Brighton & Hove Albion

Brighton & Hove Albion slideshow

Soccer Football - Premier League - Crystal Palace vs Brighton & Hove Albion - Selhurst Park, London, Britain - April 14, 2018 Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson REUTERS/Dylan Martinez
Premier League - Crystal Palace vs Brighton & Hove Albion
Soccer Football - Premier League - Crystal Palace vs Brighton & Hove Albion - Selhurst Park, London, Britain - April 14, 2018 Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson REUTERS/Dylan Martinez
Soccer Football - Premier League - Brighton & Hove Albion vs Tottenham Hotspur - The American Express Community Stadium, Brighton, Britain - April 17, 2018 Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino before the match Action Images via Reuters/Matthew Childs
Premier League - Brighton & Hove Albion vs Tottenham Hotspur
Soccer Football - Premier League - Brighton & Hove Albion vs Tottenham Hotspur - The American Express Community Stadium, Brighton, Britain - April 17, 2018 Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino before the match Action Images via Reuters/Matthew Childs
Liverpool have unveiled their new home kit for the 2018/19 season. The strip – which retains the retro, deeper-red colour of the current campaign – will be worn for the first time during the club’s final home game of the season against Brighton in May. The Merseyside club are marketing the jersey as ‘Red Pepper’. Should Liverpool reach the Champions League final, it could even make its second appearance before the end of this season. Liverpool are the designated away team in the final, so that would only be possible if they get through to play Real Madrid in Kiev. Captain Jordan Henderson admits he is dreaming of joining the elite group of Liverpool captains to lift the European Cup. Sadio Mane (right) in the new kit Credit: LFC Only four Anfield skippers have enjoyed the privilege, Emlyn Hughes (1977 & 1978), Phil Thompson (1981), Graeme Souness (1984) and Steven Gerrard (2005). Although Henderson issued a reminder of a tough challenge to get past AS Roma, he said it is natural for any player to consider the possibility of fulfilling the ultimate ambition as it gets closer. “I think you dream about those things when you are a kid, really. Of course I have, as many other players have, but one step at a time,” said Henderson, speaking at the kit launch. Mohamed Salah, Loris Karius and Jordan Henderson Credit: LFC “Roma are a fantastic team and it will be a tough test for us so we will just have to wait and see. “We certainly won't under-estimate them. They beat Barcelona 3-0 and they are a top team. It will be a difficult game both home and away. "I've watched them a few times and they have got some very good players and a very good team. It will be a tough test, as it always would be in the semi-final of the Champions League, but it is a challenge for us to go in there being confident with the way we have been playing, especially in the last round. "We have to go there and do what we have been doing and hopefully get to the final.” Henderson is confident but cautious about current form. Why I'm expecting a Liverpool vs Bayern final “We are obviously in a good place at the moment but at the same time it is important not to get too carried away,” he said. “Our focus is on playing football and doing everything we can to win games, whether that is in the Premier League or the Champions League. We have some big games coming up but we just need to continue doing what we have been doing most of the season, work hard on the training field and put that into games and hopefully at the end of the season we end on a high. Premier League kit 2017/18 “It is a young team but I feel they are mature at the same time and are hungry to want more, learn and improve and that is the biggest thing. "I think midweek showed that; having beaten City away and then put in the performance we did against Bournemouth shows the mentality of the players so we need to continue that, stay together as a group and focus on what is important.” Pre-order the 18/19 Home Kit from the Official Liverpool FC Online Store
Liverpool unveil new 'red pepper' home kit for next season
Liverpool have unveiled their new home kit for the 2018/19 season. The strip – which retains the retro, deeper-red colour of the current campaign – will be worn for the first time during the club’s final home game of the season against Brighton in May. The Merseyside club are marketing the jersey as ‘Red Pepper’. Should Liverpool reach the Champions League final, it could even make its second appearance before the end of this season. Liverpool are the designated away team in the final, so that would only be possible if they get through to play Real Madrid in Kiev. Captain Jordan Henderson admits he is dreaming of joining the elite group of Liverpool captains to lift the European Cup. Sadio Mane (right) in the new kit Credit: LFC Only four Anfield skippers have enjoyed the privilege, Emlyn Hughes (1977 & 1978), Phil Thompson (1981), Graeme Souness (1984) and Steven Gerrard (2005). Although Henderson issued a reminder of a tough challenge to get past AS Roma, he said it is natural for any player to consider the possibility of fulfilling the ultimate ambition as it gets closer. “I think you dream about those things when you are a kid, really. Of course I have, as many other players have, but one step at a time,” said Henderson, speaking at the kit launch. Mohamed Salah, Loris Karius and Jordan Henderson Credit: LFC “Roma are a fantastic team and it will be a tough test for us so we will just have to wait and see. “We certainly won't under-estimate them. They beat Barcelona 3-0 and they are a top team. It will be a difficult game both home and away. "I've watched them a few times and they have got some very good players and a very good team. It will be a tough test, as it always would be in the semi-final of the Champions League, but it is a challenge for us to go in there being confident with the way we have been playing, especially in the last round. "We have to go there and do what we have been doing and hopefully get to the final.” Henderson is confident but cautious about current form. Why I'm expecting a Liverpool vs Bayern final “We are obviously in a good place at the moment but at the same time it is important not to get too carried away,” he said. “Our focus is on playing football and doing everything we can to win games, whether that is in the Premier League or the Champions League. We have some big games coming up but we just need to continue doing what we have been doing most of the season, work hard on the training field and put that into games and hopefully at the end of the season we end on a high. Premier League kit 2017/18 “It is a young team but I feel they are mature at the same time and are hungry to want more, learn and improve and that is the biggest thing. "I think midweek showed that; having beaten City away and then put in the performance we did against Bournemouth shows the mentality of the players so we need to continue that, stay together as a group and focus on what is important.” Pre-order the 18/19 Home Kit from the Official Liverpool FC Online Store
Liverpool have unveiled their new home kit for the 2018/19 season. The strip – which retains the retro, deeper-red colour of the current campaign – will be worn for the first time during the club’s final home game of the season against Brighton in May. The Merseyside club are marketing the jersey as ‘Red Pepper’. Should Liverpool reach the Champions League final, it could even make its second appearance before the end of this season. Liverpool are the designated away team in the final, so that would only be possible if they get through to play Real Madrid in Kiev. Captain Jordan Henderson admits he is dreaming of joining the elite group of Liverpool captains to lift the European Cup. Sadio Mane (right) in the new kit Credit: LFC Only four Anfield skippers have enjoyed the privilege, Emlyn Hughes (1977 & 1978), Phil Thompson (1981), Graeme Souness (1984) and Steven Gerrard (2005). Although Henderson issued a reminder of a tough challenge to get past AS Roma, he said it is natural for any player to consider the possibility of fulfilling the ultimate ambition as it gets closer. “I think you dream about those things when you are a kid, really. Of course I have, as many other players have, but one step at a time,” said Henderson, speaking at the kit launch. Mohamed Salah, Loris Karius and Jordan Henderson Credit: LFC “Roma are a fantastic team and it will be a tough test for us so we will just have to wait and see. “We certainly won't under-estimate them. They beat Barcelona 3-0 and they are a top team. It will be a difficult game both home and away. "I've watched them a few times and they have got some very good players and a very good team. It will be a tough test, as it always would be in the semi-final of the Champions League, but it is a challenge for us to go in there being confident with the way we have been playing, especially in the last round. "We have to go there and do what we have been doing and hopefully get to the final.” Henderson is confident but cautious about current form. Why I'm expecting a Liverpool vs Bayern final “We are obviously in a good place at the moment but at the same time it is important not to get too carried away,” he said. “Our focus is on playing football and doing everything we can to win games, whether that is in the Premier League or the Champions League. We have some big games coming up but we just need to continue doing what we have been doing most of the season, work hard on the training field and put that into games and hopefully at the end of the season we end on a high. Premier League kit 2017/18 “It is a young team but I feel they are mature at the same time and are hungry to want more, learn and improve and that is the biggest thing. "I think midweek showed that; having beaten City away and then put in the performance we did against Bournemouth shows the mentality of the players so we need to continue that, stay together as a group and focus on what is important.” Pre-order the 18/19 Home Kit from the Official Liverpool FC Online Store
Liverpool unveil new 'red pepper' home kit for next season
Liverpool have unveiled their new home kit for the 2018/19 season. The strip – which retains the retro, deeper-red colour of the current campaign – will be worn for the first time during the club’s final home game of the season against Brighton in May. The Merseyside club are marketing the jersey as ‘Red Pepper’. Should Liverpool reach the Champions League final, it could even make its second appearance before the end of this season. Liverpool are the designated away team in the final, so that would only be possible if they get through to play Real Madrid in Kiev. Captain Jordan Henderson admits he is dreaming of joining the elite group of Liverpool captains to lift the European Cup. Sadio Mane (right) in the new kit Credit: LFC Only four Anfield skippers have enjoyed the privilege, Emlyn Hughes (1977 & 1978), Phil Thompson (1981), Graeme Souness (1984) and Steven Gerrard (2005). Although Henderson issued a reminder of a tough challenge to get past AS Roma, he said it is natural for any player to consider the possibility of fulfilling the ultimate ambition as it gets closer. “I think you dream about those things when you are a kid, really. Of course I have, as many other players have, but one step at a time,” said Henderson, speaking at the kit launch. Mohamed Salah, Loris Karius and Jordan Henderson Credit: LFC “Roma are a fantastic team and it will be a tough test for us so we will just have to wait and see. “We certainly won't under-estimate them. They beat Barcelona 3-0 and they are a top team. It will be a difficult game both home and away. "I've watched them a few times and they have got some very good players and a very good team. It will be a tough test, as it always would be in the semi-final of the Champions League, but it is a challenge for us to go in there being confident with the way we have been playing, especially in the last round. "We have to go there and do what we have been doing and hopefully get to the final.” Henderson is confident but cautious about current form. Why I'm expecting a Liverpool vs Bayern final “We are obviously in a good place at the moment but at the same time it is important not to get too carried away,” he said. “Our focus is on playing football and doing everything we can to win games, whether that is in the Premier League or the Champions League. We have some big games coming up but we just need to continue doing what we have been doing most of the season, work hard on the training field and put that into games and hopefully at the end of the season we end on a high. Premier League kit 2017/18 “It is a young team but I feel they are mature at the same time and are hungry to want more, learn and improve and that is the biggest thing. "I think midweek showed that; having beaten City away and then put in the performance we did against Bournemouth shows the mentality of the players so we need to continue that, stay together as a group and focus on what is important.” Pre-order the 18/19 Home Kit from the Official Liverpool FC Online Store
Liverpool have unveiled their new home kit for the 2018/19 season. The strip – which retains the retro, deeper-red colour of the current campaign – will be worn for the first time during the club’s final home game of the season against Brighton in May. The Merseyside club are marketing the jersey as ‘Red Pepper’. Should Liverpool reach the Champions League final, it could even make its second appearance before the end of this season. Liverpool are the designated away team in the final, so that would only be possible if they get through to play Real Madrid in Kiev. Captain Jordan Henderson admits he is dreaming of joining the elite group of Liverpool captains to lift the European Cup. Sadio Mane (right) in the new kit Credit: LFC Only four Anfield skippers have enjoyed the privilege, Emlyn Hughes (1977 & 1978), Phil Thompson (1981), Graeme Souness (1984) and Steven Gerrard (2005). Although Henderson issued a reminder of a tough challenge to get past AS Roma, he said it is natural for any player to consider the possibility of fulfilling the ultimate ambition as it gets closer. “I think you dream about those things when you are a kid, really. Of course I have, as many other players have, but one step at a time,” said Henderson, speaking at the kit launch. Mohamed Salah, Loris Karius and Jordan Henderson Credit: LFC “Roma are a fantastic team and it will be a tough test for us so we will just have to wait and see. “We certainly won't under-estimate them. They beat Barcelona 3-0 and they are a top team. It will be a difficult game both home and away. "I've watched them a few times and they have got some very good players and a very good team. It will be a tough test, as it always would be in the semi-final of the Champions League, but it is a challenge for us to go in there being confident with the way we have been playing, especially in the last round. "We have to go there and do what we have been doing and hopefully get to the final.” Henderson is confident but cautious about current form. Why I'm expecting a Liverpool vs Bayern final “We are obviously in a good place at the moment but at the same time it is important not to get too carried away,” he said. “Our focus is on playing football and doing everything we can to win games, whether that is in the Premier League or the Champions League. We have some big games coming up but we just need to continue doing what we have been doing most of the season, work hard on the training field and put that into games and hopefully at the end of the season we end on a high. Premier League kit 2017/18 “It is a young team but I feel they are mature at the same time and are hungry to want more, learn and improve and that is the biggest thing. "I think midweek showed that; having beaten City away and then put in the performance we did against Bournemouth shows the mentality of the players so we need to continue that, stay together as a group and focus on what is important.” Pre-order the 18/19 Home Kit from the Official Liverpool FC Online Store
Liverpool unveil new 'red pepper' home kit for next season
Liverpool have unveiled their new home kit for the 2018/19 season. The strip – which retains the retro, deeper-red colour of the current campaign – will be worn for the first time during the club’s final home game of the season against Brighton in May. The Merseyside club are marketing the jersey as ‘Red Pepper’. Should Liverpool reach the Champions League final, it could even make its second appearance before the end of this season. Liverpool are the designated away team in the final, so that would only be possible if they get through to play Real Madrid in Kiev. Captain Jordan Henderson admits he is dreaming of joining the elite group of Liverpool captains to lift the European Cup. Sadio Mane (right) in the new kit Credit: LFC Only four Anfield skippers have enjoyed the privilege, Emlyn Hughes (1977 & 1978), Phil Thompson (1981), Graeme Souness (1984) and Steven Gerrard (2005). Although Henderson issued a reminder of a tough challenge to get past AS Roma, he said it is natural for any player to consider the possibility of fulfilling the ultimate ambition as it gets closer. “I think you dream about those things when you are a kid, really. Of course I have, as many other players have, but one step at a time,” said Henderson, speaking at the kit launch. Mohamed Salah, Loris Karius and Jordan Henderson Credit: LFC “Roma are a fantastic team and it will be a tough test for us so we will just have to wait and see. “We certainly won't under-estimate them. They beat Barcelona 3-0 and they are a top team. It will be a difficult game both home and away. "I've watched them a few times and they have got some very good players and a very good team. It will be a tough test, as it always would be in the semi-final of the Champions League, but it is a challenge for us to go in there being confident with the way we have been playing, especially in the last round. "We have to go there and do what we have been doing and hopefully get to the final.” Henderson is confident but cautious about current form. Why I'm expecting a Liverpool vs Bayern final “We are obviously in a good place at the moment but at the same time it is important not to get too carried away,” he said. “Our focus is on playing football and doing everything we can to win games, whether that is in the Premier League or the Champions League. We have some big games coming up but we just need to continue doing what we have been doing most of the season, work hard on the training field and put that into games and hopefully at the end of the season we end on a high. Premier League kit 2017/18 “It is a young team but I feel they are mature at the same time and are hungry to want more, learn and improve and that is the biggest thing. "I think midweek showed that; having beaten City away and then put in the performance we did against Bournemouth shows the mentality of the players so we need to continue that, stay together as a group and focus on what is important.” Pre-order the 18/19 Home Kit from the Official Liverpool FC Online Store
Soccer Football - Premier League - Crystal Palace vs Brighton & Hove Albion - Selhurst Park, London, Britain - April 14, 2018 Crystal Palace fans celebrate after the match REUTERS/Dylan Martinez
Premier League - Crystal Palace vs Brighton & Hove Albion
Soccer Football - Premier League - Crystal Palace vs Brighton & Hove Albion - Selhurst Park, London, Britain - April 14, 2018 Crystal Palace fans celebrate after the match REUTERS/Dylan Martinez
Soccer Football - Premier League - Brighton & Hove Albion vs Tottenham Hotspur - The American Express Community Stadium, Brighton, Britain - April 17, 2018 Tottenham's Harry Kane celebrates scoring their first goal Action Images via Reuters/Matthew Childs
Premier League - Brighton & Hove Albion vs Tottenham Hotspur
Soccer Football - Premier League - Brighton & Hove Albion vs Tottenham Hotspur - The American Express Community Stadium, Brighton, Britain - April 17, 2018 Tottenham's Harry Kane celebrates scoring their first goal Action Images via Reuters/Matthew Childs
In a statement released on Brighton's website, the defender has reaffirmed that he stands by his original complaint
'I know what I heard' – Bong stands by Rodriguez racial abuse complaint
In a statement released on Brighton's website, the defender has reaffirmed that he stands by his original complaint
In a statement released on Brighton's website, the defender has reaffirmed that he stands by his original complaint
'I know what I heard' – Bong stands by Rodriguez racial abuse complaint
In a statement released on Brighton's website, the defender has reaffirmed that he stands by his original complaint
In a statement released on Brighton's website, Gaetan Bong has reaffirmed that he stands by his original complaint against Jay Rodriguez.
