What can Beijing Guoan supporters expect from Slaven Bilic?

Croatia manager Slaven Bilic was quick to get back into the game after leaving England club West Brom on December 16 by becoming Beijing Guoan’s new coach ahead of the 2021 season. In the coming season, we take a look at his previous jobs and what can be learned to help Beijing Guoan supporters better understand the new arrival in the capital.

He takes over a team that finished 3rd in the CSL last season under Bruno Genesio’s tutelage and, given the disbandment of last season’s winner, Jiangsu Suning, this represents a good opportunity for Bilic to help his new team. to progress compared to last season and to finish. even higher. The short-term nature of CSL is such that Beijing Guoan supporters shouldn’t expect Bilic to be at the club for a long time, but there are also some aspects of his managerial career at clubs like as West Ham and West Brom. as a Croatian national football team that can be analyzed and give optimism about what will happen during his tenure in Beijing Guoan.

One of the reasons why Beijng Guoan supporters are optimistic is Bilic’s tendency to take a keen interest in the development of young players and give them as many playing opportunities as possible. Departing from Croatia, Bilic awarded Eduardo, Luka Modric and Vedran Corluka their first caps in what would prove to be impressive international careers. Bilic then moved to West Ham in June 2015 and offered youngsters such as Reece Oxford and Declan Rice their club debuts, the latter going on to become a pillar in the middle of the midfield for West Ham. This trait continued in what represented rebuilding work at West Brom following their relegation to the Championship and he trusted a group of youngsters to successfully return to the Premier League in what was a considerable achievement for the Croatian given the number of fallen giants such. like Nottingham Forest and Sheffield Wednesday, who failed to return to the English Premier League more than two decades after their last relegation.

In view of the current wage restrictions and the exodus of foreign players, Bilic’s arrival in Beijing is at an opportune time. Gone are the days of spending huge sums of money on marquee signings and in this climate, his expertise could be a huge asset to Beijing Guoan. The club relied more on experience than youngsters during the CSL 2020 season and had one of the oldest teams in the division with an average age of 27.82, but a move to bloody new talent could be underway in light of recent signings such as Cao. Yongjing, He Zhenyu, and Gao Tianyi, all aged 24 or under. Another player who might be keen to see Bilic’s arrival is Korean defender Kim Min-jae, who has reportedly caught the attention of several European clubs. Whether Kim is currently talented enough to deserve a money transfer abroad is up for debate, but with Bilic in charge, the club now have a manager who has a proven track record of helping players improve their abilities. as far as the bigger clubs are interested in securing. their services, as was the case with Nathan Ferguson who played for West Brom under Bilic in just one season and yet convinced Crystal Palace of their potential with his performances on the pitch, which later resulted in a free transfer to the London club. transfer.

When it comes to how Beijing Guoan supporters can expect the team to line up in the coming season, Bilic doesn’t appear to have a preferred lineup and often switches to 4-2-3. -1, 4-3-2-1 and 3- 5-2 depending on the opposition. Nonetheless, some features of Bilic’s tactics, such as the emphasis on two deep midfielders protecting the defense and the overlap of full-backs in advanced positions when his team are on offense, characterize his tactical philosophy and might be suitable for Beijing. Guoan given that they sometimes adopted a similar system last season, with Li Ke and Chi Zhongguo able to play in such positions in midfield. Moreover, Bilic will be happy to see that Beijing Guoan already has a right-back in the form of Wang Gang who is quick and eager to be part of the attacking moves. The recent ACL game against Melbourne Victory in which Wang got an assist for Beijing Guoan’s opening goal and nearly won a penalty when stepping on the right wing, demonstrated that he has the ability to play. an important role in Bilic’s plans.

Throughout his managerial career, Bilic has also tended to rely heavily on mercurial attacking midfielders who have free rein to attack without worrying too much about the defensive aspects of the game. This could be seen in the days when he was the coach of the Croatian national football team when Modric was allowed to dictate the tempo of an advanced role in the early stages of his international football career, as well as at West Ham when first Dmitri Payet and then Manuel Lanzini has become the creative hub of the Bilic team. This was also evident when Bilic was in charge of West Brom in both the Premiership and the Championship, with Matheus Perreira having the responsibility of being the team’s creative outlet. This led to the Portuguese midfielder getting 16 assists in the league which was the most players of any club in this division in West Brom’s promotion season. For Beijing Guoan supporters accustomed to the sight of Jonathan Viera picking up the ball in midfield with the aim of shooting or creating chances for others, the news that their new coach has always found a place for players from this field. ilk in his team will certainly be welcomed.

Having been sacked just 4 months after starting his first Premier League season with West Brom, Bilic knows better than anyone that football is rife with short-termism and that he will enter CSL with his eyes wide open. what to expect. However, he has the ability to achieve a lot no matter how long his reign is thanks to his keen eye for talented young players and his willingness to give them a chance to prove their ability in football.

The absence of Jiangsu Suning should in theory facilitate Bilic’s work in his quest for Beijing Guoan’s first title since 2009 and the first in his managerial career. At one point, West Brom was 7 points clear at the top of the Championship during the 2019/20 season, but somehow finished 2nd and endured a rough end to the season, which almost forced them into the playoffs instead of being promoted automatically. . On the one hand, this could hint at a lack of determination to lead a team to the finish line in first place, but on the other hand, it is also possible to predict that Bilic’s previous experiences with West Brom will make him stronger and better prepared for his next challenge in the CSL.

Either way, Beijing Guoan fans have a lot to look forward to with their new manager this season as he will aim to lead his new club to a title and outperform his runner-up medal with West Brom.

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