All Herald the Sack Race: Who Will be the First Casualty this Season?
August 26, 2016
Let’s make one thing clear; none of us enjoy seeing somebody lose their job. It just so happens that in the harsh and unforgiving world of football, we not only get to watch this unfold but we are also invited to bet on who this will happen to next.
The issue is that it is often difficult to keep pace with managerial sackings in the Premier League, even if we have still have some way to go to match the madness that unfolds overseas.
With this in mind, here our three prime contenders to ‘win’ the dreaded sack race and a look at the BetHut favourite to be sacked before the summer has drawn to a close…
Mark Hughes, Stoke City
While the tough and likeable Hughes has shown glimpses of immense promise as a manager, he has struggled to leave an indelible mark on any of the clubs that he has managed. So although he has done sterling work in attracting top class talent to the Britannia Stadium and developing the Potters’ style of play, Stoke remain unable to push beyond their mid-table confines.
They have also started the season poorly, drawing at Middlesbrough on the opening day before being thrashed at home by Manchester City (the Britannia was a fortress for Stoke last season). With their flair players also under-performing, a run of poor form could well see Hughes among the first to lose their job this season.
Claude Puel, Southampton
Former Monaco player Claude Puel has an unenviable task at Southampton, as he is the latest man charged with rebuilding the Saints after a summer of upheaval and turbulence. Having lost their manager and key players such as Sadio Mane and Graziano Pelle during the close-season, Southampton are replicating a cycle that has undermined their development for the last three years.
While former managers Mauricio Pochettino and Ronald Koeman were able to thrive under such pressure, however, Frenchman Puel looks a little overwhelmed at the task facing him. The Saints already look a different side to last season, and a sustained run of poor results could Puel axed before the club become immersed in a relegation battle.
Eddie Howe, Bournemouth
Make no mistake; Howe has done an exceptional job at Bournemouth, and in many ways sack race candidates such as WBA’s Tony Pulis and Alan Pardew seem far more logical. There is something wrong with the Cherries at the start of the new season, however, notwithstanding their difficult start and failure to truly strengthen the squad the summer.
The intensity and high pressing that surprised so many teams last season has gone, for example, while the decision to spend £15 million on an unproven talent like Jordan Ibe seems more perplexing with every game. With significant issues surrounding the spin of the team too, there is an immediate danger that Howe could lose the backing of the board and find his position untenable.