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Report Card: 2017-2018 Premier League Managers



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The dust has barely settled on the 2017/18 Premier League season and there are already three clubs searching for new managers.

Arsenal, Everton and West Ham United have parted company with Arsene Wenger, Sam Allardyce and David Moyes respectively, and the trio are unlikely to be the last bosses to leave their roles this summer.

Read on as we assess the managerial situation at last season’s Premier League clubs.

Manchester City – Pep Guardiola (9.5/10)

City won the title at a canter, finishing 19 points clear of rivals Manchester United.

Pep Guardiola’s side produced some of the best performances we’ve ever seen in the Premier League, although suggestions that they are “the greatest of all time” are wide of the mark.

Guardiola’s next task is to prove he can deliver Champions League success without Lionel Messi at his disposal, but the Spaniard should be proud of City’s efforts this term.

Manchester United – Jose Mourinho (8.5/10)

The Red Devils finished 6th with 69 points last season. This time around they ended the campaign as runners-up and with 12 points more. Love him or hate him, Mourinho has moved the club forward.

United’s squad still requires improvements, particularly in defence, but it would be no surprise to see them finish closer to City next season. Whether they can overturn a 19 point deficit is a completely different story.

Tottenham Hotspur – Mauricio Pochettino (8/10)

Spurs, aka “the Harry Kane team”, have progressed under Pochettino, but the club has probably reached the limit of its potential and the Argentinian knows it. Three successive top three finishes under Pochettino are all well and good, but Spurs have yet to win a trophy during his time with the club.

Further investment in the squad is needed if Spurs are to make the next step. Failure to do that could see Pochettino and Kane tempted to move elsewhere.

Liverpool – Jurgen Klopp (8/10)

Many people argue that Klopp has got Liverpool heading in the right direction and their run to the Champions League final suggests that may be the case. However, the Reds finished 4th in the Premier League in 2016/17 and have ended the current campaign in the same position and with one less point.

Draws against the likes of West Bromwich Albion and Stoke City towards the end of the season prove that Klopp still hasn’t fully eradicated his side’s ability to throw in daft results. A 25 point gap to City will also take some closing down.

Chelsea – Antonio Conte (5.5/10)

Comfortably won the title in 2016/17, but put up a shocking defence of it this season – not the first time that’s happened at Chelsea.

Conte spent much of the season moaning about Chelsea’s failure to strengthen their squad last summer and his negative demeanour affected his team’s performances. Whatever happens in the FA Cup final against United, it’s unlikely that Conte will be in charge next term.

Arsenal – Arsene Wenger (5/10)

Wenger will be rightly viewed as an Arsenal legend, although it’s fair to say that he stayed on at the club longer than he should have.

The Frenchman’s refusal to splash the cash left Arsenal trailing behind their rivals and his replacement has a big rebuilding job on his hands this summer.

Burnley – Sean Dyche (7/10)

Only five clubs scored fewer goals than Burnley this season, yet Dyche managed to guide them to 7th in the table and a place in the Europa League. The Clarets’ boss has done well with limited resources, although his style of football makes Sam Allardyce look like Guardiola.

Burnley’s lack of depth could be a problem next term, particularly with European football as an added distraction, and they will find it difficult to match their achievements in 2018/19.

Everton – Sam Allardyce (7/10)

Guiding Everton away from trouble and up to 8th in the league wasn’t enough for Everton fans. They wanted Allardyce out and they’ve got their wish.

However, this is a club stuck in a time warp – one that yearns for the style of Harvey, Kendall and Ball, but forgets that its last trophy success came with Joe Royle’s “Dogs of War” team.

Allardyce’s likely replacement, Marco Silva, was relegated with Hull City and sacked by Watford, but his football’s nice to watch, so it’s fine. Good luck with that.

Leicester City – Claude Puel (6/10)

Winning the title in 2015/16 has messed up the psyche at Leicester. Puel took over from Craig Shakespeare in October with the team in the bottom three and ended the season in the top half of the table.

Despite this, there has been talk, once again, that the players are unhappy with the manager’s methods. Maybe the managers aren’t the real problem at the King Power Stadium?

