Analyzing 2017-18's Premier League managerial changes
The world runs on success. Don't deliver; you're gone. If anything, the process is only accelerated for football managers. Every club has a specific set of objectives it expects managers to fulfill. Things don't always go to plan. In such times, personnel changes. Managers getting sacked and being replaced is not a new phenomenon. The Premier League has already seen five managers shown the door and five new candidates welcomed in. How are the new men faring?
The season's first change saw Frank de Boer unceremoniously dumped, then replaced by Roy Hodgson on 12th September. This move drew much criticism, even from Crystal Palace fans. Poor performances on the pitch reinforced the criticism. Palace looked doomed. They didn't score in De Boer's four league matches, nor Hodgson's first four. The Eagles appeared to be this campaign's Black Cats.
Then came the miracle. The Eagles won their first game of the season against defending champion Chelsea. It has been virtually all uphill since. The Glaziers (not those) have lost just one from their last 10 league games. Players such as Wilfried Zaha and Rueben Loftus Cheek are shining. Hodgson sets up his team in a counterattacking 4-4-2. It has worked almost perfectly for the Londoners. The former England manager has turned the tables. Palace sit 14th.
Leicester City sacked Craig Shakespeare on 17October. The Foxes had only won a single game in seven. Claude Puel was appointed to restore winning to the East Midlands. He did just that. Puel has lost just twice in the Premier League this season, once to Manchester City, the other to Hodgson's inspired Crystal Palace.
Puel is also known for his counterattacking tactics. As Leicester's success came from that style, it seems a perfect marriage, even if Jamie Vardy doesn't speak French. The Gallic boss favours a 4-4-1-1. He has shifted Riyad Mahrez to a more central role, accommodating Demarai Gray on the wing. The Birmingham native has been superb under Puel. Other players who have impressed are Vardy, Wilfred Ndidi and Harry Maguire. The 2015-16 champion is now eighth after occupying a relegation place under the tragic Shakespeare.
The relegation specialist. With so many teams having subpar performances, it was a matter of when rather than if for Big Sam. Someone had to appoint him. It happened to be Everton. Ronald Koeman had left the Toffees in the bottom three. Allardyce was asked to do what he does best. No, not talk himself into trouble. He was brought in to take the team out of the drop zone,
So far, Allardyce has three wins and a draw in four matches. Most of it down to basics: keep clean sheets, win the second ball, focus on set pieces, be clinical in attack. Wayne Rooney, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, and Idrissa Gueyye have thrived in Sam's 4-2-3-1 system. Like Leicester, Everton has moved on up from the basement to the table's top half.
The Scotsman who could do any job in the world. No, its not Sir Alex Ferguson. Rather, his chosen one: David Moyes. To be fair to Moyes, Big Sam once claimed he could win trophies if only Real Madrid or Barcelona would hire him.
Before Moyes' arrival, West Ham had reminded nobody of either Spanish club. Slaven Bilic had lost the room. Enter the erstwhile Sunderland boss on 7 November. Hammers fans marked it as a black day in the club's history. Pundits agreed. At first, the new man appeared to be proving everyone right.
All a new manager needs, however, is a match against Chelsea. West Ham's first win under Moyes was again at Antonio Conte's expense. The Hammers have had a draw and a win since, enough to lift them from the relegation zone.
Moyes has emulated Allardyce in more than outlandish self-esteem. He has simplified things for his new squad, focusing on solidity at the back. Joe Hart has been benched. Adrian has filled the void. James Collins and Manuel Lanzini have been among the best performers at the London Stadium. The jury is still out on the Scot, but the pattern is suggesting every team in the league should hire a new manager.
Except maybe the Baggies. Tony Pulis was the latest Premier League boss sacked, his team just above the relegation zone. Pardew was tapped as his successor. Unlike the other new men, the former Palace boss has further degraded West Brom. The Baggies have sunk to 19th. It is looking like a Christmas miracle is needed.
West Brom last won on 19 August. The team has problems all over the pitch. The defence is shaky, midfield doesn't do enough, and forwards are starving for goals. Albion has scored just once and conceded thrice in four matches under Pardew. Still, that's an upgrade over Tony Pulis. The performance against Manchester United offers hope safety can be found and the Hawthorns will continue to witness Premier League football in 2018-19.