Who has been the manager of the year so far?
With the Premier League entering the business end of the season there are many managerial candidates, both at the top and bottom of the table, that are in contention for the manager of the year award.
Starting at the top, Antonio Conte’s Chelsea side have taken the league by storm and have looked to have already wrapped up the league title. After an indifferent start, losing both to Liverpool and Arsenal, Conte decided to switch to a 3-4-3 system. This proved to be a good decision as this change prompted a 13 match winning run. Due to this consistency, a trait not many of the top 4 teams have, Chelsea find themselves 8 points clear from 2nd place Man City. It was the Italian’s decision to change to the formation, and they have not looked back since.
Another manager who is experiencing a wonderful season is Tony Pulis at West Brom. I am a big fan of Pulis and he has taken an unfancied West Brom team to 8th in the league. Never usually getting the credit he deserves, Pulis has turned the Baggies from a team stuck in mid table to Europa league challengers. Like all of his teams, West Brom have proved hard to beat. Holding both West Ham and Tottenham to draws, accompanied with impressive wins over Southampton and Stoke ensure that supporters of the midlands club are having a season to remember.
The final candidate is Burnley’s Sean Dyche. The Clarets are having an impressive season and are currently occupying 12th position. They seem fairly safe from relegation and it’s all down to one man. Despite awful away form, Burnley only picking up the one point on the road, Dyche has turned Turf Moor into a fortress picking up 29 of their 30 points at home. Highlights include victories against Everton and Bournemouth, as well as a solid point against league leaders Chelsea. Having learnt from their previous mistakes, Dyche has turned a relegation certainty into a mid-table team, and he has to get huge praise for doing that.
For me it has to go to Conte. He has re-energised Chelsea and turned them into a team that looks set to win the league. Getting the most out of previously unfancied players like Victor Moses and helping Hazard rediscover his golden form is a fantastic achievement. While I can appreciate the work Pulis and Dyche have done to their respective clubs, I just feel that making Chelsea as dominant as this in the most competitive league in the world edges him just in front.