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Five managers who surprised you in the Premier League

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has defied the odds to win his opening six games as Manchester United boss, but which other managers have caused a surprise in England's top flight?

Manchester United shocked the majority of the football world when they decided to replace Jose Mourinho in the dugout with club legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer given that the Norwegian had previously endured a failed spell at Cardiff City. However, the 45-year-old has won each of his opening six games in all competitions and is now considered to be the top contender to become the United boss on a permanent basis. It's just one of many surprise managerial appointments since the start of the Premier League, but only a few have worked out over the past 26-and-a-half years.

Just like you can check Sportskokladenje24.com for all the latest betting offers, former Swansea City captain Ashley Williams admitted that he had to "Google" Francesco Guidolin's name when he was appointed as the club's new boss in January 2016. The reaction was understandable with Guidolin having spent the majority of his 30-year career in the dugout in Italy, and not much was expected of the former Parma and Udinese man when he arrived at the Liberty Stadium with Swansea sitting just two points above the relegation zone. However, Guidolin went on to record 25 points from his 16 Premier League games in charge, and the run of form led to the Welsh outfit finishing the campaign as high as 12th position.

Avram Grant as Chelsea manager ahead of the 2008 Champions League final.© Reuters

There was equal bafflement when Chelsea decided to appoint Avram Grant as their new boss in 2007. The Israeli did not possess the kind of coaching qualifications which are now required in 2019, but he was a personal friend of owner Roman Abramovich and had previously been appointed as director football. Grant was not warmly received by the club's supporters, but he proceed to lead Chelsea on a remarkable run of results where they would suffer just one defeat in the Premier League between September 29 and the end of the season, while also taking the Blues to the final of the League Cup. Chelsea would have also won the Champions League for the first time in their history had John Terry not slipped when taking the decisive spot kick in a penalty shootout against Manchester United. Despite the circumstances, Grant was sacked at the end of the campaign due to a lack of silverware.

Sunderland's appointment of Paolo Di Canio in 2013 also raised a few eyebrows. The controversial Italian had done a fine job in League One and League Two with Swindon Town, but that was his only experience as the senior man in the dugout and it was perceived that the Black Cats had taken a huge risk at a time when they were attempting to remain in the Premier League. Di Canio's reign started with a narrow defeat at Chelsea, but his second game saw Sunderland register a famous 3-0 triumph at fierce rivals Newcastle United. A victory at home to Everton followed that result and although Sunderland failed to prevail in any of their final four matches, survival was achieved with a game to spare.

Claudio Ranieri in charge of Fulham on November 24, 2018© Reuters

There is every chance that nothing will ever surpass the way in which Claudio Ranieri surprised the world of football with Leicester City. Only a strong end to the 2014-15 campaign ensured that the Foxes avoided relegation to the Championship, and Ranieri arrived as a replacement for Nigel Pearson. Another battle at the bottom of the standings was expected, but the experienced Italian spearheaded one of the biggest success stories in the sport, defying odds of 5,000/1 at the start of the campaign to win the Premier League with two games to spare. However, the East Midlands outfit could not build on their success and despite progress into the Champions league knockout stages, Ranieri was sacked nine months later.

The surprise package in the current Premier League season are Watford, who sit in seventh place in the table just 12 months after the surprise arrival of Javi Gracia. The Spaniard had previously endured average spells with Malaga and Rubin Kazan and given Watford's track record of parting ways with their managers, the 48-year-old was not expected to last long at Vicarage Road. However, Gracia has won 15 of his 40 matches in charge in all competitions and Watford are in pole position to secure a place in next season's Europa League, which is currently justifying the club's decision to hand a four-and-a-half year deal to their main man in the dugout.

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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
ChinaChina24141351
United StatesUnited States20231659
JapanJapan175931
AustraliaAustralia1431431
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia12191344
Great BritainGreat Britain10101232
Today's Olympic highlights header

Monday's key events


ATHLETICS
· There are no Brits in the women's 100m hurdles final, but Puerto Rico's Jasmine Camacho-Quinn, fresh from breaking the Olympic record in the semis, will hope to pip world record holder Kendra Harrison to gold (3.50am)
· The women's 5000m final also has no Team GB representation, but two-time world champion Hellen Obiri of Kenya will be looking to add an Olympic gold to her list of honours (1.40pm)

SAILING
· The women's skiff 49er FX (6.33am) and men's skiff 49er (7.33am) come to their conclusion, with Team GB involved in both medal races

FOOTBALL
· A place in the women's gold medal match is up for grabs, starting with an all-North American semi-final between United States and Canada (9am)
· Australia, who edged past Team GB's in a seven-goal quarter-final thriller, take on Sweden in the second semi-final (12pm)

CYCLING
· The track cycling schedule gets underway, with Team GB holding a particular interest in the team pursuit qualifying. Laura Kenny is part of the women's team (7.54am), while the men's team includes Ed Clancy (9.02am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· The Gadirova twins Jessica and Jennifer will both take part in the women's floor final as they look to add to their team bronze (9.57am)

WEIGHTLIFTING
· Newly-crowned European champion Emily Campbell flies the flag for Great Britain in the women's +87kg, but faces stiff competition for medals from China's Li Wenwen and New Zealand's Laurel Hubbard (11.50am)

HOCKEY
· The women's hockey quarter-finals begin, with Team GB last up against Spain (1pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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