Which top Premier League manager needs to win FA Cup most

Since coming over as manager, Arteta has been gradually rebuilding Arsenal. Even though the team won the FA Cup in the 2019–2020 season, he would get more credibility and confidence if the team consistently performed well in important competitions. Another FA Cup victory may confirm that his project at Arsenal is headed in the right direction and enhance his standing as a bright young manager.

Which top Premier League manager needs to win FA Cup most

Which top Premier League manager needs to win FA Cup most

The FA Cup is back this weekend (watch games live on ESPN+), and for the Premier League teams that are in it, it raises the issue of which manager is most focused on winning the tournament?

The third round of the competition, which appears to be one of the most competitive Premier Leagues in recent memory, opens to all 20 elite teams. The fact that the top five clubs are separated by just six points emphasizes the continuing debate about the importance of the oldest domestic cup tournament in the world to its players. Some managers want to reward their players more, while others want to give key players a little more time off. Some, though, might need an FA Cup win to maintain their jobs.

ESPN looks at the conundrum that eight of the top CEOs are dealing with this weekend.

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Pep Guardiola,

Guardiola's primary goal for this season is to keep Manchester City's spectacular treble triumph from leading to a drop in motivation or performance. The FA Cup is now the first competition they can no longer win, even though they were lucky to be drawn to play Championship underdogs Huddersfield Town. Given the opponents and past performances at the FIFA Club World Cup, Guardiola can probably wait until later in the month to have to think about the FA Cup's relevance. An early departure would be the only thing that would confirm that complacency is creeping in.

Guardiola would gladly give up the FA Cup, to be honest, in order to win the Premier League and UEFA Champions League again. But they were such overwhelming favorites to win all three last season because of how well they performed. With the tournament, star midfielder Kevin De Bruyne—who has been out for four months with a hamstring injury—should make his much-anticipated return at the perfect time.

Jurgen Klopp,

Klopp is well aware that having to fight on four fronts may be detrimental to a team. Liverpool played 63 games, won the FA Cup and the Carabao Cup domestically, and attempted an unprecedented quadruple in the 2021–2022 season. They fell to Real Madrid in the Champions League final, though, and struggled in the Premier League. The following season, Liverpool finished fifth, and exhaustion was a constant factor. Klopp's approach to the competition may be influenced by this experience, given that they are presently (and rather surprisingly) leading the Premier League after 20 games.

Liverpool's high-press, high-octane football style has back, taxing the players' bodies to the maximum. Rotation is virtually assured, even in one of the most challenging games the third-round draw could have produced—away to Arsenal. The intricacy of Sunday's encounter may make it possible for Klopp to end the competition with minimal difficulty; not that he will be thinking about that, of course. However, the timing is problematic because this is Liverpool's first game without Mohamed Salah, who departed to represent Egypt at the Africa Cup of Nations, and Klopp's ultimate ambition.

Considering that they have already completed half of the season and appear to be ahead of schedule, the FA Cup might be viewed as either an unwanted obstacle or a valuable learning experience.

Unai Emery,

Even though Aston Villa hasn't won the FA Cup since 1957, everything is possible under Emery's direction. Villa is in second place in the Premier League with 85 points, behind only by Manchester City with 93 points on FA Cup third round weekend. Thus, Emery has to choose whether to rotate to protect a team that is widely seen to be unprepared to challenge for the title and keep pursuing a spot in the UEFA Europa League. Or aim for the prize Villa still has the best chance of winning?

Their opponents on Saturday are quite comparable, as Middlesbrough's main objective is to earn promotion from the Championship and they have a Carabao Cup quarterfinal first-leg meeting against Chelsea scheduled for next Tuesday. Villa is predicted to stabilize at some point during the second half of the season, when many people believe City will gain momentum. But maybe Emery can bring some of his magic to the cup to Villa Park.

