Premier League: Manager of the Year Contenders

Premier League- Manager of the Year Contenders

With the Premier League season now hurtling towards what promises to be a thrilling conclusion, all of the key questions remain unanswered. In addition to the team honours, thoughts are now beginning to turn towards the individual gongs handed out at the end of the season - including the Premier League Manager of the Year award.

The season has witnessed its share of ups and downs on the managerial front, with the usual array of bosses given their marching orders. However, for every man who has struggled, another has thrived. Here we take a look at five of the most deserving contenders for the prize, using data presented by, to highlight their credentials.

Mikkel Arteta: Arsenal

It seems hard to believe now, but there was a time in the not-too-distant past when sections of the Arsenal faithful were calling for the replacement of Mikkel Arteta. Few are complaining now, with the Gunners sitting at the top of the table, and in with a very realistic shot of landing their first title since the 2003/04 season.

Admittedly, it did take Arteta a little while to mould the team to his designs. However, there were signs that things were beginning to come together last season before everything clicked into gear this term. The improvement in the side is well illustrated by a comparison between the key stats from 2021/22 and 2022/23.

Mikkel Arteta: Arsenal stats

Pep Guardiola: Manchester City

As ever, Manchester City maestro Pep Guardiola is in the discussion. Having missed out to Jurgen Klopp last season, at present, it would be a surprise to see him lift the prize this time around, with the overall performance levels of the Citizens having dipped ever so slightly since last season – as detailed in the table below.

However, it must be remembered that the season isn’t over just yet, and at present, City are odds on shots to win the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup. Were Pep to pull off that treble, his claims would be tough to deny.

Pep Guardiola: Manchester City stats

Eddie Howe: Newcastle United

Up in the North East, Eddie Howe has Newcastle United performing way above expectations. Following the long-awaited takeover, many fans of the Black and Whites began to dream of the Champions League returning to Tyneside. However, few expected a top-four finish in Eddie Howe’s first full season in charge. With games beginning to run down, the Magpies aren't over the line just yet but are now sitting pretty in third, and warm favourites to be dining at Europe’s top table next season.

Much has been made of the money spent by Newcastle, but just as impressive has been the work put in by Howe to improve existing members of the squad – Joelinton, Sean Longstaff, Jacob Murphy, and Miguel Almiron being shining examples of the effectiveness of Howe’s player focussed coaching philosophy. Howe's claims for this honour are again perhaps best illustrated by the numbers – the highlight being an incredible upturn in defensive performance.

Eddie Howe- Newcastle United stats

Unai Emery: Aston Villa

Of the many managerial changes made during the current season, easily the most spectacular success story has emerged from Villa Park. Struggling towards the wrong end of the table prior to the arrival of Unai Emery, the Villains are now making a late charge at the European positions, following an incredible turnaround in fortunes.

Landing a coach of the calibre of Unai Emery looked to be something of a coup for the club at the time, but by any standards, Emery has performed well above expectations. The below table details the side's numbers under Gerrard in the opening exchanges, and those since the former Villarreal boss took charge on the 1st of November. If judged purely on improvement in performance, Emery may boast the strongest claims of all.

Unai Emery: Aston Villa stats

Roberto De Zerbi: Brighton & Hove Albion

Last but least, Roberto De Zerbi certainly deserves a mention for his stellar work down on the South Coast. Following the departure of Graham Potter to Chelsea, whoever took over in the Brighton & Hove Albion hot seat faced an unenviable task. At the time of the change, most observers expected Brighton to finish their season in mid-table, whilst Chelsea fought out the European positions. The fact that the opposite has turned out to be the case – with Potter ultimately being sacked by Chelsea – is a real testament to the job done by De Zerbi.

As shown in the table above, De Zerbi has not only continued the excellent work of Potter, but actually managed to improve upon it. Previously criticised for a failure to convert their attractive football into goals, the Italian has made the Seagulls a much more potent outfit, with the huge improvement in goals output being the main driver behind the higher points per game tally. If able to bounce back from their FA Cup semi-final disappointment and claim a European position, De Zerbi would surely be in with a realistic shot of winning the award.

Roberto De Zerbi: Brighton & Hove Albion stats

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