The Premier League’s managers tend not to be the main focus when it comes to compiling a top ten list of something, so I thought I’d go where many haven’t before and try and put together my top ten in no particular order using statistics and a personal opinion or two.
2013/14 statistics: P 27 W 18 D 6 L 3 Win percentage 66.67%.
His eccentric antics and mind games have dominated the football world over the years, and after a controversial start which included dropping the winner of the previous two Chelsea Player of the Year awards in Juan Mata, Mourinho is undoubtedly back on the up. Battling for the title without an ever-present striker playing a one-striker formation is a task only the best of managers could undertake, and as Samuel Eto’o and Fernando Torres struggle to nail down some solid form, Mourinho has built a brick-wall defence system to keep out even the most prolific strikers. The said brick-wall has muted renouned hitmen such as Alvaro Negredo, Edin Dzeko, Luis Suarez and Olivier Giroud in recent months. Enjoy having Mourinho in our era while it lasts, as he truly is ‘The Special One’.
2013/14 statistics: P 39 W 29 D 4 L 6 Win percentage 74.36%
City fans were reluctant to lose the glory days of Roberto Mancini, many even bringing protest banners into games. The replacement was the Malaga manager, heavily doubted by fans as a sufficient sequel to the City saga. The Chilean has handmade one of the world’s most lethal attacking threats in the combination of world-class strikers Sergio Aguero, Alvaro Negredo and Edin Dzeko, with multiple midfield maestros such as David Silva, Jesus Navas, Samir Nasri, Yaya Toure and Fernandinho all in support. Despite Joe Hart’s poor form towards the end of last year, Pellegrini has accumulated an unrivalled win percentage of over 74%, winning nearly three quarters of his games. Manchester City is etched into the 60-year old’s sky blue eyes, and it looks like it will be for a long while yet.
2013/14 statistics: P 26 W 17 D 5 L 4 Win percentage 65.38%
Arsene Wenger encapsulates Arsenal Football Club. Over the last eighteen years he has had to combat problems even more arduous than zipping up his club bubble coat, such as remaining at the top after losing irreplaceable stars like Robin Van Persie and Thierry Henry. Wenger was the first manager in England to introduce the slick passing game which inspired other managers such as Roberto Martinez and Michael Laudrup, and has shown plenty of times that he remains the finest at employing their distinct style of play – such as Jack Wilshere’s exquisite goal against Norwich last year. Bringing stars through the ranks such as Ashley Cole, Cesc Fabregas and Jack Wilshere, Wenger has not only been one of the most successful managers with regards to bringing players through from the academy, but is now the longest-standing current Premier League manager after nearly eighteen years at the reigns. Renouned for being adroit and circumspect spending money after specialising in finances during his education, Wenger surprised the world by completing the signing of the year in Mesut Ozil on deadline day of Summer 2013 for £42.5 million. Arsene Wenger will certainly go down in the history books as one of the greatest.
Overall Liverpool career statistics: P 94 W 50 D 22 L 22 Win percentage 53.19%
Rodgers was given an immensely laborious task which had previously hacked ruthlessly at the reputations of Kenny Dalglish and Roy Hodgson. To accomplish this task, he built a team around an allegedly racist, biting, diving thug, while having to deal with all of the media attention which flew at him with these allegations. However, this allegedly racist, biting, diving thug also happened to be one of the best players in the world. The Irishman had to re-establish one of the most famous football clubs in history, with fans in most nations across the globe watching eagerly his every move. Finally, Liverpool Football Club are scaling the footballing heights once again due to this man and his long-term plan of fluid attacking football, building the meanest midfield-attack co-operation in the league. Watch out.
2013/14 statistics: P 26 W 10 D 9 L 7 Win percentage 38.46%
After their initial return to the Premier League after a seven year absence, Southampton were always a struggling team near the wrong end of the table, gripping top-flight football with their fingernails scraping across the edge of relegation. However, previous manager Nigel Adkins was a respected figure at the club, trusted by many fans. So when he was sacked for a rather unknown, a dose of shock was injected into the world of English football. Many Southampton supporters bemoaned this decision at the time, unaware that the switch would eventually establish them as one of the top clubs in England, with a front-line to make any opposing army tremble in their boots. Like a precision archer, the 41-year-old Argentinian shot Southampton into the top ranks of the Premier League, creating a side which Nigel Adkins could only dream of managing. Once a stranger to Englishmen, Mauricio Pochettino had converted second-tier-standard players Adam Lallana, Jay Rodriguez and Rickie Lambert into one of the most clinical forward trios in English football. Each has since earned a regular place in the English national squad and probably booked them a seat on the plane to Brazil for the World Cup. And this is just the start.
