As one glances over the Premier League table, there is certainly more than one club in a surprisingly high position given preseason expectations.
Those surprises often command most of the talk for Manager of the Year, but Arsene Wenger believes the deciders should look a little lower down the table.
While it’s hard to argue with likely winner Brendan Rodgers if Liverpool win the Premier League, there are certainly some dark horse candidates.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference ahead of this weekend’s games, Wenger told English media, “The easy way is to pick the guy who has won the league but he has not always done the best job.”
Those are some harsh words towards Rodgers, but he had another pair of names.
“Steve Bruce and Tony Pulis have done exceptional work.”
Certainly those are two worthy candidates. Pulis took over for Ian Holloway at Crystal Palace at the end of December with the club bottom of the league and looking every bit the part. He’s since brought them to 11th and essentially out of the running for relegation, a remarkable turnaround that’s seen the team give a better and better performance week in and week out.
Steve Bruce is a fantastic shout as well, steering recently promoted Hull City to sit currently in 13th, also likely safe from the drop having shown consistency throughout the year.
While Hull haven’t recorded a shocking amount of upsets, they’ve regularly beaten teams below them and avoided a number of bad losses, a great achievement for any newly promoted club.
Roberto Martinez at Everton will also get looks, but it’s hard to argue with Rodgers as the runaway winner if the Reds win the league, or even if they just miss out. With Liverpool not even given a chance to make the Champions League by many prior to the season, the leap he’s taken with the Reds is remarkable.
Who do you believe has earned Manager of the Year? Is there a clear-cut winner or are the waters muddy?