The Early Sub: The Premier League’s Brilliant Minds and Why They’re Perfect For Their Clubs

This season in the Premier League is all about the “Super Manager,” and the duel of the best football minds that the planet has to offer. Well the top 6 are brilliant anyways, the bottom half of the league can be debated on whether they’re brilliant or not. After Leicester’s surreal surge to the top last season, the top 6 sides in England have stepped up and run the show in the Premier League. 3 of the top 6 have managers are in their 1st year and 2 of them have managers in their 2nd year showing that the past failures of: Moyes, Rodgers, Pellegrini, Van Gaal, Hiddink, Sherwood, and even Mourinho is not tolerated anymore by the top clubs of the league. Here’s the six minds of England, locked in battle and what makes each of them perfect for their clubs.

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Honorable Mention: Everton’s Ronald Koeman “The Wild Card”

The top 6 are ahead of the pack by a wide margin but a token of credit must be given to Ronald Koeman of Everton. He’s been showing his brilliance since the minute he first put on a Blaugrana shirt. A Cruyff apprentice, he took the Dutchman’s methods and not only played under it, but took it as a manager to every team he’s managed. 3 Eredivisie’s with Ajax and PSV, 1 Copa Del Rey with Valencia and great finishes with what he had at Southampton later, and he’s now trying to take the Blue side of Merseyside to a European spot once again and disrupt the party that the Top 6 have created and be assured, if Koeman and Lukaku stay at Everton, they will be a force in the Premier League maybe as soon as later this year.

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Chelsea’s Antonio Conte “The Godfather”

Talk about a complete 180. Antonio Conte came into West London and turned it upside down with his attitude, tone, behavior and tactics. Everything has changed since he’s come to Chelsea. Even when Mourinho was leading the Premier League, there was always disagreements with owner Roman Abromovich. Conte has brought some players into the starting XI that weren’t there last year or in 2014/15. David Luiz, Victor Moses, and N’Golo Kante have become the household names that fans have been chanting. Conte has also brought Eden Hazard back to world class form and has Diego Costa banging in goals. He also has the egos of Chelsea tamed, even when Costa flared up China rumors, Conte put an end to it and had his striker figured out by the next time he stepped on the pitch. An accomplished leader, 3 Serie A titles, he’s determined to add a Premier League title to his cabinet. He is a gang leader, dishing out offers that no one at Stamford Bridge or anyone in England can refuse.

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Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola “The Philosopher”

Indeed the man who conducted one of the most deafening orchestras that have ever performed on the pitch. Pep Guardiola is a thinker, a man who takes it upon himself to out think the entire stadium with his tiki taka style and his desire to hold onto the ball and control the tempo of the game. Pep’s style can be beautiful to watch when done correctly but thus far, this season has shown that the current personnel at Manchester City can not play at a high level with this style of football and Pep knows this even if he doesn’t admit it. The incorporations of Sane, Sterling, Jesus, and Gundogan (before his injury) is a sign. A changing of the guard. The first 3 young names will become the skillful, pace monsters that Pep’s style of play breeds (Messi anyone?). Pep knows that City’s best hopes in the league comes from the future and not the vets. Pep is telling England that it’s time to say goodbye to Aguero, Toure and Navas. For all we know, Pep could be constructing the next Messi, and the next Messi could be German, English or Brazilian. Not necessarily the opening season that the Citizens or perhaps Pep envisioned, he’s won 3 league titles in Spain and Germany. He knows what it takes to top a league and he may have an idea on how to do that in England. Who knows what’s going on in the head of Pep Guardiola.

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Tottenham’s Maurcio Pochettino “The Up and Comer”

Calling Pochettino an up and comer wouldn’t necessarily be accurate because he’s not coming. No ladies and gentlemen, he’s already here. A 3rd place finish last season and currently having Spurs in 3rd place this season (in tougher competition then last season), Poch has the rest of England shaking in their boots when Tottenham comes to town. Before Poch, Tottenham never finished better then 3rd in the Premier League and the last time Spurs finished in the top 4 was 2012, before that? 2010. Before that? Never. Winning is new for Tottenham, they are crashing the top 4 party every chance they get and with Pochettino at the helm, Tottenham won’t just crash the party, they’ll receive an invitation. Several managers have come out to say that Pochettino is one of the best minds in the Premier League and that Spurs is up and down one of the best teams in England.

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Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger “The Veteran”

Easily the longest serving manager for his club on this list, and easily the most under fire manager on this list, Arsene Wenger has been in this very spot many times before. In fact, in the 13 years since Arsenal won the league, they finished 4th 6 times! And if the league finished today, that tally would rise to 7. I’ll tell you something that Wenger has over every manager on this list except for one. And that’s a Premier League title and even Mourinho can’t boast an unbeaten season. The exit talks will always be there for Wenger, and next season may be tougher if he returns since Alexis and Ozil may not. But now that Tuchel may be entering extension talks with Dortmund and with Allegri showing no interest in leaving Turin, Arsenal may not have a choice but to stick this crisis out with their 3 time Premier League winning original man.

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Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp “The Metalhead”

Can you hear it? It may not be as loud as it was before Christmas but it’s still loud. It pumps your adrenaline. It’s fast. It’s skillful. It’s blinding and it’s unmistakable. It’s the hard loud riff  that chugs when Liverpool step on the pitch. Get the ball forward, get numbers forward and put the ball in the net several times. That’s the Liverpool way, and that’s the Jurgen Klopp way. Klopp may be 5th and may not have silverware to show for his brilliant work. But he has Merseyside feeling a type of way and it’s a way that hasn’t been felt since Luis Suarez left for Spain. Jurgen Klopp has more importance then even Suarecito did a few years ago and once again Barcelona is circling around the Reds’ German talisman. He won’t go though. This project means too much to him and the city. He’s won the Bundesliga twice with Dortmund and Liverpool’s trophy drought will soon come to a close thanks to Klopp.

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Manchester United’s Jose Mourinho “The Dictator”

Exactly what the Red side of Manchester needed. Forget about Moyes and Van Gaal, Jose Mourinho is absolutely the direct descendent of Sir Alex Ferguson and there’s zero doubt in my mind that at some point in Mourinho’s tenure, he will win the Premier League with the Red Devils. He always wins. And he always will. He walked into a swirling disaster of a club that was Man United and he locked everything down. Forget the money, forget the fame, because that could all seize to exist at the snap of the Special One’s fingers. As quickly as Depay and Schneiderlin learned and something that Shaw, Martial, and Darmian are learning. It’s a culture of winning. Putting on the shirt is not good enough. Simply winning is not good enough. You must win the Man United way, ruthless, brutal, without mercy. United may not be there, but Mourinho understands that this is the way it must be if you are to survive in this world of killers. This league full of clubs that wish for nothing but your immediate decimation. This is something that Moyes and Van Gaal failed to realize and something that Mourinho knows more then anyone else. He showed it at Chelsea, and at Inter and at Real Madrid. He is the most accomplished man on this list winning the Champions League twice and winning the league in 4 separate leagues including the Premier League. Mourinho knows winning is more then just a desire, it’s a necessity.

 

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