He has won all of these with Paris Saint-Germain in addition to two Trophée des Champions, two Coupe de France championships, two Coupe de la Ligue titles, and, of course, three consecutive Europa League wins with Sevilla. Either way, he will want to avoid a repeat of last season's early exit at the hands of League Two side Stevenage; those kinds of results can kill momentum.

Is Aston Villa overachieving this season in the Premier League?

Eddie Howe, 

It is really not necessary for Howe to visit his bitter local rivals, Sunderland, at this time. Newcastle has shown signs of fatigue as a result of their inability to balance the demands of managing six games in the Champions League group stage with a quest for one of the Premier League's top four spots.

If you take into account their Carabao Cup quarterfinal penalty shootout loss at Chelsea last month, they have now lost seven of their last eight games in all competitions. Howe is under the most stress he has experienced since his appointment in November 2021 as a result of this. That will get worse if they lose against Sunderland, who are sixth in the Championship and aim to humiliate their neighbors who are supported by Saudi Arabia.

Newcastle has made progress, but they are still waiting for a trophy. Despite winning the Championship in 2017, their most notable achievement to date was winning the FA Cup final in 1955. Although Howe's work has heightened expectations, losing the FA Cup would mean facing a bigger challenge to finish in the top four and another season without a trophy. The next weekend is City's game before a two-week break, thus Howe will definitely need to rest a player or two.

Mikel Arteta, 

After Arsenal defeated Chelsea in the 2020 FA Cup final, Arteta was given the go-ahead to turn the Gunners into the Premier League title contenders they are today. The Spaniard is now looking for bigger prizes than this league because they are already within striking distance of leaders Liverpool and have an exciting Champions League round-of-16 encounter against Porto next month.

Arteta has transformed Arsenal so much in his four years in command that winning trophies is now a given rather than a pipe dream. One could counter that an FA Cup victory as they go could shrink the gap between what this team is now capable of and what is required to fulfill their dream of winning the Champions League or Premier League. Their chances of winning all three titles are in doubt, but Sunday's third-round matchup with Liverpool will act as a litmus test. After a taxing Christmas season, Arteta might decide to switch up one or two players.

Why Man City will be watching the FA Cup match between Arsenal and Liverpool

Ange Postecoglou, 

The one error Postecoglou made during his time at Tottenham might have been choosing to start nine different players in an effort to upset Fulham in their Carabao Cup second-round match. Spurs supporters were furious that their team's radically altered lineup had put in jeopardy what could have been their finest chance to win a trophy since their penalty-filled loss at Craven Cottage in 2008. It is now but a footnote, though, as Postecoglou's adventurous style of play has captivated everyone and propelled Tottenham to within five points of the top four in the Premier League, five points behind champions Liverpool.

Spurs, though, have yet to satisfy their itch. What an accomplishment it would be to win their first trophy at Wembley in sixteen years at the conclusion of a season that began with the departure of Harry Kane, their captain and one of the greatest strikers England has ever produced.

Mauricio Pochettino,

At Stamford Bridge, there is a consensus that this season was always going to be one of transition given the tremendous level of investment (more than £1 billion in three transfer windows) and player churn since the Todd Boehly-Clearlake Capital acquisition in May 2022. Pochettino will therefore be assessed on more than just his Premier League accomplishments. Though the changes gave them some leeway, the Blues never expected to finish 10th after 20 games.

Although their first objective is to qualify for the Champions League, they are 12 points outside of the top four. Winning the FA Cup would bring them a sense of validation like to what Arteta felt four years earlier. It is especially relevant for a manager who only lacked trophies throughout his five and a half years of progress at Tottenham. Earning the FA Cup would be a significant achievement because, in spite of Pochettino's achievements with PSG, some continue to question his capacity to produce championships. It would also represent the kind of common experience that could unite his lavishly formed team.

Pochettino's job is not in danger, but a cup run would also help offset any persistent disappointment in the league. To start with, Preston North End, who sit 14th in the Championship, is a friendly opponent.

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