Bong stands by complaint despite Rodriguez racial abuse verdict
In a statement released on Brighton's website, Gaetan Bong has reaffirmed that he stands by his original complaint against Jay Rodriguez.
Brighton defender Gaetan Bong has stood by his allegation that he was racially abused by Jay Rodriguez, despite the fact the charge against the West Bromwich Albion forward was found to be not proven by the Football Association. Cameroon international Bong claimed the incident took place during the Baggies' 2-0 win at The Hawthorns on 13 January, but Rodriguez was cleared last week by the Football Association and avoided a five-match ban. Rodriguez responded by saying the “truth always comes out” but Bong is not backing down from his original account. In a statement, Bong said: “Mr Rodriguez’s actions during our game against West Bromwich Albion, followed by statements issued by him and on his behalf by his various PR and legal advisors, have resulted in my character being questioned and subsequently for a number of accusations to be directed at me. “Please let me be clear: I know what I heard and I did not mishear. My conscience in raising the complaint is therefore entirely clear. Gaetan Bong says he won't be commenting further on the matter Credit: Getty Images “This was my first such experience in more than three years in this country and I would never seek to bring a false charge against a fellow professional. Those who have accused me of doing that do not know me. “Equally those who have expressed an opinion were not there on the pitch at the time and only Mr Rodriguez and I know exactly what was said and I stand by my original complaint. “I now wish to continue with my career, and won't be commenting further on this matter even if Mr Rodriguez chooses to issue any further statements.” Bong alleged that Rodriguez said “you’re black and you stink” during a row between the two players. However, Rodriguez insisted he had said “your breath stinks” after he was seen pinching his nose. Who is your Premier League manager of the year? Our writers have their say The FA announced on Friday that an Independent Regulatory Commission “determined that on the balance of probabilities the allegation was not proven” against Rodriguez. Having been cleared, Rodriguez released a statement on Twitter that read: “It has been a difficult and strained period for me and my family because this allegation brought a serious and damaging slur on my character. “It has been equally difficult to remain silent throughout the FA process, but I do wish to express firstly my relief that I have been exonerated and second my support for the fight against racism in whatever form it is expressed. “I have maintained my innocence from the moment Gaetan Bong made the allegation. I bear him no ill will, but I was disappointed that he chose to publicly condemn me on the platforms of open media before the evidence had been presented to an independent tribunal. Rodriquez was cleared of using racist language towards Bong Credit: Getty Images “Now that I have been cleared, I would like to emphasise so there can be no doubt that I did not utter the words of which I was accused. I did not use any language that alluded to race and I can only repeat my view that Gaetan misheard our exchange during the game. “I am grateful for all the colleagues and former managers and coaches who spoke up for me at the hearing. I would also like to thank West Bromwich Albion, my team-mates, the staff and the fans for the fantastic support they have offered me during this unpleasant process. “Finally, I would like to underline my support for the continuing battle of any forms of discrimination. There is no place for it in any walk of life and I am relieved and pleased that after an exhaustive, thorough and fair process, I am cleared of this stain on my character and reputation.”
Gaetan Bong stands by racism complaint: 'I know what I heard and I did not mishear'
Brighton defender Gaetan Bong has stood by his allegation that he was racially abused by Jay Rodriguez, despite the fact the charge against the West Bromwich Albion forward was found to be not proven by the Football Association. Cameroon international Bong claimed the incident took place during the Baggies' 2-0 win at The Hawthorns on 13 January, but Rodriguez was cleared last week by the Football Association and avoided a five-match ban. Rodriguez responded by saying the “truth always comes out” but Bong is not backing down from his original account. In a statement, Bong said: “Mr Rodriguez’s actions during our game against West Bromwich Albion, followed by statements issued by him and on his behalf by his various PR and legal advisors, have resulted in my character being questioned and subsequently for a number of accusations to be directed at me. “Please let me be clear: I know what I heard and I did not mishear. My conscience in raising the complaint is therefore entirely clear. Gaetan Bong says he won't be commenting further on the matter Credit: Getty Images “This was my first such experience in more than three years in this country and I would never seek to bring a false charge against a fellow professional. Those who have accused me of doing that do not know me. “Equally those who have expressed an opinion were not there on the pitch at the time and only Mr Rodriguez and I know exactly what was said and I stand by my original complaint. “I now wish to continue with my career, and won't be commenting further on this matter even if Mr Rodriguez chooses to issue any further statements.” Bong alleged that Rodriguez said “you’re black and you stink” during a row between the two players. However, Rodriguez insisted he had said “your breath stinks” after he was seen pinching his nose. Who is your Premier League manager of the year? Our writers have their say The FA announced on Friday that an Independent Regulatory Commission “determined that on the balance of probabilities the allegation was not proven” against Rodriguez. Having been cleared, Rodriguez released a statement on Twitter that read: “It has been a difficult and strained period for me and my family because this allegation brought a serious and damaging slur on my character. “It has been equally difficult to remain silent throughout the FA process, but I do wish to express firstly my relief that I have been exonerated and second my support for the fight against racism in whatever form it is expressed. “I have maintained my innocence from the moment Gaetan Bong made the allegation. I bear him no ill will, but I was disappointed that he chose to publicly condemn me on the platforms of open media before the evidence had been presented to an independent tribunal. Rodriquez was cleared of using racist language towards Bong Credit: Getty Images “Now that I have been cleared, I would like to emphasise so there can be no doubt that I did not utter the words of which I was accused. I did not use any language that alluded to race and I can only repeat my view that Gaetan misheard our exchange during the game. “I am grateful for all the colleagues and former managers and coaches who spoke up for me at the hearing. I would also like to thank West Bromwich Albion, my team-mates, the staff and the fans for the fantastic support they have offered me during this unpleasant process. “Finally, I would like to underline my support for the continuing battle of any forms of discrimination. There is no place for it in any walk of life and I am relieved and pleased that after an exhaustive, thorough and fair process, I am cleared of this stain on my character and reputation.”
Brighton defender Gaetan Bong has stood by his allegation that he was racially abused by Jay Rodriguez, despite the fact the charge against the West Bromwich Albion forward was found to be not proven by the Football Association. Cameroon international Bong claimed the incident took place during the Baggies' 2-0 win at The Hawthorns on 13 January, but Rodriguez was cleared last week by the Football Association and avoided a five-match ban. Rodriguez responded by saying the “truth always comes out” but Bong is not backing down from his original account. In a statement, Bong said: “Mr Rodriguez’s actions during our game against West Bromwich Albion, followed by statements issued by him and on his behalf by his various PR and legal advisors, have resulted in my character being questioned and subsequently for a number of accusations to be directed at me. “Please let me be clear: I know what I heard and I did not mishear. My conscience in raising the complaint is therefore entirely clear. Gaetan Bong says he won't be commenting further on the matter Credit: Getty Images “This was my first such experience in more than three years in this country and I would never seek to bring a false charge against a fellow professional. Those who have accused me of doing that do not know me. “Equally those who have expressed an opinion were not there on the pitch at the time and only Mr Rodriguez and I know exactly what was said and I stand by my original complaint. “I now wish to continue with my career, and won't be commenting further on this matter even if Mr Rodriguez chooses to issue any further statements.” Bong alleged that Rodriguez said “you’re black and you stink” during a row between the two players. However, Rodriguez insisted he had said “your breath stinks” after he was seen pinching his nose. Who is your Premier League manager of the year? Our writers have their say The FA announced on Friday that an Independent Regulatory Commission “determined that on the balance of probabilities the allegation was not proven” against Rodriguez. Having been cleared, Rodriguez released a statement on Twitter that read: “It has been a difficult and strained period for me and my family because this allegation brought a serious and damaging slur on my character. “It has been equally difficult to remain silent throughout the FA process, but I do wish to express firstly my relief that I have been exonerated and second my support for the fight against racism in whatever form it is expressed. “I have maintained my innocence from the moment Gaetan Bong made the allegation. I bear him no ill will, but I was disappointed that he chose to publicly condemn me on the platforms of open media before the evidence had been presented to an independent tribunal. Rodriquez was cleared of using racist language towards Bong Credit: Getty Images “Now that I have been cleared, I would like to emphasise so there can be no doubt that I did not utter the words of which I was accused. I did not use any language that alluded to race and I can only repeat my view that Gaetan misheard our exchange during the game. “I am grateful for all the colleagues and former managers and coaches who spoke up for me at the hearing. I would also like to thank West Bromwich Albion, my team-mates, the staff and the fans for the fantastic support they have offered me during this unpleasant process. “Finally, I would like to underline my support for the continuing battle of any forms of discrimination. There is no place for it in any walk of life and I am relieved and pleased that after an exhaustive, thorough and fair process, I am cleared of this stain on my character and reputation.”
Gaetan Bong stands by racism complaint: 'I know what I heard and I did not mishear'
Brighton defender Gaetan Bong has stood by his allegation that he was racially abused by Jay Rodriguez, despite the fact the charge against the West Bromwich Albion forward was found to be not proven by the Football Association. Cameroon international Bong claimed the incident took place during the Baggies' 2-0 win at The Hawthorns on 13 January, but Rodriguez was cleared last week by the Football Association and avoided a five-match ban. Rodriguez responded by saying the “truth always comes out” but Bong is not backing down from his original account. In a statement, Bong said: “Mr Rodriguez’s actions during our game against West Bromwich Albion, followed by statements issued by him and on his behalf by his various PR and legal advisors, have resulted in my character being questioned and subsequently for a number of accusations to be directed at me. “Please let me be clear: I know what I heard and I did not mishear. My conscience in raising the complaint is therefore entirely clear. Gaetan Bong says he won't be commenting further on the matter Credit: Getty Images “This was my first such experience in more than three years in this country and I would never seek to bring a false charge against a fellow professional. Those who have accused me of doing that do not know me. “Equally those who have expressed an opinion were not there on the pitch at the time and only Mr Rodriguez and I know exactly what was said and I stand by my original complaint. “I now wish to continue with my career, and won't be commenting further on this matter even if Mr Rodriguez chooses to issue any further statements.” Bong alleged that Rodriguez said “you’re black and you stink” during a row between the two players. However, Rodriguez insisted he had said “your breath stinks” after he was seen pinching his nose. Who is your Premier League manager of the year? Our writers have their say The FA announced on Friday that an Independent Regulatory Commission “determined that on the balance of probabilities the allegation was not proven” against Rodriguez. Having been cleared, Rodriguez released a statement on Twitter that read: “It has been a difficult and strained period for me and my family because this allegation brought a serious and damaging slur on my character. “It has been equally difficult to remain silent throughout the FA process, but I do wish to express firstly my relief that I have been exonerated and second my support for the fight against racism in whatever form it is expressed. “I have maintained my innocence from the moment Gaetan Bong made the allegation. I bear him no ill will, but I was disappointed that he chose to publicly condemn me on the platforms of open media before the evidence had been presented to an independent tribunal. Rodriquez was cleared of using racist language towards Bong Credit: Getty Images “Now that I have been cleared, I would like to emphasise so there can be no doubt that I did not utter the words of which I was accused. I did not use any language that alluded to race and I can only repeat my view that Gaetan misheard our exchange during the game. “I am grateful for all the colleagues and former managers and coaches who spoke up for me at the hearing. I would also like to thank West Bromwich Albion, my team-mates, the staff and the fans for the fantastic support they have offered me during this unpleasant process. “Finally, I would like to underline my support for the continuing battle of any forms of discrimination. There is no place for it in any walk of life and I am relieved and pleased that after an exhaustive, thorough and fair process, I am cleared of this stain on my character and reputation.”
