This season shows how important managers are to their teams. Claudio Ranieri being the prime example of a good manager instilling belief with his players and bringing the very best out of them. There are many candidates for manager of the season with so many doing more than expected of them. Here are the stand out candidates:
Claudio Ranieri is the favourite to walk away with the award at the end of the season and it’s easy to see why. His simple 4-4-2 formation has worked wonders this season. At the start of the season the objective for the Foxes was to stay in the Premier League, but they are now 4 games away from being English Champions. They have qualified for the Champions League group stage and are the neutrals favourite for the league this season.
The tinkerman has kept it very simple by keeping the same XI for most games this season. He has brought belief to players like Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez. He has also improved players like Wes Morgan and Danny Drinkwater, players who no one noticed last season but are now in contention for team of the year players.
Mauricio Pochettino has had his best managerial season with Spurs. Pochettino, a man who was inspired by Marcelo Bielsa during his time with at Newell’s Old Boys has shown similar philosophies to the crazy Argentine. Pochettino has brought through the youth players and one Eric Dier has been pivotal for the team this season.
Pochettino likes to use Dier as a midfielder who can drop into a centre-back position which gives players like Erik Lamela and Christian Eriksen more space on the wings. The Argentine manager has also improved player such as Harry Kane, premier league top scorer, Dele Alli and Toby Alderweireld. This could be the first time Spurs finish above Arsenal since the 1994-95 season when George Graham was in charge of the Gunners.
Slaven Bilic has had a very good debut season for the Hammers. Bilic has a current 41% win ratio, the best of any West Ham manager since Alan Pardew. His season has been based on attacking and this ‘West Ham way’ the fans have been crying out for, for so long.
Bilic has relied on Dimitri Payet this season, the attacking midfielder has been in scintillating form. Payet has had help from Manuel Lanzini and Michail Antonio in the goal department. Mark Noble has also had a very good season under Bilic who has made him his key man in the midfield. West Ham are still fighting for a Champions League place with just 4 games left.
Mid-table and a Wembley semi-final on the horizon, Quique Sanchez Flores’ Watford have worked wonders in his first season in the Premier League. With the hire-fire nature of Watford’s chairman it would seem they have found their man in Flores. The Spanish manager had been under pressure recently but it is hard to see why after all he has achieved this season.
Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo have been the important men for Flores scoring 10 and 16 respectively in all competitions this season. Another manager who favours the 4-4-2 system which has worked very well. Watson has been a key midfielder for them this season too pulling the strings for the side.
Bournemouth are the most underrated team in the league this season all thanks to Eddie Howe. A team who were destine for relegation. They play attacking and attractive football and had comparisons to Burnley of last season. But young Eddie Howe has done very well after losing Max Gradel, Callum Wilson and Tyrone Mings all to major injuries throughout the season. He has brought them to mid-table and just three places behind the champions of England.
A January signing of ex-Arsenal forward Benik Afobe has helped the south-coast side with his goals. The Scottish international Matt Ritchie has been a key player for the Cherries this season in their first ever Premier League season. The full backs have been key to the way they play this season with Charlie Daniels providing 3 goals and 5 assists.
All the managers above have been excellent this season. But Claudio Ranieri has to be the man who takes the manager of the season award. The amount he has done is phenomenal, like so many have written this could be the greatest achievement in team sports by Leicester City.
Who do you think could win it this season?
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