After Everton’s decision to sack Marco Silva the day after their 5-2 thrashing by Liverpool, it meant both the Toffees and Arsenal were both on the hunt for new managers.
The Gunners had let go of Unai Emery almost a week prior to Silva’s departure, and naturally, that kick-started the managerial rumours into overdrive.
But one man who appeared to feature on both clubs’ short-list, was Carlo Ancelotti. The Telegraph ran a report that the Italian was “among the candidates” being considered as a potential long-term successor to Emery, whilst Sky Sports revealed that Everton would begin contract talks with the 60-year-old following his dismissal as Napoli boss.
In the end, Arsenal opted to go for former Toffees midfielder, Arteta, as their new head coach, with the Merseyside club managing to lure Ancelotti to them.
On Sunday afternoon, the former Milan manager takes his Everton team to the Emirates to take on Arsenal, and the Gunners’ hierarchy will no doubt be watching the game with keen interest. And that is exactly why he has the perfect opportunity to make a major statement.
By masterminding a performance and victory over the north Londoners, Ancelotti can lay down a marker about how the Gunners may regret passing up on him. The fact they opted for Arteta – a man with no prior managerial experience – over him, a multi-time Champions League winner, should surely rankle him on a professional level at least.
The Italian has already proven in his short time on the blue half of Merseyside that he seems to be a perfect fit for the club. Since he officially took to the dugout against Burnley, he has tasted defeat only twice – and those were to Manchester City in the Premier League, and Liverpool in the FA Cup.
But when the Toffees travel south, Ancelotti may have Arsenal’s snub on his mind. It will surely give him that extra piece of motivation to engineer a positive result for his side, and simultaneously cast some doubts in the Gunners’ mind over their decision to go with Arteta. The stage is perfectly set for him to spoil the party on Sunday.