Brighton defender Gaetan Bong has stood by his allegation that he was racially abused by Jay Rodriguez, despite the fact the charge against the West Bromwich Albion forward was found to be not proven by the Football Association. Cameroon international Bong claimed the incident took place during the Baggies' 2-0 win at The Hawthorns on 13 January, but Rodriguez was cleared last week by the Football Association and avoided a five-match ban. Rodriguez responded by saying the “truth always comes out” but Bong is not backing down from his original account. In a statement, Bong said: “Mr Rodriguez’s actions during our game against West Bromwich Albion, followed by statements issued by him and on his behalf by his various PR and legal advisors, have resulted in my character being questioned and subsequently for a number of accusations to be directed at me. “Please let me be clear: I know what I heard and I did not mishear. My conscience in raising the complaint is therefore entirely clear. Gaetan Bong says he won't be commenting further on the matter Credit: Getty Images “This was my first such experience in more than three years in this country and I would never seek to bring a false charge against a fellow professional. Those who have accused me of doing that do not know me. “Equally those who have expressed an opinion were not there on the pitch at the time and only Mr Rodriguez and I know exactly what was said and I stand by my original complaint. “I now wish to continue with my career, and won't be commenting further on this matter even if Mr Rodriguez chooses to issue any further statements.” Bong alleged that Rodriguez said “you’re black and you stink” during a row between the two players. However, Rodriguez insisted he had said “your breath stinks” after he was seen pinching his nose. Who is your Premier League manager of the year? Our writers have their say The FA announced on Friday that an Independent Regulatory Commission “determined that on the balance of probabilities the allegation was not proven” against Rodriguez. Having been cleared, Rodriguez released a statement on Twitter that read: “It has been a difficult and strained period for me and my family because this allegation brought a serious and damaging slur on my character. “It has been equally difficult to remain silent throughout the FA process, but I do wish to express firstly my relief that I have been exonerated and second my support for the fight against racism in whatever form it is expressed. “I have maintained my innocence from the moment Gaetan Bong made the allegation. I bear him no ill will, but I was disappointed that he chose to publicly condemn me on the platforms of open media before the evidence had been presented to an independent tribunal. Rodriquez was cleared of using racist language towards Bong Credit: Getty Images “Now that I have been cleared, I would like to emphasise so there can be no doubt that I did not utter the words of which I was accused. I did not use any language that alluded to race and I can only repeat my view that Gaetan misheard our exchange during the game. “I am grateful for all the colleagues and former managers and coaches who spoke up for me at the hearing. I would also like to thank West Bromwich Albion, my team-mates, the staff and the fans for the fantastic support they have offered me during this unpleasant process. “Finally, I would like to underline my support for the continuing battle of any forms of discrimination. There is no place for it in any walk of life and I am relieved and pleased that after an exhaustive, thorough and fair process, I am cleared of this stain on my character and reputation.”
Gaetan Bong stands by racism complaint: 'I know what I heard and I did not mishear'
Brighton defender Gaetan Bong has stood by his allegation that he was racially abused by Jay Rodriguez, despite the fact the charge against the West Bromwich Albion forward was found to be not proven by the Football Association. Cameroon international Bong claimed the incident took place during the Baggies' 2-0 win at The Hawthorns on 13 January, but Rodriguez was cleared last week by the Football Association and avoided a five-match ban. Rodriguez responded by saying the “truth always comes out” but Bong is not backing down from his original account. In a statement, Bong said: “Mr Rodriguez’s actions during our game against West Bromwich Albion, followed by statements issued by him and on his behalf by his various PR and legal advisors, have resulted in my character being questioned and subsequently for a number of accusations to be directed at me. “Please let me be clear: I know what I heard and I did not mishear. My conscience in raising the complaint is therefore entirely clear. Gaetan Bong says he won't be commenting further on the matter Credit: Getty Images “This was my first such experience in more than three years in this country and I would never seek to bring a false charge against a fellow professional. Those who have accused me of doing that do not know me. “Equally those who have expressed an opinion were not there on the pitch at the time and only Mr Rodriguez and I know exactly what was said and I stand by my original complaint. “I now wish to continue with my career, and won't be commenting further on this matter even if Mr Rodriguez chooses to issue any further statements.” Bong alleged that Rodriguez said “you’re black and you stink” during a row between the two players. However, Rodriguez insisted he had said “your breath stinks” after he was seen pinching his nose. Who is your Premier League manager of the year? Our writers have their say The FA announced on Friday that an Independent Regulatory Commission “determined that on the balance of probabilities the allegation was not proven” against Rodriguez. Having been cleared, Rodriguez released a statement on Twitter that read: “It has been a difficult and strained period for me and my family because this allegation brought a serious and damaging slur on my character. “It has been equally difficult to remain silent throughout the FA process, but I do wish to express firstly my relief that I have been exonerated and second my support for the fight against racism in whatever form it is expressed. “I have maintained my innocence from the moment Gaetan Bong made the allegation. I bear him no ill will, but I was disappointed that he chose to publicly condemn me on the platforms of open media before the evidence had been presented to an independent tribunal. Rodriquez was cleared of using racist language towards Bong Credit: Getty Images “Now that I have been cleared, I would like to emphasise so there can be no doubt that I did not utter the words of which I was accused. I did not use any language that alluded to race and I can only repeat my view that Gaetan misheard our exchange during the game. “I am grateful for all the colleagues and former managers and coaches who spoke up for me at the hearing. I would also like to thank West Bromwich Albion, my team-mates, the staff and the fans for the fantastic support they have offered me during this unpleasant process. “Finally, I would like to underline my support for the continuing battle of any forms of discrimination. There is no place for it in any walk of life and I am relieved and pleased that after an exhaustive, thorough and fair process, I am cleared of this stain on my character and reputation.”
The Seagulls forced Mauricio Pochettino's side to a stalemate which could be vital in their quest to remain in the English top-flight
Bong lauds Brighton and Hove Albion’s performance after Tottenham Hotspur draw
The Seagulls forced Mauricio Pochettino's side to a stalemate which could be vital in their quest to remain in the English top-flight
The Seagulls forced Mauricio Pochettino's side to a stalemate which could be vital in their quest to remain in the English top-flight
Bong lauds Brighton and Hove Albion’s performance after Tottenham Hotspur draw
The Seagulls forced Mauricio Pochettino's side to a stalemate which could be vital in their quest to remain in the English top-flight
The Seagulls forced Mauricio Pochettino's side to a stalemate which could be vital in their quest to remain in the English top-flight
Bong lauds Brighton and Hove Albion’s performance after Tottenham Hotspur draw
The Seagulls forced Mauricio Pochettino's side to a stalemate which could be vital in their quest to remain in the English top-flight
The Seagulls forced Mauricio Pochettino's side to a stalemate which could be vital in their quest to remain in the English top-flight
Bong lauds Brighton and Hove Albion’s performance after Tottenham Hotspur draw
The Seagulls forced Mauricio Pochettino's side to a stalemate which could be vital in their quest to remain in the English top-flight
The Seagulls forced Mauricio Pochettino's side to a stalemate which could be vital in their quest to remain in the English top-flight
Bong lauds Brighton and Hove Albion’s performance after Tottenham Hotspur draw
The Seagulls forced Mauricio Pochettino's side to a stalemate which could be vital in their quest to remain in the English top-flight
Jason Burt: Pep Guardiola (Man City) Net spend:£174.6m Points per game: 2.63 Points per pound: 3.1* Average goals per game: 2.6 One of the key criteria for selecting manager of the season is how best he uses his resources. Some might argue that rules out Pep Guardiola. In fact the Manchester City manager has used the vast financial backing he has at his disposal superbly. He has overhauled an ageing squad, he has brought in exciting young players and he has improved those he inherited. No-one could argue that the likes of David Silva, Raheem Sterling, Nicolas Otamendi and, yes, Fabian Delph are not better under Guardiola. But it goes beyond that. It goes to the heart of the football being played. Guardiola has raised the bar for the rest of the Premier League. City are playing such an exciting, attacking progressive football. There has not been a disappointing match all season. Not one. They are a joy to watch. A lesson to everyone. Man City player ratings for title-winning season Luke Edwards: Rafa Benitez (Newcastle) Net spend:£10.25m Points per game: 1.24 Points per pound: 1.13 Average goals per game: 1.1 To put Rafa Benitez’s success at Newcastle into context you have to understand he has not only spent less than Brighton and Huddersfield, he is on course to secure the club only their third top 10 finish since Mike Ashley became owner in 2007. To do so with a squad that relied solely on loan signings in January, because the board refused to spend on transfer fees, and the same core group of players who played in the Championship, is testimony to his skill on the training pitch. But the job Benitez has done is about more than just improving a football team. He has rebuilt a football club, re-bonded supporters with the players, overhauled the scouting system, and raised standards in every aspect of the business. For the first time in more than a decade, when you hear Newcastle mentioned you think of his class as manager and a brave, hardworking team that cares about the shirt, not the crass, arrogant and blundering Ashley. Benitez has re-bonded Newcastle's supporters with the players Credit: Getty Images Matt Law: Roy Hodgson (Crystal Palace) Net spend:£9m Points per game: 1.13 Points per pound: N/A Average goals scored: 1.21 No points, no goals and no hope. That was what Roy Hodgson was facing when he took over at Crystal Palace in September. Hodgson also had to deal with the fact that he had been unfairly written off by those who could not bring themselves to look past the 2016 European Championships. Sure, England’s defeat to Iceland was a terrible moment, but it was just that - a moment - and the 70-year-old is proving once again what a skilled manager he is. He has lifted Palace clear of the relegation zone, despite long injuries to key players and a difficult January transfer window. Palace and Hodgson just feel like a really good fit. He understands the locals and the high-tempo brand of football they react to, and they appreciate his affinity to the club. Hodgson’s long career should never have been defined by the Euros and his work at Palace is reminding even his critics of that. Hodgson is a good fit for Palace Credit: Getty Images Rob Bagchi: David Wagner Net spend:£44.5m Points per pound: 0.71 Points per game: 1.02 Average goals scored: 0.92 David Wagner will have to keep Huddersfield Town up to be a credible contender but if he does, as seems likely, he deserves boundless praise for achieving safety with the Premier League's weakest squad. Wagner has maintained the coherence and confidence of his promotion-winning side and the high tempo intensity of their pressing that marked them out last year was harnessed to give them their lightning start. After opponents began to suss them out and stymie Town's whirling, dynamic counter-attacking with their greater individual quality, Wagner still managed to deploy his full-backs and wingers to create the space to stretch teams and use Aaron Mooy and Alex Pritchard to exploit it. Victories and goals have been scarce but their knack of beating strugglers when it matters is testament to their pluck and belief. Regular defeats have also not dispirited them. The resolve and raucous support that earned them that unforgettable victory over Manchester United shows how Wagner is not just leading a club but a cause. Wagner has maintained Huddersfield's confidence this season Credit: Reuters Sam Wallace: Jurgen Klopp (Liverpool) Net spend: -£28m Points per game:2.05 Points per pound: 2.15 Average goals scored: 2.38 It is hard to think of many Champions League semi-finalists who sold their best player midway through a season. Of course, Philippe Coutinho, had he stayed, might no longer be Liverpool’s best player but then that would be more to do with the bullseye aim of the club in the transfer market in recent windows, and their manager’s pursuit of improvement. Klopp’s net spend at Anfield is negligible. He came to Liverpool with a clear idea of how he wanted to play but rather than chuck out one group of players and start afresh he has, on the whole, coached his way through it. Tactically, he seems to get better with every season. He has made the occasional misjudgement but is a man given to apologising when he realises he has erred. He knows football from both ends, life as the European super-coach and also as the penniless Bundesliga 2 centre-half. It gives him perspective and the courage to follow his convictions - and how that is paying off. Klopp exclusive interview Jim White: Sean Dyche (Burnley) Net spend: -£12.3m Points per pound: 1.69 Points per game: 1.57 Average goals scored: 0.94 What Sean Dyche has done at Turf Moor this season is remarkable. It is not simply that he has taken Burnley to the brink of European qualification, playing smart football along the way, his personal approach one of charm, optimism and good humour. Though all that would be qualification enough. What he has done that is so different is completely to reverse the brutal economic laws of the modern game, establishing a club with a budget that wouldn’t look out of place in League One at the heart of the Premier League. This is the lightweight slugging it out among the heavyweights. And frequently coming away with a knock out. Sean Dyche's Burnley squad have been punching above their weight Credit: Mark Robinson Jeremy Wilson: Eddie Howe (Bournemouth) Net spend:£11.95m Points per pound: 3.1 Points per game: 1.11 Goals per game: 1.25 Had this been Bournemouth’s first season back in the Premier League, people would have been queuing up to outline Eddie Howe’s credentials for manager of the year. As it is their third, his achievements seem now almost to be taken for granted, even though consistently repeating success for a club on Bournemouth’s budget only gets progressively harder. It is remarkable that Bournemouth could yet clinch a second successive top-half finish on a wage bill and turnover that is still a fraction of most of their competitors, including Newcastle where Rafael Benitez is more vocally lauded for his work, and with an attacking, passing style that has never been compromised. Attention spans in football can be short – and we do very quickly move on to the next big flavour of the moment - but Howe’s Bournemouth have never stopped punching far above their natural resources. Bournemouth could yet clinch a second successive top-half finish Credit: Reuters
