Five men have been nominated for September’s Barclay Premier League Manager of the Month award:
- Mikel Arteta (Arsenal)
- Jurgen Klopp (Liverpool)
- Pep Guardiola (Man City)
- Dean Smith (Aston Villa)
- Graham Potter (Brighton)
The winner won’t be revealed for some time yet. But as we did with September’s Player of the Month nominees, our staffers are sharing their opinions on which gaffer deserves the prize.
Hear their perspectives, then cast your own vote in our poll!
With his job seemingly in jeopardy only a matter of weeks ago, it is perhaps surprising that we find Mikel Arteta on the shortlist for September’s MOTM. A stunning opening-day defeat to newly-promoted Brentford was followed by losses to Chelsea and Man City. Arsenal conceded nine goals across the three games while scoring zero, which had fans and pundits calling for Arteta’s head.
But Arteta promptly righted the ship (albeit with the help of a favorable turn of fixtures and multiple returns from injury), and went undefeated across all competitions in September, culminating in a 3-1 trouncing of Tottenham in the North London Derby.
Of course, none of that changes the fact that the Gunners are still outside the top ten, and it remains to be seen whether their recent form is a new normal or merely an aberration. But no other EPL manager collected full points from every one of September’s matches. So as implausible as it would have seemed only a month ago, Arteta is my Manager of the Month for September.
If we are looking solely at September, it’s Mikel Arteta for me: three games, three wins... Three goals against Spurs... Two clean sheets and only one goal-against. These were games that needed wins, not just draws; Arteta and company came through.
The Gunners have a lot of work to do, but Arteta showed that he can get results with the players he has. He has found a back line that is working with new goalie Aaron Ramsdale even though he needs to find a way to score more goals.
If Brighton had beaten Crystal Palace, then Graham Potter might have jumped Arteta (but only might have). The Seagulls deserve to be where they are. Potter has his team playing together and well. Full props to him.
- Mikel Arteta (Arsenal) - Much needed 1-0 wins against Norwich and Burnley and a season-changing(possibly) 3-1 win against bitter rivals Spurs
- Jurgen Klopp (Liverpool) - Comfortable 3-0 wins against Leeds and Crystal Palace, followed by a not-so-comfortable 3-3 draw at Brentford.
- Pep Guardiola (Man City) - A disappointing 0-0 draw with Southampton spoiled the party, in a month where the citizens clinched important 1-0 victories against Leicester and title rivals Chelsea.
- Dean Smith (Aston Villa) - Recovered well from the 3-0 drubbing by Chelsea earlier in the month to beat Everton (3-0) and title favorites Man United (1-0).
- Graham Potter (Brighton) - After a solid start to the month, beating Everton (2-0) and Leicester (2-1), the draw against Crystal Palace will be a slight mood dampener for the Seagulls as a victory there would have put them level on points with table-toppers Chelsea. Potter has done a brilliant job to put Brighton within touching distance from the top spot.
For the fantastic turnaround and the 100 % win record, Mikel Arteta is my pick for the September manager of the month award. A month ago, Arteta’s sacking seemed imminent, but the Spaniard has made bold changes (The decision to bench Leno for Ramsdale in particular) that have paid off very well for the Gunners. Pep Guardiola takes the #2 spot as the Man City manager finally broke his 3-match losing streak against Tuchel’s Chelsea. Dean Smith bags the bronze medal for his giant-killing instincts that propelled Aston Villa to a thrilling 1-0 win at Old Trafford.
Graham Potter takes this award for me. I understand the Mikel Arteta praise, and the Arsenal win against Spurs was convincing, but wins against Norwich and Burnley don’t mean the club direction has suddenly changed. Potter continues to show his squad believes in his defensive tactics (tied for second-stingiest in the Premier league with only five goals allowed) while also improving on sealing actual wins. Closing the month with a draw versus an improved Crystal Palace team isn’t a dealbreaker for me, and a win against an exciting Brentford group that drew with Liverpool recently is enough to make the case for manager of the month of September.
For me, the manager of the month of September is between just two candidates, Arsenal's Mikel Arteta and Brighton's Graham Potter. Potter has performed magic with the way Brighton is confidently going about matches this season. Last season the Seagulls were accused of creating chances but failing to put them away. This season they’ve corrected that by becoming more effective in the final third of the pitch. They also have an impressive defensive record, conceding only five goals.
Mikel Arteta on the other hand has overseen some sort of resurrection by the Arsenal squad after losing the first three games. With Arteta's job seemingly on the line, the Gunners have bounced back to win the next three of three. The Gunners didn't just win by scoring goals, they also played tight at the back, conceding just once in those three matches.
Considering the feats performed by these two during the month, I will select Arteta as my September Manager of the month for succeeding while under threat of losing his job.
I vote for Graham Potter, working with an unfashionable team on a lower budget and yet sticking to his principles. It looks like this consistent approach is paying off with a much more solid defense and improving attack, and really good results in September. Who would have backed Brighton to take seven points from Everton, Leicester and Palace at the start of the season?
Graham Potter for me. Brighton’s data was much better than actual results in the 2020-21 season. This season, and September in particular, the Seagulls’ results are following. Through both periods, Potter’s Brighton has played some excellent technical football, easy on the eye and full of positive play.
I too vote for Graham Potter who has done more with less. Given Arsenal’s payroll, I expect results against the relegation fodder (Burnley and Norwich), so Arteta’s month is down to the spanking handed to Tottenham, something that has become too common in recent weeks (what happened there anyway?). But Brighton’s seven points from surprising Brentford, Leicester and Palace — on a shoestring budget — speaks to Potter’s skill at the helm.
Who should be EPL Manager of the Month for September?
This poll is closed
What do you think? How much performance is down to prior spending? How much is down to strength (or weakness) of schedule? And which managers have made a difference? Please vote in the poll and then tell us what you think!