Premier League sack race: Who's next to get the boot?
October 4th gave us our first two managerial departures of the 2015/16 Premier League season in Dick Advocaat and Brendan Rodgers. The latter dismissed arguably unfairly, I will be examining some other managers competing in the so-called 'sack race,' and who I think will be next to get the boot.
After a dismal draw in the first Merseyside derby of the season and only 4 wins from 11 games, Rodgers' fate was decided later that day - leaving them 10th in the league and 6 points off the top spot.
However, some people argue that Rodgers was sacked unreasonably, with echoes of the 2013/14 season still ringing in his ears. One week on and Liverpool's season is already looking slightly brighter with ex-Dortmund boss Jürgen Klopp taking the reigns at Anfield, bringing with him bags of energy, charisma and above all - a winning mentality.
Former Bolton, Newcastle and West Ham manager Sam Allardyce has been named as the new manager of Sunderland this week. Allardyce joins the club on a two-year contract, who lie 19th in the league with only 3 points to their name having not won a game all season.
So with two out and two in already - this season is shaping up to be yet another one where no manager is safe in their job.
Newcastle's Steve McClaren
Now, it's easy for me to sit here and criticise managers whose teams make up the bottom half of the league, but there are signs of a genuine crisis emerging at Newcastle United. Without a win all season and a disappointing loss at the hands of Sheffield Wednesday who dumped them out of the Capital One Cup, Steve McClaren is once again under intense scrutiny in a role where - personally - he isn't all to blame. Of course, he has to take some of the wrap for The Magpies' disheartening start to the campaign but the players simply aren't performing as well as they should be.
Mike Ashley splashed the cash in the summer, spending just under £50m on five players in what was perceived as a statement of intent, but so far all we've seen from them is 6 goals scored all season and 3 draws. McClaren admitted in an interview that he underestimated the difficulty of the job at Newcastle, but could that be because the players aren't doing anything he wants them to? Colback, Sissoko and Wijnaldum are just three I've hand-picked as underperformed so far, creating minimal chances offensively when on paper, they have the quality to build a midfield structure and perhaps score a few more goals than they do. Newcastle's players need to share the responsibilty of performance with the manager. McClaren has lots to improve but he can't do it on the pitch himself.
I don't think Newcastle will be relegated this season. We are only 8 games in after all, but they are in danger of being left behind if they don't start operating as a unit instead of blaming the man in charge. Their next two fixtures are against Norwich and then it's the big one: the Tyne-Wear derby at the Stadium of Light. I think a defeat against Alex Neil's Norwich will mean McClaren's fate might meet a greusome end should they lose the derby. Watch this space.
Tim Sherwood - what's going wrong at Villa?
Tim Sherwood has had mixed fortunes since joining Aston Villa back in February. He guided them to the final of the FA Cup - beating Liverpool at Wembley but ultimately missing out on the trophy itself after a 4-0 defeat against Arsenal - but managed only a 17th place finish in the league (3 points from safety). It hasn't been any brighter for Sherwood this season either. Villa have lost six out of the last seven Premier League games and are already slipping away from safety, lying 18th in the table with just a bleak 4 points.
Aston Villa were very busy in the summer transfer window, and I think their transfer activity is predominantly why results aren't going their way. A complete squad overhaul during the summer break saw twelve new players arrive and thirteen depart - including some of last season's key players Christian Benteke, Fabian Delph and Andreas Weimann. But of the twelve players that arrived, only a handful were selected by boss Sherwood. In fact, it was Villa's hierarchy who targetted youngsters from overseas with sell-on potential instead of Sherwood's desired players, including Aaron Lennon and Esteban Cambiasso. Sherwood has since dropped many of these new arrivals in what could be perceived as a protest, as he opts for older and more experienced players to help him save his job.
Reports suggest that Sherwood has been given two games to change things around and pick up some Premier League points, otherwise he'll be the next managerial departure.
If you're unaware of the horrific start Chelsea have endured in the opening fixtures of their Premier League campaign, have you been living in a cardboard box? The current champions are without a win in the league since their 2-0 defeat over Arsenal on the 19th of September, which is currently one of two wins this season from 8 games. Are we seriously suggesting that Jose Mourinho is on the verge of losing his job? I don't think so. Some reports suggest that Chelsea are in for Diego Simeone as Mourinho's replacement - but I believe the Portuguese manager will find some light in the dark at Stamford Bridge.
His tirade of often angry or passionate post-match interviews suggest that Mourinho is simply looking for support from the players, fans and most importantly, the owner. Roman Abramovich has a tendancy to make hasty changes at the club (e.g Roberto Di Matteo, Andre Villas-Boas) with some reports this week suggesting the Russian billionaire is after Atletico Madrid's Diego Simeone. But Mourinho is renowned as one of the best managers in world football and Abramovich would be a fool to sack him after everything he's achieved with the club.
So, what are the bookies saying?
Steve McClaren leads the way in the bookies' sack race. He is 7/4 to be the next to leave his post, closely followed by Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho at 5/2 and Tim Sherwood rounds up the top 3 at 5/1.
The full list can be found below:
Steve McClaren - 7/4
Jose Mourinho - 2/1
Tim Sherwood - 5/1
Quique Flores - 16/1
Ronald Koeman - 20/1
Tony Pulis - 20/1
Mauricio Pochettino - 25/1
Louis Van Gaal - 25/1
Mark Hughes - 25/1
Eddie Howe - 33/1
Claudio Ranieri - 33/1
Roberto Martinez - 33/1
Alex Neil - 33/1
Slaven Bilic - 33/1
Manuel Pellegrini - 33/1
Garry Monk - 40/1
Alan Pardew - 40/1
Arsene Wenger - 50/1
Jürgen Klopp - 50/1
Who do you think will be the next manager to depart the Premier League? Let us know and join in the conversation via our Twitter account.