The Youngest Managers to Win the Premier League

It is looking increasingly unlikely, but if he pulled it off, where would Mikel Arteta rank among the youngest managers to win the Premier League?

If Mikel Arteta manages to pull off a shock Premier League win this season with Arsenal, he will cease to be a manager. Or a former player. Or a husband, dad or human being for that matter. He will become a unit of measurement.

The youngest manager to ever win the Premier League.

Yuichiro Miura climbed Everest when he was 80? That’s cool but Mikel Arteta could win the Premier League aged 41. Tatum O’Neal won an Oscar when she was seven? Not as impressive as Mikel Arteta beating Pep Guardiola to a Premier League title at 41, mate.

Now, with Arsenal’s recent form this hypothetical scenario becomes less and less likely, but there is still a chance Arteta could pull this off.

The current holder of the record is Jose Mourinho, who won the title with Chelsea in 2004-05 when he was 42 years and 94 days old, living up to his own billing as ‘The Special One’.

Let’s say, for argument’s sake, Arsenal and Manchester City go to the wire and the title is decided on the final day of the season, 28 May, against Wolves. Arteta would be 41 years and 62 days old. That is a full 397 days younger than Mourinho was when he lifted the trophy.

The oldest manager to win the Premier League? It’s Alex Ferguson. He has won 13 out of 30 so it would make sense then that he featured at one end of the spectrum. Fergie was 71 years and 112 days old when he last won it with Manchester United having lifted his first when he was 51 years and 122 days old.

Guardiola was 47 years and 86 days old when he won his first Premier League title but he had already won three La Liga and three Bundesliga titles by then. Arteta has a ways to go before he catches Fergie, Pep or Jose but winning the Premier League this season, when they started with basically no chance, would be quite the way to lift his first league trophy.

Not one English manager has ever won the English Premier League, ironically, with two Scottish managers, three Italians, a Spaniard, a German and a Portuguese among those who have had success in the Premier League. Arteta could join Guardiola as the other Spanish manager to win the league if he can manage to see out the rest of the season with his Arsenal side.

Ryan Mason is the youngest manager to ever sit on the bench as the manager of a Premier League team. It is a record he took from Attilio Lombardo. Chelsea’s Gianluca Vialli and Fulham’s Chris Coleman are some of the other managers who coached in their thirties but based on the statistics, you need to be in your forties, at least, to win the Premier League.

Here’s the rundown of the youngest Premier League managers to win the title.

Fewest Goals Conceded in Premier League season

Jose Mourinho – Chelsea 2004-05 (42 years, 94 days old)

Jose Mourinho arrived in England and immediately declared himself the ‘Special One’ after a successful spell in charge of Porto. He quickly became the ‘Youngest One’ too, winning the title during his first season in charge. Chelsea did it by losing just one league game all season and finished 12 points clear of Arsenal.

Mourinho’s defensive acumen was on full display all season, with the Blues conceding a scarcely believable 15 goals in 38 games – the fewest goals conceded in a single Premier League season.

Chelsea had finished second in the Premier League the season before under Claudio Ranieri and the Italian guided them to the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League. Mourinho went one better in the league but could only manage a spot in the last four in the Champions League after losing to Liverpool in the semi-final.

Youngest Managers to Win the Premier League Jose Mourinho Premier League title 2005-06

Jose Mourinho – Chelsea 2005-06 (43 years, 93 days old)

Mourinho repeated his success during his second season and won the title again. This time a year older, a year wiser and a year being even more special. This was peak Mourinho. Chelsea signed Michael Essien from Lyon and Shaun Wright-Phillips from Manchester City in the hopes of not just winning the league again, which they did, but finally winning the Champions League.

Alas, they would get knocked out of the competition by Barcelona in the first knockout stage. It was also the last Premier League title of Mourinho’s first spell at the club before coming back and winning it again in 2014-15. They drew four league games and lost five this time around but still had eight points to spare over Manchester United in second place.

Kenny Dalglish Premier League title Blackburn 1994-95

Kenny Dalglish – Blackburn Rovers 1994-95 (44 years, 71 days old)

The title that went down to the final day. Liverpool welcomed Kenny Dalglish’s Blackburn to Anfield and Manchester United travelled to West Ham. All Blackburn had to do was win and the game at Upton Park wouldn’t matter but Dalglish’s old team did him no favours. Rovers went ahead but the pressure got to Dalglish’s leaders, who were beaten 2-1 by a 90th-minute Jamie Redknapp free-kick.

But Manchester United failed to win at West Ham and Blackburn were confirmed champions. They won the league by a point, finishing with 89 in total.

Let’s not forget that football did exist before the Premier League, though. Dalglish’s first league title as a manager (well, player-manager) came back in 1985-86 with Liverpool. He won the title that season on 3 May, meaning he was just 35 years and 60 days old. Even more impressive, he was the man to score the only goal of the game in a 1-0 win over Chelsea to seal the title.

His 1989-90 Division One title win with Liverpool also makes him the last boss to win the English top-flight title while younger than 40 (39 years, 55 days on 28 April 1990).

