October 9th, 2019

Premier League Managers – Who’s hot and who’s not?

By Jonny Houghton

The second international break of the season gives us a moment to reflect on the season so far. We have a moment to think about who’s doing well, who’s exceeding expectations and who’s worryingly close to joining the dole queue.

Javi Gracia has already been given the sack this season and so far, Watford haven’t really benefited from any sort of “new manager bounce” yet but hey, they kept a clean sheet last time out so that’s something. Let’s have a look at some of the good and the not so good performers this season.

1-Jurgen Klopp

The Reds have been faultless so far, their 8 wins out of 8 has left them 8 points clear of their nearest rivals and with a run of fixtures that looks extremely favorable. They could well extend their lead at the top of the table.

Manager Jurgen Klopp has seen his team go from strength to strength but they’ve struggled to keep clean sheets so far, largely due to not having his first choice goalkeeper Alisson available.

Adrian has performed admirably, but with the Brazilian stopper likely returning to the side after the break, Adrian’s time in the first 11 looks to be up. Save the occasional cup game.

Differing slightly from the heavy metal football we saw two seasons ago, Klopp has added defensive stability to the side as they look to end their almost 30 year wait for a Premier League title. The German won Premier League Manager of The Month for August and is nominated for the September edition for the award too and having won 3 games this month could well be a shoe in for the award.

Verdict-Bubble wrap safe

2-Pep Guardiola

Dropping 8 points after 8 games wouldn’t normally be any cause for concern whatsoever, the last few seasons have been far from normal, largely thanks to Guardiola and his City team.

Achieving almost 200 points over two seasons sets a pretty high standard and anything approaching normality could be mistakenly seen as slipping up, that’s definitely not the case.

Aside from the two losses to Norwich and Wolves, the Premier League Champions have swept aside all before them. The loss of Aymeric Laporte has shown a gap that can be exploited by teams but with Fernandinho proving a capable deputy and John Stones returning to fitness soon, I think they’ll be okay.


3-Brendan Rodgers

Leicester have been a bit of a surprise package here (sound familiar?) They look set to be the team to break the stranglehold of the traditional “top 6” and get themselves into a European place this season.

Many thought the sale of Harry Maguire would damage them defensively, but having conceded the second least amount of goals this season those concerns have alleviated a bit.

From his time at Celtic and indeed Liverpool, Rodgers has proven to be a tactically adept manager with a good understanding of attacking football. The only time he deviated from this led to their first loss against Manchester United a few weeks back.

Since then they beat Spurs and brushed aside Newcastle, both in front of their own fans and this has led Rodgers to be nominated for Premier League Manager of The Month for September having won 2 of their 3 games this month, conceding only 2 goals in the process.

Verdict-Given the keys to the city of Leicester

4-Ole Gunnar Solskjær

Ever since Solskjær was given the job on a permanent basis, there’s been a shocking downturn in results. Everything may have looked rosy after an opening day demolition of Chelsea but the cracks are well and truly on show now.

United lie just 2 points above the relegation zone and have just one win in their last 5 league matches. Fortunately for Ole, he still has the fans on his side as their frustration seems to be aimed at the owners and Ed Woodward in particular.

There’s no shortage of opinions on United in the wider media but the general consensus seems to be that the players are at fault rather than the manager.

Solskjær has a job on his hands to not only shape the squad into the way that he wants but also to keep the fans on his side. I think he’ll be given time by the United board if only for the fact there’s not that many available replacements of the caliber required, especially now with rumored top target Maurico Pochettino having his own problems down in North London. 

Verdict-Sacked by Christmas

5-Maurico Pochettino

It’s all gone a bit wrong for Poch here hasn’t it? Ever since a miracle run to last year’s Champions League final the North London outfit have found themselves struggling a bit.

Ninth in the table and just two wins in their last five have seen questions begin to be asked about the Argentine’s decision making, tactics and his control over the dressing room. Rumors of extramarital affairs between teammates were quickly quashed, but it’s clear that things aren’t exactly rosy in the Spurs camp.

The declaration from the manager that he would have left the club had he been victorious in Madrid was a strange one and it continues to hang over the club, but with their brand new stadium and the rumored cost of sacking Pochettino to take into account. I’d imagine chairman Daniel Levy would be very reluctant to let his manager go and take a job elsewhere.

Manchester United and Real Madrid are the names that just won’t go away when it comes to discussing the Argentine’s next destination but unless they’re willing to stump up the cash to take him off Tottenham’s hands. A busy January transfer window looks in the offing for Spurs as they have plenty of dead weight to shift and the squad looks desperately in need of refreshment.

I think Poch is safe for now unless results get worse. Watford, Liverpool and Everton are up next for the North London outfit and if they don’t come away with at least 6 points from those 3 games, there’s cause for concern.

Verdict-Leave when he wants

6-Marco Silva

Who’d have thought that buying players from the fringes of top 6 clubs wasn’t an effective strategy to break into the Top 6? The Blues find themselves in the relegation zone for at least the next week or so and it seems fans are starting to turn on Marco Silva.

Winless in their last 4 games, Everton have looked blunt in front of goal (Bayern Munich have scored more past Premier League opposition than Everton this season) and leaky in defense conceding 13 so far this season.

The 42 year old Portugese is understood to have the support of owner Farad Moshiri for now, but that could change if results don’t pick up soon. He’s favorite in the betting to be the next manager to lose his job and the press already speculating about the shortlist to replace him including former manager David Moyes.

Former player Mikel Arteta and Ajax coach Erik Ten Hag are also touted for the job, but with West Ham, Brighton and Spurs to come after the break Silva’s got a difficult task on his hands to keep his job before the busy Christmas period descends on us. At least if Moyes were to return to the club, this wonderful mural stands a chance of being updated.

Verdict-Sacked tomorrow

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