Who is your Premier League manager of the year? Our writers have their say
Jason Burt: Pep Guardiola (Man City) Net spend:£174.6m Points per game: 2.63 Points per pound: 3.1* Average goals per game: 2.6 One of the key criteria for selecting manager of the season is how best he uses his resources. Some might argue that rules out Pep Guardiola. In fact the Manchester City manager has used the vast financial backing he has at his disposal superbly. He has overhauled an ageing squad, he has brought in exciting young players and he has improved those he inherited. No-one could argue that the likes of David Silva, Raheem Sterling, Nicolas Otamendi and, yes, Fabian Delph are not better under Guardiola. But it goes beyond that. It goes to the heart of the football being played. Guardiola has raised the bar for the rest of the Premier League. City are playing such an exciting, attacking progressive football. There has not been a disappointing match all season. Not one. They are a joy to watch. A lesson to everyone. Man City player ratings for title-winning season Luke Edwards: Rafa Benitez (Newcastle) Net spend:£10.25m Points per game: 1.24 Points per pound: 1.13 Average goals per game: 1.1 To put Rafa Benitez’s success at Newcastle into context you have to understand he has not only spent less than Brighton and Huddersfield, he is on course to secure the club only their third top 10 finish since Mike Ashley became owner in 2007. To do so with a squad that relied solely on loan signings in January, because the board refused to spend on transfer fees, and the same core group of players who played in the Championship, is testimony to his skill on the training pitch. But the job Benitez has done is about more than just improving a football team. He has rebuilt a football club, re-bonded supporters with the players, overhauled the scouting system, and raised standards in every aspect of the business. For the first time in more than a decade, when you hear Newcastle mentioned you think of his class as manager and a brave, hardworking team that cares about the shirt, not the crass, arrogant and blundering Ashley. Benitez has re-bonded Newcastle's supporters with the players Credit: Getty Images Matt Law: Roy Hodgson (Crystal Palace) Net spend:£9m Points per game: 1.13 Points per pound: N/A Average goals scored: 1.21 No points, no goals and no hope. That was what Roy Hodgson was facing when he took over at Crystal Palace in September. Hodgson also had to deal with the fact that he had been unfairly written off by those who could not bring themselves to look past the 2016 European Championships. Sure, England’s defeat to Iceland was a terrible moment, but it was just that - a moment - and the 70-year-old is proving once again what a skilled manager he is. He has lifted Palace clear of the relegation zone, despite long injuries to key players and a difficult January transfer window. Palace and Hodgson just feel like a really good fit. He understands the locals and the high-tempo brand of football they react to, and they appreciate his affinity to the club. Hodgson’s long career should never have been defined by the Euros and his work at Palace is reminding even his critics of that. Hodgson is a good fit for Palace Credit: Getty Images Rob Bagchi: David Wagner Net spend:£44.5m Points per pound: 0.71 Points per game: 1.02 Average goals scored: 0.92 David Wagner will have to keep Huddersfield Town up to be a credible contender but if he does, as seems likely, he deserves boundless praise for achieving safety with the Premier League's weakest squad. Wagner has maintained the coherence and confidence of his promotion-winning side and the high tempo intensity of their pressing that marked them out last year was harnessed to give them their lightning start. After opponents began to suss them out and stymie Town's whirling, dynamic counter-attacking with their greater individual quality, Wagner still managed to deploy his full-backs and wingers to create the space to stretch teams and use Aaron Mooy and Alex Pritchard to exploit it. Victories and goals have been scarce but their knack of beating strugglers when it matters is testament to their pluck and belief. Regular defeats have also not dispirited them. The resolve and raucous support that earned them that unforgettable victory over Manchester United shows how Wagner is not just leading a club but a cause. Wagner has maintained Huddersfield's confidence this season Credit: Reuters Sam Wallace: Jurgen Klopp (Liverpool) Net spend: -£28m Points per game:2.05 Points per pound: 2.15 Average goals scored: 2.38 It is hard to think of many Champions League semi-finalists who sold their best player midway through a season. Of course, Philippe Coutinho, had he stayed, might no longer be Liverpool’s best player but then that would be more to do with the bullseye aim of the club in the transfer market in recent windows, and their manager’s pursuit of improvement. Klopp’s net spend at Anfield is negligible. He came to Liverpool with a clear idea of how he wanted to play but rather than chuck out one group of players and start afresh he has, on the whole, coached his way through it. Tactically, he seems to get better with every season. He has made the occasional misjudgement but is a man given to apologising when he realises he has erred. He knows football from both ends, life as the European super-coach and also as the penniless Bundesliga 2 centre-half. It gives him perspective and the courage to follow his convictions - and how that is paying off. Klopp exclusive interview Jim White: Sean Dyche (Burnley) Net spend: -£12.3m Points per pound: 1.69 Points per game: 1.57 Average goals scored: 0.94 What Sean Dyche has done at Turf Moor this season is remarkable. It is not simply that he has taken Burnley to the brink of European qualification, playing smart football along the way, his personal approach one of charm, optimism and good humour. Though all that would be qualification enough. What he has done that is so different is completely to reverse the brutal economic laws of the modern game, establishing a club with a budget that wouldn’t look out of place in League One at the heart of the Premier League. This is the lightweight slugging it out among the heavyweights. And frequently coming away with a knock out. Sean Dyche's Burnley squad have been punching above their weight Credit: Mark Robinson Jeremy Wilson: Eddie Howe (Bournemouth) Net spend:£11.95m Points per pound: 3.1 Points per game: 1.11 Goals per game: 1.25 Had this been Bournemouth’s first season back in the Premier League, people would have been queuing up to outline Eddie Howe’s credentials for manager of the year. As it is their third, his achievements seem now almost to be taken for granted, even though consistently repeating success for a club on Bournemouth’s budget only gets progressively harder. It is remarkable that Bournemouth could yet clinch a second successive top-half finish on a wage bill and turnover that is still a fraction of most of their competitors, including Newcastle where Rafael Benitez is more vocally lauded for his work, and with an attacking, passing style that has never been compromised. Attention spans in football can be short – and we do very quickly move on to the next big flavour of the moment - but Howe’s Bournemouth have never stopped punching far above their natural resources. Bournemouth could yet clinch a second successive top-half finish Credit: Reuters
Jason Burt: Pep Guardiola (Man City) Net spend:£174.6m Points per game: 2.63 Points per pound: 3.1* Average goals per game: 2.6 One of the key criteria for selecting manager of the season is how best he uses his resources. Some might argue that rules out Pep Guardiola. In fact the Manchester City manager has used the vast financial backing he has at his disposal superbly. He has overhauled an ageing squad, he has brought in exciting young players and he has improved those he inherited. No-one could argue that the likes of David Silva, Raheem Sterling, Nicolas Otamendi and, yes, Fabian Delph are not better under Guardiola. But it goes beyond that. It goes to the heart of the football being played. Guardiola has raised the bar for the rest of the Premier League. City are playing such an exciting, attacking progressive football. There has not been a disappointing match all season. Not one. They are a joy to watch. A lesson to everyone. Man City player ratings for title-winning season Luke Edwards: Rafa Benitez (Newcastle) Net spend:£10.25m Points per game: 1.24 Points per pound: 1.13 Average goals per game: 1.1 To put Rafa Benitez’s success at Newcastle into context you have to understand he has not only spent less than Brighton and Huddersfield, he is on course to secure the club only their third top 10 finish since Mike Ashley became owner in 2007. To do so with a squad that relied solely on loan signings in January, because the board refused to spend on transfer fees, and the same core group of players who played in the Championship, is testimony to his skill on the training pitch. But the job Benitez has done is about more than just improving a football team. He has rebuilt a football club, re-bonded supporters with the players, overhauled the scouting system, and raised standards in every aspect of the business. For the first time in more than a decade, when you hear Newcastle mentioned you think of his class as manager and a brave, hardworking team that cares about the shirt, not the crass, arrogant and blundering Ashley. Benitez has re-bonded Newcastle's supporters with the players Credit: Getty Images Matt Law: Roy Hodgson (Crystal Palace) Net spend:£9m Points per game: 1.13 Points per pound: N/A Average goals scored: 1.21 No points, no goals and no hope. That was what Roy Hodgson was facing when he took over at Crystal Palace in September. Hodgson also had to deal with the fact that he had been unfairly written off by those who could not bring themselves to look past the 2016 European Championships. Sure, England’s defeat to Iceland was a terrible moment, but it was just that - a moment - and the 70-year-old is proving once again what a skilled manager he is. He has lifted Palace clear of the relegation zone, despite long injuries to key players and a difficult January transfer window. Palace and Hodgson just feel like a really good fit. He understands the locals and the high-tempo brand of football they react to, and they appreciate his affinity to the club. Hodgson’s long career should never have been defined by the Euros and his work at Palace is reminding even his critics of that. Hodgson is a good fit for Palace Credit: Getty Images Rob Bagchi: David Wagner Net spend:£44.5m Points per pound: 0.71 Points per game: 1.02 Average goals scored: 0.92 David Wagner will have to keep Huddersfield Town up to be a credible contender but if he does, as seems likely, he deserves boundless praise for achieving safety with the Premier League's weakest squad. Wagner has maintained the coherence and confidence of his promotion-winning side and the high tempo intensity of their pressing that marked them out last year was harnessed to give them their lightning start. After opponents began to suss them out and stymie Town's whirling, dynamic counter-attacking with their greater individual quality, Wagner still managed to deploy his full-backs and wingers to create the space to stretch teams and use Aaron Mooy and Alex Pritchard to exploit it. Victories and goals have been scarce but their knack of beating strugglers when it matters is testament to their pluck and belief. Regular defeats have also not dispirited them. The resolve and raucous support that earned them that unforgettable victory over Manchester United shows how Wagner is not just leading a club but a cause. Wagner has maintained Huddersfield's confidence this season Credit: Reuters Sam Wallace: Jurgen Klopp (Liverpool) Net spend: -£28m Points per game:2.05 Points per pound: 2.15 Average goals scored: 2.38 It is hard to think of many Champions League semi-finalists who sold their best player midway through a season. Of course, Philippe Coutinho, had he stayed, might no longer be Liverpool’s best player but then that would be more to do with the bullseye aim of the club in the transfer market in recent windows, and their manager’s pursuit of improvement. Klopp’s net spend at Anfield is negligible. He came to Liverpool with a clear idea of how he wanted to play but rather than chuck out one group of players and start afresh he has, on the whole, coached his way through it. Tactically, he seems to get better with every season. He has made the occasional misjudgement but is a man given to apologising when he realises he has erred. He knows football from both ends, life as the European super-coach and also as the penniless Bundesliga 2 centre-half. It gives him perspective and the courage to follow his convictions - and how that is paying off. Klopp exclusive interview Jim White: Sean Dyche (Burnley) Net spend: -£12.3m Points per pound: 1.69 Points per game: 1.57 Average goals scored: 0.94 What Sean Dyche has done at Turf Moor this season is remarkable. It is not simply that he has taken Burnley to the brink of European qualification, playing smart football along the way, his personal approach one of charm, optimism and good humour. Though all that would be qualification enough. What he has done that is so different is completely to reverse the brutal economic laws of the modern game, establishing a club with a budget that wouldn’t look out of place in League One at the heart of the Premier League. This is the lightweight slugging it out among the heavyweights. And frequently coming away with a knock out. Sean Dyche's Burnley squad have been punching above their weight Credit: Mark Robinson Jeremy Wilson: Eddie Howe (Bournemouth) Net spend:£11.95m Points per pound: 3.1 Points per game: 1.11 Goals per game: 1.25 Had this been Bournemouth’s first season back in the Premier League, people would have been queuing up to outline Eddie Howe’s credentials for manager of the year. As it is their third, his achievements seem now almost to be taken for granted, even though consistently repeating success for a club on Bournemouth’s budget only gets progressively harder. It is remarkable that Bournemouth could yet clinch a second successive top-half finish on a wage bill and turnover that is still a fraction of most of their competitors, including Newcastle where Rafael Benitez is more vocally lauded for his work, and with an attacking, passing style that has never been compromised. Attention spans in football can be short – and we do very quickly move on to the next big flavour of the moment - but Howe’s Bournemouth have never stopped punching far above their natural resources. Bournemouth could yet clinch a second successive top-half finish Credit: Reuters
Who is your Premier League manager of the year? Our writers have their say
