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Power Ranking Every Premier League Manager

Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistMay 12, 2014

Power Ranking Every Premier League Manager

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    The 2013-14 season now sits as a thing of the past, with Manuel Pellegrini left reigning radiantly atop its summit and Manchester City along with him.

    But just how attributable is the Citizens' success to their manager? After all, a tactician is nothing without his squad and vice versa, but which Premier League helmsman can be considered the current No. 1?

    For example, while Pellegrini's extremely talented City side can now be termed as the finest in the land, Tony Pulis has worked some recent wonders with limited resources at Crystal Palace and Gus Poyet's escape from Sunderland relegation deserves its credit, too.

    We've ranked the helmsmen of the English top flight based on form, individual influence on the club and a sample of other factors which we'll dissect ahead.

20. Neil Adams, Norwich City

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    Chris Hughton's dismissal from the Norwich City hot seat meant that successor Neil Adams had the honour of sitting at the club's helm for their relegation.

    The Canaries were the last of the bottom three to see their fate decided, but in failing to win a match since late March, the club couldn't recover, regardless of who was picking the line-up.

    In his first senior management post, Adams has so far failed to enact great change at Carrow Road during his time at the helm thus far—not that he can be blamed—and his greatest achievement in the role remains a 0-0 draw away to Chelsea.

19. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Cardiff City

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    His credentials as a player are widely known, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has struggled to transfer the management nuances he showed in his native Norway to the Premier League.

    Since being appointed Cardiff City boss in January, the ex-Molde tactician and successor to Malky Mackay has struggled to band together the Bluebirds' squad, affected by a flood of transfer signings, both good and bad, over the last year or so.

    Taking just 13 out of a possible 54 points from his five months in charge at the Cardiff City Stadium so far, Solskjaer will aim to go back to basics and rebuild from the ground up as his side go in search of bounce-back promotion.

18. Alan Pardew, Newcastle United

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    Alan Pardew currently sits in a strained position at St. James' Park, having guided Newcastle United to a top-half finish but nonetheless drawing the ire of his own club's fans.

    The Daily Mail's Craig Hope reports that, despite the club's fans calling for Pardew's head, the manager will seek to retain his place at the head of their table, hoping to put the darker moments of the 2013-14 season behind him.

    A headbutt on Hull City's David Meyler stands out as one moment in particular that Pardew will want to forget, but the club losing 11 of their last 15 Premier League games serves as a more substantial reminder of how sour the campaign turned.

17. Sam Allardyce, West Ham

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    For some time now, Sam Allardyce's reign at West Ham's helm has been a contentious issue at Upton Park, with some sections of the club's support believing in the boss' unglamorous but sometimes effective method while others are less faithful.

    Failing to capitalise upon last season's 10th-place finish, the Hammers this season slumped to 13th, seven points away from the drop zone thanks largely to a four-match winning streak in February.

    That burst in form showed what the East Londoners are capable of, but just one win in their last six matches made it fortunate that their top-flight survival was assured in March.

    West Ham now face a summer where transfers, the replacement of departing loan figures and facilitating the sales of dead weight in the squad is of vital significance, and there rests one area in which "Big Sam" could do with stepping up.

16. Felix Magath, Fulham

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    Felix Magath was very unfortunate in inheriting the Fulham conundrum in some ways, and it would have taken an astute managing mind to save the Cottagers from relegation this term.

    Previous regimes had helped in building an aged and tired-looking squad at Craven Cottage, particularly in defence, with the club conceding a league-high 85 goals in 2013-14.

    The ex-Wolfsburg boss is somewhat renowned for not mincing his words on the training pitch and taking a fairly strict stance with the way in which he deals with his players.

    However, a softer touch may have been what was required in such a time of desperation in hindsight, with Magath the current owner of a 50 percent loss ratio in his Fulham post, seeing his side keep two clean sheets across the 12 league fixtures he took charge of.

15. Pepe Mel, West Brom

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    No sooner has Pepe Mel taken over at the Hawthorns than he has exited from West Brom. As the season's final game was confined to history, reports suggested Mel was contemplating a release clause in his contract which the Daily Mail's Simon Jones says leaves him free to join Malaga this summer.

    Confirmation of his departure came via the BBC on Monday, the manager paying the price for failing to improve West Brom's form since his arrival.

    One can't blame the Spaniard much based on his four months in charge of the Baggies, either, where the club won just three matches in 2014 and escaped relegation by a margin of just three points. 

    One might argue that had the club chosen to stick with Steve Clarke instead of placing him on gardening leave in December 2013, West Brom would be better off—if not in the same position at least—as they are now. 

    Clarke took 15 points from his final 16 matches as West Brom manager while Mel amassed the same amount in 18 games; it's just fortunate that 11 of those points came in the ex-Real Betis boss' last 10 meetings.

14. Paul Lambert, Aston Villa

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    Paul Lambert has struggled in living up to the standards which were built up by one who came not long before him in the Aston Villa management dynasty, with Martin O'Neill's achievements at the club now seeming like a lifetime ago.

