Several pundits have been calling on Chris Wilder to be named manager of the year for 2019/20.
Former Arsenal defender Lee Dixon is the latest, saying: “Arguably he has done a better job that what Jurgen Klopp is doing.”
Ex-Sheffield United striker Brian Deane agrees. Meanwhile, Jamie Redknapp thinks that Wilder deserves “a special award” for his achievements this season.
Wilder and his Blades side have certainly far exceeded expectations in their first Premier League campaign in 12 years. They are currently fifth in the table with 39 points from their 26 games played.
United have the second best defensive record in the division behind only leaders Liverpool.
Not only that but they achieved that success playing in their own unique style. Wilder is an innovative coach, who has probably most famously deployed the tactic of the overlapping centre-backs.
It has caught the eye of many, not least Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola – someone famed for his own coaching prowess.
“I’m impressed and I admire how they play with the same manager and players coming into Premier League and I like it. As a manager you see things we can improve, they’re the ones to watch,” Guardiola said last month.
Should Wilder be named manager of the year?
If Wilder were to be given the award then he would be a worthy winner. The 52-year-old has history when it comes to upsetting the odds in this regard. Last term he was named LMA manager of the year, ahead of the aforementioned Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp.
Yet the problem for Wilder is something he can do nothing about. It’s that his impressive Blades team are playing at the same time as potentially the greatest side in Premier League history.
Under Klopp, Liverpool have won 24 of their 25 league matches played so. The only points they have dropped were during a 1-1 draw with Manchester United.
If they continue at this rate they will exceed the record points tally, set by Man City in 2017/18 when they won the title with 100 points.
They could also match the unbeaten ‘Invincibles’ season of Arsenal in 2002/03. But with a much higher points total.
If they fail to do those things then maybe – just maybe – Wilder should win manager of the year ahead of Klopp. Yet, even then the German will have delivered the first league title to Anfield in 30 years.
Finishing second to that is nothing to be ashamed of.