Paul Clement: the next managerial casualty?
Just three months into the new season, we've already seen five managers get the boot at their respective clubs. Swansea City's dreadful run of form means Paul Clement's future in South Wales is under serious scrutiny. Will he be the next one out?
Another season, another dreadful start for Swansea City. Saturday's defeat at the bet365 Stadium condemned the Swans to bottom spot in the Premier League, four points away from safety.
Last season, you'd recall, wasn't much different. Swansea, at the same stage, were down in the relegation zone after already sacking Francesco Guidolin. His replacement, Bob Bradley didn't fare too well either. Heading into the new year, relegation seemed inevitable for Swansea, until Paul Clement's appointment.
Somehow, Clement managed to keep the Swans up. This season, however, the former Derby County boss appears to have lost his way somewhat.
Swansea is winless in seven, with all but one of those games ending in a defeat. Putting it further into context, Clement's men have won just twice all campaign; the last of which came in October. If that's not relegation form, I don't know what is.
A chronic lack of goals has been a major downfall for the Welsh side The Swans are averaging less than a goal a game, having scored eight in their 15 league matches thus far - the joint-fewest by any side in the division.
It truly has been a shocking season for Swansea, and as is often the case, the blame has largely fallen at the gaffer's feet. But the Swansea hierarchy surely didn't cover themselves in glory during the summer transfer window.
Fernando Llorente and Gylfi Sigurdsson, two vital players last term, left for big money in the summer and weren't adequately replaced. And now the chickens, it appears, have come home to roost.
The quality of football we have seen from this Swansea side hasn't been thrilling, has it? The play for large parts has been nothing to write home about. At the moment, the goals have dried up entirely, while the defensive work hasn't been particularly impressive either. And game after game, week after week, the likelihood of relegation for the South Wales outfit intensifies.
The Swansea board, as shown in time past, isn't one to be hesitant on sacking a manager whose team has underwhelmed, regardless of how well he did in the previous season. Such is the ruthless nature of sackings at the club that Paul Clement, despite having been in charge for less than a year, is Swansea's longest-serving boss since the Garry Monk days.
I, for one, find it quite bemusing that Clement hasn't been shown the door yet. Truth be told, there has been no indication whatsoever that he could possibly steer this team clear of the relegation zone this time around. Besides, from all the teams down in the dreaded drop zone, Swansea look the most likely to go down.
Well, what's not so surprising is Clement emerging as the bookmakers' favourite to be the next managerial casualty of the season.
A quick look down the wrong end of the table tells you the 45-year-old is the manager under the most pressure to deliver. Southampton's Mauricio Pellegrino has recently gotten a few points under his belt; similarly, Mark Hughes at Stoke. Given that the likes of Tony Pulis available, time is something Clement doesn't have.
Starting with the visit of West Brom this weekend, one gets the feeling Swansea's result in the next few games would go a long way in determining whether or not Clement remains in charge heading into the new year. But given the way Swansea has fared this term, there is little cause for optimism going into the busy festive period.