The international World Cup 2022 Qualifiers’ windows were closed with some noise. Italy and Portugal, the past two European winners, will have to go through the play-off process to clinch a spot in the 2022 World Cup.
On Friday, November 26, the draw for the March games (24 and 29) will be place, from which the remaining three “tickets” of Europe for the Qatar World Cup 2022 will emerge.
However, for the time being, international players have returned to their clubs, with all major competitions returning to action this weekend.
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Many of the players, on the other hand, went for national duties with other club managers to lead them, but will find other club managers on their way back to their training sessions! The ‘’suspensions’’ of the championships allowed the Boards of Directors of clubs whose results were clearly not as expected to change their managers or head coaches.
After all, this is the fate of the football clubs’ managers, especially in the midst of the season: it is simpler for a manager to depart, sometimes with his entire coaching team, than 20-25 underperforming players!
On this article, we will examine the five most significant changes in the benches of European teams during the last couple of weeks.
Barcelona: Xavi is back home!
Ronald Koeman’s mediocre term as manager of Barcelona came to an end following a 1-0 loss to Rayo Vallecano.
His resignation ends an unfortunate chapter for the former Barcelona star, who helped the team win its first European Cup in 1992, and leaves the club in trouble both on and off the field.
Barcelona is now 9th in La Liga with 17 points and a shambolic 4-5-3 record, 10 points below Real Madrid and 11 points behind the league leaders Real Sociedad. Barça are second in their Champions League group after losing 3-0 at home to Bayern Munich and away to Benfica.
Xavi left Barcelona in 2015 after playing a key role in the club’s golden era, during which he helped them win La Liga eight times and the Champions League four times, while all in all, he celebrated 25 titles in 17 years as a Barca player!
Xavi, 41, ended his playing career with Qatari side Al Sadd before taking over as manager in 2019. He leaded Al Sadd to seven championships, including the league championship last season.
Xavi’s debut at the helm of Barcelona will take place on Saturday at the Camp Nou against Barcelona’s other team, Espanyol, which in its last 6 matches has suffered just 1 defeat and has the same points (17) as Barcelona.
NEWCASTLE UNITED: Eddie Howe is the Arabs’ ‘’Plan B’’
From the moment Newcastle was taken over by its new Saudi owners, it was clear that Steve Bruce would not be staying on the club’s bench for long.
Unai Emery was the Arabs’ club owners first choice for the post. The Basque coach, though, backed down at the last minute, remaining at Villarreal and paving the way for Eddie Howe.
The 44-year-old Verwood coach, who spent practically his entire football career with Bournemouth (2008-2011, 2012-2020), will be on the Newcastle bench for the first time on Saturday, when the Magpies face Brentford at home.
Newcastle is still winless in the Premier League, with 5 draws and 6 defeats, and sits 19th in the table, marginally ahead of Norwich.
ASTON VILLA: Premier League welcomes back Steven Gerrard
With 7 losses in 11 games, including 5 in their previous five, it was clear that something needed to change at Aston Villa. Dean Smith, the team’s declared supporter, is a thing of the past after three years at the helm and bringing the Villagers back to the Premier League.
Steven Gerrard was the first name on the list of Villa owners, ahead of Ralph Hassenhuttl, Roberto Martinez, and Kasper Hjulmand.
The 41-year-old Liverpool legend said the anticipated “yes” to Aston Villa management, with Aston Villa giving the Rangers compensation of 4.5 million pounds. Last year, the Glasgow giants won their first (unbeaten) title in ten years with Gerrard on the bench.
It won’t be long before Gerrard faces his old team, Liverpool (December 11 at Anfield). For the time being, he will make his Premier League managerial debut on Saturday, when Aston Villa will be hosting Brighton.
NORWICH CITY: Daniel Farke wins and gets the boot
Norwich City celebrated their first Premier League win of the season with a 2-1 away triumph over Brentford. A few hours later, however, the Canaries board stated that it was time to split company with Daniel Farke, ending a 4.5-year stint.
Norwich City, who is currently in 20th place in the Premier League, has scored the fewest goals and conceded the most goals of any other team, with 5 points in 11 games.
Dean Smith, who was recently sacked by Aston Villa, has been named as Farke’s replacement. The 50-year-old English manager, who has previously worked with Walsall and Brentford, will make his debut against Southampton at home on Saturday.
GENOA: A bet on Andriy Shevchenko’s shining light
Andriy Shevchenko, a Milan great who wore their shirt in two distinct periods (1999-2006 and 2008-09), returns to Serie A as a coach.
This will be his first experience on a club bench since he was the national coach of Ukraine from 2016 to the summer of 2021 and the Euro 2021 tournament.
Shevchenko takes over from Davide Ballardini, who finished his fourth stint at the Grifoni bench with a record of 1 win, 6 draws, and 5 loses this season.
Shevchenko will make his Genoa managerial debut against Jose Mourinho’s Roma on Sunday.
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