Without a competitive ball kicked it’s an impossible task to pass any meaningful judgement but, what the hell, so far so good for Carlo’s brief tenure. Firstly kudos for his use of English. It was painful at times to hear Big Phil struggle in the press conferences, never mind a tactical team talk, but Carlo has a good base of the language, even offering a bit of humour to the jaded hacks. It was far better than expected given the reports that he spoke no English and Fabio’s struggles in the early days as England boss. Secondly he has so far squatted away Mark Hughes’ deluded persistence of JT with authoritive aplomb. Thirdly he has been quick to put his own individual stamp on the side.
It looks as though Carlo will be switching to a midfield diamond with two upfront and overlapping full backs. It is something we’ve seen before, with limited success in the past, but this fluid kind of system may just bring the very best out of our attacking talent. Furthermore Ancelotti is looking to develop a high pressure game, pressing the ball and winning it back in the opponents half, as so expertly demonstrated by Barcelona last season. With so many teams mirroring our familiar 4-3-3 line up this change could definitely upset a few teams tactics in the early part of the season. As Scolari found out though he may need a plan B to fall back on but it is with some excitement we can look forward to Drogba and Anelka linking up consistently. How we shuffle around the midfield to accommodate the players effectively is the big question mark at the moment. Still, it beats the costly dilemma of Man City and Real Madrid and which system can mathematically fit in their assortment of strikers.
Another interesting move within the club has seen the promotion of Frank Arnesen to director of football. Having his office next to Ancelotti’s hints at a close working relationship for the future. This could be seen as worrying as Arnesen’s scouting project hasn’t exactly delivered the desired impact on the first team. Furthermore it may mean Roman and board gently extending their influence across transfer policies with this appointment. Ancelotti was notoriously relaxed about a similar set up in Milan and subsequently did well with some of the duff cards Berlusconi dealt him. The thought of Kenyon having a say in transfers may send a shiver down the spine but it may a far more considered appointment than this. Plenty of the players have hinted of a role for Guus Hiddink to return to at the club and I wager Frank is merely sharpening the pencils for the main man’s return. Once Russia’s World Cup is over it would come as no surprise to see Hiddink return for a senior role at the club. With the structure already in place it would mean Carlo’s feathers would not be ruffled.
Finally City’s laughable pursuit of Terry seems to be never ending, much as Inter’s attempt for Super Frank last close season. Then Frank signed up his future to Chelsea, went on to have one of his greatest seasons and proved to be the undoubted hero as he picked up yet more silverware. The sooner JT signs up and does the same the sooner we can put the tabloid transfer nonsense to bed. Much like Lampard last season a contract extension may well be the best bit of business we do all summer.