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New Manager Bounce or Bust? Assessing the impact of the six in-season Premier League appointments

Antonio Conte is one of six Premier League appointments so far this season
Antonio Conte is one of six Premier League appointments so far this season

How have the six in-season managerial appointments fared so far in the Premier League?

Below, we assess the impact of each boss and whether they've either enjoyed a manager bounce, or in contrast endured somewhat of a bust...

(Note: We have solely focused on each manager’s performance in the Premier League, not cup competitions)

Claudio Ranieri (Watford)

Watford were the first club to make a change in early October when they swapped their young promotion winning boss Xisco Munoz for the experienced former Premier League champ Claudio Ranieri. 

The former registered seven points from seven games, while his replacement has taken just six points from 11 games so far and has lost his last six on the spin. The two wins were eye-catching - a 5-2 thrashing of Everton at Goodison then a 4-1 thumping of Man Utd - but nine defeats from those 11 outings doesn’t make for pretty reading at all, while the Hornets have alarmingly failed to keep a clean sheet since Ranieri's arrival.

Ranieri previously struggled to rejuvenate Fulham when he was appointed during the 2018/19 season. He lasted all of 16 league games before he was sacked, and if results don’t improve at Watford soon then it will come as no surprise if the Pozzo's reverted back to type and enforced their second managerial change of the season.

At the time of writing Ranieri is the 6/4 favourite to become the seventh managerial casualty of the campaign - full odds below - his future could depend on the outcome of Watford's crucial next trio of games against fellow strugglers Newcastle, Burnley, and Norwich.

Verdict: BUST - Two big-wins can't disguise the fact that Watford are in a pit at the moment. Fortunately, there are still three teams worse off than them, for now. Ranieri needs a win ASAP.

- Position When Appointed: 15th

- Current Position: 17th

- Premier League Matches: 11 (W2 D0 L9)

- Win Rate: 18.18%

Antonio Conte (Tottenham)

Nuno Santo exploded out of the blocks with three consecutive wins, which saw him bag August’s Premier League Manager of the Month award. Five defeats from his subsequent seven games saw Spurs wield the axe after all of 10 matches. In came the manager they should have appointed in the first place: Antonio Conte (2nd November).

Conte has since become the first ever Spurs manager to go unbeaten in his opening eight league games, accumulating five wins and three draws, which has moved Spurs up three places to 6th. They have one/two games in hand on all the teams around them, so if they win those then they’ll jump into the top-four - they can be backed at 2/1 to finish in the Champions League spots.

It’s not just results that have improved under Conte, but performances have been enhanced significantly as have the club’s shot count, distance covered, plus more goals have been scored and fewer conceded. An elite manager, Conte has hammered in his core principles, moulded together a structured and well-drilled side, and made them easier on the eye too. All in the space of two months.

Verdict: BOUNCE - Undefeated, tactically smart, confidence growing by the week. A great start by a great manager.

- Position When Appointed: 9th

- Current Position: 6th (with games in hand)

- Premier League Matches: 8 (W5 D3 L0)

- Win Rate: 62.5%

Eddie Howe (Newcastle)

Steve Bruce was eventually shown the exit door in October shortly after his landmark 1,000th match in management. He failed to win any of his opening eight games of the season (three points), while caretaker Graeme Jones picked up a point from two games before handing over the reins to Eddie Howe.

A covid-hit Howe was forced to watch his first clash from his hotel room - a 3-3 thriller against Brentford. He oversaw Newcastle’s first league win of the season in his fourth game, but has been unable to add any more victories to the board.

However, the four defeats he has suffered have come against Man City, Liverpool, Leicester, and a rejuvenated Arsenal. Fans will hope that a 1-1 draw in their last game against Man Utd - a game they perhaps should have won - will be a platform to build on in the New Year. 

Expect both performances and results to improve in time as money-bags Newcastle bolster their squad during the transfer window. Although injuries to key personnel could hinder them.

Verdict: BUST - One win from eight games isn't exactly a transformative return, but given the calibre of opponents it seems harsh to besmirch Howe who has raised spirits. However, it's a 'results game' and he needs to start cementing wins on the board before it's too late.

Position When Appointed: 19th

- Current Position: 19th

- Premier League Matches: 8 (W1 D3 L4)

- Win Rate: 12.5%

Steven Gerrard (Aston Villa)

A wave of excitement greeted the appointment of Premier League legend Steven Gerrard who has breathed fresh life into an Aston Villa side who had lost their last five games under Dean Smith.