    This season was the second year in succession that the Birmingham giants have finished 15th in the standings, with Villa clearing relegation by just five points in the end.

    Lambert's campaign was admittedly stunted by injuries, most notably that of Christian Benteke, but then these are obstacles that any Premier League manager grows accustomed to.

    The Villans lost seven of their last 10 league outings to end the term in fairly miserable fashion, with half their total wins this season coming against the five teams who finished below them.

13. Gus Poyet, Sunderland

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    Several weeks ago, Gus Poyet may have found himself ranked significantly lower in our standings, but an end-of-season revival the likes of which Sunderland fans are growing used to sees him soar up the list.

    The Uruguayan has inspired the Black Cats in a way that O'Neill and Paolo Di Canio have also managed in seasons gone by, this time leading to a run of four consecutive victories at the campaign's death to stave off relegation.

    Getting several key members of the squad firing in their most effective manner, Poyet squeezed the most out of Connor Wickham, Fabio Borini and Jack Colback in particular to boost Sunderland out of the bottom three and into a respectable 14th-place finish.

12. Garry Monk, Swansea City

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    But Sunderland's inspirational run of late form was brought to a halt by Garry Monk's Swansea City, the ex-Swan having been rewarded for his hard work with a contract to take the manager's position on permanent terms.

    And deserved it is, too, as Monk goes about his work at the Liberty Stadium in simple fashion, building on the relationships he'll already hold with some of those within the squad and will have not so long ago referred to as teammates.

    With Monk in charge, Swansea lost six of their last 14 matches of the season, winning five and drawing three to clinch a safe points haul of 42 altogether.

    In comparison to his predecessor Michael Laudrup, some might argue that Monk is an inferior tactician of lesser experience in such a role, but what the 35-year-old lacks in tactical knowledge he's making up for in club identity and man management.

11. Steve Bruce, Hull City

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    Getting Hull City to the FA Cup final will go down as Steve Bruce's greatest achievement this season, but even greater is the simultaneous feat of being able put his side in such a healthy position in the Premier League table.

    The top-flight journeyman is learned in the ways of the first tier by this stage, and it's no surprise that the vast majority of the KC Stadium faithful feel indebted to Bruce, who brought a fortress-like feeling to the ground in the first half of the term.

    Making some very astute transfer pickups in both the winter and summer markets, Bruce's know-how has shone through in the Tigers' 2013-14 season from start to end, giving what's far from the most talented squad a fearsome streak.

    Hull finished the campaign in 16th, just a few places from relegation, but their position may have been even better were it not for FA Cup commitments drawing priorities elsewhere.

10. Mauricio Pochettino, Southampton

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    Overall, the Argentine will go down as one of the Premier League's greater management success stories this season, but those estimations are mainly built on an above-average first half to the campaign.

    The Saints ran as high as third thanks to their record of just one loss in their first 11 games of the season, but fatigue would appear to have withered their spirits as Southampton finished with just five wins from their final 12 games.

    Pochettino has nonetheless proven his credentials as a Premier League tactician to be reckoned with, embracing the club's youth influx during his first full season in charge and shoring up the club's defensive structure in particular.

9. Mark Hughes, Stoke City

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    Not many will have expected to see the former Manchester City and Fulham boss make it quite so high when it was announced he'd be filling Tony Pulis' boots at Stoke City, but Mark Hughes deserves some plaudits for his work in transforming the Potters.

    That isn't to say the hypothesised shift away from "park the bus football" and toward something altogether more attractive is complete just yet, but a Premier League finish of ninth would suggest the club is getting there.

    Stoke dropped points in just four of their last 11 matches, taking 23 out of a possible 33 points to end their campaign and in the last eight weeks of the season managing more wins than they had during the whole campaign building up to such a climax.

    Again, it was Hughes' experience at this level that allowed him to make some savvy dealings in the transfer market, not to mention to get existing Britannia Stadium figures firing again who had perhaps lost some of their fire prior to his arrival.

8. Ryan Giggs, Manchester United

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    It's difficult to rank Ryan Giggs fairly given that he's had little more than two weeks at the Manchester United helm in an interim capacity, but his record is ranked using the same criteria.

    With two wins, a draw and a defeat from his first-ever four games in any sort of management responsibility, things could have been worse for the man attempting to right the wrongs of David Moyes' regime in what little time he could.

    The 1-0 loss at home to Sunderland will certainly create doubt among some, but Giggs has done a good job with the tools at hand in the limited amount of time afforded to him, especially in being the man to blood brace-scoring debutant James Wilson.

7. Tim Sherwood, Tottenham

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    Despite all the mockery and quips that his matchday gilet might attract, Tim Sherwood could have done a much worse job in his time as Tottenham boss, which would appear to be drawing toward an inevitable close.

    Following the dismissal of Andre Villas-Boas, Sherwood was appointed to the position in mid-December, a factor which he thinks, per BBC Sport, prevented him from clinching Champions League football for the club.

    In fairness to the ex-Spurs midfielder, making sense of a Tottenham squad that underwent so much change immediately after Gareth Bale's sale last summer would have been a job that even the most seasoned of management figures would have struggled with.