Jason Burt: Pep Guardiola (Man City) Net spend:£174.6m Points per game: 2.63 Points per pound: 3.1* Average goals per game: 2.6 One of the key criteria for selecting manager of the season is how best he uses his resources. Some might argue that rules out Pep Guardiola. In fact the Manchester City manager has used the vast financial backing he has at his disposal superbly. He has overhauled an ageing squad, he has brought in exciting young players and he has improved those he inherited. No-one could argue that the likes of David Silva, Raheem Sterling, Nicolas Otamendi and, yes, Fabian Delph are not better under Guardiola. But it goes beyond that. It goes to the heart of the football being played. Guardiola has raised the bar for the rest of the Premier League. City are playing such an exciting, attacking progressive football. There has not been a disappointing match all season. Not one. They are a joy to watch. A lesson to everyone. Man City player ratings for title-winning season Luke Edwards: Rafa Benitez (Newcastle) Net spend:£10.25m Points per game: 1.24 Points per pound: 1.13 Average goals per game: 1.1 To put Rafa Benitez’s success at Newcastle into context you have to understand he has not only spent less than Brighton and Huddersfield, he is on course to secure the club only their third top 10 finish since Mike Ashley became owner in 2007. To do so with a squad that relied solely on loan signings in January, because the board refused to spend on transfer fees, and the same core group of players who played in the Championship, is testimony to his skill on the training pitch. But the job Benitez has done is about more than just improving a football team. He has rebuilt a football club, re-bonded supporters with the players, overhauled the scouting system, and raised standards in every aspect of the business. For the first time in more than a decade, when you hear Newcastle mentioned you think of his class as manager and a brave, hardworking team that cares about the shirt, not the crass, arrogant and blundering Ashley. Benitez has re-bonded Newcastle's supporters with the players Credit: Getty Images Matt Law: Roy Hodgson (Crystal Palace) Net spend:£9m Points per game: 1.13 Points per pound: N/A Average goals scored: 1.21 No points, no goals and no hope. That was what Roy Hodgson was facing when he took over at Crystal Palace in September. Hodgson also had to deal with the fact that he had been unfairly written off by those who could not bring themselves to look past the 2016 European Championships. Sure, England’s defeat to Iceland was a terrible moment, but it was just that - a moment - and the 70-year-old is proving once again what a skilled manager he is. He has lifted Palace clear of the relegation zone, despite long injuries to key players and a difficult January transfer window. Palace and Hodgson just feel like a really good fit. He understands the locals and the high-tempo brand of football they react to, and they appreciate his affinity to the club. Hodgson’s long career should never have been defined by the Euros and his work at Palace is reminding even his critics of that. Hodgson is a good fit for Palace Credit: Getty Images Rob Bagchi: David Wagner Net spend:£44.5m Points per pound: 0.71 Points per game: 1.02 Average goals scored: 0.92 David Wagner will have to keep Huddersfield Town up to be a credible contender but if he does, as seems likely, he deserves boundless praise for achieving safety with the Premier League's weakest squad. Wagner has maintained the coherence and confidence of his promotion-winning side and the high tempo intensity of their pressing that marked them out last year was harnessed to give them their lightning start. After opponents began to suss them out and stymie Town's whirling, dynamic counter-attacking with their greater individual quality, Wagner still managed to deploy his full-backs and wingers to create the space to stretch teams and use Aaron Mooy and Alex Pritchard to exploit it. Victories and goals have been scarce but their knack of beating strugglers when it matters is testament to their pluck and belief. Regular defeats have also not dispirited them. The resolve and raucous support that earned them that unforgettable victory over Manchester United shows how Wagner is not just leading a club but a cause. Wagner has maintained Huddersfield's confidence this season Credit: Reuters Sam Wallace: Jurgen Klopp (Liverpool) Net spend: -£28m Points per game:2.05 Points per pound: 2.15 Average goals scored: 2.38 It is hard to think of many Champions League semi-finalists who sold their best player midway through a season. Of course, Philippe Coutinho, had he stayed, might no longer be Liverpool’s best player but then that would be more to do with the bullseye aim of the club in the transfer market in recent windows, and their manager’s pursuit of improvement. Klopp’s net spend at Anfield is negligible. He came to Liverpool with a clear idea of how he wanted to play but rather than chuck out one group of players and start afresh he has, on the whole, coached his way through it. Tactically, he seems to get better with every season. He has made the occasional misjudgement but is a man given to apologising when he realises he has erred. He knows football from both ends, life as the European super-coach and also as the penniless Bundesliga 2 centre-half. It gives him perspective and the courage to follow his convictions - and how that is paying off. Klopp exclusive interview Jim White: Sean Dyche (Burnley) Net spend: -£12.3m Points per pound: 1.69 Points per game: 1.57 Average goals scored: 0.94 What Sean Dyche has done at Turf Moor this season is remarkable. It is not simply that he has taken Burnley to the brink of European qualification, playing smart football along the way, his personal approach one of charm, optimism and good humour. Though all that would be qualification enough. What he has done that is so different is completely to reverse the brutal economic laws of the modern game, establishing a club with a budget that wouldn’t look out of place in League One at the heart of the Premier League. This is the lightweight slugging it out among the heavyweights. And frequently coming away with a knock out. Sean Dyche's Burnley squad have been punching above their weight Credit: Mark Robinson Jeremy Wilson: Eddie Howe (Bournemouth) Net spend:£11.95m Points per pound: 3.1 Points per game: 1.11 Goals per game: 1.25 Had this been Bournemouth’s first season back in the Premier League, people would have been queuing up to outline Eddie Howe’s credentials for manager of the year. As it is their third, his achievements seem now almost to be taken for granted, even though consistently repeating success for a club on Bournemouth’s budget only gets progressively harder. It is remarkable that Bournemouth could yet clinch a second successive top-half finish on a wage bill and turnover that is still a fraction of most of their competitors, including Newcastle where Rafael Benitez is more vocally lauded for his work, and with an attacking, passing style that has never been compromised. Attention spans in football can be short – and we do very quickly move on to the next big flavour of the moment - but Howe’s Bournemouth have never stopped punching far above their natural resources. Bournemouth could yet clinch a second successive top-half finish Credit: Reuters
Jason Burt: Pep Guardiola (Man City) Net spend:£174.6m Points per game: 2.63 Points per pound: 3.1* Average goals per game: 2.6 One of the key criteria for selecting manager of the season is how best he uses his resources. Some might argue that rules out Pep Guardiola. In fact the Manchester City manager has used the vast financial backing he has at his disposal superbly. He has overhauled an ageing squad, he has brought in exciting young players and he has improved those he inherited. No-one could argue that the likes of David Silva, Raheem Sterling, Nicolas Otamendi and, yes, Fabian Delph are not better under Guardiola. But it goes beyond that. It goes to the heart of the football being played. Guardiola has raised the bar for the rest of the Premier League. City are playing such an exciting, attacking progressive football. There has not been a disappointing match all season. Not one. They are a joy to watch. A lesson to everyone. Man City player ratings for title-winning season Luke Edwards: Rafa Benitez (Newcastle) Net spend:£10.25m Points per game: 1.24 Points per pound: 1.13 Average goals per game: 1.1 To put Rafa Benitez’s success at Newcastle into context you have to understand he has not only spent less than Brighton and Huddersfield, he is on course to secure the club only their third top 10 finish since Mike Ashley became owner in 2007. To do so with a squad that relied solely on loan signings in January, because the board refused to spend on transfer fees, and the same core group of players who played in the Championship, is testimony to his skill on the training pitch. But the job Benitez has done is about more than just improving a football team. He has rebuilt a football club, re-bonded supporters with the players, overhauled the scouting system, and raised standards in every aspect of the business. For the first time in more than a decade, when you hear Newcastle mentioned you think of his class as manager and a brave, hardworking team that cares about the shirt, not the crass, arrogant and blundering Ashley. Benitez has re-bonded Newcastle's supporters with the players Credit: Getty Images Matt Law: Roy Hodgson (Crystal Palace) Net spend:£9m Points per game: 1.13 Points per pound: N/A Average goals scored: 1.21 No points, no goals and no hope. That was what Roy Hodgson was facing when he took over at Crystal Palace in September. Hodgson also had to deal with the fact that he had been unfairly written off by those who could not bring themselves to look past the 2016 European Championships. Sure, England’s defeat to Iceland was a terrible moment, but it was just that - a moment - and the 70-year-old is proving once again what a skilled manager he is. He has lifted Palace clear of the relegation zone, despite long injuries to key players and a difficult January transfer window. Palace and Hodgson just feel like a really good fit. He understands the locals and the high-tempo brand of football they react to, and they appreciate his affinity to the club. Hodgson’s long career should never have been defined by the Euros and his work at Palace is reminding even his critics of that. Hodgson is a good fit for Palace Credit: Getty Images Rob Bagchi: David Wagner Net spend:£44.5m Points per pound: 0.71 Points per game: 1.02 Average goals scored: 0.92 David Wagner will have to keep Huddersfield Town up to be a credible contender but if he does, as seems likely, he deserves boundless praise for achieving safety with the Premier League's weakest squad. Wagner has maintained the coherence and confidence of his promotion-winning side and the high tempo intensity of their pressing that marked them out last year was harnessed to give them their lightning start. After opponents began to suss them out and stymie Town's whirling, dynamic counter-attacking with their greater individual quality, Wagner still managed to deploy his full-backs and wingers to create the space to stretch teams and use Aaron Mooy and Alex Pritchard to exploit it. Victories and goals have been scarce but their knack of beating strugglers when it matters is testament to their pluck and belief. Regular defeats have also not dispirited them. The resolve and raucous support that earned them that unforgettable victory over Manchester United shows how Wagner is not just leading a club but a cause. Wagner has maintained Huddersfield's confidence this season Credit: Reuters Sam Wallace: Jurgen Klopp (Liverpool) Net spend: -£28m Points per game:2.05 Points per pound: 2.15 Average goals scored: 2.38 It is hard to think of many Champions League semi-finalists who sold their best player midway through a season. Of course, Philippe Coutinho, had he stayed, might no longer be Liverpool’s best player but then that would be more to do with the bullseye aim of the club in the transfer market in recent windows, and their manager’s pursuit of improvement. Klopp’s net spend at Anfield is negligible. He came to Liverpool with a clear idea of how he wanted to play but rather than chuck out one group of players and start afresh he has, on the whole, coached his way through it. Tactically, he seems to get better with every season. He has made the occasional misjudgement but is a man given to apologising when he realises he has erred. He knows football from both ends, life as the European super-coach and also as the penniless Bundesliga 2 centre-half. It gives him perspective and the courage to follow his convictions - and how that is paying off. Klopp exclusive interview Jim White: Sean Dyche (Burnley) Net spend: -£12.3m Points per pound: 1.69 Points per game: 1.57 Average goals scored: 0.94 What Sean Dyche has done at Turf Moor this season is remarkable. It is not simply that he has taken Burnley to the brink of European qualification, playing smart football along the way, his personal approach one of charm, optimism and good humour. Though all that would be qualification enough. What he has done that is so different is completely to reverse the brutal economic laws of the modern game, establishing a club with a budget that wouldn’t look out of place in League One at the heart of the Premier League. This is the lightweight slugging it out among the heavyweights. And frequently coming away with a knock out. Sean Dyche's Burnley squad have been punching above their weight Credit: Mark Robinson Jeremy Wilson: Eddie Howe (Bournemouth) Net spend:£11.95m Points per pound: 3.1 Points per game: 1.11 Goals per game: 1.25 Had this been Bournemouth’s first season back in the Premier League, people would have been queuing up to outline Eddie Howe’s credentials for manager of the year. As it is their third, his achievements seem now almost to be taken for granted, even though consistently repeating success for a club on Bournemouth’s budget only gets progressively harder. It is remarkable that Bournemouth could yet clinch a second successive top-half finish on a wage bill and turnover that is still a fraction of most of their competitors, including Newcastle where Rafael Benitez is more vocally lauded for his work, and with an attacking, passing style that has never been compromised. Attention spans in football can be short – and we do very quickly move on to the next big flavour of the moment - but Howe’s Bournemouth have never stopped punching far above their natural resources. Bournemouth could yet clinch a second successive top-half finish Credit: Reuters
Who is your Premier League manager of the year? Our writers have their say
Jason Burt: Pep Guardiola (Man City) Net spend:£174.6m Points per game: 2.63 Points per pound: 3.1* Average goals per game: 2.6 One of the key criteria for selecting manager of the season is how best he uses his resources. Some might argue that rules out Pep Guardiola. In fact the Manchester City manager has used the vast financial backing he has at his disposal superbly. He has overhauled an ageing squad, he has brought in exciting young players and he has improved those he inherited. No-one could argue that the likes of David Silva, Raheem Sterling, Nicolas Otamendi and, yes, Fabian Delph are not better under Guardiola. But it goes beyond that. It goes to the heart of the football being played. Guardiola has raised the bar for the rest of the Premier League. City are playing such an exciting, attacking progressive football. There has not been a disappointing match all season. Not one. They are a joy to watch. A lesson to everyone. Man City player ratings for title-winning season Luke Edwards: Rafa Benitez (Newcastle) Net spend:£10.25m Points per game: 1.24 Points per pound: 1.13 Average goals per game: 1.1 To put Rafa Benitez’s success at Newcastle into context you have to understand he has not only spent less than Brighton and Huddersfield, he is on course to secure the club only their third top 10 finish since Mike Ashley became owner in 2007. To do so with a squad that relied solely on loan signings in January, because the board refused to spend on transfer fees, and the same core group of players who played in the Championship, is testimony to his skill on the training pitch. But the job Benitez has done is about more than just improving a football team. He has rebuilt a football club, re-bonded supporters with the players, overhauled the scouting system, and raised standards in every aspect of the business. For the first time in more than a decade, when you hear Newcastle mentioned you think of his class as manager and a brave, hardworking team that cares about the shirt, not the crass, arrogant and blundering Ashley. Benitez has re-bonded Newcastle's supporters with the players Credit: Getty Images Matt Law: Roy Hodgson (Crystal Palace) Net spend:£9m Points per game: 1.13 Points per pound: N/A Average goals scored: 1.21 No points, no goals and no hope. That was what Roy Hodgson was facing when he took over at Crystal Palace in September. Hodgson also had to deal with the fact that he had been unfairly written off by those who could not bring themselves to look past the 2016 European Championships. Sure, England’s defeat to Iceland was a terrible moment, but it was just that - a moment - and the 70-year-old is proving once again what a skilled manager he is. He has lifted Palace clear of the relegation zone, despite long injuries to key players and a difficult January transfer window. Palace and Hodgson just feel like a really good fit. He understands the locals and the high-tempo brand of football they react to, and they appreciate his affinity to the club. Hodgson’s long career should never have been defined by the Euros and his work at Palace is reminding even his critics of that. Hodgson