With the season now three months in, and the Premiership table starting to assume some sense of normality after the early season free-for-all, club chairmen who are unhappy with performances so far may look to replace a failing manager sooner rather than later, in order to give the successor enough time save their side from relegation, or get a faltering title challenge back on track.
So, which managers may be spending at lot more time with the family this Christmas?
Avram Grant. The Hammers boss may be the first name on the chopping-block. Bottom of the table, with 9 points from 13 Premier League games isn’t exactly the revival of West Ham’s fortunes which fans, and, indeed, the new chairmen, were hoping for. If the team fail to get a result at Anfield next week, Grant’s fate could well be sealed.
Roberto Mancini. The manager under the most pressure has to be Mancini. Although the club’s owners do not seem to expect instant success, they will certainly be looking for a better return on their millions than Mancini’s men have so far delivered. The Italian’s decision on Saturday to replace Carlos Tevez with Gareth Barry, and so play six in midfield with no strikers when drawing 0-0 at home to 17th-place Birmingham, apart from being baffling and frustrating to say the least, is hardly demonstrative of the ambition which the owners and the fans expect.
Roy Hodgson. Liverpool in the relegation zone. Normally, that would be enough, despite Hodgson’s pedigree, yet the well-documented ownership issues which have only recently been resolved have been enough to excuse the players, and the manager, to a certain extent. Now there is nowhere left to hide, and the new owners will want to see improvement, and fast. Liverpool’s meeting with West Ham may well prove vital for both managers.
Roberto Martinez. It is always difficult to predict which Wigan will turn up on the day, and Martinez has inspired some truly outstanding performances in his players during his reign. However, the club will almost certainly be battling for survival come the end of the season, and the board must consider whether Martinez is the man to guarantee performances when Wigan need them most.
Mick McCarthy. An experienced, respected manager, but Wolves fans will draw little comfort from good performances if the team fail to get anything from these games, and the board could decide to dispense with the style in return for a little bit more substance.
Alex McLeish. The Birmingham manager also has the issue of wealthy owners to appease, and the club’s recent success since coming back into the top flight makes being in the relegation zone all the more unacceptable. However, owing to such success, McLeish may still have time on his side… for now.
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