When talking about managers who are taking the Premier League by storm, you might expect a few familiar names to make the list.
However, this season, bar Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini, the big boys have disappointed, and there have been some surprising wins, losses and draws throughout the league.
Clubs we never expected to occupy the top echelons of the league are – and don’t look like giving their places up without a fight.
Crystal Palace, Leicester City and Swansea are all doing well – and their managers deserve the credit for that.
With that in mind, here are four managers who have defied expectations this season.
A man Chelsea fans know well, and someone who might have been ridiculed at times during his first spell in England for his love of tinkering, Ranieri’s second spell in the Premier League is going better than even he may have dreamed.
Sitting pretty in the Champions League spots and possessing one hell of a player in Riyad Mahrez, not to mention the prolific Jamie Vardy, the club have shown that they can live with anyone.
Coming from two goals down against Aston Villa showed that they have the self-belief to win – something Ranieri will have made sure of – and that alone will keep them up this term.
The Italian might be pouring cold water on the amazing start to the season Leicester City have had, claiming that avoiding the drop is the primary target, and yes, they might slip up in the coming weeks, but credit where it is due.
The man many thought would be axed in the summer was handed a contract extension by Manchester City, and while Pep Guardiola will always be seen as waiting in the wings, there is no denying City are off to a flier.
The players who looked so off the pace last term, and as though they would rather be anywhere else, are back on top, and their manager has to take credit for that.
Pellegrini might be found out in the latter stages of the Champions League, when some tactical acumen is required, but so far domestically, he has ruled the roost.
Beating Chelsea to such an extent and making the call not to buy an established forward to replace Edin Dzeko, in order to give youngster Iheanacho a shot are both things the Chilean needs to be applauded for.
Monk has been going about his business quietly since taking over at Swansea, and is looking more and more impressive with each passing game.
The Swans have a wicked amount of pace in their team this term and are a serious match for anyone – as both Chelsea and Manchester United have found out to their cost.
Monk may not have been the most popular choice to take the job when he was first appointed, and it certainly caused a few raised eyebrows, but can you really argue with the work he has done since becoming manager?
The performances and results say you can’t.
Crystal Palace may have been very unlucky not to get a point from Manchester City on the weekend, but conceding a late goal does not detract from how well the London side have done.
Winning at Stamford Bridge was not only impressive, it was also fairly unprecedented, and Pardew seems to be the one man Jose Mourinho cannot beat.
Not only are Palace racking up the points, their manager has them playing decent football – they have a creative edge to them and look solid at the back.
Towards the end of last season, Pardew’s side looked like they could really make strides if the summer investment was right – and it clearly was, with the purchase of Yohan Cabaye a masterstroke, and one that has given the club another dimension.
People tipped them for the top ten this season, but carry on in this form, and the club will be pushing top six.