You could make strong cases for multiple candidates in the reckoning for the 2022/23 Premier League Manager of the Season accolade.
Pep Guardiola may yet become just the second manager in English football history to complete the treble, while the amazing job Mikel Arteta has done at Arsenal has only been tinged by their late collapse at the end of the season.
Eddie Howe is within touching distance of bringing Champions League football back to Newcastle, while Unai Emery has impressed with Aston Villa and Gary O’Neil has somehow kept Bournemouth up.
Any would be worthy winners. But do their claims match what Roberto De Zerbi has achieved since succeeding Graham Potter at Brighton?
Here are five reasons why it’s De Zerbi who should be the 2022/23 Premier League Manager of the Season.
Losing a manager and one or two coaching staff is one thing. Normally, a couple of coaches remain and provide a bit of continuity from the old regime to the new.
Potter, though, asset stripped the Albion of its entire first team staff, taking five coaches with him to Chelsea including long-serving goalkeeper coach Ben Roberts and former club captain Bruno.
De Zerbi found himself coming into a new club with the season six games old, working with players who had overnight lost the coaching team they had spent the past three-and-a-half years working with.
The disruption, upheaval and impact caused by Potter’s departure could easily have led to Brighton tumbling down the table. That the Albion not only survived but have thrived is testament to De Zerbi’s ability and personality.
Brighton made only two signings in the January transfer window and both were teenagers bought with an eye on the future rather than the here and now. Facundo Buonanotte arrived for £10m from Argentine side Rosario Central and Yasin Ayari cost £5.2m from AIK in Sweden.
De Zerbi is essentially working with a squad built for Potter’s favoured three at the back system, rather than his own 4-2-3-1. You see this difference in the lack of full backs at the Albion.
Pervis Estupinan is the only natural option on the left with Joel Veltman and Tariq Lamptey on the right, hence why De Zerbi has redeployed Pascal Gross and Moises Caicedo from their normal midfield…