Twenty seats filled: Ranking the classes of Premier League managers

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The hirings of Nuno Espirito Santo, Rafa Benitez, and Patrick Vieira mean that all 20 Premier League managers’ seats are filled.

[ MORE: EURO 2020 hub ]

There are plenty of bosses with more questions than answers on their CVs, while even the most proven and celebrated coaches have questions entering the 2021-22 season.

(Relative) unknowns

This doesn’t mean these managers are poor at their jobs or won’t be successes in the Premier League. We just can’t know yet.

Thomas Frank, Brentford — Decent with Brondby and exciting with Brentford, what’s next after getting the Bees over the promotion hump. Odds of being in the job come May 2022: 8/10

Patrick Vieira, Crystal Palace  — Did a very good job at NYCFC and just fine at Nice. Palace’s roster presents a lot of challenges, but what he might do with Jairo Riedewald is intriguing. Odds of being in the job come May 2022: 7/10

Bruno Lage, Wolves — Took over Benfica in middle of 2018-19 season and didn’t lose the rest of the way In winning the Portuguese Super Liga. Odds of being in the job come May 2022: 5/10

Xisco, Watford — Heck of a player. Had a short but decent run with Georgian powers Dinamo Tbilisi. Took over Watford and got them promoted. That’s all we’ve got, and Watford does not exactly like manager stability. Odds of being in the job come May 2022: 3/10

Steve Bruce

There’s only one. And we’re all grateful for that. But also genuinely grateful for his existence.

Steve Bruce, Newcastle — Not particularly good. Not abject. Seems like a guy you’d like to talk to at a bar. He’s 13 days away from two years on the job, and that feels about 18 months longer than anyone expected. Your 2021-22 Newcastle United manager, everybody. Odds of being in the job come May 2022: 3/10

Newcastle
“I’m still here.” (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Something left to prove

Daniel Farke, Norwich City — Received plenty of praise for playing the game the right way, at least managerial speaking, and has led two promotion campaigns… but might some more pragmatic play have helped the Canaries avoid relegation in the first place. Odds of being in the job come May 2022: 6/10

Dean Smith, Aston Villa — Solid, demanding, and not boring, but what happens if Jack Grealish leaves Villa Park? Because the few months without him last year were… not ideal. Odds of being in the job come May 2022: 6/10

Ralph Hasenhuttl, Southampton — Definitely decent, but can he produce a top-half side? Odds of being in the job come May 2022: 5/10

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Manchester United — He’s got more than a few feathers in his caps in terms of single-game results, but still no trophies and no set system other than, “Well, this is Manchester United. It must be a certain standard.” Odds of being in the job come May 2022: 5/10

Graham Potter, Brighton and Hove Albion — Is it weird to call him the statistician’s Bielsa? Potter’s teams play great football and produce huge advanced stats, but we’ve yet to see the Seagulls finish chances in a manner befitting their stats. Odds of being in the job come May 2022: 7/10

He’s got a system (allegedly or proven), but is it good?

Mikel Arteta, Arsenal –What do we really know about Mikel Arteta as a manager after a season-and-a-half? He took over Arsenal with the Gunners in 11th, then led them through Project Restart to an eighth-place finish and the FA Cup. They then finished eighth again despite dipping as low as 15th in December. The defending has improved. Odds of being in the job come May 2022: 5/10

Sean Dyche, Burnley — You a back or a keeper? Kick the ball far away. You a wide man or a midfielder? Find a forehead! The embodiment of statistical defiance. Took Burnley to EUROPE. Gave the world the best press conference banter in some time with his “Looky-likeys” discussion. Pristine goatee. Odds of being in the job come May 2022: 9/10

Nuno Espirito Santo, Tottenham — Led Wolves to promotion and Europe, which are the main accomplishments of his managerial tenure (and quite good ones). Basically, it feels like a good hire if only because he’s not Tim Sherwood or Harry Redknapp. Odds of being in the job come May 2022: 9/10

Respected elders

David Moyes, West Ham — The Irons’ boss saw his star fall from a single-season at Man United through several wayward campaigns, but what he did at West Ham was nothing short of wonderful in driving it back into Europe. Now what? Do it again. Odds of being in the job come May 2022: 9/10

Marcelo Bielsa, Leeds United — The apple of seemingly every other manager’s eye, he’s got Powerpoints and a great reputation. Led Athletic BIlbao to Europa League and Copa del Rey finals and Argentina to Olympic gold and a Copa America final. Now can he get Leeds into Europe? Odds of being in the job come May 2022: 8/10

Top of the Pops

Brendan Rodgers, Leicester City — He’s got an FA Cup and his work with Celtic was well-documented. Now can he do it for a full year at Leicester City without his Foxes faltering and fading out of the top four? Odds of being in the job come May 2022: 9/10

Rafa Benitez, Everton — He’s led some of the biggest clubs in Europe to glory and won admirers for sticking around at Newcastle after relegation and proving he was more than a guy who runs top clubs. Will it be defense-first at Goodison Park? Odds of being in the job come May 2022: 7/10

Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool — Make no mistake about it, he’s still a genius and has cajoled Liverpool into spending more to deliver another squad capable of winning the Premier League. Odds of being in the job come May 2022: 10/10

Thomas Tuchel, Chelsea — Sure he gets plenty of credit for taking over Chelsea and, you know, just playing the good and experienced players that Frank Lampard thought were beneath the task of the great Chelsea rebuild, but he also made Chelsea a bonafide title contender and won the Champions League. Odds of being in the job come May 2022: 9/10

Pep Guardiola, Man City — Still one of the greatest to ever do it. But is he going to do it in the Champions League with Man City? Odds of being in the job come May 2022: 10/10