Guardiola, Klopp, Mourinho: Who are the Premier League's best managers in 2020/21?


The 2020/21 Premier League season is finally underway and it feels good to be back.

It's testament to England's top flight that the anticipation for the new year has still been through the ceiling despite its quickest ever turnaround and games being played behind closed doors.

But when you consider all the thrilling plot threads that could unfurl over the next eight months of action, it's no wonder supporters across the world are desperate to see how things play out.

Premier League managers

However, for those involved in the Premier League return at ground level, the prospect of the new season could be an incredibly stressful one and no more so than for the managers themselves.

It's no secret that taking the role of head coach in professional football is meant to be one of the most intense jobs going, so just imagine the pressure when you're in the Premier League.

Jurgen Klopp will be fretting about whether he can retain the title for Liverpool, while the trio of Scott Parker, Slaven Bilic and Marcelo Bielsa will all be sweating about avoiding relegation.


Who will thrive in 2020/21?

And as harsh as it may seem, it's that Premier League pressure that brings out the best in some managers, but can lead to team capitulations and swift sackings for others.

So, with the wheels of the new Premier League campaign now set in motion, we decided to assess each of the 20 managers starting the season in the technical area of England's top clubs.

Using Tiermaker, we've ranked the coaches from 'world class' to 'sacked soon' with 'elite', 'potential greatness', 'criminally underrated' and 'middle of the road' categories in between.

It goes without saying that we wish the best for all 20 managers, but it's inevitable that not all of them will reach May 2021 in charge, so it was only fair that we brought in the bottom tier.


Ranking Premier League bosses

Check out the selections down below to see how we think the Premier League bosses shape up:

Sacked soon

Slaven Bilic

Dean Smith

Roy Hodgson

I take no joy in this category, trust me and I'm aware that Bilic is the easy man to bully here, but I don't think I'm alone in fearing for West Brom's survival chances, so I reluctantly back him as the first manager to go.

In terms of Smith, I expect Villa to make a slow start and for the hierarchy's patience to run thin considering the club boasts a squad that should be competing in mid-table, not fighting to dodge the drop.

As for Hodgson, Palace finished 2019/20 with seven losses in eight and without any life-changing summer signings, I anticipate their poor form to continue and for the Eagles to retire their 73-year-old coach as a result.


Middle of the road

Graham Potter

David Moyes

Scott Parker

Look, being 'middle of the road' at the Premier League standard is still a mighty compliment and you've got to credit Potter for the implementation of his philosophy - as well as survival, of course - at Brighton.

Meanwhile, Moyes gets a hard rep because of his time with Manchester United and Sunderland, but he's still a top Premier League coach and West Ham's survival hopes would swiftly dwindle without him.

By far the weakest of the trio is Parker, but I anticipate that Fulham will stand by him for better or for worse this season after learning from the mistakes of 2018/19 and there's good reason to think he has a bright future.


Criminally underrated

Sean Dyche

Steve Bruce

Ralph Hasenhuttl

Pound-for-pound, you can arguably count on one hand how many managers have done a better job than Dyche at Burnley in the top flight, harvesting incredible 8th and 10th place finishes that deserve far more props.

As for Bruce, it's funny how quickly the protestations of Newcastle fans have quietened after a solid 2019/20 campaign and considering his Premier League pedigree, he never should have been doubted.

And sure, the 'most rated' manager here is undoubtedly Hasenhuttl. I just wish that the Saints boss was credited as much as Danny Ings for the club's astonishing 2019/20 season after THAT defeat to Leicester.


Potential greatness

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Mikel Arteta

Frank Lampard

Nuno Espírito Santo

Chris Wilder

By far the busiest category in the tier list, this is for the managers who have already proven their quality at the top level and have it within themselves to challenge for the loftier categories.

Lampard and Solskjaer are in very similar boats for having steered Chelsea and United to top four finishes as club legends, while still having the potential to become world-class in their own right elsewhere.

Similarly, Arteta has stepped out of the shadow of a manager we'll mention later and early silverware at Arsenal with the FA Cup and Community Shield puts him on a promising trajectory.

And it could just be a matter of time before Santo is given the keys to a top Champions League club having consistently impressed at the helm of Wolves, albeit with rather generous resources.

Sadly, I think Wilder has the smallest chance of reaching said 'greatness' because, despite his work at Sheffield United warranting it, his unfashionable profile means many top clubs will be hesitant to hire him.



Jose Mourinho

Carlo Ancelotti

Marcelo Bielsa

Brendan Rodgers

To be honest, Mourinho falling short of the top tier has more to do with the managers above him than his own failings and I feel confident that his run of immaculate second seasons will breed silverware at Spurs in 2021.

In terms of Ancelotti, he's left everyone a little nonplussed at Everton so far, but how could I possibly put a three-time Champions League winner who managed both Ronaldo's any lower?

The same goes for Bielsa who, despite taking charge of a Championship graduate, has proven himself as one of football's great tactical minds and an inspiration to coaches like Mauricio Pochettino.

And sure, it might be unpopular to rank Rodgers this highly, but don't let Leicester's late-season collapse take away from how impressive it was for him to haul the Foxes within a whisker of Champions League football.



Jurgen Klopp

Pep Guardiola

Whether you want to call it 'world-class', 'God tier' or whatever, there's no denying that Guardiola and Klopp are so ahead of the pack that they require their own tier regardless of the label.

Guardiola took the Premier League by storm in a way that few managers ever have, winning back-to-back titles with Manchester City, including a record 100-point total the first time around.

And what Klopp has achieved in his five years at Liverpool will go down in folklore, converting them into a team that won their first Premier League crown with 99 points, going unbeaten at Anfield for over three years.


Full graphic


Tough decisions

I don't doubt for a second here that I've ruffled some feathers and I'll be the first person to admit that ranking all 20 coaches, never mind naming the exact categories, was incredibly difficult.

What I do know for certain, though, is that Klopp and Guardiola deserve their table of the gods at the top and I fully expect the Premier League trophy to land in either of their hands come May.

And as much as it pains to suggest any of these brilliant coaches might lose their jobs, the Premier League is a ruthless place and Bilic, Hodgson and Smith look the most at risk.


However, it's the Premier League, so anything can happen and it's still early days, so strap yourselves in for what's guaranteed to be a dramatic and memorable ride.

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