On Monday February 13th, the Premier League saw its third managerial victim of the season as Wolverhampton Wanderers owner, Steve Morgan, dismissed manager, Mick McCarthy. The decision came in the wake of a 5-1 pummelling at home to fierce Black Country rivals, West Brom – a result which compounded a dismal run of just two wins in 23 games. As hiring and firing goes, Morgan’s decision came with heavy statistical backing; despite claiming that he was ‘the right man for the job’, McCarthy’s talking on the pitch virtually made his position untenable. Now the hunt for a new Wolves manager is on, whilst McCarthy’s five-year reign at the club has come to a less than glorious end.
Thierry Henry’s hopes of a final flourish for the club he so dearly loves were well and truly dashed last Wednesday as AC Milan overcame Arsenal in comprehensive fashion. A wonder strike from Kevin Prince-Boateng, a brace from Robinho and a Zlatan Ibrahimovic penalty have all but sealed Arsenal’s exit from the Champions League before the second leg has even begun. Questions will be asked of manager, Arsene Wenger, whose side simply did not turn up, further succumbing to a 2-0 defeat three days later, at the hands of Sunderland in the FA Cup. Is Wenger right to keep his faith in the likes of Rosicky, Walcott, Djorou, Arshavin and co.? And can Wenger ensure Robin Van Persie will still be at the Emirates to spare his teammates’ blushes come the end of the season? The voices of dissent have started to grow. One thing we can ascertain for definite is that Arsenal are no longer the ‘Invincibles’ they once were.
Guus Hiddink was appointed head coach of super-rich Russian outfit, Anzhi Makhachkala, last Friday, ruling him out of contention for the England job at Euro 2012. In the Dutchman, Anzhi have a highly-qualified candidate who has overseen the likes of Chelsea, Real Madrid and several national teams – not least of all, Russia. Fabio Capello was heavily linked with the job initially, but it is Hiddink who will take up the reigns for a reported £8 million a year. England have lost a chance here. Whilst it is now only a matter of time before Harry Redknapp is offered the national job, it is surely too soon for him to try and salvage any success at this summer’s European Championships. Hiddink would have been the perfect interim – the FA could have and should have acted rapidly to snap him up. As things stand, England remain managerless, but Anzhi’s ambitions of playing Champions League football have received a sizeable boost – Hiddink will have them there in no time.