Power Ranking the Premier League Managers
The 2013-14 Premier League is fast approaching the quarter mark, with teams set to challenge around the top end and fighting near the bottom rapidly beginning to emerge.
While there is still plenty of time for clubs to turn around their form if they are stuttering, certainly by now we can tell which bosses have made a good start to the season and which have much work to do to salvage pride, trophy challenges or even their jobs in some cases.
Here we take a look at every Premier League boss and rank them on their performances so far this season.
Rankings are determined by weighting club expectation, the manager's reputation or ability, and current league position and points gained against each other.
20. Gus Poyet, Sunderland
Gus Poyet is straight in 20th place for the simple reason that he has yet to manage his new club Sunderland, so he couldn't possibly go anywhere else.
In fairness to the other 19 bosses, Paolo Di Canio would have been in 20th anyway if he was still at the Stadium of Light.
Good luck, Gus. You're going to need it.
19. Ian Holloway, Crystal Palace
We all love Ian Holloway's media sound bites, but Olly is a football manager, not a comedian—and things haven't been very funny for him at Crystal Palace anyway this season.
Palace have been, to be quite blunt, pretty shocking so far.
Six defeats from seven games has already left them adrift at the bottom, and the defence looks porous and ragged every time they are facing quality opposition. They have some talent going forward, but it's going to take a huge effort for Palace to get out of the bottom three at any point this season.
18. Martin Jol, Fulham
Martin Jol has had a terrible start to the season with Fulham, but putting an end to a run of five without a win recently will hopefully begin to move the Cottagers in the right direction.
Jol has spent considerable sums this summer to bring in more players to boost the squad, so Fulham's board, plus new owner Shahid Kahn, are going to expect a reasonable Premier League place this season.
At present they are near the bottom of a big group of clubs that have made a less-than-impressive start to the season, so there's work ahead for Jol.
17. Michael Laudrup, Swansea City
Swansea are another of those clubs grouped around the lower reaches of the Premier League, but most fans won't worry about them staying there for long, especially under the guidance of Michael Laudrup.
True, he's ranked lower than most would expect, but that's largely as a result of the Swans and Laudrup so far being unable to quite adjust to the demands of playing Europa League football alongside maintaining a high position in the league.
Laudrup will soon have them moving up the table, though, and at this early stage, even a single win can have a big effect on league position.
16. Chris Hughton, Norwich City
Chris Hughton hasn't made a great start this season with Norwich winning just two from seven, and he will soon face far greater pressure if they don't pick up points regularly.
The Canaries spent relatively heavily this summer, recruiting the likes of Leroy Fer and Ricky van Wolfswinkel, and Hughton will be expected to mould these talents into a group capable of taking enough points to avoid a relegation battle this term.
It hasn't happened so far, with one win from the last four an indication of their poor early form. Norwich prop up the group from ninth to 18th, which is separated by just three points at present.
15. Mark Hughes, Stoke City
Mark Hughes is still in his first few months at Stoke City, and the changes have been gradual but noticeable until now.
Stoke are four without a win and have lost their last three, so Hughes will be expected to stop the rot quickly after the international break, but at present he probably has Stoke roughly in the position they would expect to hold.
14. Sam Allardyce, West Ham United
Sam Allardyce will do the job expected of him this year. He will guide West Ham to safely easily, he will finish somewhere in mid-table, and he will not care in the slightest whether people like his team or not.
The Hammers are currently in 13th place and the smart money would be on Allardyce keeping them within touching distance of the same spot for the duration of the campaign.
Big Sam's a solid manager not one to everybody's tastes, but West Ham will never be in any danger with him in charge.
13. Steve Clarke, West Bromwich Albion
After a difficult start to the season, West Brom have only lost once in their last six games and Steve Clarke is making the most of his good late signings.
The Baggies will be happy enough with their mid-table placing, even if it is a little lower than they finished last term. The Premier League is becoming ever more competitive, and West Brom need to maintain their recent good form to avoid being dragged further down the table into the bottom few places.
Clarke has started his second campaign in charge well enough, though, and will at this stage be confident of securing another top-half finish.
12. Alan Pardew, Newcastle
Newcastle have had an up-and-down start to the season, mixing in some important wins against sides around them in the table with some dreadful performances in defeat.
All of their wins have come by a single goal so far, so Pardew certainly has work to do with his team at both ends of the field, but there are enough good players at Newcastle that he should be able guide them to a mid-table finish over the course of the season.
Pardew has his detractors too, especially after a poor showing last term, so he needs to ensure he doesn't let his side slip too many more disappointing losses.
11. David Moyes, Manchester United
There can be no doubt that most people would have expected Manchester United to rank higher than ninth place by the middle of October, but it's far from an irredeemable for David Moyes and his team.
He will be disappointed, and rightly so, to have been beaten three times already this term, but United remain capable of going on a long unbeaten run to haul themselves back into the title race, especially at such an early part of the season.
