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The Invincible, Tinkerman and Super Mario Connection

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Over in France yesterday Strasbourg beat Nice 2-0 to leave Nice in 10th place on 26 points which has left Nice miles behind runaway leaders PSG and miles in front of Monaco one from bottom in 19th place in Ligue 1.

Mourinho Bust up in 2009

Patrick Vieira, an Arsenal 2004 invincible, has been in the Nice hot seat since June 2018 and for the last 3 games, his star striker hasn’t been involved. Rumours in France are that Vieira, an integral part of Wenger’s invincible squad, has fallen out with his model professional striker Marion Balotelli. Balotelli, with quite a few ‘high profile’ bust-ups on his resume which includes José Mourinho during his Inter days back January 2009, could find himself surplus to Vieira’s requirements.

1998 World Cup Winner

Vieira, during his 307 game premier league game career with Arsenal, never shirked a challenge and was well known as a fierce competitor. He picked up 8 red cards and 76 yellow cards during those games. Plus he and Roy Keane had a much-reported tunnel bust-up at Highbury. Those two were adversaries for a long time and neither shirked a challenge. If Balotelli is taking on Vieira, also a 1998 World Cup Winner, there can only be one winner and Mario will be looking for a new home in January.

Can the Tinkerman Tame Mario?

Despite seemingly being around for a long time Balotelli’s only just 28 so he could still have a few goals in his locker. He’s also done some business in the Premier League with spells at Manchester City and Liverpool who signed him for £16 million in 2014 to replace Luis Suárez. There is no doubt that Balotelli travels with a lot of excess baggage and requires ‘special handling.’ Could Claudio Ranieri be the man? Could he get the best out of his fellow countryman?

Tinkerman on the Verge of Making History

If Ranieri, manages to last the season at Fulham and they are relegated, he will create history. He will be the first Italian manager, relegated from the Premier League, plus the first manager to win the Premier League and suffer relegation. One of his countrymen, Attilio Lombardo, nearly took Crystal Palace down in 1998 but he jumped ship two weeks before the end of the season. It wasn’t until 2010 that the first foreign manager took a team down from the Premier League and that was Israeli Avram Grant at Portsmouth. A year later he did Grant did exactly the same at West Ham. Spain’s Roberto Martínez came next in 2013 when he took Wigan down. A year later two teams fell through the trap door managed by foreign managers. Fulham with German Felix Magath in the hot seat plus Cardiff with Norwegian Ole Gunnar Solskjær.  In 2016, Spain’s Champions League winner Rafael Benítez with Liverpool failed to save Newcastle, and last season Portugal’s Carlos Carvalhal took Swansea down.

Fulham Need a Miracle?

Fulham might need a miracle and the big question is could the Tinkerman, and Super Mario, be a marriage made in heaven or a marriage made in hell?

Will Three Foreign Managers Take Pl Teams down for the First Time?

With two well in the running, Ranieri at Fulham and Wagner at Huddersfield, will another one drop with them? Will Ralph Hasenhuttl’s bright start just prove a false dawn? Or will Rafael Benítez take Newcastle down again? That would mean great escapes again for Sean Dyche at Burnley, Neil Warnock at Cardiff, and Roy Hodgson again at Crystal Palace.

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