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Premier League midseason managers: school report

Tuesday 6th June 2017
Sackings are a defining feature of every Premier League season, with right or wrong decisions holding significant consequences. Once again, this season's managerial merry-go-round did not disappoint, but how did the Premier League midseason managers' class fair? Let's take a look.

New Managers | Remaining Managers

Craig Shakespeare A

Undoubtedly one of the most controversial sackings in Premier League history was Claudio Ranieri's dismissal. The Italian had led Leicester to an unbelievable Premier League title just months before. The Foxes were on a wretched run of form and relegation, bizarrely, looked like a genuine threat. The owners, just weeks after publicly backing Ranieri, sacked him.

 

Less about Ranieri, though, more about Shakespeare. He re-introduced the familial 4-4-2 system in which the Foxes thrived, employed the infamous press, and inspired a more determined work ethic. His ability to reignite morale that saw Leicester storm to the title was his best achievement, given the fractures that began to emerge under Ranieri.

Sacking Ranieri was the wrong choice to football purists but quite clearly the correct choice in retaining Premier League status.

Paul Clement B+

Clement was the second new man at Swansea's helm in 2016-17. When he arrived in January, it was already now or never for the Welsh team. After going wrong with Bob Bradley, he was the right choice for Huw Jenkins and the club's American owners.

Swans immediately cut a more organised and disciplined team upon his arrival. Players looked as though they were again playing for the manager, for the shirt, for the team. The honeymoon soon wore off. The club struggled again for a time. Clement's job was a tricky one, but he had the strength to again rally his troops and navigate the run-in in a competent, laudable fashion.

It will be interesting to see how far he can take the Swans, next season, with time to prepare and add to the squad.

Sam Allardyce B

Alan Pardew had led Crystal Palace to an FA Cup final in his previous season - it looked as though the Eagles would build on this success and begin to define themselves as Premier League mainstays. Yet, Palace's form dropped off completely; a stark decline that soon looked irreversible under Pardew.

 

Thus, Palace turned to a man who can always be trusted in a relegation fight, if not in a Manchester restaurant when having a chat about the business of football. Allardyce did not disappoint, despite a timid start. At first, it had looked as though the ex-England boss had lost his charm but Palace soon rallied to ensure survival. A mammoth victory over eventual champions Chelsea highlighted the escape. Truthfully, however, Palace should have realised survival much sooner - they easily boasted the best squad among the relegation rivals.

Big Sam resigned at season's end. Where Palace goes from here is completely up in the air.

Marco Silva C-

For a long time after he succeeded the overmatched Mike Phelan, it appeared as though Silva would guide Hull to a remarkable escape. The Portuguese implemented order and gave licence to his attack. His approach kick-started a wave of belief. Indeed, there was a moment when it looked like Paul Clement's Swansea were destined for relegation and Silva's Hull for Premier League retention.

Then a 2-0 home defeat to already relegated Sunderland dealt an irrecoverable blow. Despite the disappointing end, Silva wasn't marking time to Match Day 38 even though he quickly landed on his feet afterwards. He deserves praise for his efforts at Hull and Watford supporters should expect him to mould his new team into an efficient outfit.

Steve Agnew D

Aitor Karanka had essentially worn down the Boro attack into a blunt knife during the side's return to the Premier League. Attacking impotency is the entire reason Boro will be playing in the Championship next season.

Unfortunately, Agnew, his longtime assistant at the Riverside never really looked like devising a miracle escape, either. In fairness, there was little more that could have been done by the time Karanka was sacked in mid-March. He couldn't bring in a body or two, as Silva, Clement, and Allardyce all were able, to reinvigorate the clubhouse. He didn't have players like Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez chomping at the bit as Shakespeare did.  Labeling him a failure would be harsh.

Bob Bradley F

Before Paul Clement arrived at Swansea, Francesco Guidolin was sacked in October. Bradley was brought in.

It did not take long for the media vultures to circle and the fans to crow. He was an outsider, the first American manager in the Premier League. People ridiculed his idioms even though he never uttered them. The mistrust bled into the squad. His team never truly believed in his ideology, if there even was one. Swans were utterly chaotic at the back, leaking goals at a ridiculous rate. Players showed no fighting spirit. Swans were a sinking ship under Bradley.

He was sacked after just eleven games. It's extremely unlikely he will be coming back to England's top flight anytime soon.

By the way, if you haven't checked out the school report for the new managers who began the season, click here.

 

 
Michael Jones

Football & political writer with a predictable love of everything retro. English Literature undergraduate at the University of Exeter, looking to pursue a career in sports journalism. For a collection of my work, visit. http://mikejonesmedia.wordpress.com

Follow me on twitter: @jonesmichael_97


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