The Number Cruncher: Brendan Rodgers a deserving recipient of Manager of the Year

Better than Pulis? The numbers would have it...
Better than Pulis? The numbers would have it...

Brendan Rodgers was this week awarded the LMA Manager of the Year - voted by all 92 managers - with Tony Pulis getting the Premier League award (voted by top flight bosses). In his final Premier League column of the season, Andrew Atherley crunches the numbers to show why the Liverpool man deserved both accolades...

"The figures show he did a better job in taking Liverpool to second place in the Premier League, and almost the title, than Tony Pulis achieved by staving off relegation with Crystal Palace."

Brendan Rodgers was a deserving winner of the League Managers' Association's (LMA) manager of the year award and should have been hailed as the best Premier League boss too - and here's why.

The figures show he did a better job in taking Liverpool to second place in the Premier League, and almost the title, than Tony Pulis achieved by staving off relegation with Crystal Palace.

There was intense argument about the award both before and after the LMA ceremony on Monday evening, especially as there was the odd situation of Rodgers receiving the overall award but Pulis being named Premier League manager of the year.

Against that background, it seemed a good idea to try to put some numbers to the debate.

Here's the methodology: every team in the Premier League was analysed by comparing their final total with their pre-season points expectation (calculated from various sources, such as the Premier League handicap market).

Not as an absolute points gain (or loss) but as a proportion of the points (above expectation) available to them. That would show which teams did better, or worse, than they were expected to, and by definition which managers did a better job.

The top six scorers using the proportional calculation were: Liverpool +40, Everton +31 (a round of applause please for Roberto Martinez), Crystal Palace +17, Southampton +16, Manchester City +15 (yes, Manuel Pellegrini did a pretty good job too) and Arsenal +15 (Monsieur Wenger, take a small bow).

But the Palace figure was calculated over the course of the entire season, so the question remained of whether Pulis did a better job than Rodgers after taking over at Selhurst Park in November. By then, after a dire start, Palace's points expectation had plummeted, so a further calculation was performed to compare that figure against Palace's final points total.

As you would expect, Palace's comparative figure rose considerably to +38 under the new boss, which took Pulis past Martinez but fell short (though not by much) of the Rodgers figure.

One final point: the calculations also show Manchester United as the joint-second-worst performers against expectation in the Premier League, with a figure of -19 (only Fulham, -24, were worse). The figure was exactly the same at the time of David Moyes' sacking, which shows what a bad job he did in his brief reign at Old Trafford.

Liverpool are trading at 7.87/1 to win the 2014/15 Premier League

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