The Premier League has already had some big surprises this season, and it’s all down to the big picture thinking of the clubs that want to beat the teams that have been dominating for the past few seasons.
With Everton I didn’t expect any different, but just a team with the right manager to get the best out of his players. Look when it was announced that Carlo Ancelotti was the manager to take on the job, people questioned it and probably still do. But he is on a mission only he would know because achievements in football are made by moments of surprise that wake up the doubters.
Ancelotti was able to bring in James Rodriguez due to their great relationship when they were both at Real Madrid, and James has had a difficult few seasons but his class is very clear as we’ve already seen this season. Calvert-Lewin has been prolific in front of goal too, and has scored more goals with his head in the Premier League (7) than any other player since the start of last season.
Villa had a year of adjusting and slowly making things better, to produce better results. They needed to understand how to defend as a team and attack better as a team because last season I saw a team that was sitting too deep and waiting to be hurt, by trying to make counter-attacks. They kept on inviting the pressure and sometimes got too exposed by opening the lines from midfield to defence, so much so it was easy to get through them.
On Sunday I saw one of the best football playing sides in the Premier League facing a team like Villa that is ready to understand how to make them more compact and harder to beat. Jack Grealish was the main man and was super exciting to watch. When he is enjoying his football I think any defender could have a hard time stopping him because he is very talented, but just needs to be played in a position to get the best out of him. That means not sitting too deep so his energy is spent on defending and he gets too tired to attack.
Leeds have a manager Marcelo Bielsa that we talked about a lot when we found out he would do anything to understand the teams he was facing better. He makes his side play football with a great objective, like if you keep the ball and make it harder for others to get it, they will have lost a lot of energy when they do have it. They then open up so if they win it back fast they can hurt the opponent.
We talk about Leeds because they play with a lot of risk in how they keep the ball in the team and playing it around to find the right solution to score. Bielsa is very patient in doing that. We have seen other teams last season playing football with a high level of risk in the Premier League. I hope he does not lose the ambition to get enough points in the season, and later have to worry about business before nice football.
It’s still very early in the season but the signs are we could be seeing some more surprises in 2020/21. #mmlove