2020 is here baby, you know what that means? It’s time for another rooting tooting list from 90min.
With the dearth of quality managers in the Premier League as deep as it’s ever been, we took some time to rank all 20 of the big galoots in terms of their current ability.
The list will be updated monthly, so keep an eye out for where your favourites rank as we enter the second half of the season. As a liability absolver, please direct all of your criticisms to Sean Walsh on Twitter.
Without further ado, let’s get stuck in…
20. Daniel Farke
Club: Norwich City
Pros: Catches people off guard with his high pitched voice
Cons: Jesus mate, just do some defensive coaching for once in your life
Is Daniel Farke just David Wagner, or is that a disservice to the former Huddersfield manager who’s now tearing it up with Schalke?
Norwich started the season as an exciting side, but quickly found that you actually have to try and stop the ball going in your own net in order to win football matches. Unfortunately for them, it’s left them in huge danger of relegation.
19. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Club: Manchester United
Pros: Knows all of the lyrics to Glory Glory Man United
Cons: Doesn’t know anything about management and/or tactics
Solskjaer treats managing one of the biggest clubs in the world the same way you treat Football Manager team talks the first time you buy the game – he’s just passionately screaming at his players to go out there and give the fans their money’s worth. It isn’t working.
18. Dean Smith
Club: Aston Villa
Pros: Keeps the economy of his local curry house stable
Cons: Did you know who he was before this season?
Aston Villa appear to have cast themselves in the role of Fulham this season – buying loads of players to unsettle a winning formula. Dean Smith, who bleeds Villa claret (red), will be the fall guy if it ends in relegation, and is set to be a top answer on pub quizzes for years to come.
17. Eddie Howe
Pros: Takes good care of his allotment
Cons: Never looks sincerely happy
Future Everton/West Ham/Arsenal/Leicester/Newcastle manager Eddie Howe has given Bournemouth a distinct identity in their time in the Premier League, but it looks like they’re running out of steam. The goals have been harder to come by and it might be time for a refresh on the south coast.
16. Sean Dyche
Pros: Part-time nightclub bouncer, might be The Boogeyman from WWE
Cons: Part-time nightclub bouncer, might be The Boogeyman from WWE
The glass ceiling may have been hit at Burnley, and now the rest of the league is figuring out how to set up against them. Dyche has done a cracking job and you can’t fault his work at Turf Moor, but there just happens to be plenty of better managers about.
15. Mikel Arteta
Pros: Devilishly handsome, piercing eyes, pure heartthrob
Cons: Contrary to popular belief, is not the best manager of all time. Also, might actually be Captain Scarlet’s sworn enemy, Captain Black
The jury will be out on Mikel Arteta for the time being because the sample size is just too small, and while the early signs are promising, he’s too much of an unknown quantity.
Don’t get too mad, Gooners.
14. Graham Potter
Club: Brighton and Hove Albion
Pros: Might be a top manager in waiting
Cons: Might be an extra in an Edgar Wright film
Brighton have been fun this season, haven’t they? The fury around Chris Hughton’s dismissal seems a long time ago now, with Potter having them playing some quality football. The Seagulls are soaring and they look like they’re here to stay.
13. Nigel Pearson
Pros: Hardest bloke in England
Cons: Sworn nemesis of ostriches everywhere
Nigel Pearson’s arrival at Watford is good for the Premier League and you absolutely cannot convince us otherwise. Set up the foundations which allowed Leicester’s fairytale to flourish, and is now trying to work miracles with the Hornets. Godspeed, Nige.
12. Frank Lampard
Pros: Plays the weans, pissed off Leeds
Cons: The nickname ‘Fat Frank’ is unfortunately quite funny
Under two years into his managerial career, Lampard has shown real promise as a manager. At their worst, his Chelsea and Derby sides were energetically wasteful, but at their best they’re showtime entertainment. A smart chap no doubt and will figure out solutions to his problems.