Newcastle United – Rafa Benitez (6.5/10)

A top half finish is a remarkable achievement for Newcastle, especially when you consider the financial restrictions Benitez has had to contend with.

Owner Mike Ashley’s declaration that he will make “every penny generated by the club” available to Benitez to improve the squad indicates that he won’t personally be providing any more funding. A takeover is needed or the manager could well be off this summer.

Crystal Palace – Roy Hodgson (7.5/10)

Seven straight defeats at the start of the season gave Crystal Palace a mountain to climb, but Hodgson turned things around to lead the club to mid-table safety.

If Palace can hang on to the likes of Wilfried Zaha and add further quality this summer, there is no reason why they couldn’t target a top 10 finish next term.

Bournemouth – Eddie Howe (6.5/10)

The Cherries looked in trouble during the early part of the campaign, but Howe stuck to his footballing principles and his side ended the season in 12th place.

The club will be taking their place in the top flight for the fifth year in a row next term, but can Howe keep performing miracles on the South Coast? Only time will tell.

West Ham United – David Moyes (5.5/10)

West Ham and Everton are two peas in a pod. Both have fans that seem to think their clubs should be riding high in the league whilst playing a ‘sexy’ brand of football. Moyes successfully steered the Hammers away from the relegation zone, but he never realistically looked like being a long-term appointment.

Shakhtar Donetsk boss Paulo Fonseca has been linked with the role, but does he, or any other manager for that matter, really want to risk their reputation in the toxic atmosphere surrounding the London Stadium?

Watford – Javi Gracia (4/10)

Watford started the season in decent form, but things went pear-shaped when Everton expressed an interest in manager Marco Silva.

He was eventually sacked and replaced by Gracia, but the Spaniard won just four out of 14 league games as his side finished 14th. Relegation fodder next season.

Brighton & Hove Albion – Chris Hughton (7/10)

Hughton did a superb job in leading Brighton into the Premier League and he’s bettered that by keeping them there.

The 59-year-old has created a hugely positive environment at the Amex Stadium and with a bit of backing in the summer he is capable of driving them towards the calmer waters of mid-table next season.

Huddersfield Town – David Wagner (8/10)

Huddersfield were many people’s favourites for relegation, but Wagner squeezed every last drop of effort out of his squad to keep them safe.

Draws late in the season at Man City and Chelsea highlighted the fighting spirit at the club, but it’s difficult to imagine anything other than another battle against relegation next season.

Southampton – Mark Hughes (4/10)

Robbie Savage’s favourite manager won just two of his eight league games in charge of Southampton, but that still was enough to keep them up. He was dismissed by Stoke City in January and they went on to be relegated, so the Welshman has little reason to look back on this season with much pride.

Southampton’s policy of selling their best players almost caught up with them this term, but if they do decide to invest in the squad during the summer it’s debatable whether Hughes is the man who should be trusted to spend the money.

Swansea City – Carlos Carvalhal (4/10)

Swansea lost just two of Carvalhal’s first nine matches in charge, but they failed to win any of the subsequent nine and were duly relegated.

Selling the likes of Fernando Llorente and Gylfi Sigurdsson and not replacing them adequately was a recipe for disaster. Those poor decisions at boardroom level were deservedly punished by relegation.

Stoke City – Paul Lambert (1/10)

Sacking Hughes was the right call, but replacing him with Lambert certainly wasn’t.

The man who spent the majority of his ill-fated time at Blackburn Rovers talking about his ill-fated time at Aston Villa won just two out of 15 games at Stoke and he never looked capable of leading them away from trouble.

West Brom – Darren Moore (7/10)

Ten games without a win saw Tony Pulis’ time at the Hawthorns come to an end, but things didn’t get any better under Alan Pardew. The Baggies replaced him too late, although club legend Darren Moore nearly pulled off an unlikely escape, losing just one of his last six games in charge.

West Brom have already indicated that Moore won’t be considered for the job on a permanent basis due to his lack of experience. If beating Man United, Newcastle and Spurs and drawing with Liverpool doesn’t count for something, then it’s little wonder the club has fallen into the Championship.