Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola will lock horns in their managerial battle once again following their appointments at Manchester United and Manchester City respectively.
The pair famously encountered each other while in Spain on either side of the El Clasico battle during the Portuguese’s tenure at Real Madrid and Guardiola’s successful time at Barcelona.
Both men claimed one title each during their two seasons facing off in La Liga, although the Spaniard claimed his second Champions League crown in the 2010-11 season, avenging his side’s defeat at the hands of Mourinho’s Inter Milan in the semi-finals of Europe’s elite competition one season earlier.
They will now face off in their attempts to drive the Manchester clubs back to glory in the Premier League and on the continent, after underwhelming terms for both United and City.
In the latest Premier League betting odds, the Citizens are backed strongly to win the crown at 9/4, while the Red Devils come in at 7/2 to clinch the title for the first time in four years.
Both managers will be under duress to deliver immediate success at their respective clubs. But who is under the most pressure to come out on top at the end of the campaign?
Mourinho has enjoyed league triumphs in his first seasons at Porto, Chelsea and Inter, with the first blemish on that impressive record coming against Guardiola’s Barcelona, who took the La Liga crown ahead of Real Madrid.
The Red Devils’ frustration with David Moyes at the helm saw the Scot last only nine months into his tenure. Subsequently, Louis van Gaal’s struggles in the English top flight and the Champions League resulted in his contract being terminated, paving the way for the Portuguese to arrive.
United have proven that their patience is not endless with managers since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson, and should Mourinho experience the same troubles as he did with Chelsea last term or even the same struggles as Van Gaal, it will be very interesting to see their response.
The 45-year-old will carry the weight of expectation from Manchester City supporters due to his outstanding domestic record, while he has already boosted his squad with the signings of Ilkay Gundogan and Nolito to arguably create the strongest squad in the division.
The Citizens could have made themselves the most dominant team in the division due to their lavish spending, although their bitter rivals have made strides to match their outlays in the transfer market over the past two years.
City’s biggest weakness has been their lapses at the back, with players such as Eliaquim Mangala, Martin Demichelis and Nicolas Otamendi struggling without the reassuring presence of Vincent Kompany due to his injury problems.
Guardiola’s Bayern Munich team conceded just 18 goals last term, and should the manager rectify City’s issues, and return the club to the top of the defensive table, they will be well placed to win the Premier League for a third time.
Due to City’s qualification for the Champions League ahead of United, there will be the chance for Guardiola to pursue glory on two fronts, giving him better odds of success than Mourinho at Old Trafford.
The Spaniard once again finds himself in a more favourable situation than the Portuguese, and he will be able to watch how his great rival copes with the magnitude of the task of restoring the Red Devils to their former glory.