Thursday, 7 April 2016

Manager Of The Season 2015/2016

So with just a few games left of the season, we took a look at the possible candidates for the manager of the season so far.

Let's kick off with Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino. The Argentinian hit the headlines instantly when he inherited the Southampton job from Nigel Adkins as he improved an already growing team into a force to be reckoned with. It didn't take long for the vultures to swoop and Pochettino soon made the switch to White Hart Lane where he endured a rather uneventful first season. However, since then it has been an entirely different story. Pochettino has single-handedly transformed Spurs from an average top 6 side with a habit of bottling it into genuine title contenders. OK, perhaps it is looking likely that they'll just miss out on the crown to Leicester but that is no smear on Pochettino's record as I highly doubt anyone had Spurs down to challenge for the title this year. Spurs have shown what they have lacked in previous seasons and that is consistency, clearly the former Espanyol manager has instilled a confidence in the side not seen before. It was often the sign of a Spurs side that they would collapse around February time, although this has not been the case this year and they have impressed everyone. Despite the fact they could be edged out of the Premier League throne by Leicester, I'm sure if you asked Spurs fans at the start of the season if they'd be happy with a Champions League spot, you'd hear a resounding yes. Coupled with the fact that Pochettino has built a solid squad with strength in depth, the future looks bright with young stars such as Alli and Kane enjoying excellent seasons.

Next up is a man who is probably the favourite for the title of 'manager of the season', and rightly so. Leicester's rise from the gloomy depths of the relegation zone to probable title winners is nothing short of incredible. A lot of managers enjoy success when it seems as though it is almost handed to them on a plate upon their appointment, however this cannot be said for Claudio Ranieri. The Italian took over after a less than ideal spell as Greek national team manager and after the rather controversial departure of Nigel Pearson. There were disciplinary issues in the squad and the club had narrowly avoided relegation after a long season, many tipped Leicester for the drop. How wrong they were as Ranieri set about his job unspectacularly, breeding a style of football that simply put, most teams just haven't been able to deal with. Ranieri bought players in like Okazaki and Fuchs but it's the way he has transformed the players already at his disposal that is most impressive. Should Leicester go on to win the title, as it currently appears they will, Ranieri has performed one of the biggest miracles in Premier League history and in my opinion he would be a deserving winner of the 'manager of the season' title.

Another manager who's experienced a thoroughly impressive season is West Ham's Slaven Bilic. The Croatian took over in the Summer following the departure of Sam Allardyce, a decision many thought would cost West Ham ahead of their big move to the Olympic Stadium next season. Bilic has simply shrugged this off and got on with his job brilliantly, masterminding some incredible victories. His cause was helped as he managed to claim some large scalps early on in the season with wins at the Emirates, Anfield and the Etihad. It was this that got West Ham the recognition early on, however, it has been their form after the new year that makes him a contender. Many remember West Ham's start to the season last year and then collapse after Christmas and many predicted a similar outcome for the Hammers this term but this has just not been the case as West Ham have gone from strength to strength. Bilic can currently claim to be involved in a battle for a top 4 spot and has also got a possible FA Cup semi-final around the corner. Should the Hammers win the cup and finish in the top 4 I think Bilic could run Ranieri very close for manager of the season. 

Finally, Bournemouth's Eddie Howe is going to get a mention. Whilst I think it is highly unlikely that Howe will pick up the award, I think he deserves to be mentioned among the others listed so far. In any ordinary season, Howe could probably hope to be up there, however as we all know, this season has been extraordinary and Howe can consider himself very unlucky on that count. Although it could be said that this has helped Bournemouth's cause as they have established themselves as a solid Premier League side. Howe made some shrewd signings in the market, expecting a tough debut season amongst England's elite and his job was then made even harder when two of those (Max Gradel and Tyrone Mings) suffered long term injuries, joining top striker Callum Wilson on the injury table. Despite this, Howe has managed to steer the Cherries away from the relegation zone and it seems their safety is now all but ensured. An incredible feat accomplished in the face of much adversity.

An honourable mention goes to Watford's Quique Sanchez Flores who looks to have kept Watford up in their first season back in the big time. They have enjoyed some good results and impressive performances this season but have tailed off as the season comes to a close. 

Who do you think has been the manager of the season?

Let us know!

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