Ranking the 5 best managers in the Premier League right now

The Premier League is the toughest league in the world for players and managers
The Premier League is the toughest league in the world for players and managers

For players and managers alike, the Premier League is arguably the most challenging football league in the world. The league has attracted some of the world’s best players over the years and in the process, it has managed to create a unique and competitive sporting brand.

With some of Europe’s best talents playing in the Premier League, it is only natural that the league has secured the services of the most high-profile football managers in the game at the moment. While the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger have laid the foundation for the modern game we see in England today, the Premier League has cultivated a new generation of ingenious maestros who share their own intriguing rivalries.

I believe that management is one of the hardest jobs in football, and I particularly sympathize with the Premier League’s managers. There are simply not enough hours in a day for them to implement their ideas. Football managers rely heavily on their players for their success and are also tasked with the unenviable role of keeping them happy.

In a competition as intense as the Premier League, it isn’t easy to definitively pick one manager over another. Nevertheless, here is my take on the five best managers currently plying their trade in the Premier League.

#5 Dean Smith | Aston Villa

Everton v Aston Villa - Premier League
Everton v Aston Villa - Premier League

While David Moyes and Ralph Hasenhuttl did excellent work with their clubs last season, I’d have to give number five on this list to Dean Smith. Given the team he’s built and the way Aston Villa have played under him, Dean Smith thoroughly deserves to be on this list.

A few years ago, you’d always look at Aston Villa as a team that would come up to the Premier League and then struggle to keep pace with the competition. Under Dean Smith, Aston Villa have now become a safe mid-table club and have what it takes to give the big boys a fair share of problems. They did, after all, put seven past Liverpool last season.

Smith has learned a lot from his stints at Walsall and Brentford and has now made Aston Villa an entertaining outfit. You always want managers to improve the players they work with, and Dean Smith has worked wonders with his group at Aston Villa. Tyrone Mings, Ezri Konsa, John McGinn, and Jack Grealish have flourished under Smith’s tutelage and if he sells them now, Aston Villa could make a lot of money in the transfer market.

Dean Smith started off with very little at Aston Villa, but he brought players into the club and improved them. Both Mings and Konsa could start for the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool but have chosen to place their faith in Dean Smith’s Aston Villa project. That is one of the best indicators of Dean Smith’s brilliance as a Premier League manager.

#4 Brendan Rodgers | Leicester City

Leicester City v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League
Leicester City v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League

I have a massive amount of respect for Brendan Rodgers – he could have easily made it into the top three in this list. Rodgers masterminded Leicester City’s FA Cup victory earlier this year and was terribly unlucky to miss out on a top-four finish in two consecutive Premier League seasons.

Brendan Rodgers is also an excellent mentor and always has a positive impact on his squad. Rodgers improves every player he works with, and I personally don’t know of a single player who’s become a lesser player after leaving his Leicester City side. Rodgers has – believe it or not – even managed to make Jamie Vardy a better player. James Maddison has also fulfilled his potential after joining the club from Norwich City.

I distinctly remember a specific incident during Rodgers’ time at Swansea City that highlights his unwavering faith in his squad. Swansea passed the ball around in trademark fashion when a seemingly harmless pass slipped through the keeper’s legs and found the back of the net. It was not a particularly proud moment for the team, but Rodgers continued clapping for his players and cheered them back into their rhythm. That’s Brendan Rodgers for you – he never changes his style and he gets results.

Also Read: Fabrizio Romano's Transfer Roundup - Chelsea's plans for the transfer window, Arsenal complete signing and more

#3 Thomas Tuchel | Chelsea

Manchester City v Chelsea FC - UEFA Champions League Final
Manchester City v Chelsea FC - UEFA Champions League Final

Thomas Tuchel is an outstanding manager, and Chelsea’s growth over the past year is a testament to the value of an experienced manager. A comparison between Tuchel and Lampard is quite unfair, but the situation does make you wonder how Frank Lampard and other British managers can get the kind of experience Thomas Tuchel already has under his belt.

