Premier League: Have the New Managers Had an Effect?

Premier League: Have the New Managers Had an Effect?

Early November marked a busy period for the Premier League managerial merry-go-round. Following disappointing starts to the season, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Southampton, and Aston Villa opted to bid adieu to Bruno Lage, Ralph Hasenhüttl, and Steven Gerrard respectively.

Wolves and Villa placed their faith in the proven international commodities of Julen Lopetegui and Unai Emery, whilst Southampton opted to hand a chance to the promising Nathan Jones. Of course, any managerial change aims to improve results and performances, particularly for sides in the lower reaches of the table – preferably sooner rather than later.

Two months on from these appointments, we take a look at how each new manager has performed in the early stages of their tenure, using data presented by Are they having the desired effect? Have matters become even worse? Or is it simply too early to tell?

Unai Emery – Aston Villa

Unai Emery – Aston Villa stats

So far so good for Emery, with the Spanish coach improving the side’s stats across the board. As impressive as these early signs are, it is perhaps worth pointing out that the xG stats - both for and against - have changed very little since the opening stages of the season under Steven Gerrard. Of course, it is points on the board which is the most important metric of all and in this area, Emery has excelled, seeing Villa climb from 16th in the table to a far more respectable 11th.

Nathan Jones – Southampton

Nathan Jones – Southampton stas

Not quite such a rosy picture for Jones overall. Southampton seem to have improved slightly in the attacking side of the game, with both actual goals scored and xG trending upwards. However, that positive is offset by a decline in the defensive stats. On the plus side, Southampton’s two best results under Jones have come in their two most recent games, having dumped Manchester City out of the Carabao Cup and won at Everton in the league. Perhaps the club are finally turning a corner. With the side having slipped from 18th to rock bottom since Jones’s arrival, Saints fans will certainly be hoping so.

Wolverhampton Wanderers – Julen Lopetegui

Wolverhampton Wanderers – Julen Lopetegui stats

Having previously managed Sevilla, Real Madrid, and the Spanish national side, Julen Lopetegui arrived at Molineux with a pretty lofty reputation. So far, he seems to be delivering on the hype. It is admittedly too early to draw any firm conclusions – particularly as the xG stats remain almost identical to those achieved before his arrival. Nevertheless, xG performance is always secondary to actual goals and results, and thus far the Spaniard has almost doubled Wolves’ average goals scored per game, and more than halved their average goals against. That winning combination has seen Wolves climb off the foot of the table to the heady heights of 16th.

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