Before this season had even started, we had already seen quite a few managerial changes occur. Legendary Englishman Roy Hodgson had departed Crystal Palace, Nuno Espírito Santo had departed Wolves, a club he had taken from the Championship to the Europa League among just a few changes. Even by December, we have seen more changes on account of poor form by certain sides. So now is the time to put these new managers under the spotlight and see how they are adapting to life in the Premier League at their new clubs. Are they succeeding? Do they need more time? Are reinforcements needed in the January transfer window? Find out below.
Antonio Conte – Tottenham
After the debatably unfair sacking of Nuno Espirito Santo after only 3 months, despite having won the manager of the month award for August, Spurs finally brought in the man who they had wanted from the beginning – Italian maestro Antonio Conte. Having earlier passed up the role, Spurs chairman Daniel Levy was a little more persuasive this time and Conte has wasted no time in getting to work. An immediate switch to his favorite 3-5-2 formation has already worked wonders for Spurs as they remain undefeated in the league under Conte. Conte’s Spurs burst onto the scene with an entertaining 3-2 win over Vitesse in the Europa Conference League and has won 3 out of 4 games in the Premier League so far. If Conte can get Spurs on a solid run, achieve qualification to the knockout stages of the Conference League and get Harry Kane scoring, this could be a rather prosperous relationship for Spurs and Conte.
Bruno Lage – Wolves
Before Wolves, Lage most recently managed Portuguese club Benfica, and was somewhat of a wildcard for Wolves. It was certain that change was needed. Despite the lengths Santo had taken Wolves, they had become stale. It was evident that he had taken them as far as he could. A young, fresh manager is what Wolves have got in Lage, with Wolves being the second side he has formally managed, and he has a challenge on his hands. Initial poor form has turned into a solid run for Wolves, seeing them become a side that is tough to beat. Impressive, ground out wins against Everton, West Ham and away at Aston Villa have been highlighted as particularly impressive. If they can survive a difficult run of games including Liverpool, Man City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Man United; they should be good to go for the rest of the season, and Lage will surely be up there in a positive view.
Steven Gerrard – Aston Villa
Liverpool legend Gerrard has only been the manager of Villa for 4 games, but we can already see a marked improvement. Instant wins against Brighton and away at Palace saw Gerrard’s Villa playing some lovely soccer. A tough loss against Villa was brought back by an impressive win against Leicester City, there is no sleeping with this Villa side. If Gerrard can use his experience in soccer and get the best out of new signings Buendia, Bailey and Ings, as well as striker Ollie Watkins, Villa could slowly creep up the table and even enter the conversation for European qualification.
Patrick Vieira – Crystal Palace
It seems almost harsh to see Vieira’s Palace sit at 13th in the table, since they really have shown a marked improvement in the style of football they play, and have ground out some impressive results. A poor run of three consecutive losses has marked a season where they have already won 2-0 away at Manchester City, drawn 2-2 away at Arsenal and whooped Spurs 3-0. We hope they can bounce back and go on a bit of a run in some very winnable games. Coming up Palace have to play Everton, Southampton and Watford, three games that should see them record 9 points. An initially good start has stunted a little, but we have hopes that Vieira can bring it back.
Rafael Benitez – Everton
It has to be said, it’s been tough initially for Rafa’s Everton. Sitting at 16th with only 4 wins in 14, Benitez’s job is reportedly insecure. Everton haven’t won since 25th September, and that was only against rock-bottom Norwich (who have since replaced their manager). It has to be said that there wasn’t a whole lot of investment this summer for Everton, but even with the wealth of talent that the squad already possesses, Everton should be a lot higher up the table. Time will tell if Benitez will be given the opportunity to rectify the situation, but in soccer, you never really get that much time.