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New manager bounce or still flatlining? Rating the starts of Rangnick, Conte, Gerrard…

Six bosses have taken over in the midst of the current Premier League season. Planet Sport takes a look at how well (or badly) they have done.

Any goodwill towards Ralf Rangnick at Manchester United looks to have long since evaporated following the defeat to Wolves.
It may only have been the German's first loss in the Old Trafford hotseat but so painful have some of the victories been that it felt like the latest in a long line.

Fans hoping for the famed managerial bounce have been sorely disappointed, especially when they contrast the feelgood factor Antonio Conte's arrival has generated at Tottenham. Oh what might have been United fans?

So to mark Rangnick reaching five Premier League games in charge (yes, it seems much longer), Planet Sport compares his start to the top-flight's other mid-season managerial arrivals. Which clubs benefited from the new manager bounce and which ones have continued to flatline?

Claudio Ranieri (Watford)

No one would ever have expected Watford to be the first club to sack their manager, would they? Oh, that's right, they absolutely would. Ranieri was the first appointment midway through this season when the Hornets opted to dispense with Xisco Munoz in early October, and the first matches of the Tinkerman's reign were certainly entertaining.

His reign got off to the worst possible start, with a 5-0 home humbling at the hands of Liverpool, but the Italian did then guide his new side to a 5-2 win away to Everton. Another two defeats followed, both by a single goal, to Southampton and then Arsenal, before a 4-1 thrashing of Manchester United delivered Ranieri's most memorable moment to date as Watford boss.

Under Munoz, the Hornets had won just twice in seven games, but after a rocky beginning, Ranieri equalled that total inside his first five.
Six successive defeats have since followed so it's only a matter of time before Watford are pinning their hopes on another new manager bounce.

New manager bounce rating: 6/10

Antonio Conte (Tottenham Hotspur)

Having tried and failed to land Conte in the summer, Tottenham finally got their man after Nuno Espirito Santo's bizarre, and short-lived, reign came to an end at the beginning of November. Conte's first act was famously to ban ketchup from the club's training ground, but the tough love approach worked, as Spurs lost just once in his first five.

His maiden assignment was a Europa Conference League tie against Dutch outfit Vitesse, which was successfully negotiated before he followed it up with a goalless draw against Everton and a 2-1 victory at home to Leeds. His fourth game brought about his first defeat, ignominiously losing 2-1 to Slovenian minnows NS Mura with a fringe side, but an immediate bounce-back saw Spurs run out 2-0 winners against Brentford.

Nuno lost five of his ten league games in charge, and seven out of 17 in all competitions. Under Conte, Spurs are unbeaten in the league and have lost just twice in all competitions since he took over. He was easily the best available option on the market when Spurs moved for him, and they are by and large reaping the rewards.

New manager bounce rating: 8/10

Dean Smith (Norwich City)

Dean Smith, manager of Norwich City

Just five days after Spurs appointed Conte, there was much head-scratching going on among soccer fans when Norwich removed Daniel Farke from his role, as it had, in actual fact, come immediately after their first league victory of the season, a 2-1 win at Brentford. In came former Aston Villa boss Dean Smith, but after an initial bounce, things began to go downhill once more for the Canaries.

Smith's first game in charge did bring Norwich's second win in a row, a 2-1 victory over Southampton, and that was followed by two draws, with a 0-0 at home to Wolves and a 1-1 away to Newcastle. Optimism was gathering, but unfortunately for Smith, that draw on Tyneside, in November, was to be the last time the Canaries picked up any points, with the final two of his first five ending in defeat, and his side now on a five-match losing run.

As we've already seen, Farke did win just once in 11 league matches, and twice in 13 in all competitions, so the bar was set low for Smith. Unfortunately, his early promise has evaporated, with no goals scored, and 14 shipped, since November. It couldn't really have got any worse, but it's certainly not got any better.

New manager bounce rating: 4/10

Steven Gerrard (Aston Villa)

Taking over at Smith's former stomping ground was a man who needed no introduction to the Premier League, and a packed out Villa Park welcomed Steven Gerrard to his first managerial role in England after he made the move south from Rangers. Villa were on a five-match losing run when the board opted to pull the trigger, and many were of the opinion they had acted rashly in removing Smith.

However, their decision may have been fraught with risk, but it has turned out to be entirely vindicated. A confident 2-0 win over Brighton in Gerrard's first match was followed by a 2-1 victory away to Crystal Palace, and although Villa did then lose two of their next three, 2-1 to Manchester City and 1-0 to Liverpool respectively, Gerrard has still only lost one game to a club outside the big six in his time in charge.

He took over with Villa sweating about relegation in 16th, and with three victories in his first five matches, saw them rise as high as tenth, comfortably clear of the drop. From five losses in a row to three wins in their next five is a clear bounce.

New manager bounce rating: 8/10

Eddie Howe (Newcastle United)

The news coverage of Newcastle this season has been squarely focused on the boardroom, as a consortium backed by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund took control of the club in October. The new owners made the decision to replace the unpopular Steve Bruce in October, but a lengthy recruitment process meant it was almost three weeks before former Bournemouth boss Howe was confirmed as his replacement.

After contracting COVID, Howe wasn't actually in the dugout for his first match, which was a 2-0 defeat away to Arsenal, but his actual presence clearly had something of an impact in subsequent fixtures.

The Magpies took four points from their next two, with a draw against Norwich followed by their first league win of the season over Burnley, before being comfortably seen off by Leicester City and Liverpool.

Newcastle are certainly a work in progress right now, but Howe did enjoy that initial bounce with four points from his first five games; that was in fact one more than his predecessor Bruce managed in eight matches.
They've fallen away a little since, and will still need to fight hard to avoid relegation, but Howe certainly showed initial promise.

New manager bounce rating: 6/10

Ralf Rangnick (Manchester United)

The highest-profile of all the mid-season appointments this term saw German mastermind Rangnick take over at Old Trafford from the beleaguered Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. He arrived to great fanfare, with many believing United had made a particularly intelligent appointment, but what he inherited was a squad with little cohesion or clear tactical instruction, and has found it harder going than initially thought.

Rangnick took two wins from his first two league matches in charge, both by one goal to nil, either side of a 1-1 draw with Swiss side Young Boys - in a match in which he did, ironically, play several of United's young boys. Another 1-1 draw followed, away to Newcastle, as the poor performances continued, before he saw out 2021 with a 3-1 win over relegation-threatened Burnley.
He may not have lost any of his first five matches - saving that until his sixth, and most recent, game in charge - but success at Manchester United is judged in an entirely different way, and a 1-1 draw with Newcastle scarcely cuts it. Results may not have been bad, but the goals have hardly been flowing, and the product has been dire at times. He has stabilised United post-Solskjaer, but there is still much to do.

New manager bounce rating: 5/10

READ MORE: Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool are going to end another season empty-handed, claim bookies

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