Compared to last season, this has generally been a kind campaign for Premier League managers in terms of job security.

A total of 14 Premier League managers lost their jobs last term. My own beloved Leeds United and Chelsea even had the distinction of sacking two managers in one season.

By this time last season five top flight managers had already lost their jobs as club owners opted to act sooner rather than later to stop the rot.

Scott Parker suffered the indignity of being the first manager to be shown the exit door, sacked by Bournemouth in quite brutal fashion after just four games into the new season.

Parker’s last game in charge of Bournemouth was a 9-0 drubbing by Liverpool, prompting the Cherries boss to opine that his squad was not adequately equipped for the demands of the Premier League.

Parker would be followed in quick succession by Thomas Tuchel (Chelsea), Bruno Lage (Wolves), Steven Gerrard (Aston Villa) and Ralf Hasenhuttl (Southampton) in that order. It was mayhem.

By contrast, it has taken 14 rounds of Premier League matches for the season to claim its first managerial casualty. Hitherto, club chiefs had demonstrated an inclination to give managers a fair crack of the whip in the hope results would improve.

Of course there is no guarantee that managerial changes will bring about a turnaround in the club’s flagging fortunes.

For example, Southampton, Leicester City and Leeds United, all changed managers mid-season last term and still failed to stave off relegation.

Football is a results business and points are the currency with which managers transanct. Inevitably,  poor results cost managers their jobs.

Heckingbottom wins sack race

After a wretched start to life back in the top flight, Sheffield United decided to part ways with manager Paul Heckingbottom, who paid the price for poor results. After overseeing a return of five points from a possible 42 Heckingbottom can’t have too many complaints about losing his job.

In mitigation, sympathisers will point out how Heckingbottom was undermined by a lack of resources. Owing to a modest war chest, the Blades are campaigning in the Premier League with a largely Championship squad.

Sheffield United have rehired Chris Wilder, who replaces the man who succeeded him two seasons ago. Wilder left Bramall Lane amid reports his relationship with the owner had deteriorated over a lack of investment in the playing squad.

The chasm between the haves and have-nots was emphasised during the 2-0 defeat by Liverpool in Wilder’s first game back in charge on Wednesday night. It looks like Wilder is inheriting the challenges his predecessor inherited from him.

Managers who are at risk?

Heckingbottom won this season’s sack race, but who might follow him?

Erik Ten Hag – 2/1

Perhaps the most high-profile manager currently clinging to his job is Manchester United’s Erik Ten Hag.

To say United are having an indifferent campaign is an understatement. Their league position masks their struggles on the pitch and the uncertainty off it.

In Europe, the Red Devils are teetering on the brink of Champions League elimination at the first hurdle. They even face the ignominy of missing out on the consolation of the Europa League as Champions League dropouts.

In a group with relative European minnows Galatasaray and Copenhagen, Man United were expected to jostle with Bayern Munich for top spot. But alas, they are bottom of the group with one game to play.

It’s fair to say Ten Hag is hanging on to his job by the proverbial skin of his teeth, especially after the 0-3 drumming at Old Trafford by Bournemouth.

Premier League 2023/24 Standings (As of 10 December 2023)
Position Team Played Points
1 Liverpool 16 37
2 Arsenal 16 36
3 Aston Villa 16 35
4 Manchester City 16 33
5 Tottenham Hotspur 15 27
6 Manchester United 16 27
7 Newcastle United 15 26
8 Brighton and Hove Albion 16 26
9 West Ham United

Steve Cooper 2/1

Nottingham’s 5-0 hammering at Fulham was their fourth defeat on the bounce, leaving them six points above the relegation zone.

Forest were in a desperately worse situation last season until a late run of form catapulted them from the bottom to safety.

Will owner Evangelos Marinakis show the same patience with and faith in his manager this term and trust Cooper to turn the situation around?

Vincent Kompany – 7/1

Burnley cantered to promotion last season with an eye-catching swashbuckling brand of football. Manager Vincent Kompany racked up the plaudits, touted in some giddy sections as a future Manchester City manager. Admirers couldn’t wait for the former Man City captain to pit his wits against the best in the Premier League while auditioning for Pep Guardiola’s job.

It’s not unkind to suggest that sentiment is what is largely keeping Kompany in the job at Turf Moor. Otherwise Burnley are finding the going rather tough. Languishing in the relegation zone with seven points from a possible 45, the fear is that the Clarets will make an instant return to the second tier unless their form improves significantly, and sooner rather than later.

To be fair to Kompany, the Burnley squad compares poorly to the Premier League’s heavy hitters.

Will that come into Burnley’s thinking when faced with the decision whether to axe or stick with the former Belgium international?

Roy Hodgson – 8/1

Palace were heckled by home fans during and after the 2-0 defeat by Bournemouth on Wednesday night.

Roy Hodgson, the hero brought in to steady the ship after the sacking of Patrick Vieira last season, is coming under increasing pressure and in real danger of becoming the villain.

The Palace hierarchy may have a difficult decision to make soon if results do not improve.

Andoni Araola – 14/1

There was considerable sympathy for Gary O’Neil when he was sacked in the off-season despite guiding Bournemouth to safety under difficult circumstances.

The club then plumped for Andoni Araola as their new manager.

Of the Cherries’ current tally of 16 points 10 came from their last four matches. That is a graphic illustration of their early-season struggles.

Bournemouth are currently on a four-match unbeaten streak. Has Araola finally cracked the Premier League code? Time will tell.

Rob Edwards – 20/1

Luton Town occupy the final safety position with a return of nine points from their opening 15 games. It’s a false position. But for Everton being docked 10 points the Hatters would be in the relegation zone, a placing their form merits.

How long before manager Rob Edwards’ position becomes untenable? recommends

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Soft targets

Invariably, it is managers who carry the can for poor results on the pitch.

However, evidence suggests sometimes managers are just scapegoats for inadequate investment in playing squads. The truth is that some of the squads are just not good enough to cope with the demands of the Premier League.

Managers are also soft targets because it is easier to get rid of one man and his coaching staff than a bunch of underperforming, overpaid and mollycoddled players.

Latest Premier League Sack Race Betting Odds: Cooper and Ten Hag Lead as Potential Next Managerial Exits

Name of Manager Club Age Odds
Steve Cooper Nottingham Forest 43 2/1
Erik Ten Hag Manchester United 53 2/1
Vincent Kompany Burnley 37 7/1
Roy Hodgson Crystal Palace 76 8/1
Andoni Iraola AFC Bournemouth 41 14/1
Chris Wilder Sheffield United 55 16/1
Marco Silva Fulham 46 20/1
Rob Edwards Luton Town 40 20/1
Mauricio Pochettino Chelsea 51 25/1
Thomas Frank Brentford 49
Roberto De Zerbi Brighton & Hove Albion 44
Sean Dyche Everton 52
Jurgen Klopp Liverpool 56
Pep Guardiola Manchester City 52
Eddie Howe Newcastle United 45
Ange Postecoglou Tottenham Hotspur 58
David Moyes West Ham United 60
Gary O’Neil Wolverhampton Wanderers 40

Odds as of December 10, 2023


I'm Barrie Jarrett, born in Leeds, lived over a decade in South Africa, CEO And Co Founder of Planet Sport Limited and Planet Bet Limited.

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