A lot has been said about the quality of managers in the Premier League for the upcoming season. While most of the talk has been about the likes of Guardiola, Mourinho, Conte and the bigger teams. It will be unfair to not talk about the likes of Ronald Koeman and Slaven Bilic, both who did fine jobs with Southampton and West Ham respectively. Southampton under Koeman in 2015-16 finished in 6th place with 63 points, their highest ever Premier League finish and their most points won in a season. 6th place also ensured a place in next season’s Europa League.
West Ham on the other hand looked like serious contenders for a top four place for a long time before eventually finishing in 7th place. Like the Saints, they too broke various records. They finished with their highest ever points in the Premier League era,62, most goals scored in a Premier League season with 65, a positive goal difference for the first time, +14, the least number of games lost in a season with 8 and lowest number of away defeats with 5. The Hammers too earned a place in next season’s Europa League after Manchester United’s FA Cup win over Crystal Palace.
Koeman having started his managerial career earlier has been manager of many more team in various nations. This has helped him to a very respectable CV as manager. In Holland he won the Eredivisie with Ajax and PSV. He won the Johan Cruijff Shield with Ajax and AZ Alkmaar and the KNVB Cup again with Ajax. In Spain he won the Copa Del Rey with Valencia and in Portugal he won the Supertaça Cândido de Oliveira with Benfica. Bilic on the other hand has not won any honours as a manager, however, that doesn’t make him any less capable.
Ronald Koeman likes his team to have a good defensive organisation and it showed during his first season at Southampton. He likes them to press high and be compact. The Dutchman also likes his teams to have an organized structure when they are in possession of the ball. One of Roberto Martinez’s major problems at Everton was that he refused to change his tactics which cost him time and time again.
Like Koeman, Bilic too likes a 4-2- 3-1 formation as evident from his stint at Besiktas. The Turkish side played offensive football dominating possession. Bilic is also a very good manager. He is also highly energetic and is not afraid to show his emotions. While the Croatian doesn’t have as full a trophy cabinet as Koeman yet, I think he can prove to be a better manager and lead West Ham to a higher finish than Everton.