New-ish faces, old problems: Arsenal, Everton, Watford and West Ham make changes

By Andrew Warshaw

December 30 – Four English top-flight teams go into 2020 with new men at the helm after the managerial merry-go-round moved into full swing over Christmas.

Arsenal, Everton, Watford and West Ham, one fifth of all Premier League clubs, decided to bring in fresh bosses during an end-of-year blitz.

After their worst run for 27 years, Arsenal hired Mikel Arteta as the long-term replacement for fellow Spaniard  Unai Emery who was fired after just 18 months as successor to Arsene Wenger.  Assistant coach Freddie Ljungberg had been in interim control but Arteta, formerly number two to Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, signed a three-and-a-half year deal.

Arteta has managed only one point from his first two Arsenal games in charge as he embarks upon his first full job in management but is a  former Arsenal player where he twice won the FA Cup and has an acute tactical and technical brain. But the task of rekindling past glories will be tough – defeat to Chelsea on Sunday marked the first time Arsenal had lost four consecutive home matches in all competitions since December 1959.

While Arsenal went for youth, Everton secured somewhat of a coup by securing the services of Carlo Ancelotti, one of Europe’s most successful coaches, a three-time Champions League winner who returns to English football

The Italian, who left Napoli earlier this month, replaces Portuguese Marco Silva, who was sacked after Everton’s 5-2 defeat by  rivals Liverpool. Duncan Ferguson, an Everton legend put in temporary charge, immediately brought back much-needed passion and will be Ancelotti’s assistant going forward.

“This is a great club with a rich history and a very passionate fan base,” Ancelotti said in a club statement before going on to work his magic with two straight wins.

Ancelotti won the Champions League twice with AC Milan and once with Real Madrid as well as the Premier League and FA Cup double with Chelsea in 2009-10, but  faces a different sort of challenge in revitalising Everton, a proverbial sleeping giant who have under-performed in recent years.

Watford were rock bottom when they hired former Leicester boss Nigel Pearson to replace Quique Sanchez Flores as the club’s third manager this season and, like Ancelotti, has got off to a good start with four points from two games.

The latest club to sack their manager are West Ham who have brought back David Moyes to replace Manuel Pellegrini and help them move away from the bottom half of the table.

Moyes, 56, returns for a second stint after he saved the club from the drop in the 2017-18 campaign. His first game back in charge will be on Wednesday at home to fellow strugglers Bournemouth. Pellegrini was sacked after Saturday’s 2-1 home defeat by Leicester, the club’s seventh loss in nine games after a highly promising start to the season.

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