Results have been split down the middle with four wins and four defeats, albeit three of those losses have been narrow outcomes against the three title chasers. Villa are now 11 points above the relegation zone, having been just two points ahead of 18th upon Gerrard’s appointment. They can be backed at 23/10 to secure a top-10 standing (UniBet) and 7/2 (Bet Victor) to finish as the top Midlands side.

The defeat to Brentford last weekend was the biggest disappointment of Gerrard’s tenure to date, meaning he now heads into the Man Utd game looking to avoid three league defeats in a row for the first time in his managerial career.

However, there’s no denying that he’s made an initial impact in his new surroundings. There’s a new found intensity, belief, and energy around the place, while there are even rumours that Gerrard could sign Philippe Coutinho this window as he bids to elevate the club to the next level.

Verdict: BOUNCE - Stevie G took over an out-of-form side who had lost five games in a row, he’s since propelled Villa in the right direction and could soon make a real statement in the transfer window.

- Position When Appointed: 16th

- Current Position: 13th

- Premier League Matches: 8 (W4 D0 L4)

- Win Rate: 50%

Steven Gerrard has a 50% win rate so far
Steven Gerrard has a 50% win rate so far

Dean Smith (Norwich)

Sacked by Aston Villa eight days prior, Dean Smith then made a swift return to the Premier League at Norwich who were bottom of the table and five points adrift of safety.

Smith rocketed off to the perfect start in the form of a 2-1 win against Southampton, followed by two draws. Unfortunately, things have taken a rather bleak turn with five defeats in a row without finding the back of the net.

So they can't score and they can't defend. That's not good. In truth, the Canaries look completely void of answers right now, although one small positive is the fact that they are just three points off 17th so all is by no means lost, while Smith has experience of surviving the dreaded drop.

Verdict: BUST - After an initial bright start under Smith, Norwich have since looked pretty awful. He needs a magic wand, and soon.

- Position When Appointed: 20th

- Current Position: 20th

- Premier League Matches: 8 (W1 D2 L5)

- Win Rate: 12.5%

Ralf Rangnick (Man Utd)

It’s early days, with Ralf Rangnick overseeing just five league games so far due to postponements. Yet, a return of 10 points from a possible 15 is nothing to shout home about when taking into account the calibre of opponents he's faced so far: Each of the bottom three, plus Crystal Palace and Wolves - United were completely lacklustre in the 1-0 defeat at home to the latter in their last game.

Rangnick's assessment of the loss was both scathing and worrying: "We didn’t play well at all individually or collectively. Today we showed similar problems the team had three or four weeks ago before I arrived. It is not an easy job to develop a DNA with and without the ball.”

Apart from a bright first-half at home to Burnley, there’s been no improvement or sign of the high-intensity, vigorous pressing approach Rangnick is famed for. There’s no question that the club’s band of players are underperforming and struggling to carry out the German’s methods; they look both unconvincing and disillusioned in a 4-2-2-2 formation. But, as the manager, Rangnick needs to find a successful formula to get the best out of what is a very talented team. 

More favourable fixtures are on the horizon with 5th-placed West Ham the only top-10 side United face in their next seven games.

Verdict: BUST - Very underwhelming so far. Rangnick needs to get his star-studded side ticking sharpish.

- Position When Appointed: 7th (after Arsenal game)

- Current Position: 7th

- Premier League Matches: 5 (W3 D1 L1)

- Win Rate: 60%

Sat 20 Aug12:30
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Sat 20 Aug15:00
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Sat 20 Aug15:00
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Sat 20 Aug17:30
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Sun 21 Aug14:00
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Mon 22 Aug20:00
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Sat 27 Aug12:30
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Sat 27 Aug15:00
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Sat 27 Aug15:00
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Sat 27 Aug15:00
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Sat 27 Aug15:00
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Sat 27 Aug15:00
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Sat 27 Aug17:30
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Sun 28 Aug14:00
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Sun 28 Aug14:00
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Sun 28 Aug16:30
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Tue 30 Aug19:30
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Tue 30 Aug19:30
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Tue 30 Aug19:45
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Tue 30 Aug20:00
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Wed 31 Aug19:30
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