If there’s one thing in common between Ancelotti and Arteta, it’s that in their toddler days, they are all assistant to the iconic strategists of their respective generations. For Ancelotti, where everything started is the time practice under the guidance of the legendary Arrigo Sacchi.
In the late 1980s, Ancelotti was an important factor in Sacchi‘s 4-4-2 diagram at AC Milan. When coach Sacchi came to work at Italy Tel in 1991, he gave an invitation to recruit for Ancelotti himself. Surprisingly, thinking that he was no longer able to wear the Italy shirt at the age of 32, Ancelotti was more surprised when it was suggested to be an assistant coach, not a player.
Sacchi never stopped. He always talks about work”, said Ancelotti, who later retired to become Sacchi’s right-hand man. Unsurprisingly, when starting his own coaching career, Ancelotti’s favorite play, similar to Sacchi, was also a tight 4-4-2, putting too much pressure on opponents.
Ancelotti, though rigid, must still change to fit the times. Over the next two decades, he became a flexible coach, always putting players first, building a system around them. It’s not wrong to say that meeting Zinedine Zidane at Juventus changed his mind, switching from his favorite 4-4-2 to 4-3-1-2, with no one but the French superstar in place. number 10. The evolution continues with not one, but three or four people with a forte position as the “number 10”, for a 4-3-2-1 diagram at AC Milan and Real Madrid.
Unable to find success at Bayern Munich and Napoli with a similar approach, it is said that Ancelotti has been left behind by modern football. In the difficult situation, when accepting a job at a small team, Ancelotti returned to the starting point, back to what helped him and his teacher Sacchi succeed. With the Everton system working properly, no one can call Ancelotti obsolete.
In Goodison Park, there are no flashy pieces like Hernan Crespo, Zidane, Kaka, Zlatan Ibrahimovic or Cristiano Ronaldo. However, the star-free environment was a favorable condition for Ancelotti to put the team structure on the individual player, and he brought Everton back into orbit with a 4-4-2 diagram.
Under coach Marco Silva, there was controversy over whether Gylfi Sigurdsson or Alex Iwobi would be better suited for the “number 10” position. Ancelotti completely removed that role, pushing Sigurdsson to play deeper, bringing Iwobi to the wings. In attack, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison are impressive ideas, especially in the counter-attack.
The Ancelotti dynasty showed a disciplined image of Everton, which may not have brought absolute trust, but was harder to defeat. The 1-0 victories over Burnley or Brighton are typical of Ancelotti of Parma, the first big team he took over. Those are the victorious influences from Sacchi.