United should be higher in the table, but as the season goes on, they inevitably will be. Nevertheless, their relatively poor start ensures Moyes' place way down the rankings.
10. Malky Mackay, Cardiff City
On the flip side to Moyes' performance, Malky Mackay has impressed so far in his maiden campaign in the Premier League, guiding Cardiff City to a lower mid-table spot early on.
If Cardiff end the season anywhere near 14th place, everyone associated with the club will be utterly delighted.
That makes it all the more bemusing why they have risked the togetherness of the club by replacing their chief scout in the manner they have.
9. Manuel Pellegrini, Manchester City
While not so far down the table as title and city rivals Manchester United, Manchester City have spent considerably more this summer once again and should certainly be fighting for the title come the end of the season.
City are fifth at the table at present as Manuel Pellegrini seeks to find a balance between his attack-minded side and closing out games they should win.
They are the top scorers in the league but have conceded the joint-most goals in the top six as well. Pellegrini can—and will—improve as the season goes on.
8. Jose Mourinho, Chelsea
Jose Mourinho has Chelsea roughly where they should expect to be at present, but a number of questionable decisions over team selection may yet prove to stop the Blues achieving as much as they might.
Even so, they are third in the table and just two points off leaders Arsenal, so he can hardly be overly criticised.
Achieving more or less what is expected of him places him eighth, but don't be surprised to see him rise much higher as the season goes on. It is Jose, after all.
7. Paul Lambert, Aston Villa
After battling relegation almost until the final day of last season, Aston Villa's start to this year will be a more than welcome sight to fans.
They are currently perched comfortably mid-table, level on points with two Uniteds (Manchester and Newcastle) and looking good to fare far better throughout the rest of the campaign than they did last year.
Lambert has made his side more difficult to beat and they have better attacking options too. If he keeps the side consistently turning over points, they will have no need for relegation fears for the season.
6. Steve Bruce, Hull City
Recently promoted Hull City had a huge overhaul of their squad over the summer, with Steve Bruce also changing tactics from his back-three system used last term in the Championship.
They've done extremely well early on this term to rise to eighth place, with Bruce able to take much of the credit for his attack-minded lineups and bold mentality to take the points against sides that should likely rival Hull in trying to avoid relegation.
The fans will be mindful, though, of the good start made to their debut campaign in the top flight last time they were promoted, which was swiftly followed by a drop to the lower reaches of the table and—the following season—relegation.
5. Andre Villas-Boas, Tottenham
Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas has rebuilt the side's attack with the money from the sale of Gareth Bale, but not all the new components of that attack are quite at their optimum level of performance yet.
That bodes well to an extent for Spurs, presuming they do improve as the season goes on, as they are not far off the top couple of places at present.
Villas-Boas has also organised his team to be tough to score against or beat, and will almost certainly continue to mould his team into title challengers if allowed to progress.
4. Roberto Martinez, Everton
There were a few question marks over Roberto Martinez at the start of the season as to whether he would be able to step up to manage a club with greater expectations, but he has set about answering those emphatically.
Everton were the last Premier League team to remain unbeaten this season and have only lost once to date. Even if the defence is perhaps a little less rigid than it has been, it's come about as a result of playing far more expansive, attractive football.
The blue half of Merseyside could yet be dark horses for a top-four spot, but even if that is beyond Martinez this season, a top-six finish could easily be in the cards.
3. Brendan Rodgers, Liverpool
Over to the other half of Merseyside, where Brendan Rodgers has guided Liverpool to joint-top of the Premier League table and indeed has seen his team lead outright at more than one point early this season.
Rodgers perhaps only ranks in the top three as opposed to first or second on the account of his team not being at their best; Liverpool are racking up the points, but their performances have been disjointed or defensive at times, not at all what is expected by the boss.
Even so, winning without playing at the maximum level is often cited as a good thing, and Rodgers will hope he can eke more out of his team in terms of displays without seeing the points-leading tally slow down.
2. Mauricio Pochettino, Southampton
After a summer of signing big-name players, Southampton were certainly expected to challenge in the top half of the league table, but Mauricio Pochettino has surpassed those objectives early on to ride high in the top four at present.
The Saints have lost just once and are, at present, the only Premier League team to be on a three-match winning streak.
Pochettino is blending excellent young homegrown players with his more expensive signings from around Europe, with results certainly pointing to this being the right mix.
If he keeps his side in the top eight or so, he could easily be mentioned as a candidate for manager of the season.
1. Arsene Wenger, Arsenal
Top of the table and top of the rankings is Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, who almost certainly will win several manager of the season awards if he can end his team's long trophyless run by suddenly and spectacularly landing the biggest one of all.
There's a long way to go of course, but the Gunners have looked in excellent form this term, going six unbeaten since their opening-day defeat.
The squad looks deeper, Wenger has key men playing well in key positions, and he hasn't been afraid to move or drop underperforming big names. All eyes will be on Arsenal to see how long they can keep up their leadership, but the signs so far are nothing but good.
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