Though Jose Mourinho's Chelsea will be Premier League winners this year, their quality on paper and thoroughly dull way of playing mean I do not believe the Portuguese should win the Manager of the Year this season.
Likewise the other managers of teams in the top four don't deserve it: Arsene Wenger's Arsenal team are nearly men once again, Louis van Gaal's first season has been solid if unspectacular, and Manuel Pellegrini will almost certainly be getting the sack this summer following City's terrible form these last few months.
This isn't to mention Brendan Rodger's Liverpool's poor, if not disastrous season. So who should get it instead?
The case for Pardew
There are various contenders: Alan Pardew for example having done a truly remarkable job at Palace this season since his move there for Newcastle, moving them from a relegation battle to being close to the top half of the table, and playing attractive and attacking football in the process.
This has been done with basically the same squad he inherited from Neil Warnock. This is a remarkable achievement in itself, which is magnified by considering Newcastle's demise following his departure.
John Carver have picked up just nine points since Pardew's departure, and whether this is because of Carver's incompetence of Pardew's brilliance is up for debate. But regardless, his achievement with Palace makes him a firm contender.
Or should it be Koeman?
The other big contender has to be Ronald Koeman. After Southampton losing four key players to Premier League rivals last summer, as well as their manager, few thought he would be able to keep Southampton in the top half of the table, let alone continue challenging for European football.
But he has admirably maintained Southampton's European ambitions this season, with the Saints currently in seventh and just a point behind Spurs. He has signed astutely both in the loan and permanent markets, and not overspent or wasted the funds gained from the (overpriced) sales of some of Southampton's players last season.
Not only this but his side boast the best defensive record in the division (even more impressive considering they sold three first team defenders last summer) as well an enviable goal's tally (equaling Liverpool's). This achievement in the face of adversity, which the Saints seemingly faced at the beginning of this season, deserves recognition.
Which of these two is most deserving of the award is debatable. Both have achieved much this season, and in very different ways. It could rightly go to either, and both certainly deserve it more than any of the managers of teams in the top five.
Perhaps Pardew might edge the race, him having single handedly kept a struggling Palace side in the Premier League, as well as having essentially kept Newcastle up with the points he gained them in the first half of the season.
But Koeman's astute purchases in the summer, as well as his tactical and motivational abilities, have kept Southampton firmly in the race for European football throughout this season, and this in the face of the upheaval the club faced over the summer makes the choice between these two difficult, to say the least.
Who do you think should win manager of the year? Let us know below!
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