The curse of the Premier League manager of the month award | Premier League

ANDs the Premier League’s manager of the month award cursed? A look at the winners this season suggests the recipients should be more reticent about accepting it. Arsenal’s 3-0 defeat to Crystal Palace on Monday night came three days after Mikel Arteta had been crowned the manager of the month for March. Having won five straight away games, Arsenal’s defeat at Selhurst Park brought that run to a juddering halt.

Arsenal are seemingly locked in a private battle for fourth place with Tottenham and the north London clubs have a curious synchronicity when it comes to the manager of the month award. Nuno Espírito Santo won the first award this season in August after he steered his new club to three successive victories, including an impressive win over the champions, Manchester City, on the opening day. His team were top of the table and he was basking in the glory of his 100% record when he won the award. Within 52 days he would be sacked.

Like Arsenal would do later in the season, Spurs went to Palace and were beaten 3-0. More defeats followed for Nuno, 3-0 at home to Chelsea and then 3-1 at Arsenal. Having won three games in August, the new manager had now lost three in September. He was soon on his way, the memory of that August award well and truly tarnished.

In September, Arteta won the first manager of the month award of his career, having turned Arsenal’s early season slump into a three-game winning streak. They did not maintain that upturn in form though. As soon as he won the award, Arsenal slipped to draws against Brighton and Palace.

Mikel Arteta wins the manager of the month award for March, which he was given on April Fool's Day.
Mikel Arteta wins the manager of the month award for March, which he was given on April Fool’s Day. Photograph: Stuart MacFarlane / Arsenal FC / Getty Images

Thomas Tuchel took the award in October in recognition of Chelsea’s imperious form, winning all four matches by an aggregate score of 14-1. With a struggling Burnley the next visitors to Stamford Bridge, Chelsea were expected to win comfortably, but Matej Vydra’s 79th-minute equalizer put paid to that. After four straight wins in October, Chelsea would win only four of their next 13 league games.

Pep Guardiola won the accolade in both November and December. With his Manchester City team performing at such a high level, they have suffered very few blips during the season. Guardiola is an outlier in the sense that he is the only manager to have won his next game after receiving the award. The prize has been given out eight times and the various newly crowned managers have picked up only eight points from a possible 24 in their next fixtures, the sort of form associated with relegation stragglers.

If Guardiola bucked the trend, the next two winners provided further evidence of the curse being in full flow. January’s winner, Bruno Lage, has impressed in his first season at Molineux, earning his prize with a 100% record in their three matches that month, but then Wolves went on a poor run. They lost their next match at home to Arsenal, which initiated their worst form of the season with four defeats in six matches.

Eddie Howe had a similar dip after winning the award. He took over a struggling Newcastle side in November and they were still in the relegation zone at the end of January. Three wins and a draw in February revived their season and earned Howe the award. “The players deserve a lot of credit for how they’ve attacked this spell of games,” Howe said. “Confidence has returned with every win.” Unfortunately, that confidence did not last for long. Newcastle have lost all three of their matches since Howe received his accolade on 11 March.

Claudio Ranieri won the manager of the year award in 2016 and was sacked nine months later.
Claudio Ranieri won the manager of the year award in 2016 and was sacked nine months later. Photograph: Clive Rose / Getty Images

The manager of the month award seems to be a poisoned chalice and the LMA’s manager of the year award – which is voted for by fellow managers rather than fans – is no different. Over the past 12 years, half of the managers who have won the award have left the club within a couple of years.

Roy Hodgson was voted manager of the year in 2010 for his great work as Fulham boss. He moved to Liverpool that summer and was sacked after six torturous months in charge. Brendan Rodgers was recognized by his peers in 2014 after his Liverpool team pushed Manchester City all the way in the title race. The glow did not last too long. He was sacked a year later. Antonio Conte, who was voted manager of the year in 2017 after he had won the Premier League with Chelsea in his first season at the club, was also given the sack a year after winning the award.

Chris Wilder won the prize in 2019, having guided Sheffield United to promotion to the Premier League. Wilder was also runner-up to Jürgen Klopp in 2020, when the Blades finished ninth in their first season back in the top flight. Things turned sour the following season though. Wilder’s side did not win a league game until January and he left in March just before their relegation was confirmed.

Claudio Ranieri experienced the most striking fall from grace after being voted the manager of the year. When he won the Premier League title with Leicester in 2016, he could have been crowned as manager of the decade, if not the century. Despite this achievement, Ranieri was dismissed within seven months, leaving the club in February 2017, another victim of the curse.

Alongside the dreaded vote of confidence from the board, it seems that picking up a managerial award is not to be celebrated. Instead, it is a sure sign that things are about to go awry.

This article appeared first on The Football Mine
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