Why Arsenal might consider Eddie Howe as the next manager

By Tony Attwood

Here is a list of the Premier League clubs that have won the Premier League, plus two that are conventionally included in the “big six” list but who have not won the Premier League at all.

In the second column we see the number of managers they have had, then how many times they have won the league and then finally how many managers they have had who have survived over one year.

Club Total PL managers Titles PL Managers  lasting over 1 year
Arsenal 8 3 4
Chelsea 22 5 8
Leicester  City 15 1 7
Liverpool 10 0 8
Manchester City 13 4 10
Manchester  United 6 13 3
Tottenham Hotspur 22 0 10

And what we can see is that over the long term, there is really not too much correlation between winning the league and how many managers one has.

Manchester United have had three permanent managers and Arsenal four.  Manchester United won the PL 13 times and Arsenal 3.   Then come Leicester with seven permanent managers and one title, and two clubs with eight permanent managers but very different records:  Chelsea have won the league five times and Liverpool none.

If we look at the total number of managers and not just those who stayed for over a year (which I call “permanent” for the sake of having a word to use) Chelsea and Tottenham look to be in the bonkers brigade with 22 managers (10 permanent for Tottenham and 8 for Chelsea).

But the difference between them in terms of titles is huge – 5-0 to Chelsea in terms of titles.  Indeed also Tottenham have had the same number of permanent managers as Manchester City (ten each) but Manchester City beat Tottenham 4-0 in terms of titles.

And just before I go on here is the list of Arsenal managers during the Premier League era.

Name From Until Duration
George Graham 14 May 1986 21 February 1995 3205
Stewart Houston 22 February 1995 8 June 1995 106
Bruce Rioch 8 June 1995 12 August 1996 431
Stewart Houston 12 August 1996 13 September 1996 32
Pat Rice 13 September 1996 30 September 1996 17
Arsène Wenger 1 October 1996 13 May 2018 7894
Unai Emery 23 May 2018 29 November 2019 555
Freddie Ljungberg 29 November 2019 Present 3

George Graham’s two titles don’t count in the previous analysis because I am only counting Premier League titles – it is an arbitrary decision, but with analyses like this you have to start somewhere.

All of which seems to show there is no link between managers and titles.   Except when we recall that sacking a manager generally leads to a decline in the club’s performance.

So in fact what we see if we go into the figures in more detail is that the general pattern is that clubs sack managers fairly quickly if they are not doing well, and then get onto the next manager, and the next.

Which is how Tottenham and Chelsea each knocked up 22 managers in the Premier League.  So how come Chelsea managed to win five titles to Tottenham’s nil?

This indicates to me that it is the ability of a club to deal with the aftermath of a manager who doesn’t make things happen, that is a key factor.

Clubs bring in a manager, and the manager doesn’t take the club to near the top of the league, so he gets sacked.  That costs money.  The manager’s contract has to be paid up (certainly if the manager is a man of experience and esteem), as do the contracts of the manager’s chosen staff.

And all that money has to be calculated before the club has spent a penny buying in the new players that the new managers want.

Now Tottenham have been well known for being fairly parsimonious with their money, except perhaps when they spent the money they had made on Bale and went nowhere fast.  So in their case (and of course I am generalising here) the new manager they get is told, actually there is not that much money to spend on new players.

This is the opposite of Chelsea who this year have been experiencing for the first time in their Russian era what it is like not to spend money all day long.

Money for new players clearly is not an absolute guarantee of success, but the figures above indicate that money in the hands of a manager who really can spot potential players who are worth buying, can make a difference.

Chelsea, like Manchester City more recently, have had access to such huge amounts of capital that they have been able to buy virtually anyone they like.  And if that player doesn’t deliver, he can be ditched and another player brought in.

So, it seems, the notion of changing managers over and over can work, if it is accompanied by endless supplies of the readies.  But when that cash is not there, then times can be much harder.  It doesn’t mean you can’t do well in the League without endless cash – but it is harder to do, and very hard to maintain.

This suggests that the prime question to ask at the present moment is, “Will the Arsenal owners give the next manager a vast pot of money to shape his own team?”  The answer to that question will tell us quite a lot about how things are going to go in the coming months and years.

If they want a manager who is not a big spender, I think we might add Eddie Howe of Bournemouth to the list of possible incoming managers.  If it all comes down to the smallness of the amount of money available, he could be the best bet.

4 Replies to “Why Arsenal might consider Eddie Howe as the next manager”

  1. I have nothing against Eddie Howe, but I don’t see how he would be preferable to Freddie Ljungberg.

  2. Take your point, and Worth consideration, he wasn’t great at Burnley, but perhaps doing the best that can be expected at Bournemouth.
    But would like to see Freddie given a true chance , maybe Arteta?
    This team does have some good players, but I suspect the deficiencies are going to need a lot of coaching, or a lot of spending no matter who the manager is

  3. Really? But Eddie Howe managed AFC Bournemouth have recently lost 2 back to backs Premier League matches away to Tottenham Hotspur last Saturday and today at home to Crystal Palace. Hmmm.

  4. OT
    I see reports that Wenger has said the Epl referees should be using the pitchside VAR monitors during the recent IFAB meeting.if true that would be a welcome development and i hope it will put the Pigmob in the spotlight with their sham VARlite version.

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