The First Sacking Of The New Year, Who Will It Be?
January 01, 2017
With the halfway stage of this Premier League campaign having passed, four top-flight managers have already succumbed to the relentless pressure and demands of success that are often expected in a heartbeat. Even with the odds stacked against them, every man occupying one of the coveted hot seats has to deliver consistent productivity amidst an epidemic of scrutiny as every tactical decision, transfer dealing and squad rotation is analysed to the nth degree.
A few poor results can soon escalate into a ghastly run of form and consequently a manager who appeared to be punching amongst the division’s heavyweights can quickly find themselves against the ropes barely clinging on to their job. Despite being a mere matter of weeks into 2017, the Premier League has already seen the dismissal of Mike Phelan at the KCOM Stadium, with all 20 clubs entering the remaining 18 games hoping to match their own respective ambitions. Who will be next for the chop?
Walter Mazzarri – 6/4
A welcoming FA Cup win against Championship side Burton Albion has temporarily eased the weight on Mazzarri’s shoulders following five league games without a win. The former Inter Milan and Napoli manager is unlikely to improve on Watford’s superb 13th place finish last season, but his side need to start stringing some victories together after a woeful end to 2016.
The Hornets currently sit seven points above the drop zone and the Italian must ensure that they do not become involved in a relegation scrap if he is too keep his three-year contract ticking over.
Slaven Bilic – 11/4
The Croat excelled in his first season at the helm as his side finished 7th in the top-flight and in the process shattered several records for the Hammers in the Premier League era. This term has been a whirlwind of inconsistency as West Ham fell into the relegation zone at the beginning of December.
However, a gutsy 2-2 draw at Anfield was then followed up by three consecutive wins as Bilic’s side appeared to be gaining momentum going into the New Year. However, last Friday’s cup mauling at home to Manchester City was their third straight loss in all competitions and Bilic must fight off interest in his prized asset Dimitri Payet if his side are to climb into the upper echelons of the division.
Claude Puel – 9/1
It would seem absurd that Puel’s position is under threat given the Saints are currently sat in 10th place – just six points off Everton in seventh. Southampton have unquestionably overachieved in recent years under the tutelage of Ronald Koeman and Puel has struggled to build on the fantastic work carried out by his predecessor.
The south coast club have failed to pick up a single point in their last three top-flight encounters and had to settle for a replay at home to Norwich following last weekend’s dramatic draw. A disappointing Europa League journey ended before the last 32 and the Frenchman will know that his side need to find that winning feeling again if they are to enjoy another stellar campaign.
David Moyes – 12/1
Perennial strugglers Sunderland are once again involved in a dogfight having just accumulated a miserly 15 points so far. The Black Cats appear to have staved off the attention of West Ham in their chief goal-getter Jermaine Defoe, but are without a win in their last three league matches and currently occupy the final relegation place. Moyes appears devoid of answers and has admitted that the club are struggling to compete financially in the transfer market – a major worry for a squad that lacks both depth and quality. Is the Stadium of Light manager living on borrowed time?