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The dreaded axe has finally fallen in the Premier League this season and unsurprisingly it was trigger-happy Watford who were the first club to pull the plug on their manager in England’s top tier. The Hornets showed Xisco Munoz to the exit door on Sunday after just 10 months at the helm following an away defeat to Leeds United that their goalkeeper Ben Foster described as a “1-0 battering”.
Xisco led Watford back to the Premier League after a season away from the big time last term, but – as has been seen over the last few years – patience is rather thin in the Vicarage Road boardroom and two wins from seven Premier League games played wasn’t enough to keep the former Valencia winger in a job. It’s now a whopping 12 permanent managers since Gianfranco Zola left the club in December 2013.
With Xisco becoming the first departure of this campaign, the question now is who will be the next Premier League boss to go in the Sack Race? Let’s have a gander at some of the leading contenders.
After an explosive start to the season that saw Spurs rise to the summit of the Premier League at the end of Gameweek 3, Tottenham’s form has fallen off a cliff of late. Defeats to Crystal Palace, Chelsea and – most embarrassingly of all for the Spurs faithful – Arsenal have pushed Nuno Espírito Santo right to the front of the queue of our Sack Race.
Thankfully for Nuno, Tottenham steadied the ship slightly by beating Aston Villa 2-1 last weekend. But, if they were to lose to Newcastle after the return from the international break, the Portuguese gaffer may go from being described as the ‘new Spurs manager’ to the ‘ex-Tottenham boss’ quicker than his club dropped out of the Super League.
Every time we write one of these articles, poor Steve Bruce’s name always seems to be near the top of the list to be told to sling his hook. But, still, The Magpies boss survives. We’ve seen way more happier marriages on Coronation Street than the union of Bruce and Newcastle, but he just keeps trudging on. The Magpies are yet to win this term and sit in the relegation zone at present, so could the end finally be nigh at St James’ Park for Bruce? The odds say it’s highly likely…
For many, it may be a shock to see the Manchester United supremo this far up the betting to be sacked, but is it a surprise really? The Old Trafford outfit have one of the most impressive squads in the Premier League, but their form – particularly at home – has been dreadful. Both Aston Villa and Everton have taken points from Old Trafford in the last few weeks, and The Red Devils were also knocked out of the Carabao Cup by West Ham in front of their own fans.
Don’t forget they also fell to an unexpected defeat to Young Boys in the Champions League just before that. That is simply not good enough for a club of Man United’s standards and history, so they may be searching for an upgrade very soon.
It’s hard to know where to stand with Ralph Hasenhuttl. The Saints earned widespread praise for sticking with the Austrian after two shambolic 9-0 defeats, as he led Southampton to the top of the Premier League for the first time in the club’s history around this time last season. But, following that brief moment of glory, their form went into the toilet again and they limped to a bitterly disappointing 15th place finish.
This campaign has seen similar inconsistencies pop up, and they sit just above the relegation zone as one of only four teams yet to taste victory this season. Removing Ralph might just be in the minds of the Saints board.
If you were going to put the term ‘yo-yo club’ in the dictionary, Norwich may be the first example they list. Yet again, The Canaries are proving to be too good for the Championship, but nowhere near up to scratch when it comes to the Premier League.
Norwich sit rock bottom of the table with just one point from seven games and, weirdly, look to have already accepted their fate as relegation fodder. Could a change in the manager’s hot seat, change that? It may be the only thing that can. Let’s be ‘aving you!
After leading the betting in the Sack Race market for a long time earlier this term, the pressure has eased a little on Arsenal’s Mikel Arteta lately. After opening the season with three losses in a row, you couldn’t have blamed the hierarchy of The Gunners for wishing the Spaniard the best of luck in his future endeavours.
But, they stuck with their man and have been rewarded, as Arsenal have scored 10 points from a possible 12 in their last four games. A crisis always seems to be just around the corner for The Gunners though, so be warned, this price could be slashed at the drop of a hat.
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