    Sherwood delivered Spurs sixth spot ahead of Manchester United and among a raft of strong top-four candidates, but there was simply a lack of the sensational about this side, lacking in identity more than anything else.

6. Roberto Martinez, Everton

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    Were it not for a small tailing off in results toward the end of term, Roberto Martinez may well have booked a top-five finish in our standings, just like the one he delivered Everton in his maiden season at Goodison Park.

    The Spaniard's first four months on Merseyside featured just one Premier League defeat, with every visitor to Goodison Park prior to Boxing Day falling under the might of Martinez's tactics.

    However, in opposite fashion to how things usually went under Moyes, Everton deteriorated as the season went on, suffering six defeats in the second half of their campaign, mostly to sides in their immediate vicinity, proving fatal to their top-four chances.

    All in all, the season will be considered a vast success, with some of Martinez's transfer pickups in James McCarthy and John Stones beginning their Blues' careers in promising fashion, but winning just two of their last five games was a disappointing end to proceedings, showing there are improvements to be made perhaps mentally.

5. Jose Mourinho, Chelsea

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    With the Special One nestled safely back at Stamford Bridge, Jose Mourinho was unable to prevent another trophy-less season from blotting his record book.

    Lasting until the Champions League semi-finals, the Blues' efforts were spread well across various campaigns, but unfortunately no challenge on silverware was potent enough to actually result in the intended reward.

    The Portuguese lost his most cherished unbeaten home record after Sunderland managed a season-saving 2-1 at Stamford Bridge, and while Chelsea managed to fend off their fellow big guns on a frequent basis, it was complacency that saw them lose six matches altogether.

    Three of those defeats came in a most critical end-of-season run-in, where even the millions spent on enhancing the Chelsea squad weren't sufficient to give them the title.

4. Tony Pulis, Crystal Palace

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    A serious contender for the manager-of-the-year plaudits rests at Selhurst Park after Tony Pulis turned Crystal Palace's seemingly doomed season into a rags-to-riches tale.

    Taking over from the axed Ian Holloway in November of last year, Pulis has since gone on to exemplify what good management is all about, taking the same tools that someone else had but could find no use for and making them work to one's advantage.

    Palace are extremely limited when compared with some of their bigger-spending rivals, but Pulis has succeeded in injecting a rigid spine at Palace first and foremost, building off the same foundations he established during his time at Stoke City.

    Losing just twice in their final 10 matches of the campaign, Palace matched the club record of five wins on the bounce under Pulis, and the prospects will be looking bright following an 11th-place finish and 45-point haul.

3. Arsene Wenger, Arsenal

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    The longest-serving manager in the Premier League has still got some of the best management know-how in the division at his disposal, even if Arsenal did suffer a capitulation of large proportions so close to the finish line.

    A two-month period between early February and April saw the Gunners take just nine points from nine matches, incidentally taking them from the summit of the English top flight and ultimately guiding them to fourth place.

    In itself, taking the club into the Champions League for the 17th consecutive season is an achievement that, while a consolation this time around, should be celebrated in itself.

    Plus, five successive victories in which the North Londoners conceded just one goal to round their season off isn't too shabby, either.

    Injuries notwithstanding, had Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott and Mesut Ozil been fit for the entire campaign, Wenger's fortunes may have been different.

2. Brendan Rodgers, Liverpool

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    A fortnight ago, Brenda Rodgers, along with his in-form Liverpool side, would have topped anyone's billing in a rundown of this nature, turning Liverpool from also-rans into genuine title contenders seemingly overnight.

    The Reds boss is, however, the man whom people will look toward when reminded of Liverpool's failure to capture the 2013-14 Premier League title, losing to Chelsea before drawing at Crystal Palace and allowing Manchester City to steamroller their way to a second crown in three years.

    Rodgers is correcting the transfer mistakes that were made before his Anfield arrival with some better-looking purchases of his own, and the Northern Irishman's tactical knowledge has shone through for the most part.

    Another season in which to mould a team completely of his own making, and Rodgers may be ready to cement Liverpool's place as English giants once again.

1. Manuel Pellegrini, Manchester City

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    And that would leave Manuel Pellegrini to take the top spot in our power rankings, having led his Manchester City side to a league-high 27 wins, scoring a sensational 102 goals in the process and claiming Premier League dominance outright.

    The vast resources at the Etihad Stadium mean that injuries and absences have been coped with sufficiently, but even the Chilean was forced to make do at times when figures such as Vincent Kompany, Matija Nastasic, Sergio Aguero and Yaya Toure have been missing.

    Adapting to the English way of things, Pellegrini's second half of the campaign was far superior to the first half, halving his side's loss tally to just two after suffering defeat four times in his first 11 league matches, swiftly getting to grips with a new squad and showing superb mental resilience to rebound from early setbacks.

    In truth, one might say that with the players put at his disposal, many managers could have done what Pellegrini has. However, finishing the campaign with five extremely important wins in a row saw the South American lead his star-studded roster to the promised land, and he's deserving of his time in the sun.

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