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Steve Bruce in running for Premier League Manager of the Month award

5 months ago
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Rafa Benitez was the November 2018 Premier League Manager of the Month.

It was the seventh time the Spaniard had picked up the award, five at Liverpool and once each at Chelsea and Newcastle.

A very tough start to the season, mostly to do with a summer where Mike Ashley had put as many obstacles in the way of the manager’s preparations (insisting on a £20m+ profit on transfer deals and only signing his top target Rondon very late etc etc).

Rafa bounced back with that November 2018 award, guiding his side to three wins from three in November 2018, with victories over Watford, AFC Bournemouth and Burnley lifting United up the table.

It was the 14th time (see stats below) a Newcastle United manager had picked up a Premier League Manager of the Month award.

Now 30 months on, is Steve Bruce set to pick up his first ever Premier League Manager of the Month award, after 23 years as a manager?

Well, it hasn’t been straightforward and a lot of luck has come the way of Steve Bruce, but April 2021 sees Bruce and his team end the month unbeaten.

In all four April matches a sub has come on to rescue the situation…but the results are what decide the award.

A few factors have improved Steve Bruce’s chances, with for example Man City have only had three matches (six points from nine) in April. Whilst Sam Allardyce would have been another shock contender and indeed probably favourite I would have said, if West Brom hadn’t conceded in the 92nd minute at Villa yesterday, final score 2-2. Having beaten Chelsea 5-2 and Southampton 3-0 (plus losing to Leicester 3-0), Sam Allardyce would have had nine points from three wins but seven points won’t be enough.

These are the leading contenders for the April 2021 Premier League Manager of the Month award:

10 points – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (Man Utd) – Man Utd 2 Brighton 1, Tottenham 1 Man Utd 3, Man Utd 3 Burnley 0, Leeds 0 Man Utd 0

8 points – Marcelo Bielsa (Leeds) – Leeds 2 Sheffield Utd 1, Man City 1 Leeds 2, Leeds 1 Liverpool 1, Leeds 0 Man Utd 0

8 points – Steve Bruce (Newcastle United) – Newcastle 2 Tottenham 2, Burnley 1 Newcastle 2, Newcastle 3 West Ham 2, Liverpool 1 Newcastle 1

8 points – Jurgen Klopp (Liverpool) – Arsenal 0 Liverpool 3, Liverpool 2 Aston Villa 1, Leeds 1 Liverpool 1, Liverpool 1 Newcastle 1

Most times, the Premier League Manager of the Month usually is the PL boss who has picked up the most points.

With 10 points, two more than anybody else, Solskjaer has to be assumed to be favourite, although no real stand out performances / results in Man Utd’s April fixtures. Beating Spurs 3-1 away from home not as headline making these days as it once would have been.

However, I think a big case can be made for two of the managers on eight points, though not Jurgen Klopp in my opinion.

Steve Bruce, after a run of two wins in twenty games (all competitions), has now picked up eight points from four games and ended April 2021 unbeaten. Plenty of drama (much of it self-inflicted) and action, including all of those key late goals.

I would rate Bruce third favourite, as I think Marcelo Bielsa must be a real contender. Obviously, Leeds play very entertaining football and Bielsa has kept playing the right way even when results have not gone the right way this season. Draws against the likes of Man Utd and Liverpool, plus of course that remarkable away win with 10 men at Man City.

I have a gut feeling that the win at Man City may well be the clincher and also this month, in light of what we have seen this past week or so, it would be fitting to see one of the shameless six deprived of the Premier League Manager of the Month award, in favour of one of those pesky 14 ‘lesser’ clubs.

Managers with most Premier League Manager of the month awards:

27 Alex Ferguson

15 Arsene Wenger

10 David Moyes

9 Pep Guardiola

8 Martin O’Neill, Harry Redknapp, Jurgen Klopp

7 Rafa Benitez

6 Sam Allardyce, Sir Bobby Robson

5 Kevin Keegan, Claudio Ranieri, Carlo Ancelotti

Most Premier League Manager of the month awards by club:

28 Man Utd

21 Liverpool

19 Man City

16 Chelsea

15 Arsenal

14 Newcastle United

Quite amazing really, Newcastle would go joint fifth with Arsenal and only one behind fourth placed Chelsea, if Steve Bruce is successful.

Newcastle bosses to have won Premier League Manager of the month awards:

6 Sir Bobby Robson

Feb 2000, Aug 2000, Dec 2001, Feb 2002, Jan 2003, Oct 2003

5 Kevin Keegan

Nov 1993, Aug 1994, Feb 1995, Aug 1995, Sept 1995

2 Alan Pardew

Nov 2013, Nov 2014

1 Rafa Benitez

Nov 2018

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