Who will be crowned the 2018/19 Premier League Manager of the Season?

Jack Kitson by Jack Kitson / 08 May 2019, 15:24

26 managers have been in the Premier League dugout at some point or another this season, a number that has been whittled down to four nominees for the annual 'Barclays Manager of the Season' award - not to be confused with the LMA equivalent.

Pep Guardiola is in contention to defend his crown alongside Jurgen Klopp, Mauricio Pochettino, and Nuno Santo.

You, the public, and a panel of football experts decide the victor who will be unveiled on Tuesday 14 May.

Below we take a look at the four contenders gunning for glory.

Pep Guardiola (Man City)

Pep Guardiola, to the shock of absolutely no one, was named the Manager of the Season last time out following that record-breaking 2017/18 campaign.

The Man City boss is now many people’s frontrunner to join Sir Alex Ferguson (11), Jose Mourinho (3), and Arsene Wenger (3) as a multiple winner of the accolade.

Man City can’t match last year’s preposterous landmark of 100 points, but a win away to Brighton this weekend would propel the club’s total points to 98 - the second-best tally in the Premier League era.

A victory would also mean that Guardiola would become the league’s first back-to-back winning manager since Sir Alex Ferguson lifted a hat-trick of trophies between 2007 and 2009.

The scintillating Citizens have continued to simultaneously thrive and mesmerise going forward, and their measly defence has excelled in particular the crunch run-in period. The League Cup is already in the bag, and history will be made if City win an unprecedented domestic treble.

 

Jurgen Klopp (Liverpool)

Regardless of whether they win the title or not Liverpool have enjoyed their best ever Premier League campaign, from both a performance and points perspective.

The Reds are still able to win that elusive first title, but are likely to fall agonisingly short with the third-best points tally in Premier League history.

Liverpool’s defence, orchestrated by the immense Virgil van Dijk, has been both resolute and a source of creativity, especially on the flanks, while Mo Salah and Sadio Mane have both amassed 20+ goals, with Firmino in double figures.

Whatever happens manager Jurgen Klopp, the conductor of a multitude of memorable moments, will still be adored at Anfield, although a stunning double will elevate him to a God like status.

Nuno Santo (Wolves)

In his first Premier League season Nuno Santo has led Wolves to 7th, their highest top-flight standing since 1979/80 with this the only time in the last 18 years that a promoted club has finished in the top-7.

The Midlands club have been bolstered by a significant investment over the past two years, but the former Porto boss deserves immense praise for moulding together an exciting, vibrant, and hard-working squad that conjured up league wins over the likes of Chelsea, Man Utd, Arsenal, and Spurs.

Players clearly love playing for Santo. We’re talking goal-machine Raul Jimenez, the outstanding Joao Moutinho, and Matt Doherty to name a few.

The Portuguese coach has already received one honour this season - an honorary doctor of sport by the University of Wolverhampton - and now he’s one of four managers that can be crowned the Barclays Manager of the Season award.

Mauricio Pochettino (Tottenham)

Mauricio Pochettino was the only Premier League manager not to spend a dime last summer and while Tottenham, distracted by their dreams of conquering Europe, have endured a faltering final third of the campaign they are still in pole position to secure a fourth straight top-4 finish.

There were murmurings that Pochettino, who has already won the 'London Manager of the Year' award, could be lured over to Man Utd or Real Madrid in the summer but both clubs have appointed new permanent managers in the last few months. However, the Argentine did bizarrely say this week that he’ll 'go home' and 'think about doing something different' if Spurs did win the Champions League.

Verdict: The last four winners of the award have all lifted the Premier League title, although it’s worth noting that voting ends on Thursday, prior to the end of the season. Pep Guardiola or Jurgen Klopp would both be deserved winners - the former is in pole position - while Santo has excelled at Wolves. Mauricio Pochettino is a long shot, while Watford’s manager Javi Gracia was unfortunate to miss out in the selection process.

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Darren Moore
Darren Moore
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