So far this has been maybe one of the best Premier League seasons of recent times, there have been so many upsets and one of the strengths of English football was always the overall strength of the top division instead of just an elite at the top. The departure of some real top stars like Ronaldo, Carvalho, Alonso, Fabregas and Mascherano have undoubtedly dragged the top clubs down towards the rest.
As a Newcastle fan you might think it is predictable I would be enjoying this season….and I am!
However, throughout the league you have all kinds of intrigue, from the very top to the bottom.
Next you have the scousers separated by only one point, heading up a group of seven teams fighting to be the best of the rest, that group including new boys Norwich and Swansea who have brought great results AND football up from the Championship.
Then at the bottom you have four teams separated by only a point, fighting out two relegation places as Wolves look nailed on at the very bottom. That group including new boys QPR who have had a madcap season but still achieved results like beating Chelsea and Liverpool (after being two goals down!).
So who have been the biggest achievers?
For me the three or four managers fighting out the ‘Manager Of The Year’ contest are Sir Alex Ferguson, Alan Pardew, Brendan Rodgers and possibly Paul Lambert.
Starting at the top, with the money Manchester City have spent, if (as seems likely) Ferguson still wins the title, then that will be possibly one of his greatest achievements.
However, you then have Alan Pardew who has performed miracles at St.James’ Park and in the last financial accounts, Newcastle actually have made a profit of over £32m thanks to transfer activity. So with a very small squad and astute signings, Newcastle are up there fighting for the European spots.
Next up, Swansea and Norwich have came up a division and added so much, both in terms of their league placings in the top ten and with their different brands of attractive football. Achieved in both cases on minimal investment.
If Alan Pardew somehow gets Newcastle into a Champions League spot then I would say all bets are off, if he achieves fifth I believe he should also get the award as that would mean Newcastle would have overtaken Liverpool and at least one of the other clubs with massive financial advantages. A sixth placing I would also argue should see him get the award.
Ferguson can do no more than win the title but even if they haven’t some of the superstars of yesterday they still have some very tasty players and are competing against a lower level of ability than in past seasons.
If Norwich or Swansea could get to seventh place (both only four points off it at the moment) in the league then maybe they could claim their manager deserves top spot, especially Swansea who can be very good to watch.
As it stands with seven matches to go my totally unbiased rankings;
1st Alan Pardew
2nd Sir Alex Ferguson
3rd Brendan Rodgers
4th Paul Lambert