Saturday, April 18, 2009

Notable managers in the English Premier League

Sir Alex Ferguson (Manchester United): Considered by many to be the best, however his primary flaw as a manager showed again this year with the expensive purchase of Berbatov. Ferguson has a history of expensive purchases of great players who either do not fit into his tactical schemes or upset team balance. Perhaps next year, with the eventual resolution of the Tevez affair, the Berbatov situation will be resolved. But, Tevez would normally be a better fit for United and has gotten far less playing time than Berbatov.

Rafael Benitez (Liverpool): A tactical master, whose major flaw has been player development. Liverpool has the team depth to sustain a long campaign and yet has played as if it were a much smaller team.

Arsene Wenger (Arsenal): Derided for dumping all of his established players for younger and inexperienced replacements, and strenuously hampered by injury problems, Wenger has fashioned one of the most formidable teams in the English League, several months too late. Wenger is smart, exceptionally shrewd on the transfer market. His flaw is that he does not exert enough discipline on his players. Look for Arsenal to be formidable indeed next season.

David Moyes (Everton): Impressive indeed. A manager who consistently looks to the future and builds for it. Tactically he may be too much of a traditionalist, since their best period of the season was when all of their strikers were injured -- forcing him to adopt a novel attacking strategy. When his strikers returned, Moyes switched to a more traditional attacking model and Everton's fortunes slumped.

Gianfranco Zola (West Ham): His first season at West Ham has succeeded beyond anyone's expectations. Too soon to see what his flaws are, since most of his problems are out of his control.

Martin O'Neill (Aston Villa): A seriously over-rated manager at a club that is desperate for success. Aston Villa's major problem has been lack of depth -- a problem exacerbated by O'Neill's reluctance to rotate players and develop reserves. Given that he pissed away Aston Villa's UEFA cup campaign in order to secure a top four finish and failed miserably to stay in the top four this is a seriously disappointing year for Aston Villa, given the amount of money they spent on the transfer market over the summer.

Roy Hodgson (Fulham): Hodgson has been rebuilding a club that still plays inconsistently and which only last year barely escaped relegation. Hodgson is consistently underrated.

Harry Redknapp (Tottenham Hotspur): I cannot take Redknapp seriously. He left Portsmouth a shambles. Nine-tenths of his success at Tottenham this season has been the departure of Juande Ramos. While smart enough to recognize how good Modric is, why the hell isn't Pavlyuchenko playing more often?

Terry Polis (Stoke City): Stoke City have been playing consistently all season and have had a comfortable year in the Premier League. Next year will determine if they will suffer from second season syndrome, or will be able to build a long term campaign towards glory in the premier league.

Phil Brown (Hull City): If Hull stay up it will be only due to a run of good form at the very beginning of the season. I expect them to go down next year.