Well it's been a while but the transfer window is almost over and the Premier League is so very nearly back!

What a summer it's been with only the Nations League, Women's World Cup, Under-21 Euros, Africa Cup of Nations, Copa America and various pre-season tournaments around the globe to keep you away from binging on Stranger ThingsNot sure how you've coped, mate.

Anyway, the frivolity of summer is almost over and the serious business of The Barclays is here again. You've read the season previews, you've poured over the Fantasy Football stats but one thing you haven't taken into consideration... How hard are each of the ​Premier League managers? And who would come out on top in a 20-way brawl?

Well, here's a bloody ranking of all 20 for you to wrap your retinas around.

20. Unai Emery (Arsenal)

Unai Emery

Height: 1.8m

Strength: Oily hair is harder to grab hold of?

Weakness: Couldn't bruise a banana

Rock bottom of the relegation zone. Unai Emery is not hard. He is not hard on a startling level.

19. Eddie Howe (Bournemouth)

Eddie Howe

Height: 1.78m

Strength: Youth

Weakness: Too nice. Far too nice

Howe is at least physically fit, but his boyish presence here is like the overly eager year seven getting found out amongst the much bigger, scarier year eights.

18. Roy Hodgson (Crystal Palace)

Roy Hodgson

Height: 1.7m

Strength: Been around the block

Weakness: Pre-dates time

Roy Hodgson was once a ​genuinely terrifying-looking man, but not necessarily hard.

He's got a bit of the old Croydon feistiness (is that a thing?) about him, but really that's of little to no use when you have Sean Dyche's knee heading straight for your oesophagus. 

17. Manuel Pellegrini (West Ham)

Manuel Pellegrini

Height: 1.84m

Strength: Slightly scary gaze

Weakness: Shut your noise, you old c--- 

Behind your gran's hair, there is a weathered steeliness to Pellegrini and his bloodshot eyes hint at past horror.

...however, that horror is most probably the time he was quite literally ​retired by a 17-year-old Ivan Zamorano.

16. Pep Guardiola (Man City)

Pep Guardiola

Height: 1.8m

Strength: Intimidating Nathan Redmond

Weakness: Inappropriate fighting clothing

Somehow making his way out of the relegation scrap is Pep Guardiola. 

While not remotely hard, he would presumably be a diligent student of innovative combat techniques that rely on movement and precision pressure. 

Also, being bald automatically adds +2 hard points. It just does.

15. Marco Silva (Everton)

Marco Silva

Height: 1.8m

Strength: Looks a bit like Colin Farrell in In Bruges

Weakness: Not British 

Does Marco Silva's inclusion take away opportunities from young, British fighting managers like Gary Rowett or... Thierry Henry? That's the question Paul Merson is surely asking.

14. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (Man Utd)

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Height: 1.78m

Strength: 1999, is a baby-faced assassin 

Weakness: Years following 1999, not a real assassin

Would presumably fight dirty if Sir Alex Ferguson told him too.

13. Steve Bruce (Newcastle)

Steve Bruce

Height: 1.83m
Strength: Slide tackling criminals (see: Striker!)
Weakness: Cabbage

An incredible mass to shift for opposition managers and is used to taking an absolute hammering. 

​Can see him running out of steam on the attack rather quickly and hopping back in the Jaguar XJ8, the sports version. It’s a very nice motor.

12. Brendan Rodgers (Leicester)

Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha,Brendan Rodgers

Height: 1.7m

Strength: Massive horse teeth

Weakness: Self-confidence

Brendan Rodgers definitely fights dirty, which is a plus, but his raging self-belief will be his undoing. 

Likely to have a much larger opponent on the floor before stopping mid-fight to turn around and hand out envelopes of disappointment to his watching players, leaving him unaware as said opponent gets up to dish out comeuppance.

11. Dean Smith (Aston Villa)

Dean Smith

Height: 1.83m

Strength: Very angular head - good for defence and attack

Weakness: Rest of body not angular

Mid-table hard. Looks a little bit like the sort of man you'd see in the local paper complaining because he wasn't allowed to wear his Union Jack suit to Harvester. 

10. Graham Potter (Brighton)

Graham Potter

Height: 1.85m

Strength: Has lived in Sweden in winter

Weakness: Are there any hard Grahams?

Something of an unknown quantity, Graham Potter is tall and permanently seems to have the face of a man who is annoyed at being cut in front of at the Post Office.

Spent eight winters in Ostersund and if that's not the premise for a straight to streaming Liam Neeson film, then it surely will be by this time next year.

9. Frank Lampard (Chelsea)

Frank Lampard

Height: 1.84m

Strength: Deflections

Weakness: Inability to work in a tag team with Steven Gerrard

Another newbie this season, Frank is definitely the hardest of the Lampard-Redknapp Premier League dynasty.

8. Javi Gracia (Watford)

Javi Gracia

Height: 1.85m

Strength: Basque

Weakness: Profoundly forgettable

Javi Gracia looks like he might do triathlons for fun and swim across freezing rivers because it's 'bracing'. However, physical fitness does not truly equal hardness.

He does have a face that looks like it's been quarried though.

7. Mauricio Pochettino (Tottenham)


Height: 1.82m

Strength: Argentine

Weakness: The second someone comes at him with a bottle...

Robust looking and has the furrowed brow of a man on the edge. He is also the son of a farmer, which makes him 'country tough'.

Arguably still too hipster to trouble anyone with real power and weight. 

6. Ralph Hasenhuttl (Southampton)

Southampton FC v AFC Bournemouth - Premier League

Height: 1.91m

Strength: Very large

Weakness: Possibly too avuncular 

Wreck-it Ralph Rabbit Hutch makes the Europa League spots on virtue of being a serious unit.

Also looks like Walking Dead star David Morrissey, though unsure if that helps or hinders his case.

5. Nuno Espirito Santo (Wolves)

Nuno Espirito Santo

Height: 1.88m

Strength: LOOK AT HIM

Weakness: Yankable beard


Ok, he's not Mono Burgos but ex-keepers turned coaches are inevitably quite tough-looking.

His nice-guy facade also belies a man who loves messing with other managers - especially Neil Warnock.

4. Jurgen Klopp (Liverpool)


Height: 1.91m

Strength: Bit unhinged, bear hugs

Weakness: Bit too unhinged

Jurgen Klopp might have been a shoo-in for the title but for the likelihood of losing his glasses in an uncontrolled fit of windmill arms rendering him open on the counter-attack.

3. Sean Dyche (Burnley)


Height: 1.83m

Strength: Eats worms

Weakness: Eats worms

Has the look of a weary provincial bouncer, forged from sandstone. Dyche could crush you if he had to, but would arguably come undone against a true psychopath. 

2. Chris Wilder (Sheffield United)

Chris Wilder

Height: 1.8m

Strength: Terrifying

Weakness: Is not a young 51

Christ, just look at him. 

Chris Wilder is the runner up here and I have nothing negative to say about him lest he ever read this and track me down.

1. Daniel Farke (Norwich)

Daniel Farke

Height: 1.82m

Strength: Would walk into WWE

Weakness: None

The clear and obvious winner. Of course, it's Daniel Farke. He looks like the henchmen of a Bond villain - one of the gritty Daniel Craig ones, not the sort Roger Moore dispatches with a casual backhand and saucy one-liner.

During his younger years in Germany, Farke won six regional titles for smashing the most beer glasses over his own head. While that story is completely made up, the fact that you read it without questioning shows just how hard he looks.

​Congratulations Norwich, you have already won the most important prize this season.