Right now the Premier League is blessed with 20 great managers with unique styles of play and interesting philosophies all of which contributed to one of the most exciting seasons ever last term.
So today, we’re ranking all 20 Premier League managers from worst to best based on style, tactical smarts and the success they’ve brought to their club.
20. Xisco – Watford
At this moment in time Xisco is relatively unproven and to be fair to him he’s not alone in that respect when it comes to Premier League managers going into next season. He’s only lost nine games as a manager but having only competed in 38 that’s to be expected especially because he had a relatively easy job taking Watford to promotion last season. His first real test is set to unfold next season. We shall have to wait and see how he fairs.
19. Patrick Vieira – Crystal Palace
Like Xisco, Vieria is relatively unproven as a manager especially in the Premier League. He has done a sound job both in the MLS and in Ligue 1. If he can replicate a similar set of results with Crystal Palace next season they’ll easily survive. However, don’t be surprised to see another Frank de Boer like debacle.
18. Bruno Lage – Wolves
Completing the trinity of unproven managers is Lage. He’s been working as a coach since 1997 but has only become a manager in recent years. He over saw 51 wins whilst at Benfica and even guided them to the title. An impressive way to start life as a manager for sure but the real test will come next season in the Premier League.
17. Steve Bruce Newcastle United
Initially, I was going to put Bruce much higher on this list. I thought he should be commended for taking over from the esteemed Rafa Benítez and keeping the toon-army in the Prem. That said, their 12th place finish last season owed a lot to Callum Wilson. Without him relegation could’ve been a real possibility. His style certainly isn’t as eye-catching as others and feels a long way off the football played at St James Park under the likes of Kevin Keegan. Ultimately, he feels like a place-holder until Newcastle get relegated or find a new owner to breathe life back into the club.
16. Daniel Farke Norwich
Farke was a difficult manager to rank. For the second time last season he guided Norwich to promotion but that’s now become expected of the club. After all they certainly view themselves as a Premier League calibre club these days. He plays nice football but failed to make any real impression the last time we saw him in the Premier League.
15. Ralph Hasenhüttl Southampton
Not many managers could do what Hasenhüttl has after a 9-1 defeat. Instead of crumbling and dragging his side to relegation, he and the Saints bounced back. In fact, they became one of the top teams in the league. They were pushing for European football whilst adopting an attractive style. That soon fell away as they slipped to 15th in the league continuing his up and down tenure which included conceding another 9 goals this time against Manchester United.
14. Sean Dyche Burnley
Dyche’s style isn’t exactly what many would describe as attractive. However, it is gritty, pragmatic and effective. The 17/18 season was undoubtedly his high point as he guided Burnley to seventh and he should be commended for cementing the Lancashire club as a Premier League team with this being their sixth consecutive season in the top flight. What’s more, Dyche will forever go down in history for ending Klopp’s four-year unbeaten run at Anfield.
13. Mikel Arteta Arsenal
Arteta has struggled to find consistency. Having won the FA Cup in 2020, fans expected big things from Arsenal last season only for them to finish eighth in the league. In fact, many believe they’re closer to the Championship than European football these days. Arteta isn’t solely to blame for this and you feel with time and resources he could fix things.
12. Thomas Frank Brentford
Brentford have played some scintillating stuff in the Championship since Frank took over and last season he deservedly guided them to the top flight. I’ve been waiting years to see what Brentford could do in the Premier League and now I can. Always capable of reinventing his squad even when top attackers leave, he’s developed many great strikers including the likes of Ollie Watkins. I can’t wait to see what he brings to the top tier next season.
11. Graham Potter Brighton
When Potter took over at Brighton, I thought they’d soon be playing Championship football. He would try and play nice football and they would be torn apart. He certainly has brought nice footy to the Amex but also an ability to get enough results to stay alive. He’s fashioned Bissouma into a great midfielder and looks to have cemented Brighton as a Premier League club.
10. Nuno Espírito Santo Tottenham
A year and a half ago, Nuno would’ve probably made the top five. His Wolves side were quickly establishing themselves as a major threat to the Big Six and many saw them in a similar bracket to Leicester and Everton. But last season they struggled and finished in the bottom half. A move to Spurs could revitalise his career and could very well get the North London club headed in the right direction again.
9. David Moyes West Ham
David Moyes in the top 10? It’s not an opinion I’d have had at any other point over the last 8 years but something has clicked for him at West Ham. Right now, it feels more like his days at Everton where he led them to the top four in 2005. West Ham have allowed him to be him and it’s working. They’re resilient in defence and have ways of breaking teams down at the other end.
7. Ole Gunnar Solskjær Manchester United
Ole’s at the wheel and steered Man United to second place last season. For me, the jury is still out on Ole and whether he can turn Man United back into Champions. That said, he’s pieced together a mouth-watering attacking line-up with goals aplenty amongst them and the midfield. He is perhaps somewhat negative against the big clubs but he sets his side up not to lose and it often works but will it propel them to the title this year?
7. Dean Smith Aston Villa
What a difference a year makes. 12 months ago, Villa had just scrapped to survival but last season was a different story. They finished 11th in the table playing attacking football built around Jack Grealish and Ollie Watkins. Few managers have been able to do what he has at Villa Park.
6. Rafa Benitez Everton
A former Champions League winner at Liverpool and a miracle worker at Valencia once upon a time, Benitez is back on Merseyside but controversially with the blue half. You cannot deny his pedigree and if any man can get Everton into the Champions League its Benitez. Few managers are as pragmatic as he is and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Everton finish in the top six under the former Liverpool boss.
5. Brendan Rodgers Leicester
After the heroics of 15/16, many believed Leicester had had their day in the sun, but under Rodgers they’ve established themselves as one of the Premier League’s top sides. On a modest budget he’s broken into the top 6 and the Foxes always push for the top four now which is made all the more impressive by the fact he’s constantly having to replace his top talent. Also, he should be praised much more than he is for continuing the scintillating form of Vardy who looks just as good as ever despite his age. Last season, he even brought the FA Cup back to the King Power and maybe more success could follow this season.
4. Marcelo Bielsa Leeds
In 18/19 Bielsa took a mid-table Championship team and carried them to the brink of glory. The following year he proved it wasn’t a one-and-done guiding the Mighty Whites to promotion before establishing them as one of the most entertaining sides in the Prem. Even whilst entertaining, his Leeds side still achieved success finishing in the top half of the table in their first season in the top flight. A football purest and yet one who always finds a way to win, he didn’t lose a game to Pep Guardiola last season and that says it all.
3. Thomas Tuchel Chelsea
I believe Chelsea could be real title contenders next season. Tuchel has proven he can beat both the very top teams and those who will sit back against his European Champions. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention he delivered Chelsea’s second Champions League last season thanks to his pragmatic approach and that approach could see them push for Premier League glory this term.
2. Jürgen Klopp Liverpool
Liverpool didn’t have the best season last year, but no one can dispute what Klopp has built at Anfield. Without the budget of Pep at City, Klopp has built a world-class side who secured 196 points across two seasons whilst winning the Champions League. To do all of this without the money of someone like City is one thing but Klopp has often been pragmatic during his time at Liverpool decreasing the amount his team presses and finding ways of beating low-block sides. Liverpool aren’t in the greatest moment now, but his achievements stand for themselves.
1. Pep Guardiola Manchester City
Pep has changed English football, that much is clear. Now everyone wants to play his beautiful style. Not only is it fantastic to watch but it’s one of the most effective approaches the league has ever seen. He took City to back-to-back titles with a total of 198 points and last season he fixed City’s defensive issues on route to claiming a third Premier League title.