2-0 defeat to Hoffenheim earlier in the month, Bayern had been winning.
The problem was some fans remained unconvinced by his ability to lead their team forward and the downturn in form was the final straw.
Surely just a couple of bad results wouldn’t trigger the sacking of a manager who had just won the Bundesliga title and German Super Cup twice?
Well, at Arsenal, we’re used to the odd bad patch. In fact, the last two years feel like a giant long one if you’re a Gooner.
Bayern are a different breed of club – they’re used to winning and not just domestically . They’re used to winning the Champions League.
Or, at the very least, competing.
Ancelotti was expected to deliver the German club’s sixth Champions League, which they been searching for since 2012/13. He failed.
I spoke with Michel Munger, Editor-in-chief at bayerncentral.com, and he feels that after failing to win the Champions League, which is what the ex-Chelsea boss was hired to do, and losing 3-0 to PSG the following season, Ancelotti lost the faith of several key figures at Bayern.
The general feeling, it seems, was that Ancelotti had a very relaxed, hands-off approach to management. Very similar to Arsene Wenger. And at first, this was welcomed.
“Early on, Carlo’s relaxed style seemed to be a great idea to spare the players in a busy calendar,” Michel told us. “Part of the squad is very injury prone.
“Many felt that Carlo would make the team peak at the right time. An improvement in form late in his first season didn’t hold up, however.
“Then, the start of the 2017-18 campaign was bad enough for even his supporters to lose faith.”
Considering Bayern’s previous manager of three years was Pep Guardiola, a coach famed for his successful micro-management technique, you can understand that, when results went south, the players and fans began to grow uneasy.
They no longer had someone they trusted telling them specifically how to bounce back.
Discontent then radiated throughout the fans, key players and before reaching Bayern’s head honchos.
According to Bayern president Uli Hoeness: “Ancelotti had five players against him.
“As coach, you can’t have your most prominent players as enemies. In my life, I’ve learned a saying: the enemy in your own bed is the most dangerous. That’s why we had to act.”
Key figures reportedly met with CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge to voice their frustrations.
Robert Lewandowski, for example, later blamed Ancelotti’s relaxed approach to training for Bayern’s injury woes last year.
“If many muscle injuries happen you don’t have to look at the last few weeks, but go back two or three months,” he told SportBild.
“It’s more likely that the reason lies there.
“If there is too little training you have to do something individually.”
Arjen Robben also allegedly told officials “there’s better training at my son’s youth team”, but this was later denied by the player.
Ancelotti to Arsenal
Ancelotti’s similar management technique to Wenger is why he might do well at Arsenal.
The players are used to a hands-off approach but will have the added boost of a new coach’s presence.
What’s more, his reputation proceeds him.
After speaking with Michel from Bayern Central, it seems there’s no bad feelings towards their former manager, although they believe their current boss Jupp Heynckes is the best coach the club could have.
Bayern is a very different club to Arsenal.
They’re used to competing for the Champions League most seasons.
Not only would Ancelotti allow a smooth transition away from Wenger, he could lift the side up a level or, at least, keep us competitive while the club prepare for long-term life after Wenger.