Analysis: Is there such a thing as the manager of the month curse?

Pep Guardiola scooped up the Premier League manager of the month award after a September that saw his Manchester City side win all four games, scoring 17 goals in the process.

However, should Pep be fearful that the dreaded manager of the month curse could reappear when his side take on Stoke this weekend, the day after Friday the 13th?

Last season a third of Premier League managers lost their next fixture after receiving the award, including Antonio Conte, Paul Clement and Mauricio Pochettino.

During the 2009/10 season, a whopping five out of nine manager of the month recipients suffered the misfortune of losing their next game following their attainment of the prize.

Even this season the curse looks to have reappeared as August’s winner David Wagner saw his Huddersfield side succumb to a 2-0 away defeat to West Ham, despite not conceding a goal prior to his achievement.

Superstitious City fans may be glad to hear that Pep hasn’t previously been tainted by the curse after defeating Sunderland last year following his February award triumph.

Nevertheless, City went on to draw their next two league games in March against Saturday’s opponents Stoke and Liverpool, as well as crashing out of the Champions League.

However, statistics go some way to suggest that the ‘curse’ is nothing other than a footballing old wives’ tale.

Since the 2007/08 season, only 26.19% of matches were lost after winning the manager of the month award, debunking the alleged curse.

Given City’s recent electric home form, it would seem improbable that Guardiola’s men will struggle against Stoke this weekend. The Citizens have won their last two home games by a five or more goal margin – only Carlo Ancelotti’s Chelsea in 2010 have bettered that feat.

The Blues will still be without captain Vincent Kompany, but Sergio Aguero and Fabian Delph are both in contention to play this weekend.

Opponents Stoke also have captain Ryan Shawcross missing through injury, as well as Bruno Martins Indi and Joe Allen after he picked up a head injury in Monday’s crunch match versus Republic of Ireland.

Although on paper a routine Manchester City victory would be expected, Stoke have fared well against top sides this season, beating Arsenal 1-0 and holding Manchester United to a 2-2 draw.

However, later today we will find out whether Guardiola can avoid the dreaded curse, or whether a nightmarish Halloween will arrive early this year at the Etihad.

Image courtesy of Man City via YouTube, with thanks.

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