is a good fit for Palace Credit: Getty Images Rob Bagchi: David Wagner Net spend:£44.5m Points per pound: 0.71 Points per game: 1.02 Average goals scored: 0.92 David Wagner will have to keep Huddersfield Town up to be a credible contender but if he does, as seems likely, he deserves boundless praise for achieving safety with the Premier League's weakest squad. Wagner has maintained the coherence and confidence of his promotion-winning side and the high tempo intensity of their pressing that marked them out last year was harnessed to give them their lightning start. After opponents began to suss them out and stymie Town's whirling, dynamic counter-attacking with their greater individual quality, Wagner still managed to deploy his full-backs and wingers to create the space to stretch teams and use Aaron Mooy and Alex Pritchard to exploit it. Victories and goals have been scarce but their knack of beating strugglers when it matters is testament to their pluck and belief. Regular defeats have also not dispirited them. The resolve and raucous support that earned them that unforgettable victory over Manchester United shows how Wagner is not just leading a club but a cause. Wagner has maintained Huddersfield's confidence this season Credit: Reuters Sam Wallace: Jurgen Klopp (Liverpool) Net spend: -£28m Points per game:2.05 Points per pound: 2.15 Average goals scored: 2.38 It is hard to think of many Champions League semi-finalists who sold their best player midway through a season. Of course, Philippe Coutinho, had he stayed, might no longer be Liverpool’s best player but then that would be more to do with the bullseye aim of the club in the transfer market in recent windows, and their manager’s pursuit of improvement. Klopp’s net spend at Anfield is negligible. He came to Liverpool with a clear idea of how he wanted to play but rather than chuck out one group of players and start afresh he has, on the whole, coached his way through it. Tactically, he seems to get better with every season. He has made the occasional misjudgement but is a man given to apologising when he realises he has erred. He knows football from both ends, life as the European super-coach and also as the penniless Bundesliga 2 centre-half. It gives him perspective and the courage to follow his convictions - and how that is paying off. Klopp exclusive interview Jim White: Sean Dyche (Burnley) Net spend: -£12.3m Points per pound: 1.69 Points per game: 1.57 Average goals scored: 0.94 What Sean Dyche has done at Turf Moor this season is remarkable. It is not simply that he has taken Burnley to the brink of European qualification, playing smart football along the way, his personal approach one of charm, optimism and good humour. Though all that would be qualification enough. What he has done that is so different is completely to reverse the brutal economic laws of the modern game, establishing a club with a budget that wouldn’t look out of place in League One at the heart of the Premier League. This is the lightweight slugging it out among the heavyweights. And frequently coming away with a knock out. Sean Dyche's Burnley squad have been punching above their weight Credit: Mark Robinson Jeremy Wilson: Eddie Howe (Bournemouth) Net spend:£11.95m Points per pound: 3.1 Points per game: 1.11 Goals per game: 1.25 Had this been Bournemouth’s first season back in the Premier League, people would have been queuing up to outline Eddie Howe’s credentials for manager of the year. As it is their third, his achievements seem now almost to be taken for granted, even though consistently repeating success for a club on Bournemouth’s budget only gets progressively harder. It is remarkable that Bournemouth could yet clinch a second successive top-half finish on a wage bill and turnover that is still a fraction of most of their competitors, including Newcastle where Rafael Benitez is more vocally lauded for his work, and with an attacking, passing style that has never been compromised. Attention spans in football can be short – and we do very quickly move on to the next big flavour of the moment - but Howe’s Bournemouth have never stopped punching far above their natural resources. Bournemouth could yet clinch a second successive top-half finish Credit: Reuters
Jason Burt: Pep Guardiola (Man City) Net spend:£174.6m Points per game: 2.63 Points per pound: 3.1* Average goals per game: 2.6 One of the key criteria for selecting manager of the season is how best he uses his resources. Some might argue that rules out Pep Guardiola. In fact the Manchester City manager has used the vast financial backing he has at his disposal superbly. He has overhauled an ageing squad, he has brought in exciting young players and he has improved those he inherited. No-one could argue that the likes of David Silva, Raheem Sterling, Nicolas Otamendi and, yes, Fabian Delph are not better under Guardiola. But it goes beyond that. It goes to the heart of the football being played. Guardiola has raised the bar for the rest of the Premier League. City are playing such an exciting, attacking progressive football. There has not been a disappointing match all season. Not one. They are a joy to watch. A lesson to everyone. Man City player ratings for title-winning season Luke Edwards: Rafa Benitez (Newcastle) Net spend:£10.25m Points per game: 1.24 Points per pound: 1.13 Average goals per game: 1.1 To put Rafa Benitez’s success at Newcastle into context you have to understand he has not only spent less than Brighton and Huddersfield, he is on course to secure the club only their third top 10 finish since Mike Ashley became owner in 2007. To do so with a squad that relied solely on loan signings in January, because the board refused to spend on transfer fees, and the same core group of players who played in the Championship, is testimony to his skill on the training pitch. But the job Benitez has done is about more than just improving a football team. He has rebuilt a football club, re-bonded supporters with the players, overhauled the scouting system, and raised standards in every aspect of the business. For the first time in more than a decade, when you hear Newcastle mentioned you think of his class as manager and a brave, hardworking team that cares about the shirt, not the crass, arrogant and blundering Ashley. Benitez has re-bonded Newcastle's supporters with the players Credit: Getty Images Matt Law: Roy Hodgson (Crystal Palace) Net spend:£9m Points per game: 1.13 Points per pound: N/A Average goals scored: 1.21 No points, no goals and no hope. That was what Roy Hodgson was facing when he took over at Crystal Palace in September. Hodgson also had to deal with the fact that he had been unfairly written off by those who could not bring themselves to look past the 2016 European Championships. Sure, England’s defeat to Iceland was a terrible moment, but it was just that - a moment - and the 70-year-old is proving once again what a skilled manager he is. He has lifted Palace clear of the relegation zone, despite long injuries to key players and a difficult January transfer window. Palace and Hodgson just feel like a really good fit. He understands the locals and the high-tempo brand of football they react to, and they appreciate his affinity to the club. Hodgson’s long career should never have been defined by the Euros and his work at Palace is reminding even his critics of that. Hodgson is a good fit for Palace Credit: Getty Images Rob Bagchi: David Wagner Net spend:£44.5m Points per pound: 0.71 Points per game: 1.02 Average goals scored: 0.92 David Wagner will have to keep Huddersfield Town up to be a credible contender but if he does, as seems likely, he deserves boundless praise for achieving safety with the Premier League's weakest squad. Wagner has maintained the coherence and confidence of his promotion-winning side and the high tempo intensity of their pressing that marked them out last year was harnessed to give them their lightning start. After opponents began to suss them out and stymie Town's whirling, dynamic counter-attacking with their greater individual quality, Wagner still managed to deploy his full-backs and wingers to create the space to stretch teams and use Aaron Mooy and Alex Pritchard to exploit it. Victories and goals have been scarce but their knack of beating strugglers when it matters is testament to their pluck and belief. Regular defeats have also not dispirited them. The resolve and raucous support that earned them that unforgettable victory over Manchester United shows how Wagner is not just leading a club but a cause. Wagner has maintained Huddersfield's confidence this season Credit: Reuters Sam Wallace: Jurgen Klopp (Liverpool) Net spend: -£28m Points per game:2.05 Points per pound: 2.15 Average goals scored: 2.38 It is hard to think of many Champions League semi-finalists who sold their best player midway through a season. Of course, Philippe Coutinho, had he stayed, might no longer be Liverpool’s best player but then that would be more to do with the bullseye aim of the club in the transfer market in recent windows, and their manager’s pursuit of improvement. Klopp’s net spend at Anfield is negligible. He came to Liverpool with a clear idea of how he wanted to play but rather than chuck out one group of players and start afresh he has, on the whole, coached his way through it. Tactically, he seems to get better with every season. He has made the occasional misjudgement but is a man given to apologising when he realises he has erred. He knows football from both ends, life as the European super-coach and also as the penniless Bundesliga 2 centre-half. It gives him perspective and the courage to follow his convictions - and how that is paying off. Klopp exclusive interview Jim White: Sean Dyche (Burnley) Net spend: -£12.3m Points per pound: 1.69 Points per game: 1.57 Average goals scored: 0.94 What Sean Dyche has done at Turf Moor this season is remarkable. It is not simply that he has taken Burnley to the brink of European qualification, playing smart football along the way, his personal approach one of charm, optimism and good humour. Though all that would be qualification enough. What he has done that is so different is completely to reverse the brutal economic laws of the modern game, establishing a club with a budget that wouldn’t look out of place in League One at the heart of the Premier League. This is the lightweight slugging it out among the heavyweights. And frequently coming away with a knock out. Sean Dyche's Burnley squad have been punching above their weight Credit: Mark Robinson Jeremy Wilson: Eddie Howe (Bournemouth) Net spend:£11.95m Points per pound: 3.1 Points per game: 1.11 Goals per game: 1.25 Had this been Bournemouth’s first season back in the Premier League, people would have been queuing up to outline Eddie Howe’s credentials for manager of the year. As it is their third, his achievements seem now almost to be taken for granted, even though consistently repeating success for a club on Bournemouth’s budget only gets progressively harder. It is remarkable that Bournemouth could yet clinch a second successive top-half finish on a wage bill and turnover that is still a fraction of most of their competitors, including Newcastle where Rafael Benitez is more vocally lauded for his work, and with an attacking, passing style that has never been compromised. Attention spans in football can be short – and we do very quickly move on to the next big flavour of the moment - but Howe’s Bournemouth have never stopped punching far above their natural resources. Bournemouth could yet clinch a second successive top-half finish Credit: Reuters
Who is your Premier League manager of the year? Our writers have their say
Jason Burt: Pep Guardiola (Man City) Net spend:£174.6m Points per game: 2.63 Points per pound: 3.1* Average goals per game: 2.6 One of the key criteria for selecting manager of the season is how best he uses his resources. Some might argue that rules out Pep Guardiola. In fact the Manchester City manager has used the vast financial backing he has at his disposal superbly. He has overhauled an ageing squad, he has brought in exciting young players and he has improved those he inherited. No-one could argue that the likes of David Silva, Raheem Sterling, Nicolas Otamendi and, yes, Fabian Delph are not better under Guardiola. But it goes beyond that. It goes to the heart of the football being played. Guardiola has raised the bar for the rest of the Premier League. City are playing such an exciting, attacking progressive football. There has not been a disappointing match all season. Not one. They are a joy to watch. A lesson to everyone. Man City player ratings for title-winning season Luke Edwards: Rafa Benitez (Newcastle) Net spend:£10.25m Points per game: 1.24 Points per pound: 1.13 Average goals per game: 1.1 To put Rafa Benitez’s success at Newcastle into context you have to understand he has not only spent less than Brighton and Huddersfield, he is on course to secure the club only their third top 10 finish since Mike Ashley became owner in 2007. To do so with a squad that relied solely on loan signings in January, because the board refused to spend on transfer fees, and the same core group of players who played in the Championship, is testimony to his skill on the training pitch. But the job Benitez has done is about more than just improving a football team. He has rebuilt a football club, re-bonded supporters with the players, overhauled the scouting system, and raised standards in every aspect of the business. For the first time in more than a decade, when you hear Newcastle mentioned you think of his class as manager and a brave, hardworking team that cares about the shirt, not the crass, arrogant and blundering Ashley. Benitez has re-bonded Newcastle's supporters with the players Credit: Getty Images Matt Law: Roy Hodgson (Crystal Palace) Net spend:£9m Points per game: 1.13 Points per pound: N/A Average goals scored: 1.21 No points, no goals and no hope. That was what Roy Hodgson was facing when he took over at Crystal Palace in September. Hodgson also had to deal with the fact that he had been unfairly written off by those who could not bring themselves to look past the 2016 European Championships. Sure, England’s defeat to Iceland was a terrible moment, but it was just that - a moment - and the 70-year-old is proving once again what a skilled manager he is. He has lifted Palace clear of the relegation zone, despite long injuries to key players and a difficult January transfer window. Palace and Hodgson just feel like a really good fit. He understands the locals and the high-tempo brand of football they react to, and they appreciate his affinity to the club. Hodgson’s long career should never have been defined by the Euros and his work at Palace is reminding even his critics of that. Hodgson is a good fit for Palace Credit: Getty Images Rob Bagchi: David Wagner Net spend:£44.5m Points per pound: 0.71 Points per game: 1.02 Average goals scored: 0.92 David Wagner will have to keep Huddersfield Town up to be a credible contender but if he does, as seems likely, he deserves boundless praise for achieving safety with the Premier League's weakest squad. Wagner has maintained the coherence and confidence of his promotion-winning side and the high tempo intensity of their pressing that marked them out last year was harnessed to give them their lightning start. After opponents began to suss them out and stymie Town's whirling, dynamic counter-attacking with their greater individual quality, Wagner still managed to deploy his full-backs and wingers to create the space to stretch teams and use Aaron Mooy and Alex Pritchard to exploit it. Victories and goals have been scarce but their knack of beating strugglers when it matters is testament to their pluck and belief. Regular defeats have also not dispirited them. The resolve and raucous support that earned them that unforgettable victory over Manchester United shows how Wagner is not just leading a club but a cause. Wagner has maintained Huddersfield's confidence this season Credit: Reuters Sam Wallace: Jurgen Klopp (Liverpool) Net spend: -£28m Points per game:2.05 Points per pound: 2.15 Average goals scored: 2.38 It is hard to think of many Champions League semi-finalists who sold their best player midway through a season. Of course, Philippe Coutinho, had he stayed, might no longer be Liverpool’s best player but then that would be more to do with the