premier league
premier league

An influx of “super coaches” over the summer means that the Premier League will be a test of wills and wits, more than ever before.

premier league
premier league
Former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola is in charge at Manchester City; Italian Antonio Conte has taken over the job at deposed champions Chelsea and Jose Mourinho is back, this time at Manchester United.

Add in Arsene Wenger at Arsenal, Juergen Klopp at Liverpool, Mauricio Pochettino at Tottenham and Claudio Ranieri at champions Leicester and things could get pretty lively this season.

Guardiola and Mourinho have history from their time in Spain, at Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively, and the Spaniard was even asked if he would shake the Portuguese’s hand when their two sides meet.

The answer was yes, of course, and Guardiola says he is concerned only with getting City back on top, while he is also sure to inject his own famous playing style on the club.

Guardiola will also need to find a way to help City get the better of their rivals in their head-to-head battles, after they picked up just two points against the other members of the top four last season.

“If they [Man City] picked up Guardiola, it is certainly because they are conscious of that problem,” Arsene Wenger said, just before Arsenal beat City in a friendly on Sunday.

Former Spain international Xavi told a Sky Sports documentary, called Pep, to be broadcast on Monday, that Guardiola will insist on his players working hard and that he has the charisma to change football not only at City but also in England.

“Within a few years, no one played long balls anymore, even Real Madrid changed their style,” he said.

“Pep’s first year started this football revolution. We made history. Not just for the victories, but also for the way we played.

“He changed world football. He did not just change Barca, he changed world football. I think he is one of the few people who can change English football.”

Mourinho will have other ideas at United with the rivalry between the two clubs just an added dimension for the former Chelsea, Real Madrid and Inter Milan manager.

Having left Chelsea before Christmas last season, he is back and determined to win the title again, spending bigger than anyone in an effort to restore United back to the top of the pile.

United are not in the Champions League having missed out on a top-four spot but Guardiola, for one, expects United to thrive under Mourinho.

“I’m pretty sure they will be stronger than in previous years,” he said.

“Of course with this manager and with the good players they already had and I’m sure they will buy new players; they will be a strong team.”

With Guardiola and Mourinho grabbing the headlines, Conte’s arrival at Chelsea went somewhat under the radar.

A combative midfielder in his time with Juventus, he led the team to three straight Serie A titles before becoming Italy manager and is expected to restore success to Chelsea.

“I want to play with high intensity, to win the ball back very soon after we lose it, to attack with the right balance,” Conte told Chelsea’s website.

“Pre-season was very tough and hard. We are working very hard to be ready.”

Conte says he has a good relationship with Mourinho.

How long that lasts in the pressure cooker of the Premier League is another matter.

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