Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Manager Midterm Grades

It's a bit past the halfway point, but this shit takes time. We've got to compile the homework grades and the test scores and average it out. And that's math. That shit's hard. Plus how do you really quantify a 0-0 draw at SF Bolton? We're borderline geniuses just for figuring out how to attach a number to that.

And that was the easy part.

The hard part is going to be getting the report cards signed by the managers' parents so that we know they saw them.

Anyway, midterm grades for the EPL (suck it Barclays) managers are in. It's not hard to figure out the folks at the top of the class. There is an astounding amount of mediocrity from the bulk of the managers though.

Alphabet evaluations after the jump.

A+

David Moyes: At the end of October Everton looked like a possible relegation candidate. They had 3 wins in their first 10 fixtures. Two of those were against Prem newbies West Brom and Stoke, the other against Stupid Fucking Bolton. But Moyes has led Everton to a 4-0-1 record in their last five, and they haven't conceded a goal in that span, Yep, five straight clean sheets for Tim Howard (USA! USA! USA!). What's more impressive is that Moyes has done it with no healthy strikers for much of that span. Everton are currently in sixth, just 3 points behind Arsenal. He's also brainwashed Arteta into staying. Moyes might be a Jedi.


A

Martin O'Neil: Pretty much every other UF'er would have put O'Neil tops. The only reason he's sitting on an A behind Moyes is that Moyes has had less to work with. O'Neil has a loaded team with young talent, and even better, speed. Speed doesn't go into a slump. But he's got the Villains playing flowing but physical football. If their current form holds up they might be challenging for third, leaving Arsenal and Chelsea to battle for the final Champions League spot.

Steve Bruce: Wigan spent all of last season flirting with the bottom of the table. Past the halfway point, they are five points clear of the 10-team relegation logjam on the bottom. Since getting pasted by Villa in November, Bruce's team is unbeaten at home, and their only loss in the Prem was a hard fought 1-0 loss to Arsenal at the Emirates. Good news for SAF, it looks like at least one of his proteges isn't going to be a complete failure.


B+

Rafa Benitez: His team tops the table. And that's with one of his two best players having been hurt for a good chunk of the first semester. That counts for something.

Roy Hodgson: People don't score against Fulham. Especially at Craven Cottage. Bullard is a beast in the midfield. Pantsil is having a career year on defense. And they've managed to eek out enough goals between Dempsey and Johnson to climb into the top half of the table. Like Moyes, maximizing what he gets from what he's got.


B

Phil Brown: If this had been done a month ago, Brownie would have gotten an A for doing a heckuva job. Despite being the feelgood story of the first few months of the Prem, Hull is on a serious slide. They've won once since the start of November and have given up a cornucopia of goals in that span. Riding on momentum from the early results and a bit of sentiment as at least Brown sends out his sides to play (won at Arsenal and scored 3 at United) and not pack it in. But this is a team with a -11 goal difference.

Sir Alex Ferguson: Eh, what else do you give him? He's got more talent than anyone else in the league and he wins with it. He's like the Phil Jackosn of the EPL. And while they look like they've been on cruise control at times and flirted with some bad results, they've gotten some clutch goals (and some beneficial whistles). But if they win their games in hand they'll be atop the table. Fuckers.


B-

Gianfranco Zola: Early on Zola seemed out of his league but since the middle of November, the Hammers are 3-2-4. That stretch includes fixtures against Chelsea, Liverpool and Villa. They are playing good defense and Craig Bellamy is enough of a pest to make them opportunistic.


C

Arsene Wenger: You could argue that Wenger is actually doing a fantastic job. He's been hit hard with injuries at key positions and still has the team on the cusp of Champions League qualification. But the lack of depth is killing the side right now and the lack of depth is his doing. By chasing kids instead of veterans who can grind out results and provide some leadership he's made his bed. So he might soon find out how uncomfortable UEFA Cup sheets are. Quit whinging, start managing.

Phil Scolari: Oof. For a team sitting in second place with 42 points Chelsea are on the verge of becoming a disaster. It wasn't just that they lost 3-0 to United Sunday, it's that they could have continued playing until the Feast of the Ascension and still never have threatened goal.