bullseye aim of the club in the transfer market in recent windows, and their manager’s pursuit of improvement. Klopp’s net spend at Anfield is negligible. He came to Liverpool with a clear idea of how he wanted to play but rather than chuck out one group of players and start afresh he has, on the whole, coached his way through it. Tactically, he seems to get better with every season. He has made the occasional misjudgement but is a man given to apologising when he realises he has erred. He knows football from both ends, life as the European super-coach and also as the penniless Bundesliga 2 centre-half. It gives him perspective and the courage to follow his convictions - and how that is paying off. Klopp exclusive interview Jim White: Sean Dyche (Burnley) Net spend: -£12.3m Points per pound: 1.69 Points per game: 1.57 Average goals scored: 0.94 What Sean Dyche has done at Turf Moor this season is remarkable. It is not simply that he has taken Burnley to the brink of European qualification, playing smart football along the way, his personal approach one of charm, optimism and good humour. Though all that would be qualification enough. What he has done that is so different is completely to reverse the brutal economic laws of the modern game, establishing a club with a budget that wouldn’t look out of place in League One at the heart of the Premier League. This is the lightweight slugging it out among the heavyweights. And frequently coming away with a knock out. Sean Dyche's Burnley squad have been punching above their weight Credit: Mark Robinson Jeremy Wilson: Eddie Howe (Bournemouth) Net spend:£11.95m Points per pound: 3.1 Points per game: 1.11 Goals per game: 1.25 Had this been Bournemouth’s first season back in the Premier League, people would have been queuing up to outline Eddie Howe’s credentials for manager of the year. As it is their third, his achievements seem now almost to be taken for granted, even though consistently repeating success for a club on Bournemouth’s budget only gets progressively harder. It is remarkable that Bournemouth could yet clinch a second successive top-half finish on a wage bill and turnover that is still a fraction of most of their competitors, including Newcastle where Rafael Benitez is more vocally lauded for his work, and with an attacking, passing style that has never been compromised. Attention spans in football can be short – and we do very quickly move on to the next big flavour of the moment - but Howe’s Bournemouth have never stopped punching far above their natural resources. Bournemouth could yet clinch a second successive top-half finish Credit: Reuters
Jason Burt: Pep Guardiola (Man City) Net spend:£174.6m Points per game: 2.63 Points per pound: 3.1* Average goals per game: 2.6 One of the key criteria for selecting manager of the season is how best he uses his resources. Some might argue that rules out Pep Guardiola. In fact the Manchester City manager has used the vast financial backing he has at his disposal superbly. He has overhauled an ageing squad, he has brought in exciting young players and he has improved those he inherited. No-one could argue that the likes of David Silva, Raheem Sterling, Nicolas Otamendi and, yes, Fabian Delph are not better under Guardiola. But it goes beyond that. It goes to the heart of the football being played. Guardiola has raised the bar for the rest of the Premier League. City are playing such an exciting, attacking progressive football. There has not been a disappointing match all season. Not one. They are a joy to watch. A lesson to everyone. Man City player ratings for title-winning season Luke Edwards: Rafa Benitez (Newcastle) Net spend:£10.25m Points per game: 1.24 Points per pound: 1.13 Average goals per game: 1.1 To put Rafa Benitez’s success at Newcastle into context you have to understand he has not only spent less than Brighton and Huddersfield, he is on course to secure the club only their third top 10 finish since Mike Ashley became owner in 2007. To do so with a squad that relied solely on loan signings in January, because the board refused to spend on transfer fees, and the same core group of players who played in the Championship, is testimony to his skill on the training pitch. But the job Benitez has done is about more than just improving a football team. He has rebuilt a football club, re-bonded supporters with the players, overhauled the scouting system, and raised standards in every aspect of the business. For the first time in more than a decade, when you hear Newcastle mentioned you think of his class as manager and a brave, hardworking team that cares about the shirt, not the crass, arrogant and blundering Ashley. Benitez has re-bonded Newcastle's supporters with the players Credit: Getty Images Matt Law: Roy Hodgson (Crystal Palace) Net spend:£9m Points per game: 1.13 Points per pound: N/A Average goals scored: 1.21 No points, no goals and no hope. That was what Roy Hodgson was facing when he took over at Crystal Palace in September. Hodgson also had to deal with the fact that he had been unfairly written off by those who could not bring themselves to look past the 2016 European Championships. Sure, England’s defeat to Iceland was a terrible moment, but it was just that - a moment - and the 70-year-old is proving once again what a skilled manager he is. He has lifted Palace clear of the relegation zone, despite long injuries to key players and a difficult January transfer window. Palace and Hodgson just feel like a really good fit. He understands the locals and the high-tempo brand of football they react to, and they appreciate his affinity to the club. Hodgson’s long career should never have been defined by the Euros and his work at Palace is reminding even his critics of that. Hodgson is a good fit for Palace Credit: Getty Images Rob Bagchi: David Wagner Net spend:£44.5m Points per pound: 0.71 Points per game: 1.02 Average goals scored: 0.92 David Wagner will have to keep Huddersfield Town up to be a credible contender but if he does, as seems likely, he deserves boundless praise for achieving safety with the Premier League's weakest squad. Wagner has maintained the coherence and confidence of his promotion-winning side and the high tempo intensity of their pressing that marked them out last year was harnessed to give them their lightning start. After opponents began to suss them out and stymie Town's whirling, dynamic counter-attacking with their greater individual quality, Wagner still managed to deploy his full-backs and wingers to create the space to stretch teams and use Aaron Mooy and Alex Pritchard to exploit it. Victories and goals have been scarce but their knack of beating strugglers when it matters is testament to their pluck and belief. Regular defeats have also not dispirited them. The resolve and raucous support that earned them that unforgettable victory over Manchester United shows how Wagner is not just leading a club but a cause. Wagner has maintained Huddersfield's confidence this season Credit: Reuters Sam Wallace: Jurgen Klopp (Liverpool) Net spend: -£28m Points per game:2.05 Points per pound: 2.15 Average goals scored: 2.38 It is hard to think of many Champions League semi-finalists who sold their best player midway through a season. Of course, Philippe Coutinho, had he stayed, might no longer be Liverpool’s best player but then that would be more to do with the bullseye aim of the club in the transfer market in recent windows, and their manager’s pursuit of improvement. Klopp’s net spend at Anfield is negligible. He came to Liverpool with a clear idea of how he wanted to play but rather than chuck out one group of players and start afresh he has, on the whole, coached his way through it. Tactically, he seems to get better with every season. He has made the occasional misjudgement but is a man given to apologising when he realises he has erred. He knows football from both ends, life as the European super-coach and also as the penniless Bundesliga 2 centre-half. It gives him perspective and the courage to follow his convictions - and how that is paying off. Klopp exclusive interview Jim White: Sean Dyche (Burnley) Net spend: -£12.3m Points per pound: 1.69 Points per game: 1.57 Average goals scored: 0.94 What Sean Dyche has done at Turf Moor this season is remarkable. It is not simply that he has taken Burnley to the brink of European qualification, playing smart football along the way, his personal approach one of charm, optimism and good humour. Though all that would be qualification enough. What he has done that is so different is completely to reverse the brutal economic laws of the modern game, establishing a club with a budget that wouldn’t look out of place in League One at the heart of the Premier League. This is the lightweight slugging it out among the heavyweights. And frequently coming away with a knock out. Sean Dyche's Burnley squad have been punching above their weight Credit: Mark Robinson Jeremy Wilson: Eddie Howe (Bournemouth) Net spend:£11.95m Points per pound: 3.1 Points per game: 1.11 Goals per game: 1.25 Had this been Bournemouth’s first season back in the Premier League, people would have been queuing up to outline Eddie Howe’s credentials for manager of the year. As it is their third, his achievements seem now almost to be taken for granted, even though consistently repeating success for a club on Bournemouth’s budget only gets progressively harder. It is remarkable that Bournemouth could yet clinch a second successive top-half finish on a wage bill and turnover that is still a fraction of most of their competitors, including Newcastle where Rafael Benitez is more vocally lauded for his work, and with an attacking, passing style that has never been compromised. Attention spans in football can be short – and we do very quickly move on to the next big flavour of the moment - but Howe’s Bournemouth have never stopped punching far above their natural resources. Bournemouth could yet clinch a second successive top-half finish Credit: Reuters
Who is your Premier League manager of the year? Our writers have their say
Jason Burt: Pep Guardiola (Man City) Net spend:£174.6m Points per game: 2.63 Points per pound: 3.1* Average goals per game: 2.6 One of the key criteria for selecting manager of the season is how best he uses his resources. Some might argue that rules out Pep Guardiola. In fact the Manchester City manager has used the vast financial backing he has at his disposal superbly. He has overhauled an ageing squad, he has brought in exciting young players and he has improved those he inherited. No-one could argue that the likes of David Silva, Raheem Sterling, Nicolas Otamendi and, yes, Fabian Delph are not better under Guardiola. But it goes beyond that. It goes to the heart of the football being played. Guardiola has raised the bar for the rest of the Premier League. City are playing such an exciting, attacking progressive football. There has not been a disappointing match all season. Not one. They are a joy to watch. A lesson to everyone. Man City player ratings for title-winning season Luke Edwards: Rafa Benitez (Newcastle) Net spend:£10.25m Points per game: 1.24 Points per pound: 1.13 Average goals per game: 1.1 To put Rafa Benitez’s success at Newcastle into context you have to understand he has not only spent less than Brighton and Huddersfield, he is on course to secure the club only their third top 10 finish since Mike Ashley became owner in 2007. To do so with a squad that relied solely on loan signings in January, because the board refused to spend on transfer fees, and the same core group of players who played in the Championship, is testimony to his skill on the training pitch. But the job Benitez has done is about more than just improving a football team. He has rebuilt a football club, re-bonded supporters with the players, overhauled the scouting system, and raised standards in every aspect of the business. For the first time in more than a decade, when you hear Newcastle mentioned you think of his class as manager and a brave, hardworking team that cares about the shirt, not the crass, arrogant and blundering Ashley. Benitez has re-bonded Newcastle's supporters with the players Credit: Getty Images Matt Law: Roy Hodgson (Crystal Palace) Net spend:£9m Points per game: 1.13 Points per pound: N/A Average goals scored: 1.21 No points, no goals and no hope. That was what Roy Hodgson was facing when he took over at Crystal Palace in September. Hodgson also had to deal with the fact that he had been unfairly written off by those who could not bring themselves to look past the 2016 European Championships. Sure, England’s defeat to Iceland was a terrible moment, but it was just that - a moment - and the 70-year-old is proving once again what a skilled manager he is. He has lifted Palace clear of the relegation zone, despite long injuries to key players and a difficult January transfer window. Palace and Hodgson just feel like a really good fit. He understands the locals and the high-tempo brand of football they react to, and they appreciate his affinity to the club. Hodgson’s long career should never have been defined by the Euros and his work at Palace is reminding even his critics of that. Hodgson is a good fit for Palace Credit: Getty Images Rob Bagchi: David Wagner Net spend:£44.5m Points per pound: 0.71 Points per game: 1.02 Average goals scored: 0.92 David Wagner will have to keep Huddersfield Town up to be a credible contender but if he does, as seems likely, he deserves boundless praise for achieving safety with the Premier League's weakest squad. Wagner has maintained the coherence and confidence of his promotion-winning side and the high tempo intensity of their pressing that marked them out last year was harnessed to give them their lightning start. After opponents began to suss them out and stymie Town's whirling, dynamic counter-attacking with their greater individual quality, Wagner still managed to deploy his full-backs and wingers to create the space to stretch teams and use Aaron Mooy and Alex Pritchard to exploit it. Victories and goals have been scarce but their knack of beating strugglers when it matters is testament to their pluck and belief. Regular defeats have also not dispirited them. The resolve and raucous support that earned them that unforgettable victory over Manchester United shows how Wagner is not just leading a club but a cause. Wagner has maintained Huddersfield's confidence this season Credit: Reuters Sam Wallace: Jurgen Klopp (Liverpool) Net spend: -£28m Points per game:2.05 Points per pound: 2.15 Average goals scored: 2.38 It is hard to think of many Champions League semi-finalists who sold their best player midway through a season. Of course, Philippe Coutinho, had he stayed, might no longer be Liverpool’s best player but then that would be more to do with the bullseye aim of the club in the transfer market in recent windows, and their manager’s pursuit of improvement. Klopp’s net spend at Anfield is negligible. He came to Liverpool with a clear idea of how he wanted to play but rather than chuck out one group of players and start afresh he has, on the whole, coached his way through it. Tactically, he seems to get better with every season. He has made the occasional misjudgement but is a man given to apologising when he realises he has erred. He knows football from both ends, life as the European super-coach and also as the penniless Bundesliga 2 centre-half. It gives him perspective and the courage to follow his convictions - and how that is paying off. Klopp exclusive interview Jim White: Sean Dyche (Burnley) Net spend: -£12.3m Points per pound: 1.69 Points per game: 1.57 Average goals scored: 0.94 What Sean Dyche has done at Turf Moor this season is remarkable. It is not simply that he has taken Burnley to the brink of European qualification, playing smart football along the way, his personal approach one of charm, optimism and good humour. Though all that would be qualification enough. What he has done that is so different is completely to reverse the brutal economic laws of the modern game, establishing a club with a budget that wouldn’t look out of place in League One at the heart of the Premier League. This is the lightweight slugging it out among the heavyweights. And frequently coming away with a knock out. Sean Dyche's Burnley squad have been punching above their weight Credit: Mark Robinson Jeremy Wilson: Eddie Howe (Bournemouth) Net spend:£11.95m Points per pound: 3.1 Points per game: 1.11 Goals per game: 1.25 Had this been Bournemouth’s first season back in the Premier League, people would have been queuing up to outline Eddie Howe’s credentials for manager of the year. As it is their third, his achievements seem now almost to be taken for granted, even though consistently repeating success for a club on Bournemouth’s budget only gets progressively harder. It is remarkable that Bournemouth could yet clinch a second successive top-half finish on a wage bill and turnover that is still a fraction of most of their competitors, including Newcastle where Rafael Benitez is more vocally lauded for his work, and with an attacking, passing style that has never been compromised. Attention spans in football can be short – and we do very quickly move on to the next big flavour of the moment - but Howe’s Bournemouth have never stopped punching far above their natural resources. Bournemouth could yet clinch a second successive top-half finish Credit: Reuters
