More managers than ever before might have been sacked in the Premier League this season, but there’s been no shortage of coaches who have seen their reputations boosted during the current campaign.
From unexpected pushes for the title, to teams punching above their weight against the division’s big boys, there are a number of managers who deserve credit for their performances in 2022/23.
We look at 11 Premier League managers whose stock has risen this season
Gary O’Neil was not the obvious selection when Bournemouth decided to sack Scott Parker just four games into the new season, but an instant impact as interim boss – in which O’Neil oversaw a six-game unbeaten run – saw the Cherries take a chance on the 40-year-old on an 18-month deal.
Predecessor Parker had claimed Bournemouth were ‘ill-equipped’ to compete at the top level after the 9-0 loss to Liverpool that led to his exit, but O’Neil has since led Bournemouth to Premier League safety in his first managerial role.
— AFC Bournemouth 🍒 (@afcbournemouth) May 15, 2023
Bournemouth stuck with O’Neil despite a challenging period either side of the World Cup break and five Premier League wins since the start of April have confirmed another season of top-flight football with games to spare.
Bournemouth spent five consecutive campaigns in the Premier League during their last spell at this level and the task now is for O’Neil to build a side that can consolidate. Recent recruitment has pointed towards a long-term project on the south coast and O’Neil will no doubt have learned invaluable lessons from his first campaign in senior management.
Erik ten Hag
Erik ten Hag arrived at Manchester United with cautious expectations as the club looked for another new direction after the failures of past regimes. Ten Hag had won three consecutive Eredivisie at Ajax, but the move to the Premier League represented a significant step up and increase in pressure.
Despite a nightmare start with back-to-back defeats to Brighton and Brentford, Ten Hag has since improved results and the atmosphere around the club in a season of encouraging progress. The Dutchman dealt with the circus surrounding Cristiano Ronaldo, ended the club’s six-year wait for silverware with League Cup success and could add a second trophy with the FA Cup final against Manchester City to come on June 3.
Erik ten Hag.
• Most wins for any Man Utd manager in their debut season
• Trophy in his debut season
• 2 finals in his debut season
• Possible top 4 finish in his debut season
Calma. 🇳🇱❤️ pic.twitter.com/mdnZhv6irX
— UF (@UtdFaithfuls) May 13, 2023
The 53-year-old has not been afraid to make big decisions, including on Ronaldo’s exit and his use of underperforming club captain Harry Maguire, and the Red Devils’ fans feel their manager is now undisputedly the man in charge.
Pep Guardiola might be the frontrunner as Manchester City chase a historic treble this season, but Unai Emery’s argument as the Premier League’s Manager of the Season is a strong one.
Emery inherited an Aston Villa side struggling near the bottom of the Premier League table, with a disappointing start to the season under Steven Gerrard having seen the former manager sacked. Emery has galvanised the squad to turn Villa into one of the division’s most impressive outfits.
Only Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool have taken more points than Villa since Emery’s appointment on November 1 and a fine run of form during April has seen the Spaniard named Manager of the Month and moved Villa into European contention.
😓 Tottenham were 𝟏𝟒 points clear of Aston Villa when Unai Emery took charge back in November
🤯 They are now level on 57 points with two games to play this season… pic.twitter.com/3W5NvbFbwO
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) May 18, 2023
Last weekend’s win over Spurs moved Villa level on points with the north Londoners, as the two teams battle for the final European place in the Premier League table. Excitement will be high at Villa next season if a first continental campaign since 2010/11 can be secured, given Emery’s excellent record in Europe.
Roberto de Zerbi
Brighton have been a fantastic watch his season with Roberto De Zerbi having taken the strong foundations of Graham Potter’s tenure and elevated. There were no doubt some fears when Chelsea came calling for Potter and his staff earlier this season, but his successor has taken the Seagulls up another level.
Brighton have been brilliant this season and are closing in on a first ever European qualification, emerging as one of the most watchable sides anywhere in Europe with their unwavering commitment to building from the back and fluid interchanges further forward.
“We’ve an Italian coach in the Premier League, De Zerbi, he’s changing many things in the English football. He’s producing wonderful football.
People said you can’t play the ball from defence in Premier League. He’s doing that, and incredibly well.” 🇮🇹🔵⚪️ pic.twitter.com/ixtotTOTv5
— The Coaches’ Voice (@CoachesVoice) May 14, 2023
Pep Guardiola is among those to have been impressed with De Zerbi’s work, hailing Brighton last month.
“There is no team better to make the process to bring the keeper the ball to the last quarter”, Guardiola said. “There is no team better in modern football right now.”
Brighton are headed towards Europe, a highest ever Premier League finish, and also reached the FA Cup semi-finals. Their progress has been achieved with inspired recruitment and a fascinating tactical approach, with De Zerbi’s work having not gone unnoticed at Europe’s top teams.
Julen Lopetegui was parachuted in to save Wolves’ faltering fortunes this season, as the Spaniard took charge of a team struggling for goals and in the Premier League’s relegation places.
Wolves had won just twice in 15 games before Lopetegui began work following the World Cup break, but have improved under the new manager’s reign to move comfortably clear of the bottom three.
Julen Lopetegui says keeping Wolves up is one of the greatest achievements of his career 🐺🟠 pic.twitter.com/RM4IMExx10
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) May 11, 2023
Wolves are tenth in the Premier League for points won since Lopetegui’s appointment and have become just the fourth team to survive relegation having been bottom at Christmas.
Goals remain an issue, but Lopetegui has found a formula to earn results and attention will now turn to the summer transfer window. He will expect to be backed, having overseen his side of the bargain to date.