Most points in a Premier League season

Pep Guardiola – Manchester City 2017-18 (47 years, 86 days old)

Pep Guardiola might be the fourth-oldest manager to ever win the Premier League but there were few 40-somethings as accomplished as Pep was upon arriving in England. The Spanish manager arrived in Manchester after spending six very successful years at Barcelona and Bayern Munich. He had already won three La Liga titles, three Bundesliga titles and two Champions League trophies along with a slew of other domestic and European silverware.

Guardiola’s relative youth was one thing but the ease at which he won the title was another thing entirely. They won it by 19 points over Manchester United. It was the first time any manager had reached 100 points in a season and they also scored 106 goals, the most by any team in the Premier League era while conceding just 27.

Roberto Mancini Premier League title 2011-12

Roberto Mancini – Manchester City 2011-12 (47 years, 167 days old)

Roberto Mancini arrived at Manchester City after the sacking of Mark Hughes in December 2009. The Italian finished fifth and third in his first two seasons in charge, but in his third he finally found the formula to win the top flight. It didn’t come without some serious stress, though.

City sealed the title on the final day of the season when they played Queens Park Rangers, who were battling relegation, at the Etihad. Manchester United did what they needed to do by beating Sunderland 1-0 thanks to a Wayne Rooney goal but Man City left it very late to get their job done.

Pablo Zabaleta had given City the lead before Djibril Cissé and Jamie Mackie put QPR in front. It would take injury-time goals from Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero to seal the title and make Mancini the fourth-youngest manager to ever win the Premier League title.

Mancini might be fourth on this list, but as far as final-day drama goes, nobody did it better.

Antonio Conte – Chelsea 2016-17 (47 years, 285 days old)

Antonio Conte arrived in England having won three Serie A titles with Juventus. He led Chelsea to a Premier League title before blowing out 48 candles on his birthday cake and he would go on to win an FA Cup with the Blues too. Conte’s Chelsea set a record for most wins (30) in a season, which has since been eclipsed by Liverpool and Manchester City (32).

Chelsea lost to Crystal Palace and Manchester United in April, leaving the title up for grabs but they finished the season with six consecutive wins over Southampton, Everton, Middlesbrough, West Bromwich Albion, Watford and Sunderland. They didn’t even need the last two wins having sealed the title at the Hawthorns when they beat West Brom on 12 May. They finished seven points ahead of Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs side.

Antonio Conte – Chelsea 2016-17

Pep Guardiola – Manchester City 2018-19 (48 years, 113 days old)

Pep’s second title and it might have been his hardest earned. Liverpool chased them all the way until the final day and even then were only separated by one point. City had to travel to the Amex Stadium and get a win against Brighton provided Liverpool won against Wolves at home. Jurgen Klopp’s side did the business. And so did Pep’s City.

Liverpool asked so much of City that they had to win 14 in a row after a January defeat at the hands of Newcastle United to make sure they won the title on the final day.

Pep Guardiola - Manchester City 2018-19

Arsene Wenger – Arsenal 1997-98 (48 years, 193 days old)

Arsene Wenger replaced Bruce Rioch as the manager of Arsenal in August 1996. He would guide Arsenal to their first Premier League title ever in his second season in charge. It was the beginning of one of the most enduring managerial spells in Premier League history. Wenger would only win two more titles but he made Arsenal competitive in Europe and domestically. They hold the record for the longest unbeaten streaks in Premier League history.

Dennis Bergkamp was the team’s leading assister and goalscorer with 13 and 11 respectively during Wenger’s first Premier League title-winning season. The Dutch midfielder was part of a memorable crew of players that included the likes of Emmanuel Petit, Nicolas Anelka, Patrick Viera and Ian Wright.

Arsene Wenger - Arsenal 1997-98

Pep Guardiola – Manchester City 2020-21 (50 years, 112 days old)

At just 50 years of age, Pep won his ninth top-flight title and his third with City in 2020-21. It was City’s seventh-ever top-flight title and he would go on to win his fourth and their eighth a year later.

City would take the title on 86 points, eight ahead of Manchester United, sealing the title when United lost to Leicester City at Old Trafford.

The Citizens won 27 games in total that season, six ahead of United in second with 21. Liverpool almost matched them in expected goals – 68.74 to 68.20 – but Ederson kept 19 clean sheets and City gave up just 30.94 expected goals, second-best behind Chelsea’s 30.37.

Nobody could match the combination of firepower and defensive solidity of Pep’s City.

Pep Guardiola - Manchester City 2020-21

Carlo Ancelotti – Chelsea 2009-10 (50 years, 333 days old)

Chelsea appear on the list a number of times with Jose Mourinho, Antonio Conte and now Carlo Ancelotti. They’ve also given chances to Vialli, Lombardo, Ruud Gullit, Andre Villas-Boas and other young coaches in the last 20 years or so.

Ancelotti would go on to win everything with Real Madrid but he came to England after coaching in his native Italy with Parma, Juventus and AC Milan. The Italian brought immediate success to Stamford Bridge after Chelsea had finished second, second and third in the three seasons prior to his arrival. It was Ancelotti’s first spell in charge of a Premier League club.

It was Chelsea’s third Premier League title after Mourinho’s brace five years previous and their fourth English championship victory.

Carlo Ancelotti - Chelsea 2009-10

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