It’s been a, let’s say, different (?!) Premier League season so far.
Liverpool are really, really good and well ahead of big-spending Manchester City, and there’s a host of traditionally smaller clubs really punching above their weight based on their standing in the table and recent results.
That inevitably means, though, that other clubs are suffering. The traditional ‘big six’ looks in big danger of being interrupted come May, with the form of teams you’d usually expect to be in the Champions League mix leaving a lot to be desired.
We’re getting to that time of year where clubs will start to lose patience with underperformance. Javi Gracia has left Watford already, but there can’t be too long to wait before the next Premier League boss gets the chop.
Here’s seven bosses most at risk – as predicted by the 90min team.
Ralph Hasenhuttl (Southampton)
Herr Hasenhuttl made a flying start to life in the driving seat at St Mary’s, but it seems his Southampton project has run out of steam.
The Austrian’s appointment had the desired effect when he replaced Mark Hughes in December last year, quickly reaping the rewards of his work as his high-energy style of play produced a first victory in three months. Although they stalled towards the end of the season, Hasenhuttl was able to haul the Saints to safety.
However, an underwhelming transfer window and two wins in nine games this season means he is in trouble, with his side dangling perilously over the relegation zone – only outside of it on goal difference.
Marco Silva (Everton)
When? The Christmas Period
The statistics show that the gruelling December period is hunting season on Premier League managers and the crosshairs may well be fixed on Marco Silva, whose Everton – for all their spending – are struggling.
The Toffees, with their grand plans at board level and patient but quietly ambitious supporter base, won’t tolerate the risk of a tawdry relegation battle, especially when they were sold this season as the one in which they would finally challenge for Europe again.
Inconsistency and mediocrity underpin the Silva era at Goodison Park and his reputation as one of Europe’s brightest young coaches is shifting from next Mourinho to the new AVB.
Maybe young British managers Garry Rowett and Thierry Henry would’ve been better choices, just like Paul Merson warned us.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (Manchester United)
When? December – Before Christmas
There’s noises again.
Manchester United sacked Jose Mourinho less than a year ago, and half-decent draw at home to Liverpool at the weekend aside, their form has been poor since his successor took the manager’s role on a permanent basis.
18 points from their last 18 league games, no more than one goal in any game since the opening weekend of the season and two points off the Premier League relegation zone otherwise translates to…well, very big problems.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has spoken at length about his long-term plan and the need for a cultural reset at Old Trafford. But while it’s a completely necessary process to go through, results and performances are getting to the point where the pressure might become too much for the Norwegian to retain his position.
United have to date showed no suggestion of being able to break inferior teams down, and their results and league position reflect that. The noises coming out of the club remain positive (for now) but big improvements are needed, and fast.
There aren’t many confident those improvements will come, though. Time is running out.
Quique Sanchez Flores (Watford)
How? Sacked (again)
A manager that’s previously been sacked by the club? Check.
A trigger-happy owner who has gone through five managers in four years despite relative success? Check.
A club that are currently rooted to the bottom of the Premier League table? Check.
Quique Sanchez Flores, worryingly, ticks every single ‘100% certain to be sacked by a football club’ box you can think of, and he’s only been back at the club since the middle of September.
There is no doubting the fact that Flores is a good manager, because he is. He won the Europa League and the UEFA Super Cup with Atlético Madrid once upon a time, and even guided Watford to a FA Cup semi-final the last time he was in charge at Vicarage Road.
But something’s just not quite right at Watford at the moment.
Despite having – on paper, at least – one of the ten best squads in the league, the Hornets are without a league win this season and in a real rut. And judging by the 8-0 defeat to Man City in his second game in charge, it’s hard to imagine Flores turning things around any time soon.
Mauricio Pochettino (Tottenham)
When? After the January Transfer Window
By Sean Walsh
No man is bigger than the club.
But when it comes to Tottenham, no man has been closer to that sentiment than Mauricio Pochettino – so why would he leave? It would be incredibly foolish for Spurs to sack him based on their current dip in form, but Pochettino will definitely understand his worth.
And after his recent and surprising U-turn on how the club will operate in the January window, he might feel he’s done all he can in north London.
Steve Bruce (Newcastle)
Being Newcastle manager is possibly one of the hardest jobs in British football, so it was fair play to Steve Bruce when he took the gig on over the summer.
You might think that’s a strange thing to say, given they play in front of 52,000 fans every week and are owned by one of the wealthiest businessmen in the country. But, there is more than meets the eye.
Huge expectations, a playing squad in desperate need of refreshment and poor investment mean January’s transfer window will be huge for Bruce – and when he doesn’t get what he needs, he’ll be out of the door.
Daniel Farke (Norwich)
When? After It’s Too Late
This isn’t going to be a decision those in charge at Norwich will want to make, but they may be in a position where a change is needed before they find themselves in an unsalvageable position.
Their run of five losses in their last seven league games is extremely worrying, while they’ve also conceded the joint-highest amount of goals of all top flight teams so far.
Farke will be given every chance to turn things around, but by the time the Canaries decide a change is needed, perhaps around February, it may be too late.
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Source : 90min