Premier League Manager of the Year: Pep Guardiola favourite ahead of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Brendan Rodgers

Jack Kitson by Jack Kitson / 22 January 2021, 14:47

Pep Guardiola has been installed as the odds-on favourite in the newly opened Premier League Manager of the Year market, ahead of the likes of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Brendan Rodgers and last season’s victor Jurgen Klopp.

The Man City boss is the current 4/7 frontrunner (William Hill) to claim the award for the third time in his career; following his triumphs in 2018 and 2019, when it coincided with lifting the Premier League trophy.

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An out-of-sorts City struggled out of the blocks this season, and for a period were dangling in the bottom-half of the table. A turnaround in form subsequently propelled Guardiola’s troops to the summit of the table this week - albeit fleetingly with Man Utd reclaiming top spot a few hours later (they are two points clear having played an extra game).

City may not yet be at their dazzling best from an attacking perspective, but spearheaded by the virtually impregnable pair of summer recruit Ruben Dias and the rejuvenated John Stones, they have excelled defensively: the Citizens have kept 14 clean sheets in their last 17 matches in all competitions dating back to November, including their last five on the spin.

At the time of writing, City are priced at 2/5 to go on win the title for the third time in four seasons and, if successful, Guardiola will be in a favourable position to snap up the individual award; an accolade that’s been handed to the title-winner in each of the last six successive seasons.

However, one note of caution is the news that star man Kevin de Bruyne will be out for four to six weeks.


Premier League Manager of the Year: Pep Guardiola is the current favourite

Klopp (5/1) scooped the managerial honour last season after Liverpool’s stunning title success, yet his hopes of a repeat performance appear to be dwindling following a five game winless run, during which they’ve had their unbeaten home record ended by Burnley and failed to score in an alarming 438 minutes of football.

However, despite their abrupt blip, you’d be unwise to write off Klopp and his men considering they still have 19 games left to play.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will no doubt be well backed at 5/1, given that he’s triggered Man Utd into form after a combustible start to the season. United have accumulated 33 points from a 13 game unbeaten run, and have shown flickers of the Sir Alex Ferguson spirit by refusing to concede defeat when in a losing position.

Speaking of Fergie, he won the Premier League Manager of the Year award a record 11 times, and if Solskjaer can win the title he’ll pick up the individual award too, no doubt.

With Leicester City mounting their own title challenge, Brendan Rodgers could be great value at 12/1. Rodgers has already conjured up away wins against Guardiola and Jose Mourinho, while the in-form Foxes are fresh off a brace of 2-0 wins over Chelsea and Southampton. 

Tottenham were distanced from the title talk following an underwhelming festive period, but Jose Mourinho’s men have since taken seven points from three games in 2021, so don’t rule them out just yet. In each of his three Premier League title wins, Mourinho (20/1) has also won the managerial award, and his unshakeable belief in his own judgement means he won’t give in until mathematically impossible.

Only four managers have won the award without winning the Premier League, most recently Tony Pulis in 2013/14 when he was in charge of Crystal Palace.

With this in mind, managers who are unlikely to win the title but have - to date - enjoyed impressive campaigns, could be worth taking a look at.

This includes 20/1 shot Dean Smith, who has completely transformed Aston Villa since they survived on the final day of last season; receiving recognition for his side’s attacking flair and defensive steel.

The stellar work of Southampton’s ‘Alpine Klopp’ Ralph Hasenhuttl is sure to capture attention at 33/1, alongside the rejuvenated West Ham boss David Moyes, where as Carlo Ancelotti can be backed at 66/1; the same price as Frank Lampard and Mikel Arteta who have both endured mixed seasons.

But, while Arteta now looks to be on the rise, Lampard has just been installed as the favourite for the sack.

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