Jason Burt: Pep Guardiola (Man City) Net spend:£174.6m Points per game: 2.63 Points per pound: 3.1* Average goals per game: 2.6 One of the key criteria for selecting manager of the season is how best he uses his resources. Some might argue that rules out Pep Guardiola. In fact the Manchester City manager has used the vast financial backing he has at his disposal superbly. He has overhauled an ageing squad, he has brought in exciting young players and he has improved those he inherited. No-one could argue that the likes of David Silva, Raheem Sterling, Nicolas Otamendi and, yes, Fabian Delph are not better under Guardiola. But it goes beyond that. It goes to the heart of the football being played. Guardiola has raised the bar for the rest of the Premier League. City are playing such an exciting, attacking progressive football. There has not been a disappointing match all season. Not one. They are a joy to watch. A lesson to everyone. Man City player ratings for title-winning season Luke Edwards: Rafa Benitez (Newcastle) Net spend:£10.25m Points per game: 1.24 Points per pound: 1.13 Average goals per game: 1.1 To put Rafa Benitez’s success at Newcastle into context you have to understand he has not only spent less than Brighton and Huddersfield, he is on course to secure the club only their third top 10 finish since Mike Ashley became owner in 2007. To do so with a squad that relied solely on loan signings in January, because the board refused to spend on transfer fees, and the same core group of players who played in the Championship, is testimony to his skill on the training pitch. But the job Benitez has done is about more than just improving a football team. He has rebuilt a football club, re-bonded supporters with the players, overhauled the scouting system, and raised standards in every aspect of the business. For the first time in more than a decade, when you hear Newcastle mentioned you think of his class as manager and a brave, hardworking team that cares about the shirt, not the crass, arrogant and blundering Ashley. Benitez has re-bonded Newcastle's supporters with the players Credit: Getty Images Matt Law: Roy Hodgson (Crystal Palace) Net spend:£9m Points per game: 1.13 Points per pound: N/A Average goals scored: 1.21 No points, no goals and no hope. That was what Roy Hodgson was facing when he took over at Crystal Palace in September. Hodgson also had to deal with the fact that he had been unfairly written off by those who could not bring themselves to look past the 2016 European Championships. Sure, England’s defeat to Iceland was a terrible moment, but it was just that - a moment - and the 70-year-old is proving once again what a skilled manager he is. He has lifted Palace clear of the relegation zone, despite long injuries to key players and a difficult January transfer window. Palace and Hodgson just feel like a really good fit. He understands the locals and the high-tempo brand of football they react to, and they appreciate his affinity to the club. Hodgson’s long career should never have been defined by the Euros and his work at Palace is reminding even his critics of that. Hodgson is a good fit for Palace Credit: Getty Images Rob Bagchi: David Wagner Net spend:£44.5m Points per pound: 0.71 Points per game: 1.02 Average goals scored: 0.92 David Wagner will have to keep Huddersfield Town up to be a credible contender but if he does, as seems likely, he deserves boundless praise for achieving safety with the Premier League's weakest squad. Wagner has maintained the coherence and confidence of his promotion-winning side and the high tempo intensity of their pressing that marked them out last year was harnessed to give them their lightning start. After opponents began to suss them out and stymie Town's whirling, dynamic counter-attacking with their greater individual quality, Wagner still managed to deploy his full-backs and wingers to create the space to stretch teams and use Aaron Mooy and Alex Pritchard to exploit it. Victories and goals have been scarce but their knack of beating strugglers when it matters is testament to their pluck and belief. Regular defeats have also not dispirited them. The resolve and raucous support that earned them that unforgettable victory over Manchester United shows how Wagner is not just leading a club but a cause. Wagner has maintained Huddersfield's confidence this season Credit: Reuters Sam Wallace: Jurgen Klopp (Liverpool) Net spend: -£28m Points per game:2.05 Points per pound: 2.15 Average goals scored: 2.38 It is hard to think of many Champions League semi-finalists who sold their best player midway through a season. Of course, Philippe Coutinho, had he stayed, might no longer be Liverpool’s best player but then that would be more to do with the bullseye aim of the club in the transfer market in recent windows, and their manager’s pursuit of improvement. Klopp’s net spend at Anfield is negligible. He came to Liverpool with a clear idea of how he wanted to play but rather than chuck out one group of players and start afresh he has, on the whole, coached his way through it. Tactically, he seems to get better with every season. He has made the occasional misjudgement but is a man given to apologising when he realises he has erred. He knows football from both ends, life as the European super-coach and also as the penniless Bundesliga 2 centre-half. It gives him perspective and the courage to follow his convictions - and how that is paying off. Klopp exclusive interview Jim White: Sean Dyche (Burnley) Net spend: -£12.3m Points per pound: 1.69 Points per game: 1.57 Average goals scored: 0.94 What Sean Dyche has done at Turf Moor this season is remarkable. It is not simply that he has taken Burnley to the brink of European qualification, playing smart football along the way, his personal approach one of charm, optimism and good humour. Though all that would be qualification enough. What he has done that is so different is completely to reverse the brutal economic laws of the modern game, establishing a club with a budget that wouldn’t look out of place in League One at the heart of the Premier League. This is the lightweight slugging it out among the heavyweights. And frequently coming away with a knock out. Sean Dyche's Burnley squad have been punching above their weight Credit: Mark Robinson Jeremy Wilson: Eddie Howe (Bournemouth) Net spend:£11.95m Points per pound: 3.1 Points per game: 1.11 Goals per game: 1.25 Had this been Bournemouth’s first season back in the Premier League, people would have been queuing up to outline Eddie Howe’s credentials for manager of the year. As it is their third, his achievements seem now almost to be taken for granted, even though consistently repeating success for a club on Bournemouth’s budget only gets progressively harder. It is remarkable that Bournemouth could yet clinch a second successive top-half finish on a wage bill and turnover that is still a fraction of most of their competitors, including Newcastle where Rafael Benitez is more vocally lauded for his work, and with an attacking, passing style that has never been compromised. Attention spans in football can be short – and we do very quickly move on to the next big flavour of the moment - but Howe’s Bournemouth have never stopped punching far above their natural resources. Bournemouth could yet clinch a second successive top-half finish Credit: Reuters
Who is your Premier League manager of the year? Our writers have their say
Jason Burt: Pep Guardiola (Man City) Net spend:£174.6m Points per game: 2.63 Points per pound: 3.1* Average goals per game: 2.6 One of the key criteria for selecting manager of the season is how best he uses his resources. Some might argue that rules out Pep Guardiola. In fact the Manchester City manager has used the vast financial backing he has at his disposal superbly. He has overhauled an ageing squad, he has brought in exciting young players and he has improved those he inherited. No-one could argue that the likes of David Silva, Raheem Sterling, Nicolas Otamendi and, yes, Fabian Delph are not better under Guardiola. But it goes beyond that. It goes to the heart of the football being played. Guardiola has raised the bar for the rest of the Premier League. City are playing such an exciting, attacking progressive football. There has not been a disappointing match all season. Not one. They are a joy to watch. A lesson to everyone. Man City player ratings for title-winning season Luke Edwards: Rafa Benitez (Newcastle) Net spend:£10.25m Points per game: 1.24 Points per pound: 1.13 Average goals per game: 1.1 To put Rafa Benitez’s success at Newcastle into context you have to understand he has not only spent less than Brighton and Huddersfield, he is on course to secure the club only their third top 10 finish since Mike Ashley became owner in 2007. To do so with a squad that relied solely on loan signings in January, because the board refused to spend on transfer fees, and the same core group of players who played in the Championship, is testimony to his skill on the training pitch. But the job Benitez has done is about more than just improving a football team. He has rebuilt a football club, re-bonded supporters with the players, overhauled the scouting system, and raised standards in every aspect of the business. For the first time in more than a decade, when you hear Newcastle mentioned you think of his class as manager and a brave, hardworking team that cares about the shirt, not the crass, arrogant and blundering Ashley. Benitez has re-bonded Newcastle's supporters with the players Credit: Getty Images Matt Law: Roy Hodgson (Crystal Palace) Net spend:£9m Points per game: 1.13 Points per pound: N/A Average goals scored: 1.21 No points, no goals and no hope. That was what Roy Hodgson was facing when he took over at Crystal Palace in September. Hodgson also had to deal with the fact that he had been unfairly written off by those who could not bring themselves to look past the 2016 European Championships. Sure, England’s defeat to Iceland was a terrible moment, but it was just that - a moment - and the 70-year-old is proving once again what a skilled manager he is. He has lifted Palace clear of the relegation zone, despite long injuries to key players and a difficult January transfer window. Palace and Hodgson just feel like a really good fit. He understands the locals and the high-tempo brand of football they react to, and they appreciate his affinity to the club. Hodgson’s long career should never have been defined by the Euros and his work at Palace is reminding even his critics of that. Hodgson is a good fit for Palace Credit: Getty Images Rob Bagchi: David Wagner Net spend:£44.5m Points per pound: 0.71 Points per game: 1.02 Average goals scored: 0.92 David Wagner will have to keep Huddersfield Town up to be a credible contender but if he does, as seems likely, he deserves boundless praise for achieving safety with the Premier League's weakest squad. Wagner has maintained the coherence and confidence of his promotion-winning side and the high tempo intensity of their pressing that marked them out last year was harnessed to give them their lightning start. After opponents began to suss them out and stymie Town's whirling, dynamic counter-attacking with their greater individual quality, Wagner still managed to deploy his full-backs and wingers to create the space to stretch teams and use Aaron Mooy and Alex Pritchard to exploit it. Victories and goals have been scarce but their knack of beating strugglers when it matters is testament to their pluck and belief. Regular defeats have also not dispirited them. The resolve and raucous support that earned them that unforgettable victory over Manchester United shows how Wagner is not just leading a club but a cause. Wagner has maintained Huddersfield's confidence this season Credit: Reuters Sam Wallace: Jurgen Klopp (Liverpool) Net spend: -£28m Points per game:2.05 Points per pound: 2.15 Average goals scored: 2.38 It is hard to think of many Champions League semi-finalists who sold their best player midway through a season. Of course, Philippe Coutinho, had he stayed, might no longer be Liverpool’s best player but then that would be more to do with the bullseye aim of the club in the transfer market in recent windows, and their manager’s pursuit of improvement. Klopp’s net spend at Anfield is negligible. He came to Liverpool with a clear idea of how he wanted to play but rather than chuck out one group of players and start afresh he has, on the whole, coached his way through it. Tactically, he seems to get better with every season. He has made the occasional misjudgement but is a man given to apologising when he realises he has erred. He knows football from both ends, life as the European super-coach and also as the penniless Bundesliga 2 centre-half. It gives him perspective and the courage to follow his convictions - and how that is paying off. Klopp exclusive interview Jim White: Sean Dyche (Burnley) Net spend: -£12.3m Points per pound: 1.69 Points per game: 1.57 Average goals scored: 0.94 What Sean Dyche has done at Turf Moor this season is remarkable. It is not simply that he has taken Burnley to the brink of European qualification, playing smart football along the way, his personal approach one of charm, optimism and good humour. Though all that would be qualification enough. What he has done that is so different is completely to reverse the brutal economic laws of the modern game, establishing a club with a budget that wouldn’t look out of place in League One at the heart of the Premier League. This is the lightweight slugging it out among the heavyweights. And frequently coming away with a knock out. Sean Dyche's Burnley squad have been punching above their weight Credit: Mark Robinson Jeremy Wilson: Eddie Howe (Bournemouth) Net spend:£11.95m Points per pound: 3.1 Points per game: 1.11 Goals per game: 1.25 Had this been Bournemouth’s first season back in the Premier League, people would have been queuing up to outline Eddie Howe’s credentials for manager of the year. As it is their third, his achievements seem now almost to be taken for granted, even though consistently repeating success for a club on Bournemouth’s budget only gets progressively harder. It is remarkable that Bournemouth could yet clinch a second successive top-half finish on a wage bill and turnover that is still a fraction of most of their competitors, including Newcastle where Rafael Benitez is more vocally lauded for his work, and with an attacking, passing style that has never been compromised. Attention spans in football can be short – and we do very quickly move on to the next big flavour of the moment - but Howe’s Bournemouth have never stopped punching far above their natural resources. Bournemouth could yet clinch a second successive top-half finish Credit: Reuters
Soccer Football - Premier League - Brighton & Hove Albion vs Tottenham Hotspur - The American Express Community Stadium, Brighton, Britain - April 17, 2018 Brighton's Bruno Saltor salutes their fans after the match Action Images via Reuters/Matthew Childs
Premier League - Brighton & Hove Albion vs Tottenham Hotspur
Soccer Football - Premier League - Brighton & Hove Albion vs Tottenham Hotspur - The American Express Community Stadium, Brighton, Britain - April 17, 2018 Brighton's Bruno Saltor salutes their fans after the match Action Images via Reuters/Matthew Childs

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