Premier League managers come and go. With the vast riches on offer in England’s top flight, multiple changes every season are inevitable. However, this year some big names could be heading for the exit door, whether voluntarily or not. Having already predicted the final league table of the 2018/19 season, we look at five head coaches who may not last the distance.
In the 2016/17 season Palace lost ten of their opening 17 matches and Alan Pardew was sacked with the Eagles firmly ensconced in the relegation zone.
The following year they lost their first seven games without scoring, conceding 17. Frank De Boer was given his P45 four games into that run, making him one of the quickest managerial casualties in British football history.
Roy Hodgson steered Palace to safety but, one year on, a run of eight losses in their first 12 games had Palace flirting with the drop yet again before they eventually got their act together in December.
These aren’t isolated cases. Ian Holloway and Neil Warnock have also fallen victim to the Eagles’ early season curse since they won promotion in 2012/13 and the trend could continue this year.
With a horrendous start, Palace have to face each of last season’s top ten in their opening 13 matches before things get any easier, made all the harder by the lack of transfer activity at Selhurst Park so far other than the departure of Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
Roy Hodgson is no spring chicken and Palace chairman, Steve Parish, has a track record of managerial nervousness. If the Eagles get off to another grim start, don’t be surprised if the former England manager gets mutual decision-ed before Christmas.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
From Molde to Man United. The transition from the Norwegian wilderness to one of the biggest jobs in world football was always going to be a huge step up for the wide-eyed Solskjaer, who at times appears more like an awed fan than an elite manager, even if he did play for the club.
United’s chairman, Ed Woodward, gets plenty of stick but he has backed the Norwegian this summer, securing record breaking deals for Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka and with moves for Paulo Dybala and Bruno Fernandes still in the pipeline. By the end of the window, United should comfortably be the biggest English spenders.
This puts massive pressure on Solskjaer to deliver, with United fans increasingly furious at their continued descent from the summit of English football. A top four finish will be the absolute minimum required of United and, if it looks as though that might not happen, Solskjaer could be in trouble.
He needs to get off to a flying start. He needs Paul Pogba to commit to the cause or leave. He needs the new signings to justify their hefty price tags. If these things don’t happen, Solsjkaer may depart Old Trafford for the second time.
Which, of course, could open the door for a certain Mauricio Pochettino. The Argentinian was heavily linked with the position after Jose Mourinho left the club in December and, if his pre-season mood is anything to go by, he possibly wishes those links had come to fruition.
Pochettino has grown visibly frustrated with Tottenham’s transfer policy in recent months and even implied that he might leave the club if they won the Champions League in May. They lost that final but did emerge victorious in the pre-season Audi Cup a week ago.
Yet, despite winning, an unfamiliar, scowling Pochettino sat in the post-match press conference, suggesting to the assembled press that his job title should be changed from manager to head coach, such was his lack of influence over transfers.
Barring a huge shift in approach to finances from Daniel Levy, apparently scheduled to happen just after hell freezes over, it now seems a matter of when, rather than if, Pochettino leaves Spurs. If a space in the Old Trafford dugout does open up, don’t be surprised if he fills it.
He stayed at Sporting Lisbon for 53 matches and Olympiacos for 48. His 22 match spell at Hull ended with relegation and he only lasted at Watford for 26 games, with performances deteriorating after he had his head turned.
So with 42 matches under his belt at Everton, Marco Silva could yet defy his reputation as an impact manager who takes flight at the first sight of a greater opportunity, although it isn’t guaranteed.
As we mentioned in our season preview, Everton are currently weaker than they were last year after a disappointing summer. Whether the tightening of the purse strings reflects a lack of confidence in the manager or an over-estimation of the owners’ ambition is yet to be seen.
Everton have a fairly comfortable opening run, they don’t face a member of the big six until matchday seven (Man City) and then avoid a second until the 11th game when they meet Spurs. It is absolutely imperative that Silva makes the most of these kind fixtures because things then become a nightmare.
With their weakened defence under the microscope, the Portuguese simply cannot afford to start handing points to bottom half sides or he will find himself moving house for the sixth time in five years.
Finally, poor old Chris Wilder. We predicted that Sheffield United will finish rock bottom of the Premier League this season and, unfortunately, that eventually virtually always means curtains for the manager.
Wilder is clearly talented, having won three promotions in four seasons, and Sheffield United are his boyhood club, having played for the Blades from the age of 19. Accordingly, his achievement last season earnt him a three-year contract at the club where he is loved.
Unfortunately, such sentimentality is irrelevant when Premier League riches are at stake. In fact in the last five seasons, only once has the team who finished bottom failed to change their manager mid-season, when Sunderland allowed David Moyes to keep his job in 2016/17.
The other four are QPR (Harry Redknapp, Chris Ramsey), Aston Villa (Tim Sherwood, Kevin McDonald, Remi Garde, Eric Black), West Brom (Tony Pulis, Gary Megson, Alan Pardew, Darren Moore) and Huddersfield (David Wagner, Mark Hudson, Jan Siewert).
If the worst occurs it will be a departure that pleases nobody involved but will have to happen regardless owing to the drastic financial implications of relegation.