Who will be the next Premier League manager of the year?
With the Premier League closing in on the final straight, the title looks a formality with Chelsea hoping to lift the trophy for the fifth time.
Plenty of managers have impressed throughout a compelling campaign in 2016/17 and it appears that Claudio Ranieri is going to struggle to retain his manager of the year crown.
Daniel Orme takes a look at the five candidates in line to win the top award in May.
Appointed in the summer of 2016, having previously presided over the Italian national team, Antonio Conte held quite a reputation upon his arrival at Stamford Bridge. Taking the reins from Guus Hiddink, the former Juventus boss has transformed Chelsea to an imperious outfit compared to the side that finished tenth last time out.
Employing a revolutionary 3-4-3 formation since a 3-0 humbling at the hands of Arsenal, Chelsea have powered to the top of the league. Currently enjoying a nine-point buffer between them and second-placed Tottenham Hotspur, the Blues look to be running away with the league.
Conte has again managed to find the best form from all of his players, including Diego Costa, Eden Hazard and even the seemingly forgotten man Victor Moses. His signings have also been inspired. Marcos Alonso and N’Golo Kante have been excellent in the Blues’ pursuit of the title, not to mention the almost flawless performances of the previously calamitous David Luiz following his return from Paris Saint Germain.
Since the defeat at Arsenal in September, the Londoners have enjoyed a 13-match winning run in the Premier League and have in fact only lost three games all season. Currently sitting on 59 points, Chelsea are clear favourites for the title thanks to Conte.
Having narrowly missed out on second place last season, Tottenham Hotspur look in a great position to better that this time around. Currently sitting one point clear of Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, Pochettino has continued his excellent development at White Hart Lane.
Boasting one of the youngest squads in the English top-flight, the Argentine has seen key players such as Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Toby Alderweireld put in fantastic displays. As a matter of fact, ex-Bayer Leverkusen forward Heung Min Son finally seems to have settled in the Premier League and has become a key man for the Lilywhites.
Pochettino’s side have only lost twice in the league this season and are currently undefeated at home and have conceded the least amount of goals with the ball finding the back of the net only 16 times against them, an outstanding record.
Albeit having crashed out of the Champions League in the group stages, highlights include impressive 2-0 victories over Manchester City and Chelsea on home soil.
Despite a difficult period just before the Christmas period in which Everton only won three games out of 13 in all competitions, the Toffees are still enjoying an impressive season.
Managing to dispatch of the likes of Arsenal, Premier League champions Leicester City and Southampton, the Merseyside outfit are sitting in seventh in the league standings. As a matter of fact, the team have earned two big wins in recent weeks: a 4-0 hammering of Manchester City and a 6-3 dismantling of Bournemouth.
Striker Romelu Lukaku is one of the hottest properties in English football right now and at the time of writing is leading the goal-scoring charts in the Premier League. However, Koeman still has plenty at his disposal such as the youthful promise of Ross Barkley, Tom Davies and Ademola Lookman.
If the Toffees can continue their ascent up the table and even challenge for European football, the ex-Barcelona defender could be in the running for the Manager of the Season.
Following a successful spell at Stoke City and a positive if tumultuous tenure at Crystal Palace, Tony Pulis has enhanced his at the Hawthorns with West Bromwich Albion. Struggling for funds in the West Midlands, the Welshman is attempting to build on a 14th place finish last time out but is doing an exemplary job.
Currently sitting in eighth position, the Baggies have accumulated 36 points, only six off last seasons’ entire total. The Black Country outfit have been extremely solid this season and exceeded all expectation.
Salomon Rondon, Matty Phillips and James Morrison have all turned in excellent showings as the team continue to threaten the European places. Having only lost one game in their last six in the league, Pulis will hope to continue this excellent form as the season reaches its final stages.
A surprise entry considering the calibre of managers here but Marco Silva could well be in with a shout come May. Appointed the manager of Hull City in January 2017, the Portuguese has master-minded victories over Bournemouth and Liverpool and even a well-earnt draw over Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United.
Now only a point from safety, the 39-year-old has given some hope to a Tigers side that looked destined for a swift return to the Championship. The Humberside outfit still have Swansea, Leicester City, Crystal Palace, Sunderland, Middlesbrough and Burnley so could well earn more than enough points to retain their Premier League status.
If Silva can continue the up-turn in fortunes at the KCOM Stadium, and fight off relegation for the side that was written off before a ball was kicked, the former Sporting CP boss could earn a nomination for the manager of the year gong.