8 managerial predictions for the 2019/20 Premier League seasonby Jack Kitson / 23 July 2019, 11:28Tweet
In recent weeks the cricket, tennis, and cycling have dominated the sporting spotlight, but come the second weekend of August all eyes will be on the Premier League for the grand opening of the 2019/20 campaign.
Five managers will make their Premier League debuts, from the promoted trio of Daniel Farke, Chris Wilder, and Dean Smith, to two other bosses that have been plucked from the Championship: Frank Lampard and Graham Potter.
Double title winner Pep Guardiola has more history in his sights, but Jurgen Klopp will hope this is the year that Liverpool finish at the summit. It will be interesting to see how Ole Gunnar Solskjaer fares at Man Utd, there’s an exciting cluster of clubs who will look to gain exclusive entry into the top-6, and the fight for survival will be as frenetic as ever.
Below we bring you eight managerial predictions for the 2019/20 season...
Pep Guardiola will match Sir Alex Ferguson
Pep Guardiola is unlikely to ever reach or topple Sir Alex Ferguson’s staggering haul of 13 Premier League titles - a record that may never be broken - but the Manchester City boss can match one Fergie feat: winning three consecutive Premier League titles.
The legendary Scot achieved this league hat-trick on two separate occasions: from 1998/99 to 2000/01, then 2006/07 to 2008/09.
Guardiola has won the last two on the bounce, and is the ante-post odds-on favourite to go all the way once again, and while we expect another almighty challenge from Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, the outcome is likely to be the same...
An English manager will finish in the top-four
We are still waiting for an English manager to lift the Premier League title. Four Italians, two Scots, a Spaniard, Frenchman, Portuguese, and even a Chilean have got their mitts on the most coveted trophy in England, yet no homeland managers have ever succeeded.
We’re not suggesting this elusive search will end anytime soon, however we are backing an English manager to finish in the top-four for the first time since 2012.
On that occasion, Harry Redknapp led Tottenham to 4th, and now we expect his nephew - Frank Lampard - to end eight years of hurt for his fellow English gaffers, and secure Chelsea’s 15th top-four finish in 18 years.
Mikel Arteta to become Arsenal manager
A bold one this. First of all, we have the utmost respect for Mr Emery, but if Arsenal do stutter out of the blocks the Spaniard will be in trouble, especially given the anti-climatic finale to last season in which the Gunners failed to cement a top-four finish, then got trounced by Chelsea in the Europa League final.
Mikel Arteta has been tutored by the best in the business, Pep Guardiola, for the last few years but has made no secret of his desire to branch out on his own. Emery pipped him to the Arsenal job last summer, but should the former be axed at some point next season it would be no surprise to see his fellow countryman come over in the opposite direction - should he want to.
Steve Bruce will last the season
It’s difficult to recall a Premier League manager whose been under so much pressure prior to even managing a competitive game, but that’s the position Steve Bruce finds himself in following his controversial appointment at Newcastle.
Many Toon fans were left deflated at their club’s failure to nail Rafa Benitez down to a new deal, and the decision to splash the cash - £4million compensation - on a Championship manager caused quite the stir.
However, we are backing Bruce to swat away the critics and see out the season. He needs to accumulate only seven more Premier League matches to become the seventh manager to join the ‘400 Club’.
After all, recent history tells us that Newcastle tend to keep the faith in their managers, with Benitez spending over three years at St James’ Park, while Alan Pardew spent four years at the helm. We’ll just forget Steve McClaren’s short stint in between...
An 8-year low in departures
Not since 2011/12 have we witnessed fewer than six managerial departures in a single season - on that particular occasion only four gaffers left their posts.
In four of the proceeding seven seasons six managers have left, whereas the 2013/14 and 2017/18 campaigns were jam-packed with exits (10 each). And we believe that continuity will be king in 2019/20, a season which will contain no more than five departures.
Managerial departures during a season
2018/19 - 6
2017/18 - 10
2016/17 - 6
2015/16 - 9
2014/15 - 6
2013/14 - 10
2012/13 - 6
2011/12 - 4
A non top-6 manager to finish in the top-6
Not since that remarkable 2015/16 season, in which Leicester won the league, Saints finished 6th, Liverpool came 7th, and defending champions Chelsea dropped to 10th, have the traditional top-6 clubs - Man City, Man Utd, Chelsea, Liverpool, Spurs and Arsenal - not all finished in the top-6.
There could well be another shake-up this time around. The Brendan Rodgers Revolution is underway at Leicester, Wolves will be looking to improve upon last season’s 7th standing, Marco Silva is attempting to put Everton back on the map, while West Ham could be on the brink of something special.
Big Sam will return (take two)
No manager has been employed at more Premier League clubs than Sam Allardyce, who boasts seven on his extensive CV.
Big Sam, who has never been relegated, has been out of the managerial limelight for a year now, but you wouldn't back against an eighth top-flight job next season.
We did say the same thing last summer but despite his name cropping up in a number of manager markets, Allardyce did not return. This time it will be different though, surely?
First Departure: Roy Hodgson
As we said previously we think there won’t be an avalanche of sackings this season, but that’s not to say that there won’t be a handful of exits. After all, every single season in the Premier League era has witnessed at least one managerial departure.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is the surprise favourite in the Sack Race, while many will no doubt opt for Steve Bruce in this market. Graham Potter should be given time at Brighton, but Roy Hodgson could be worth a dabble at 10/1.
A lot could depend on whether Crystal Palace lose Wilfried Zaha, but the fixture list reveals that they face each of last season’s top-6 in the opening few months, plus the likes of Leicester, Everton, and West Ham.