Joe Kinnear: Cunt. Fuck. Ah ha ha... Eh, they're not as dreadful as when Kevin Keegan was in charge but everyone seems to want out of Newcastle.


C-

Gary Megson: He's got SFB in 12th, but like half of table, he's one match away from the relegation zone. Semi-signature win is against maybe West Ham or Man City. Already out of the FA Cup.

Gareth Southgate: The best thing about him is the nickname given him by one of our commenters: Dr. Teeth. Anyway, 'Boro aren't giving up a lot of goals (only conceded more than two goals three times in the first 21 matches) but they also aren't scoring. Only four teams have found the back of the net less often than Boro.

Tony Pulis: Pulis has perhaps the least talent in the Prem. Stoke's biggest offensive threat is the throw-in. They've got a few good home results, but they are still in 17th. But for a team that seemed a lock for relegation, they've got a better than even-money chance of staying up.

Harry Redknapp: Well fortunes at White Hart Lane seemed to get a boost when 'Arry replaced Juande Ramos, but things seem to have reverted to (poor) form. Not even sure why Redknapp is only getting a C-, he's got a ton of talent on that team. Of course almost none of it is on defense. Must be time to remake the team. Again. It's like a semi-annual event at Spurs. Can food poisoning really fuck up an organization for two years?


D

Mark Hughes: Only Chelsea have scored more goals than Man City. Yet the Blues are in second while Citeh sits two points clear of the drop. Hughes doesn't play his best talent because of personal reasons and Richards is regressing daily under his tutelage. Hard to see him surviving much longer if there aren't some inertial changes.

Tony Adams: Like Zola, he seemed in over his head early. Unlike Zola, he still has yet to break the surface.

Tony Mowbray: West Brom are in DFL. Of the teams that came up they seemed the most likely to stay up. Then play started (okay, they actually acquitted themselves quite well in Week 1, just not much since). Mowbray doesn't have much to work with but he's not doing much with it to engineer enough results.


F

Roy Keane: Quitter.


Incomplete:

Sam Allardyce: Big Sam hasn't been at Blackburn long enough to merit a grade. But Benny McCarthy seems to be flourishing under the management changes.

Ricky Sbragia: I almost couldn't remember who had replaced Keane.

7 comments:

Ibracadabra said...

Hodgson coming to your office hours after class to discuss B+.

The NY Kid said...

Dr. Precious,
I think I deserved at least a B because I worked very hard this term. I know that I managed some colossal fuckups on the pitch, but that Robinho fellow is swell, isn't he?

Sincerely,
Mark

Precious Roy said...

Oddly enough, I'm not holding office hours for the rest of the week.

The Fan's Attic said...

Prof. Roy,

Do you grade on curve?

Sincerely,

TFA

PS - Does Paul Ince get an F?

Precious Roy said...

I got lazy when it cames to managers who got sacked. I gave Keane a F because he quit.

Curve? Eh, it's kind of a normal. Kinnear got bonus points for having that owner.

jjf3 said...

TFA: Ince = F. Could he have turned into something much better? Probably, but he wasn't getting the basics done (like having a solid defense using mostly the same players as last year), and if Rovers go down, I'm not sure they come back. Which is a rather panic-inducing thought...

30f said...

I wonder how different these grades look if the managers were also graded on the way they selected/brought in/developed the players they do have?

Obviously, some managers have not been in their current gig long enough to have had much effect and others are not really pulling the personnel strings.

While Villa certainly has better talent (especially up front) than Everton - doesn't O'Neil get some of the shine for the decisions that brought him that superior talent.

Obviously SAF has a bazillion dollars to spend, he buys unknowns (at least to me) like Vidic while the Bluesiders unearthed the lightly-heralded Robinho and Chelsea inked the Benjamin Button-aging Deco. MU clearly has a massive budget - but they keep getting new players that actually make the squad better while other 'big checkbook' clubs just get fancy names for their TV-rights lucre.

Also, Sir Rednose seems willing to play whomever he sees fit. The presence of Nani makes sure nobody wants to slack off in the midfield. At Chelsea, if a player drifts and seems uninterested (I'm looking at YOU, Ivorian Shitman) the 'consequence' is they play more the next week. That willingness to use all of the team, sure makes MU look threatening.