Is Marco Silva Up There With Erik Ten Hag In Manager Of The Year Contention?

The Fulham boss is being tipped to challenge for the award
12:00, 01 Mar 2023

“Marco Silva has been excellent. He’s not only stabilised them but he has got a way of playing that suits the players he has got in the team. And he can mix it up.

“I just think the story of Fulham... he has got to be up for Manager of the Year.”

BBC pundit Micah Richards was full of praise for Marco Silva on Tuesday night after Fulham had booked their place in the FA Cup quarter-finals with victory over Leeds United at Craven Cottage. It’s the latest achievement in a season full of them for the Cottagers, a team whose yo-yo existence between the Premier League and the Championship was expected to continue with a third successive relegation in top-flight campaigns.


But is Silva really up there in the conversation for the Manager of the Year gong as things stand? Here are some of the contenders… 

Marco Silva

Richards is right about the Portuguese at least being in the running. Fulham currently sit sixth in the Premier League, just six points off the Champions League spots and already boasting a 39-point tally they got absolutely nowhere near in their last three tilts at the top flight. And that’s with more than a third of the season still to play!

Silva has got Premier League goals out of Aleksandar Mitrovic, big performances from the likes of Tim Ream, Harrison Reed and Bobby Decordova-Reid, and supplemented them with successful signings including Andreas Pereira and Joao Palhinha to form a fluid, stylish top-half team. 

Mikel Arteta

Probably the outstanding candidate, looking at the league table. If he wins the league with Arsenal, the best manager award will almost certainly follow given the turnaround he’s been able to instigate at the Emirates.

A year ago he was just the guy who used to be Pep Guardiola’s assistant and was now trying to be tough showing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang the door in front of a TV crew. But in 2022-23 he has taken Arsenal on to a new level, building a far more united squad which is being backed to lead the club to a first Premier League crown in 19 years. 


Erik ten Hag

Nobody has won anything yet this season, except for Manchester United and Erik ten Hag. The Dutchman has finally drawn a line under the various aftermaths to Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement, showing strength and conviction to build the squad in his own image.

Out has gone the Cristiano Ronaldo sideshow that everybody could have done without in the first place, and with the Portuguese star’s exit has come an upturn in form for Marcus Rashford as the beating heart of Ten Hag’s side. There are still three trophies up for grabs for United too, and while Jose Mourinho collected pots and pans in his first term too, this truly feels like a brand new Manchester United this time around. 

Thomas Frank

Brentford are in the top half of the Premier League. Repeat… Brentford are in the top half of the Premier League.

We emphasise that because everyone seems to just be taking it as read given the style and substance Thomas Frank’s side have proved themselves to have over the past couple of seasons. But this is a club which had not tasted top-flight football in 74 years before 2021 so the ability to make themselves at home in the top 10 of the ladder cannot be praised highly enough.

And while the board at the Gtech deserve a huge amount of credit, the fact Frank has taken them on to even greater heights needs some recognition. They’ve lost only four of 23 games so far this season, for crying out loud! Brentford! 

Steve Cooper

Nottingham Forest were a bit of a joke to some observers at the start of this season. They’d made 21 summer signings after promotion and after one win in 12 matches were sat at the bottom of the table. Everyone seemed to think the huge influx had been a big mistake and that Cooper would soon be fired and Forest’s hopes of survival wouldn’t last beyond March. 

But the former Swansea City boss has gradually turned the ship around, slowly but surely bringing the new-look squad together to form a side who now have seven other clubs wishing they could swap places with them in the table. A further nine new signings in the winter have bolstered the squad still further, proving that it was the right plan to overhaul a group which less than 18 months ago was bottom of the Championship. Cooper has worked wonders so far.


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