Nick Harris selects the top five managers of the Premier League season...
Sir Alex Ferguson
Perhaps Sergio Aguero was all tat stopped Ferguson retiring last season, but if he wanted to make a final statement this year, he certainly achieved his target. Manchester United dominated the Premier League this year, and the easiest way to praise Ferguson might be to simply say he would probably have won the league if in charge at Chelsea or Manchester City as well.
There will still be plenty of people calling for Wenger’s departure at Arsenal, but his achievement in getting Arsenal into the top four should not be underrated, especially given the form his team have produced in the last two months. Since losing to Tottenham Hotspur, Wenger has steered his team to eight wins in ten games, holding off Arsenal’s neighbours to claim a Champions League place again.
As if being replacing Harry Redknapp was not enough of a challenge, Villas-Boas took over a team stripped of Ledley King, Luka Modric and Rafael Van Der Vaart, and had to cope with a barrage of criticism from both the media and Spurs’ own fans in his first few months in charge. Spurs finished with their highest ever Premier League points total, and can be confident Villas-Boas is the best man to try and take them up another level next year.
Swansea might have coasted to the finish of the Premier League, but they put themselves into a position were they were able to thanks to an excellent first seven months of the season where they ensured their safety and won the League Cup. Laudrup had perhaps the best summer of anyone in the transfer market, and built an excellent team that should be able to maintain their upward trajectory next season.
Although West Brom were never likely to maintain the Champions League spot they sat in for a long period at the start of the year, they did manage to finish a commendable eighth. West Brom operate in a very different manner from most of the teams above them, and the way that Clarke has unleashed Romelu Lukaku and steered his team into the top half shows that they have the manager to bring them success for as long as they can keep him.
image: © marcel sigg