Tottenham Hotspur career statistics: P 10 W 7 D 2 L 3 Win percentage 70%
Not many Premier League managers can claim a seventy-per-cent win rate, especially one appointed out of the blue from the backroom staff. Tim Sherwood, two months ago a forgotten figure since his playing days ended at Coventry City nearly ten years previously, has turned around Tottenham Hotspur. From loitering on the edge of the top ten in the Premier League with Andre Villas-Boas, Spurs can now be found as short as 4/1 with common bookmakers to finish in the top three. The 45-year-old has helped Emmanuel Adebayor rediscover himself as one of the Premier League’s top strikers, scoring eight times in ten games with a couple of assists. Not to mention his discovery of teenage wonderkid Nabil Bentaleb, already catching the eye of the nation from his ten appearances so far. Sherwood’s initial eighteen-month contract looks soon to be demolished for a much lengthier one and this is a management star in the making – Tim Sherwood, remember the name.
2013/14 statistics: P 25 W 12 D 9 L 4 Win percentage 48%
After eleven years of disguised pessimism under David Moyes, a dose of positivity from the charming, friendly face of Roberto Martinez was just what the doctor ordered for Everton Football Club. Promptly employing his fluid, short-passing Spanish style of play, the Catalan shot Everton up to challenge for a Champions League place as soon as the season began – a rather unknown sight for Evertonians having been used to the trademark David Moyes slow start. The aforementioned positivity has let Toffees’ fans embrace games against the top teams rather than fearing them, and has led the Blues to their status as the team with the joint-second least losses in the Premier League this season. The 40-year-old mastermind has made Goodison Park into a fortress, losing only once at the venue all season. Moyes never found a way of bringing in top players on the shoestring budget available at Goodison Park, so resorted to developing stars from relative scratch himself. However, with his policy of never selling a player without ensuring the squad is better post-sale, Martinez has stormed through the loan market to excite and enthuse fans with big names such as Romelu Lukaku and Gareth Barry among others, who have been tipped by some to even sign long-term contracts with the club at the end of the season. Finally, when did Moyes ever tempt Barcelona to loan out one of their brightest rising stars?
Crystal Palace career statistics: P 15 W 7 D 1 L 7 Win percentage 46.67%
Crystal Palace were rock bottom of the Premier League with no goals from any of their strikers, and within the first couple of months of their Premier League return, relegation seemed already almost certain. Then, like an angel sent from the heavens, came Tony Pulis. The Welshman had spent ten years (split by a short stint at Plymouth Argyle in 2005/06) with Stoke City establishing their Britannia Stadium as one of the nation’s most feared fortresses. Pulis turned Stoke City around, building a squad of giant, physical monsters. Crystal Palace had got their man, and after a prolonged absence of ammunition from forlorn striker Marouane Chamakh, Pulis has been able to get the Moroccan firing again. Pulis has also been able to turn fringe players into star players, such as Cameron Jerome and Jerome Thomas. Meanwhile, Stoke battle relegation for the first time some fans can remember while bemoaning the loss of underrated hero Tony Pulis.
2013/14 statistics: P 26 W 11 D 4 L 11 Win percentage 42.3%
Oozing self confidence from every pore, the current second longest serving manager in the Premier League has been famous for bringing in an influx of French-speaking players to take over the Newcastle squad. After winning the prestigious Premier League Manager of the Season and the League Managers Association Manager of the Year awards in 2011-12 for leading Newcastle to a fifth-place finish therefore securing European football, Newcastle finished a disappointing 16th in the Premier League the following season. However, Pardew’s side are currently 8th in the Premier League, and with Pardew’s clever tactics of team chemistry with the ‘French Connection United Kingdom’, Newcastle seem to finally be rising to power again. Playing with the self confidence of Alan Pardew, Newcastle United are even more likely to succeed.
Manchester United career statistics: P 40 W 22 D 8 L 10 Win percentage 55%
You’ve been asked to take over the most famous football club in the world and succeed arguably the best manager ever, who is leaving after twenty-seven glittering years at the helm. The critical eye of the world’s media is fixed on your every move, and the first task you are given is to persuade one of the best strikers in the world -who you sued for making snide comments about you in his autobiography- to stay at the club. Then, you must make some world-class signings to win over the fans, when you have no experience of paying over £15 million for a player. It is obviously going to take time for Moyes and after a shaky start, the 2009 League Managers Association Manager of the Year finally seems to be closing down Manchester United’s traditional league rivals. Surprisingly, Sir Alex Ferguson only won twelve of his first thirty-one games as Manchester United manager, while Moyes won eighteen in the same number of games, with Ferguson losing two more games than Moyes in this time (7:9). Although he hasn’t had the best of starts, do not lose faith in David William Moyes.
By Tom Clarke – @TomClarke40