Roy Hodgson

Last season Roy Hodgson won the LMA manager of the season and subsequently moved to Liverpool. After 31 games he’d been fired, the shortest managerial period in the history of Liverpool. Given the number of clubs he’s managed in recent years there’s a lot of data that can be used to determine whether he makes teams better or worse.

For each team I’ve looked at the managers who came before and after him. I’ve put the standard numbers on how managers get judged, points and goal difference, pro-rated to show their total over a full 38 game season. I’ve then included a couple of stats that I’ve been using lately and think give a better idea of a teams true performance; their shots on target ratio and PDO.

Fulham

Hodgson took over from Lawrie Sanchez at the end of 2007 and the team ultimately avoided relegation on the final day of the season.

Season Manager Points / 38 ± / 38 SOTR PDO
2007-08 Lawrie Sanchez 29.1 -22.4 .421 975
2007-08 Roy Hodgson 44.3 -16.9 .482 942
2008-09 Roy Hodgson 53.0 +5.0 .480 1033
2009-10 Roy Hodgson 46.0 -7.0 .473 989
2010-11 Mark Hughes 46.9 +4.5 .509 998

So the team improved immediately when Hodgson took charge (better SOTR) and survived despite some terrible luck (poor PDO). They then played to a similar level for the following two seasons, getting into Europe thanks to some good luck in the 08-09 season. Mark Hughes has taken charge this season and with a very similar squad has taken the team another step forward ant their play this season merits a position in the top ten.

Liverpool

Hodgson’s reign at Anfield seemed doomed from the start. He was relieved of his duties in January, the shortest reign of any Liverpool manager, and replaced by Kenny Dalglish. Since then Liverpool appear to have been a transformed team but the underlying numbers don’t exactly agree.

Season Manager Points / 38 ± / 38 SOTR PDO
2009-10 Rafael Benitez 63.0 +26.0 .615 1017
2010-11 Roy Hodgson 47.5 -5.7 .563 921
2010-11 Kenny Dalglish 73.3 +40.7 .575 1097

First I’ll start with Benitez. He left Liverpool as a decent team, certainly one on a par with Spurs and Manchester City. Their ± in 09-10 suggests they should have got ~69 points which would have seen them finish in 5th, a point behind Spurs and two ahead of City. There’s no doubt the team was worse under Hodgson. Some of that is the product of playing with strikers such as David N’Gog rather than Fernando Torres but there’s only so much impact one player can make. With a SOTR of .563 you’re more likely to be in the group of teams challenging for 7th-9th rather than 4th-6th. Since Dalglish took charge the team has been marginally better but no where near as large as the improvement in points would suggest. Their PDO is simply unsustainable over a full season and sooner or later the luck will run out.

West Bromwich Albion

There seemed to be a lot of surprise when Roberto Di Matteo was fired by West Brom, despite the fact that they were amongst the teams at the bottom of the league. There was no denying that the football was good to watch but their position in the league ultimately finished Di Matteo’s reign.

Season Manager Points / 38 ± / 38 SOTR PDO
2010-11 Roberto Di Matteo 39.5 -25.8 .547 857
2010-11 Roy Hodgson 59.1 +8.5 .533 997

Looking at the numbers it seems remarkable that Di Matteo was fired. They were a decent team but had a terrible PDO. Had it remained at 857 for the full season it would have been amongst the worst ever. The team under Hodgson has performed to a similar level, the improved results have been caused by having a perfectly average PDO and now they’re picking up the points they deserve.

So to conclude, Fulham were much better under Hodgson although Mark Hughes appears to have made a similar squad better still. Liverpool took a big step back when Hodgson took charge but their play hasn’t really improved with Dalglish as boss. West Brom were already a good team under Di Matteo and Hodgson has carried that on, and they are now getting the results their play warrants.

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