Everton recently showed manager Ronald Koeman the door after a disastrous start to the season. Leicester City sacked Craig Shakespeare after a slew of poor performances. And now Slaven Bilic’s position at West Ham seems to be under serious threat. It’s enough to make you think that no one can coach and no one’s job is safe. But that’s obviously not the case, and several EPL managers are being showered with praise; that praise just doesn’t get the same run in the news. Who will take home the 2017-18 Manager of the Year Award, handed out by the League Managers Association at the end of every season to the top-performing manager of an English club? Big names and surprise contenders alike are making a serious bid for the prize. Here are the early favorites.
2017-18 LMA Manager of the Year Award Odds
Pep Guardiola (Manchester City): 1/1
The way things are going, it’s hard to look past Pep Guardiola for Manager of the Year. Manchester City are currently five points clear at the top of the EPL table and among the favorites to win the Champions League. They have yet to lose a game in either competition and are undoubtedly the best-performing team in England at the moment.
What Pep has done with City is nothing short of spectacular. With a seemingly bottomless bank account, he spent the summer turning a leaky defense into one of the sturdiest backlines in soccer. They say that the US spends more on national defense than next eight nations combined. If Man City were a nation, America would face some serious competition.
Guardiola has been blessed with a squad bursting with talent and a board filled to the brim with cash, but we can’t dismiss his role at the helm.
Jose Mourinho (Manchester United): 6/1
Manchester United may be going through a rough patch at the moment, but if we take a step back and look at the bigger picture, things are looking good. In fact, this is probably the best Man United have looked since Alex Ferguson left.
Jose Mourinho doesn’t care whether you like him or not. Call his managerial style what you want — boring, stagnant, cynical, anti-football, etc — it doesn’t matter. What’s important to him is that he gets results. By that metric, he’s doing quite well. Man U are currently second in the league and more-or-less guaranteed to make the knockout phase of the Champions League. He’s repaired most of the damage done by David Moyes and Louis van Gaal before him, and United are now on track to reclaim their place at the top of English soccer.
Marco Silva (Watford): 8/1
Watford finished the 2016-17 season in 17th place, just one spot above the dreaded dotted line. Out went manager Walter Mazzarri and in came Marco Silva. Now the Hornets are sitting pretty in sixth. What brought about such a drastic change?
They made a handful of decent signings over the summer — Andre Gray, Tom Cleverley, and Will Hughes to name a few — but that doesn’t come close to explaining their meteoric rise. Chalk most their ascent up to Silva.
Watford aren’t a big English club and they don’t try to play like one. They’re scrappy, aggressive, and they’re more than happy to grind out a messy win. They don’t possess the individual talent of the big clubs, but under Silva, they make full use of what they have.
Mauricio Pochettino (Tottenham): 10/1
Tottenham have started the 2017-18 season in spectacular fashion. They’re currently third in the league and leading their Champions League group. A huge win over Liverpool last week and a recent draw against Real Madrid at the Bernabéu has left us wondering if this is finally Tottenham’s season. This isn’t the first time we’ve wondered that. All too often, Tottenham starts strong only to crash and burn as the season progresses. But if Spurs can hold onto their form (and players), this could really be their moment. And if that happens, Mauricio Pochettino will get a ton of credit.
David Wagner (Huddersfield): 11/1
After gaining promotion by way of a Championship playoff, Huddersfield Town entered the Premier League with one objective: don’t get relegated.
They’re doing much better than that. Huddersfield are currently in 11th place, four points clear of the relegation zone. That doesn’t mean they’re safe, but their chances of remaining in the top flight are quite good. Wagner recently led the Terriers to their first win against Manchester United in 65 years, and if that’s a sign of things to come, then Wagner should definitely be a frontrunner for Manager of the Year.