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The Premier League is regarded as one of, if not the best league in the world. Its unpredictability and quality of teams has led to the footballing world all flocking to watch the Premier League on a weekly basis.

Whilst there are many reasons for why people all over the world love the Premier League, an important factor to consider is the high quality of managers within the league.

Success within the managerial world is often determined on how well you and your team perform. But how do you decide who is a ‘good’ manager? How is this quantified?

I began to think about these questions myself, and decided to take things into my own hands to work out who the best manager in the Premier League is.

Here is how it will work…

I have chosen four categories to quantify success through management. These are win percentage, trophies won as a manager, average league finishes and points away from home.  

Using the categories above, each manager currently in the Premier League will gain points and be ranked. The manager that gains the most points overall will win.   

Win percentage

First it was important to work out who had the highest win percentage. This applied only to the Premier League matches and only to the club they were currently managing. For example, Jose Mourinho’s win percentage was based solely on wins with Tottenham Hotspur rather than his win percentage with his spells at Chelsea and Manchester United included.

Conversely, Sean Dyche’s win percentage included the two seasons he managed Burnley before they were relegated as well as the remaining seasons that he has managed them in the Premier League.

Unfortunately managers like Scott Parker and Slaven Bilic struggled in this category due to their times with their current clubs being mainly in the Championship. Bilic has a 0% win percentage with West Brom in the Premier League as they still look for their victory this season.

It was no surprise that the top two managers in this category were Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola. Both have had Premier League winning campaigns and been at the pinnacle of English and world football for the past few seasons.

However, it was Guardiola’s record that landed him the top spot in this category, with a 9% better win rate than Klopp. 

Trophies won

Another critical way to judge success is by looking at what a manager has won over their career.

In order to quantify this, each trophy was given a score, ranging from 10-1 depending on how difficult and prestigious the trophy is. The managers were then given their score, with the highest being the most successful in this area.

Due to the difficulty of winning the competition, the Champions League gained a manager 10 points in this category, followed by the Premier League and a league title in the top five leagues.

Although it could be argued that winning the Premier League is harder than winning other league titles, to try to keep things simple, they were adjudged to be the same.

Serial winner, Mourinho came out on top in this category. His impressive record has seen him win two Champions League and three Premier Leagues as well as winning league titles in four different countries. He is the only manager to achieve this fete.

Carlo Ancelotti also scored well in this category, with his success in Italian football paying dividends. This saw him rank higher than fellow Merseyside manager, Klopp.

Unfortunately, managers who have not been managing for many years struggled in this category. Frank Lampard, still yet to win a trophy as manager, ranked joint lowest.

Average League finishes

Another category to be used was average league finishes. Like with the win percentage category, I looked at the average league finish with the manager at the club they are currently managing across all Premier League finishes.

For example, Dyche’s relegation season was taken into account again. For many managers, they took over last season and therefore have not had a full season in charge. In order to get a reading in those instances the position was taken as normal. For example, Ancelotti took charge about halfway through the season, the final league position was taken as normal.

Given that at least a season in the Premier League was needed, none of the newly promoted managers could score on this.

Unsurprisingly, Guardiola scored the highest on this with an average of 1.75 over his four seasons at City. This is very impressive and much lower than the rest of the managers. Even Klopp who came second with 3.8 is a fair distance away from Guardiola.

Towards the bottom, Graham Potter, David Moyes and Dean Smith all struggled. With just taking their league positions from the previous season, it was difficult for these managers to score well on this. 

Points away wins

Being able to get a positive result away from home is an important factor to be considered when judging the success of a manager.

This looked at a manager’s performance in away fixtures from last season and the start of this season. I believed this was necessary to show the success of performances when managers were generally given the same amount of time.

Most of the managers, therefore, had played 22/24 away games, allowing for a representative judgement. However, some managers had less, depending on when they were brought into the club during last season. The newly promoted managers only had the away fixtures from this season as evidence.

This somewhat favoured Marcelo Bielsa who finished ninth in this category. He has taken 50% of the points available from Leeds’ opening away fixtures.

It came as no surprise that Klopp was top on this list, with a title-winning season being used largely for the evidence of success in this category.

There was a surprise to see Ralph Hasenhuttl finish in sixth for this category, taking 54.2% of the points in away fixtures.

Overall standings

As the data shows, Guardiola is the best manager in the Premier League, closely followed by Klopp. It really came as no surprise that those two managers were the top two. It also probably didn’t surprise that Pep would take the top spot. His superiority in league titles and success over his entire managerial career gave him the edge.

Surprisingly, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer came fourth. Despite his position seeming to always be on the line at Manchester United, Solskjaer performed well in the categories.

Other positions generally seem fair, managers from mid table teams taking up the middle section of the table. Managers of teams that just about avoided relegation also struggled but like in real life, managed to avoid the bottom spots.

These were taken up by Smith, Parker and Bilic, who failed to impress. They were slightly hindered by the categories and the lack of evidence in the Premier League but I believe that their position would have stayed the same even if this was done later in the season. When judging success in the Premier League it would have seemed invalid to look at their performance in the Championship.

Have your say. Do you agree with the data?

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July 2024