So, we’re over a third of the way into the 2018-19 Premier League season, and whilst some teams have disappointed, some have shown some surprising amounts of quality. And with the managers’ at the helms of these clubs, who can be on the shortlist for the Manager of the Season award at this early stage? Let’s look at my two contenders for this position, before revealing who is currently my manager of the season, so far.
Javi Gracia – Watford
It’s been another solid start for Watford, as it seems to be every year. They play exciting football, and look solid at the back, yet also possess genuine pace and quality at the top end of the pitch. Although solid foundations have been set, with the Hornets placed in 7th place currently, Gracia will surely be looking to address the habit which Watford have picked up over the past few seasons, in which the latter half of the season drifts away from them and they gradually get pulled into the perilous places just above the relegation zone. He will look to see their current form continue right through until the middle of May.
Nuno Espirito Santo – Wolves
Wolves have been a revelation in the Premier League thus far. Their cavalier football of guaranteeing goals and lots of entertainment at Molineux in particular has made them a force to be reckoned with, and with the genuine quality they possess in the middle of their midfield, including a European Championships winner, no team will enjoy playing them this season, and the charisma of Nuno has played a massive part in the resulting feel-good factor around Wolves at the moment. However, why he doesn’t quite win the manager of the season (thus far) award for me, is down to the amount of money which has been made available to him. Yes, his signings have oozed quality, and he has built a squad to be feared, but it is clear that without this great budget, the performances and results, which have put Wolves in 11th place, may not have been possible.
And the manager of the season so far is….
Eddie Howe – Bournemouth
Once again, I am astonished at the level of consistency from Bournemouth at this level. On a much smaller budget than Wolves, it is incredible how many points they pick up, especially at home. They have a loyal spine to the team, and this has been apparent since they first got promoted in 2015. They have youth and energy, and prioritise attacking football. There’s rarely a dull moment with this lot, and if they continue as they are now, they could be on course for their best Premier League finish yet (They currently sit in 6th place). And this is all down to Howe – Bournemouth through and through, and one thing you can say about his team, is that they always seem to turn up and play with passion and flare. They are a breath of fresh air in the top flight, and have Howe to thank for this. But for how long will he stick around before a bigger fish surely comes calling?