Thomas Frank continues to have Brentford punching above their weight in the Premier League. The Bees were among the pre-season favourites for the drop before a ball had been kicked, with many suggesting the summer exit of Christian Eriksen would be a loss difficult to replace.
Brentford have instead improved from an encouraging first season in the Premier League, maintaining faith in the principles which have brought success. Only Liverpool (17) have scored more than Brentford’s 15 set-piece goals this season and the Bees lead the division for aerial duels won per game (17.7).
Will Premier League clubs be looking at Thomas Frank? 👀
Danny Murphy thinks so!
— Match of the Day (@BBCMOTD) May 14, 2023
Despite having the second-lowest average possession, Brentford have found formulas to trouble teams and have earned impressive wins over Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea this season, while taking a draw at Arsenal.
Ben Mee has proven an inspired signing despite a deviation from the club’s usual transfer policy, while Ivan Toney has had a career-best campaign to score 20 league goals and become an England international. How Frank deals with his absence next season – Toney has been suspended until January for breaching betting rules – will be key to Brentford’s hopes of maintaining momentum.
Marco Silva’s reputation in the top division was mixed before this season, having played attractive football during spells at Hull, Watford and Everton without consistent results.
The Portuguese coach led Fulham back into the Premier League last season and was tasked with ending the Cottagers’ yo-yo existence between the top two divisions. He has done so comfortably, with Fulham avoiding trouble and closing in on a top-half finish.
The Fulham Way™
So much to love about this move! 🤩 pic.twitter.com/vfbiVAqkeC
— Fulham Football Club (@FulhamFC) May 14, 2023
Fulham need just one win to better their best-ever points return in a Premier League season and have done so despite an eight-game suspension for leading scorer Aleksandr Mitrovic.
The arrivals of Joao Palhinha and Bernd Leno have been among the signings of the season from Silva, while Fulham boast the sixth-best away record in the division this season. The west Londoners have taken more points on the road than Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea.
Roy Hodgson’s return was a surprise appointment in the Premier League this season, as Crystal Palace turned to their former manager after sacking Patrick Vieira.
Hodgson extended his record as the Premier League’s oldest ever manager, but the 75-year-old has shown he still has what it takes at the top level.
The Eagles were fighting for Premier League survival and sitting three points above the relegation zone when Hodgson arrived in March, but have since won five of his eight games in charge to pull clear of trouble.
6 – Eberechi Eze has scored six goals in eight appearances in the Premier League for Crystal Palace since Roy Hodgson returned as manager, having scored five goals in 40 games under predecessor Patrick Vieira. Unlocked. pic.twitter.com/Q5VT1RuppC
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) May 13, 2023
Palace have improved results playing an exciting brand of football, with the likes of Eberechi Eze and Michael Olise thriving under the veteran coach. Only six teams have earned more points than Palace since Hodgson returned and there have been talks about extending his tenure into next season.
Eddie Howe has proven last season’s turnaround at Newcastle was no flash in the pan, with the Magpies upward curve continued during an impressive 2022/23 season.
Newcastle’s new ownership has meant the Magpies had been expected to close the gap on the Premier League’s best teams, but few envisaged it happening so soon. Howe’s side are third in the Premier League table and chasing Champions League qualification for the first time in two decades, with their success built on high-energy and the division’s joint-best defensive record.
👊 BOSS 👊
Eddie Howe has been shortlisted for the Premier League Manager of the Season award!
Huge congratulations, gaffer! ⚫️⚪️ pic.twitter.com/N4cDMv669q
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) May 18, 2023
Howe has answered the questions that remained from the end of his reign at Bournemouth, proving he can organise a solid defensive outfit and recruiting well at St James’ Park.
Champions League nights at St James’ Park might not be too far away.
Arsenal might be overwhelmed by a sense of disappointment right now after the club’s title challenge fell away during the run-in, but it’s important to take stock of how far they’ve come.
Few envisaged the north Londoners competing at the top end of the Premier League table this season, but Arteta’s improved team have pushed Manchester City close for the title.
🗣️ “We don’t have a single player that has reached his peak.”
Mikel Arteta names all the areas where Arsenal can still improve 📈 pic.twitter.com/HyPJB3DLDi
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) May 13, 2023
The Gunners were the division’s best team for much of the campaign and their progress had been rewarded with a place in next season’s Champions League, the first time the club will compete in Europe’s elite since 2016/17.
Arteta’s additions have impressed with Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko prominent, the latter in particular crucial to the implementation of a new style of build-up from the back. Arteta has achieved this with the second-youngest side in the Premier League on average this season. That should be enough to raise spirits of what could still be to come.
Is it possible for the world’s best manager to see his stock rise this season? It appears so.
Adding a goalscorer of Erling Haaland’s calibre into the Premier League’s dominant team might seem a simple route to further success, but Guardiola’s adaptation after an indifferent start to the season should be admired.
The Spaniard’s latest tactical approach has brought brilliant results across the run-in, with City unbeaten since February and one win from the Premier League title after 11 consecutive league victories.
🗣 “Now the players can visualise it”
Pep Guardiola admits his Manchester City players are thinking about winning the treble 👀pic.twitter.com/XzGqOUmPdO
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) May 18, 2023
FA Cup and Champions League finals are still to come with the treble in sight for Guardiola, who has overseen wins of 3+ goals against Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid already this season.
The fluid structure of his defensive shape has allowed John Stones to roam into midfield, a tactical tweak that has brought balance and improved the club’s fortunes at both ends of the pitch. Guardiola is on the verge of immortality at the Etihad this season and his side look unstoppable in their pursuit of three trophies.