Which Premier League manager is due the sack?
As is often said, when it comes to football managers, they can broadly be divided into two categories: those that have just been sacked and those that will soon be sacked. The reason for this is not far-fetched. The world of football is dynamic and fast-paced and things change quickly. A manager is as good as his last result and once he fails to produce the required results over a stretch of time he joins the firing line.
The Premier League has had its share of managerial casualties this season. Frank de Boer opened the gates when the Dutchman was the first manager to be fired after only 77 days in charge of Crystal Palace. The teamed had lost all of its first four matches of the season and was rooted to the bottom of the table. De Boer paid the price.
The sack race did not stop with the former Ajax manager. It was only the beginning of the cycle for the season. Next in the firing line was Craig Shakespeare of Leicester City who was shown the door after a string of poor results. Shakespeare was fired after only four months in charge as manager. The team was sitting in 18th place on the table.
The next manager to get the boot was Ronald Koeman of Everton who was let go just six days after Shakespeare on October 23rd.
Slaven Bilic and Tony Pulis were relieved of their jobs in November, completing the monthly ritual. It’s now December and who are the managers due for the sack?
Eddie Howe (Bournemouth)
Like Crystal Palace, Bournemouth began the season with four straight losses. It was only natural that Bournemouth kept faith with the manager after how far he had come with the club. Howe led the club from the relegation zone to gain promotion to the Championship and to the quarter-finals of the League Cup after a 2-1 victory over Premier League side West Bromwich Albion. He went on to clinch the Championship title and secure the club’s first ever promotion to the Premier League.
The team struggled at the beginning of its first season in the PL but later improved beating both Chelsea and Manchester United in back-to-back wins to save the club’s season. The Cherries eventually finished 16th in the league thereby avoiding relegation. The club improved on this by finishing in 9th place in the 2016-2017 Season. It is therefore easy to see why the club may need to keep faith with a man who has brought the club its greatest success over the years.
But for how long will Eddie Howe’s goodwill save his job? Bournemouth has been particularly poor this season. The club has won only four of their 18 Premier League matches this season. Only West Brom and Swansea the 19th and 20th placed teams have won less. The Cherries are in 16th position on the table with no win in their last six matches.
Bournemouth has been flirting with relegation all season. This may be the best time to take the hard decision that will move the club forward. But that will depend a lot on the club’s ambition.
Mark Hughes (Stoke City)
Stoke City has at best, performed below expectation this season. In a season that has seen the club beat the likes of Arsenal while losing to the then bottom placed clubs like Crystal Palace and West Ham United, Stoke City can be rated one of the most unpredictable clubs in the league.
Having made several key signings at the beginning of the season with much expected from the club, it has been a huge disappointment watching the team play. The Potters have won only four league matches this season and sit in the 17th position on the league table, just a point above the relegation zone.
For someone who has managed some of the top clubs in the league like Manchester City, much is expected of Mark Hughes. He has been in charge of Stoke City since 2013 and has failed to win a single trophy with the club in that four-year period.
With Stoke City’s poor run this season, are his days finally numbered?
Paul Clement (Swansea City)
We have left the most probable for last. As a matter of fact, for Clement, the writing seems to be on the wall already.
Swansea had much hope coming into the season. For a club that has shown it is not afraid of doing whatever is necessary to improve results when it comes to changing the manager, the time may have finally arrived for Clement to be shown the door.
Swansea City gained promotion to the Premier League in 2011 making history as the first Welsh side to play in the PL since its formation in 1992. They made more progress by qualifying for the 2013-14 UEFA Europa League and reached the last 32 stage but lost over two legs to SSC Napoli.
Back home the Swans played some of the best football in the league. They drew comparisons to Arsenal and Barcelona in their style of play. The club has achieved remarkable results in its time in the PL beating the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea, and Manchester over the seasons.
For all its worth, Swansea City’s performance this season has been well below par. Despite bringing in the highly rated Portuguese wonder-kid Renato Sanchez from Bayern Munich on loan, and the return of one of the club’s top goal scorers Wilfried Bony, the club’s fortunes have failed to improve. The club has failed to replicate some of the best football it played in recent seasons. With poor results to back up its performance, the club has won only three matches out of 18 in the league so far this season. But the struggle was coming all along.
Swansea City changed three managers last season alone in a bid to improve the club’s performance in the league. Clement took over after the sack of American coach Bob Bradley who was sacked after just 85 days in charge. Bradley won only two of his 11 games conceding 29 goals in the process with the club languishing at the bottom of the table. The club seemed doomed to relegation.
But Clement led the club to survival winning 26 points from 18 games. Only three previous teams had achieved such a feat before. But can he lucky again? That may be why the club hierarchy needs to act now to save The Swans the embarrassment of relegation at the end of the season.