Thomas Tuchel is fearless in his approach to the game, and his “I’ll do it my way” attitude seems to have brought the best out of his squad. Some of Chelsea’s results against the Premier League’s big boys have been phenomenal, and that’s what managerial experience can bring to the table.

Chelsea’s brilliant Champions League triumph was largely down to Tuchel’s experience and tactical knowledge. The Blues also secured a top-four finish in the Premier League last season but were not as impressive against the league’s lesser teams. These matches are not easy by any stretch of the imagination, but you can count on Tuchel to learn from the battles he has witnessed last season. Chelsea have some work to do with their consistency and can be a real Premier League threat this year.

#2 Jurgen Klopp | Liverpool

Liverpool v Crystal Palace - Premier League
Liverpool v Crystal Palace - Premier League

Jurgen Klopp is one of those managers that every player wants to play for. The modern game is all about man-management, and a club’s results largely depend on the performances of its big names. You can’t buy players and solely focus on their training. You need to get the best out of them on the pitch, and there is arguably none better than Jurgen Klopp in this regard.

Klopp has already forged several careers at Liverpool and has made both Andrew Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold household names. He hasn’t spent much on his full-backs but has honed the resources available to him into world-class players in their own right.

I like the way Klopp formulates his transfer plans. When Philippe Coutinho left, Jurgen Klopp broke the bank for Virgil van Dijk and Alisson. At the time, most of us said, “Wow, you’re going to spend that much money on a goalkeeper?” It’s now safe to say that both Alisson and Van Dijk have been game changers – some of Jurgen Klopp’s transfer decisions have been extraordinary.

#1 Pep Guardiola | Manchester City

Manchester City FC Training Session and Press Conference - UEFA Champions League Final 2021
Manchester City FC Training Session and Press Conference - UEFA Champions League Final 2021

Pep Guardiola cannot seem to stop winning. He does tend to complicate things in the UEFA Champions League on a few occasions, but he’s always up there in the Premier League. Manchester City have the uncanny ability to overcome all odds and remain in contention for the Premier League title every year, and Guardiola’s role in his team’s success has been nothing short of pivotal.

Pep Guardiola is known for his success with some of the biggest clubs in the world. He’s never going to join Dartford and take them to the Premier League, but I can’t see Guardiola having a season like Klopp did last year. Liverpool weren’t in the title race last year, and it’s unlikely that Manchester City will face similar difficulties under Guardiola.

Pep Guardiola usually gets the players he wants and while that does have its advantages, it also presents challenges of its own. Guardiola makes all the players in his squad better footballers, and Manchester City have reaped the rewards of his efforts in recent years.

Honorable Mentions

Blackburn Rovers v Leeds United: Pre-Season Friendly
Blackburn Rovers v Leeds United: Pre-Season Friendly

Marcelo Bielsa has done an exceptional job with Leeds United, but it has to be acknowledged that there are not many teams in the world suited to his management style. Bielsa takes his time to build teams and he still has some work to do on his results in the Premier League. Leeds United is a great watch for us neutrals but I’m not too sure if traveling Leeds fans would be particularly thrilled with their club’s massive defeats against Manchester United and Leicester City.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has also won his fair share of fans with his work at Manchester United. Second place is no good at Manchester United, however, and Solskjaer will need to win the Premier League sooner rather than later. David Moyes lost his job at Manchester United because of his failure to win silverware and Solskjaer needs to be doing much more at one of the biggest clubs in the world.

Manchester United have done well in the transfer market, but I still feel they need another forward to compete with their Premier League rivals. The Red Devils crashed out of the Champions League last year and their Europa League final defeat will not have helped Solskjaer’s cause. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has done a decent job so far but will need to take it up a notch to be considered one of the Premier League’s best managers.

Also Read: Jim Beglim column - 5 best left-backs in Europe right now

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Edited by Vishal Subramanian