Analysis

Ranked! Every current Premier League manager based on their work this season

Rafa Benitez

Rafa the gaffer, Jurgen the German and Dyche the worm-devourer – Alex Hess assess the Premier League’s bosses, with the exception of Darren Moore, who can’t be blamed for West Brom’s current state

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19. Mark Hughes (Southampton)

Dangerously close to ending the season having overseen not one but two relegations. Sacked by Stoke after a dire first half of the year in which they were hit for seven by Manchester City, five by Spurs, and conceded nine over two games against Chelsea, Hughes was brought in last month by a desperate Southampton.

He has since taken them from just outside the relegation zone to just within it. He may yet save them, of course – and there were green shoots of hope in a gutsy display at the Emirates – but as it stands, his season's work has been gravely unremarkable.

18. Sam Allardyce (Everton)

Sam Allardyce

You get the sense that Allardyce would be far better appreciated if he simply spoke less. His first (only?) half-season at Goodison Park has been dismal rather than disastrous, but pockmarked with soundbites that have only harmed his cause, serving to provoke rather than soothe a sceptical fanbase.

His attempts to paint Everton’s season in a good light by comparing it to West Brom’s is just the most recent example in a self-preserving streak that leaves a sour taste. The football, as ever, has been agricultural, and even the most vaguely threatening opponents have been given the bus-parking treatment.

There are plenty of worse sides than Everton in this division, but no set of fans is closer to a state of open mutiny. It says a lot.

17. Arsene Wenger (Arsenal)

The empty seats, the air of fatalism, the audible exasperation every time a home player puts a foot wrong. The Emirates has become a pretty depressing place, testament to the fact that Arsenal’s season was rendered redundant some time ago (barring their campaign in the Europa League, a competition they didn’t want to be in to begin with).

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been a morale-boosting addition and Jack Wilshere’s revival has been nice to see. Other than that, there’s been endless pitiful defending, a goalkeeper in steep decline, a desperately underwhelming £46.5m centre-forward, more ground lost to Spurs and yet another star player defecting to Manchester.

It’s been another season when England’s best teams accelerate into the distance while Arsenal spin their wheels in a roadside ditch. Wenger is not the only factor in that, but he’s a pretty big one.

16. Paul Lambert (Stoke)

Does the ‘new manager bounce’ even exist any more? Certainly most of the clubs down the bottom have seemed to avoid it completely this season. Lambert got his Stoke reign off to a win, at home to Huddersfield in January, but that’s been the beginning and the end of it: he hasn’t taken three points since.

His side have gone from 17th to 18th, from one point off safety to four. Lambert’s first three months in the job may not have been a disaster, but nor has he cajoled much quality from a squad specked with decent international players, and one far from the three worst in the league. They shouldn’t be going down. They almost certainly will.

15. Roy Hodgson (Crystal Palace)

With Palace teetering precariously above the drop zone, Hodgson’s season can only be judged once it's over. Up to this stage his work has been decent rather than distinguished, and you can't help but think that Palace's survival – if it does happen – will owe as much to the Premier League’s excess of dross than to any managerial magic on Hodgson’s part.

He has neither effectively shored up Palace defence (they've conceded as many as West Brom), nor got his forwards firing (Christian Benteke's ongoing decline has been painful to watch). Yet he has coaxed career-best form from the team's most gifted player in Wilfried Zaha, invigorated Andros Townsend and had the guts to promote Aaron Wan-Bissaka at the campaign's business end. It might just be enough.

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