Six of the best: Premier League managers
Andre Villas-Boas, Michael Laudrup and Steve Clarke have worked wonders this season
As we are now over the halfway point of the 2012/13 Premier League season, it's a good time to review how the newly-appointed managers have performed thus far.
Out of those who took up their new roles in the summer, just who has been the standout tactician?
Brendan Rodgers - Liverpool
Before taking the reigns at Liverpool, Brendan Rodgers enjoyed a successful spell with Swansea, guiding the Welsh minnows to the Premier League and establishing the club as a top-flight outfit.
Rodgers' success resulted in the 39-year-old sealing a switch to Merseyside to become Liverpool manager. Introducing his 'tiki-taka' style of play which served him so well at Swansea, Rodgers promised to re-build the squad and attempt a top-four finish in order to gain European football.
However, Liverpool currently sit in 8th place which is below where fans expect them to finish. But don't lose faith - Rodgers is the right man for Liverpool and their hopes of re-building a once great team lie with the Northern Ireland boss.
Andre Villas-Boas - Tottenham Hotspur
Andre Villas-Boas endured a miserable nine months as manager of Chelsea, which climaxed in a 1-0 defeat to West Bromwich Albion. However, he returned to the Premier League just four months later, this time with Tottenham Hotspur.
After losing on the opening day to Newcastle United, Villas-Boas has gone on to earn some impressive victories, most notably the 3-2 success away to Manchester United back in September.
Tottenham are 4th in the table, which is a great achievement for the former Porto manager.
Paul Lambert - Aston Villa
Following back-to-back promotions with Norwich in 2009/10 and 2010/11, Paul Lambert guided his team to mid-table with 47 points last season.
Lambert then joined Aston Villa at the end of the 2011/12 season, even after Norwich rejected his initial resignation letter.
Villa are currently occupying one of the three relegation positions in the table and seem to be in a mini-crisis after shipping 15 goals over the festive period.
Matters were made worse by Saturday's home defeat to Southampton, but the 43-year-old has put together a talented young team and with one or two acquisitions in the January window, his team should have more than enough to pull away from danger.
Michael Laudrup - Swansea City
It's never easy to replace someone as good as Brendan Rodgers, but it seems as if Swansea have found the perfect fit. Michael Laudrup was regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, and it seems that his managerial ability isn't too bad either.
The Dane has kept, and even developed, Rodgers' style of play and he seems to have an eye for a bargain too after spending just £2million on the club's leading scorer, Michu.
Currently 9th in the table, Laudrup's side are looking like formidable opponents for even the best of teams, as they proved with their 2-0 success in the Capital One cup semi-final first leg at Stamford Bridge last week.
Steve Clarke - West Bromwich Albion
He may be 14 years into his coaching career, but Steve Clarke has never managed a club - until now.
After replacing England-bound Roy Hodgson as manager of West Brom in the summer, the former Chelsea and Liverpool coach has propelled The Baggies up to the dizzying heights of 7th place in the Premier League.
Not bad for his first managerial job.
Chris Hughton - Norwich City
Currently in 12th place, Norwich City are flying under the guidance of Chris Hughton.
After a shocking 5-0 loss to Fulham on the opening day of the season, Hughton's men went on to beat Manchester United and Arsenal in the league, recording a League Cup success over Tottenham too.
The 54-year-old has now gained the backing of the fans and the board, and has won plaudits from neutrals for his ability to get a team on a relatively small budget working so well together.
Despite a disastrous start to the season that saw Norwich cast adrift at the foot of the table, their revival has sparked some pundits to suggest that European football is a distinct possibility.
That said, everyone at Norwich will undoubtedly be happy enough with Premier League survival, as they continue to establish themselves as regular fixture in the top-flight.
Although Andre Villas-Boas is the standout candidate when it comes to points won, results and position in the table, I believe Steve Clarke has done the most impressive job.
The Scottish tactician has done a fantastic job at the Hawthorns, proving all the doubters wrong in the process. A number of pundits backed the Baggies for the drop after news broke of Clarke's appointment, but he has what it takes to manage a team in the Premier League.
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