11. Steve Bruce
Club: Newcastle United
Pros: Quality cameo in Home Alone 2
Cons: Noted enemy of cabbages
Steve Bruce gets a bad wrap considering he’s never done an awful job. Birmingham and Sunderland fans will argue that he’s a traitor, and they might be right, but with the tools at his disposal, he’s a good coach. People wrote off Newcastle in the summer, but here they are punching above their weight again.
10. Roy Hodgson
Club: Crystal Palace
Pros: Human equivalent of a Furby
Cons: England 1-2 Iceland
When Hodgson was exiled from these shores for 100 years and doomed to walk the Earth atoning for his sins for his crimes against football back in 2016, it seemed as if his managerial career was over.
To head back to his hometown side in Crystal Palace with the club bottom of the table after Frank de Boer’s ill-fated spell at Selhurst Park was a brave move, but he guided the Eagles to safety and are now a comfortable mid-table side.
9. David Moyes
Club: West Ham United
Pros: Invincible, men want to be him, women want to be with him
Cons: Perennial loser, this photo
Boomerang Moyes, heading back to the Premier League full of inspiration and wisdom! A typically safe appointment unless you’re Manchester United or Sunderland, in which case sorry for your loss.
8. Ralph Hasenhüttl
Pros: Huuuuuge, giving others a fair chance by managing a rubbish side
Cons: Lost 9-0 this season
Put some respect on Ralph Hasenhüttl’s name – he’s a good manager in charge of a bad team. His work in Germany with Ingolstadt and RB Leipzig meant that Southampton were punching above their weight in appointing him, and would be in serious trouble without a manager of his quality at the helm.
7. Carlo Ancelotti
Pros: Charming, elegant, a true gentleman
Cons: “Carlo, lower those eyebrows! And the other one.”
Welcome back to England, Don Carlo! Good luck trying to change Everton’s mentality of a loser club to one that matches your incredible CV and legacy!
6. Chris Wilder
Club: Sheffield United
Pros: Would buy the first five rounds at Wetherspoons
Cons: Loves Sheffield United for some reason
Taking the Premier League by storm after several years of dominating the lower leagues, Wilder has instantly become a favourite among neutrals, and for good reason.
His Sheffield United side are one of the most tactically interesting in Europe, daring and innovating their way toward the European places in their first year back in the top flight.
5. Jose Mourinho
Club: Tottenham Hotspur
Pros: Has great PR, is a ‘winner’
Cons: Goth, is no longer a ‘winner’
Just when you thought Jose had his last ride in the travelling showcase which is the Premier League, Spurs go and bring him back to engage in some more nonsense. Could still take Tottenham to unscaled heights, but will need plenty of time and money to do so.
4. Nuno Espirito Santo
Club: Wolverhampton Wanderers
Pros: Lovely beard, had that funny argument with Neil Warnock in 2018
Cons: Would play five at the back against a team of 11 year olds
Gary Neville’s predecessor at Valencia has been hugely successful since managing on English shores. After winning the Championship and finishing 7th in Wolves’ first season back in the Premier League, they remain one of the division’s toughest outfits and have a real shot of winning the Europa League.
3. Brendan Rodgers
Club: Leicester City
Pros: Softly spoken, most decorated manager of all time (citation needed)
Cons: Actually David Brent
After winning 463 trophies up in Scotland with Celtic, Rodgers made his return to the Premier League in early 2019, and has since taken Leicester back toward the top of the table – and this time around, they look more likely to stay there.
2. Pep Guardiola
Club: Manchester City
Pros: Saves a lot of money by not having to purchase shampoo
Cons: Sticks his head in the Shine-O Ball-O
Probably the most high profile manager of the 2010s and will surely still be toward the top for the 2020s, Guardiola oversaw two years of near total dominance in English football. His refusal to improve defensively is quite admirable at this point, and it’s going to cost him a third-successive league title.
1. Jurgen Klopp
Pros: Gives good hugs, has nice teeth again
Cons: Might not wear deodorant
Simply the best right now and it’s very hard to argue otherwise. Turned Liverpool from a laughing stock into the ‘bastion of invincibility’ that Bill Shankly always envisaged.
The ‘trophy dodger’ became the trophy dominator, and has finally worked his way to the top of the game. Fair play.