There’s a full programme of midweek Premier League fixtures this week, every match screened live on BT Sport. Last night’s away wins for Leeds United (at Newcastle) and Arsenal (at Southampton) occupied nearly four hours of our time, but they were the results we wanted. We were happy too about the away wins for West Ham and Manchester City. They are the teams supported by my son’s godfather and my daughter’s godfather respectively.
The results left City at the top of the table, West Ham in fourth, Arsenal back in the top half and Leeds looking safe in 12th. After tonight’s fixtures all of those things are still true. Sheffield United’s shock win at Old Trafford (their first since 1973) prevented Manchester United from overtaking City at the top. It was also a rare example of a team managed by an Englishman beating a team with a non-English manager.
During the Leeds game there was a comment on the BBC’s live text page noting that 7 of the team’s 8 wins have come against clubs with English managers. The other win was at Everton, currently managed by the Italian Carlo Ancelotti, and it was dependent on VAR ruling out two goals for the home team. Leeds have only managed one other win against a team in the top half of the table, Aston Villa, managed by the Englishman Dean Smith
All of this caused me to look more closely than usual at the Premier League table and to note that, after tonight’s action, 7 of the 8 teams managed by Englishmen occupy the bottom 7 places, as shown in this screenshot taken from the BBC website.
Dean Smith’s Aston Villa, in 10th, are the only team in the top half managed by an Englishman. A week ago it was a different story. Chelsea, who have been in the top half of the table all season, were still being managed by Frank Lampard (England), but he has been replaced in the last few days by Thomas Tuchel (Germany). That managerial change was the second of the season so far. The first was at West Brom: Slavan Bilic (Croatia) replaced by Sam Allardyce (England).
For the record, here are the 7 English managers whose teams occupy the last 7 places in the table: Chris Wilder (Sheffield United), Sam Allardyce (West Brom), Scott Parker (Fulham), Graham Potter (Brighton), Steve Bruce (Newcastle), Sean Dyche (Burnley), Roy Hodgson (Crystal Palace).
As you may know, the Premier League has never been won by an English manager. The last time the English Champions were managed by an Englishman was 1992, when Howard Wilkinson’s Leeds were the last winners of the old Football League. Villa fans may disagree but from the way the table looks tonight, halfway through the season, that’s not going to change any time soon.