Unai Emery has made a spectacular start to his second spell as a Premier League manager, having transformed Aston Villa into a team targeting Champions League football.
The Spaniard inherited a team struggling near the bottom of the Premier League table, before leading Villa to Europa Conference League qualification. This season Villa are eyeing even bigger prizes and moved within a point of the top four after thrashing West Ham at the weekend.
Emery has averaged two points per game, the best return of any Aston Villa manager. Only 10 Premier League managers in history have achieved at least two points per game in a spell at one team (minimum 20 games).
The 10 Premier League managers to average 2+ points per game:
Alex Ferguson (Man Utd)
Sir Alex Ferguson is the most successful manager in Premier League history having led Manchester United to a record-breaking 13 titles. The Scot ended the Red Devils’ 26-year wait for a top-flight title during the Premier League’s inaugural campaign in 1992/93, before leading his side to a period of domestic dominance.
Ferguson spent an incredible 21 Premier League seasons in charge of Manchester United, a period which saw the club finish no lower than third in any campaign. Ferguson won 38 trophies in total during his 26-year spell in charge at Old Trafford, including two Champions League wins.
— FIFA (@FIFAcom) November 6, 2020
José Mourinho (Chelsea – both spells)
Jose Mourinho made an immediate impact after his arrival into the Premier League, as the Portuguese coach led Chelsea to back-to-back league titles. Having guided an unfancied Porto side to Champions League success in 2004, the ‘Special One’ moved to west London and delivered instant silverware at Stamford Bridge.
After leaving Chelsea to win major honours with Inter Milan and Real Madrid, Mourinho returned to the Blues for a second spell and lifted a third Premier League crown in 2014/15.
95 – José Mourinho became the first manager to win the Premier League title in his first season in charge in English football; Chelsea’s haul of 95 points in 2004-05 was a record until 2017-18. Special. #OptaPLSeasons pic.twitter.com/aVfk8OFNpx
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 8, 2020
Mourinho failed to lose a single home game during his first Premier League spell in charge of Chelsea.
Avram Grant (Chelsea)
Avram Grant was the surprise selection to replace Mourinho after the latter’s first Chelsea exit, becoming the first Israeli to manage an English club.
Grant led Chelsea to the 2008 Champions League final during his sole campaign in charge, but the season ended in disappointment as the Blues finished as runners-up to Manchester United in both the Premier League and Europe.
He departed three days after the club’s Champions League final loss in Moscow.
Carlo Ancelotti (Chelsea)
Chelsea’s carousel of managerial appointments stopped at Carlo Ancelotti in 2009, as the Blues reached an agreement to bring the two-time Champions League winner to the Premier League.
Ancelotti led Chelsea to a domestic double during his debut campaign at the helm, as the Italian’s free-scoring team racked up 103 goals on route to Premier League success and added the FA Cup after beating Everton at Wembley.
It was the first time in 47 years that a team had scored a century of goals in England’s top tier.
Roberto Mancini (Man City)
Roberto Mancini was the man to end Manchester City’s wait for a Premier League title, having led the team to a dramatic title win in 2011/12.
Mancini ended the club’s 35-year wait for a major trophy after lifting the FA Cup the previous season, before Sergio Aguro’s stoppage-time goal snatched the title from Manchester United on goal difference a year later.
Manuel Pellegrini (Man City)
Manuel Pellegrini was the second Manchester City manager to win a Premier League title, as the Chilean became the first non-European coach to win England’s top division.
Pellegrini also won two EFL Cups during a three-season spell in charge at the Etihad, but departed in 2016 at the end of his contract.
Antonio Conte (Chelsea)
Antonio Conte arrived at Chelsea with a fine reputation, having led Juventus to three consecutive titles during his time in Turin. The Italian inherited a team which had finished 10th the previous season, in the club’s worst league finish in 20 years.
Conte guided Chelsea to the Premier League title in his first season in charge in 2016/17, with a change to a 3-4-3 formation sparking an upturn in results. The west Londoners equalled the then-Premier League record of 13 consecutive wins and set a new landmark for most wins in a single campaign (30).
Conte was unable to replicate that performance the following season however, and departed after Chelsea missed out on Champions League qualification.
Jurgen Klopp (Liverpool)
Jurgen Klopp has cemented his place in Liverpool folklore after becoming the manager to end the Reds’ long wait for a league title. Klopp’s appointment as manager kickstarted an improvement at Liverpool that saw the club win every available major honour under the German coach.
After lifting the Champions League in 2019, Klopp guided Liverpool to a record-breaking Premier League title win the following season. The Reds earned a club-record 99 points, having made the best ever start to a campaign in Europe’s top five leagues with 26 wins and a draw from their opening 27 games.
Liverpool have reached 90+ points in three different Premier League seasons under Klopp.
Pep Guardiola (Man City)
Pep Guardiola has set records tumbling since becoming Manchester City manager, becoming the second-most successful coach in Premier League history.
Guardiola has won five Premier League crowns – only Sir Alex Ferguson has more – and led the Citizens to a record-breaking league title in 2017/18. City became the first team to break 100 points in an English top-flight campaign, as the club’s centurions romped to the title.
Guardiola’s side then became the first team to win an English domestic treble in 2018/19, before matching the feat of Manchester United (1998/99) in lifting a continental treble last season. This time around, the Citizens are aiming to become the first English team in history to win four league titles in a row.
Unai Emery (Aston Villa)
Unai Emery has joined this exclusive – and illustrious – list of Premier League coaches following Aston Villa’s remarkable resurgence under his management.
Emery had failed to make the desired impact during a previous spell in the division at Arsenal, but he has inspired incredible improvement from his current side. Only three teams – Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool – have taken more Premier League points than Villa since Emery’s appointment, with the Spaniard having guided the club back into Europe last season.
Points-per-game numbers for all permanent Aston Villa managers with at least 20 games in charge of the club in the Premier League:
— Aston Villa Statto (@AVFCStatto) October 24, 2023
Next on his list will be Champions League football and a return to Europe’s elite for Villa for the first time since 1983. Just one point separates them from the top four at present.