Posted by Barrie on Monday, 25 May 2009

Top 5 Premier League Managers 2008/09

Sir Alex Ferguson won his 11th Premier League title last week, whilst Tony Pulis done a fantastic job with newly-promoted Stoke City in his first season in the top flight. Harry Redknapp, Gianfranco Zola and Guus Hiddink all deserve a mention, but here are my top 5 manager's of the 2008/09 Premier League season:

5.David Moyes (Everton)
Criticised for the big-money signing of Marouane Fellaini on the final day of the transfer window and a slow start to the season that included being dumped out of the UEFA Cup by Standard Liege before the group stage, David Moyes has since lead his Everton side to 5th spot and a place in European competition again. They have also made it to the FA Cup final next weekend, despite numerous injuries to key players that forced him into played Tim Cahill as a loan striker. Yakubu's been gone for most of the season, James Vaughan and Louis Saha have struggled with injuries too, but Moyes got the best out of loan-signing Jo after he looked like a flop at Manchester City. Phil Jagielka earned himself an England cap after a great performance in a strongly-built defence that kept 17 clean sheets this season. David Moyes gets the best out of his players, and has overcome all the injuries and fielding of a lot of youngsters in another great season.

4.Rafael Benitez (Liverpool)
Apart from the bitching at title rival Alex Ferguson and refusing to congratulate his title success as he acted like a little schoolboy, Rafael Benitez has produced a great performance from his Liverpool side this season that saw them lose just 2 games (albeit to Tottenham and Middlesbrough). The doubles over Manchester United and Chelsea, and undefeated against Arsenal show what this team is capable of. Drawing at home to the likes of Stoke, Fulham and Hull ultimately cost them making a serious challenge for the Premier League title, but if this summer isn't taken up by the rumours of signing Gareth Barry again and the board signing Robbie Keane behind his back then maybe Liverpool can challenge next season. As for this one, trophyless it may be, Rafael Benitez is still a deserving number 4 in my list.

3.Tony Pulis (Stoke City)
Few expected Stoke City to stay up this season, no one could have expected them to beat Arsenal and finish 12th. Paddy Power ruled them out after a 3-1 defeat to Bolton on the opening day of the season, but Tony Pulis stuck to his long ball and long throw tactics and picked up points over teams that failed to deal with this. At the end of the season, his team were able to place some good football also and pick up more valuable victories, including 10 points from 12 against teams in and around the relegation zone near the end of the season that ultimately lead to survival. James Beattie turned out to be a shrewd January signing, whilst Abdoulaye Faye turned out to be a bargain as a £2,250,000 signing in the summer; a rock in their defence and someone who Newcastle badly needed. Sam Allardyce has even tried to sign him for a 3rd time in his career since. Next season will be even tougher for Stoke as more teams find out their style of football, but whether they can outplay Stoke next season will remain to be seen. As for this season, hats off to Tony Pulis for a fantastic performance.

2.Roy Hodgson (Fulham)
Some will argue Roy Hodgson should make number 1 on this list. I was one at the start of the season thinking Fulham would be on their way down, after narrowly avoiding relegation last season and the amount of players that had come into the club in the 12 months before. His last job in English football was at the end of the millennium, where he'd taken Blackburn Rovers from UEFA Cup to bottom of the league before being sacked, paying big money for flops like Kevin Davies and Nathan Blake. No one could have seen what was to come. He settled the squad and built it round a solid defence with new signing Mark Schwarzer being in goal and Brede Hangeland being the rock in a defence that kept 15 clean sheets. They were a big reason why the Premier League broke its record for the most goalless draws, picking up 8 of them. They finished 7th and qualified for next season's Europa League despite just 3 wins on the road this season. Roy Hodgson's experience in Europe should help Fulham, although they will need to expand their squad to compete in all competitions. Don't expect them to be the most exciting team in Europe next season but don't be surprised to see Roy and his side to perform well.

1.Sir Alex Ferguson (Manchester United)
There's nothing more to be said that hasn't already been said about Alex Ferguson. Taken his 11th Premier League title this season and with arguably the best squad he's ever had. Another slow start from his side again this season, they turned things around in the new year when they went on an 11-game winning streak and kept a record-breaking 14 clean sheets in a row. He will lead his team out in the Champions League final for the 3rd time in his career on Wednesday night, having won his previous 2. Whilst Rafael Benitez got the better of him head-to-head, Alex Ferguson got it right over the whole season. Already won the Charity Shield, Club World Cup and Carling Cup before the Premier League, only losing to Everton on penalties in the FA Cup, it has been a dominating season by them and will be capped off perfectly if they win the Champions League. Other teams can't compete with the talent that Ferguson has brought in and nurtured, but whilst they may not need to bring anyone in over the summer they still need to fight off Cristiano Ronaldo's link to Real Madrid and the Carlos Tevez affair. This season has been one of Ferguson's finest.

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At 25 May 2009 at 17:06 , Anonymous Craig said...

Hiddink had the best win % he done better than any1

At 26 May 2009 at 11:42 , Anonymous RoversFan said...

What about Big Sam? He transformed a side ruined by Ince back into what they were really capable of. Excluding a deafeat to Stoke, Blackburn only lost to the top 5 under him and what's more, if they replicated their from under Big Sam across a whole season they'd have more points than Villa and Everton. It'll be an interesting summer at Ewood with a lot of established names leaving the club (Tugay & Oojer & more) but watch out Rovers competing in the top half of the table next season rather than the bottom. Big Sam's a better shout than Rafa who's only really achieved what Liverpool should be capable of but done so without any silverware and at a time when the other big teams have been a bit of a mess, Chelsea have chopped and changed and Arsenal have consistenly flattered to deceive against phsical, well organised sides as well as the top 6 teams.


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