In the Line of Fire: Premier League Managers Who Can Be Fired This Season
After yet another frantic transfer window came to a close, every Premier Club has almost built their core team to compete for the season. (Considering the fact that most premier league clubs don't actively trade in the winter transfer window.)
The owners have flashed their cheque-books and now it's time to do all the talking on the pitch. No exaggeration then to expect that it's time for some managers to lose sleep. Especially those who have been clear losers, or have not been able to compete to their liking in the transfer market, or have made the wrong decisions.
Here then is a list of five managers who are already under the gun and lead the race to be fired either at the end of the season or sometime very soon.
Arsene Wenger, Arsenal
Although the much maligned Arsene Wenger managed to save his skin by literally panic buying players at the end of the transfer window, it would be fair to assume that after the thrashing that the North London club received at Old Trafford, all is not hunky dory amongst the Gunner supporters.
In almost all the interviews Wenger has given this summer, he has sounded evasive. He always emphasized that it was the club's policy to buy the players young and then develop them and that he didn't "expect" anybody to leave the club. He in effect was a feeder to other clubs.
Now after Wenger's Champion wannabes have started the season in the worst possible manner, it would be tough to see the legendary Frenchman continue in his position if things don't improve .
One big problem with Wenger's acquisitions this summer has been the fact that most of them (Santos,28; Arteta, 29; Mertesacker, 26; Chu-Park Young, 27) are all in their late 20's. Wenger's recruitment in that age range in recent years has not been encouraging. For examples, see Laurent Koscielny and Sebastien Squillaci.
Clearly Wenger is up against a tough ordeal and if he is unable to deliver a solid Champions League position along with some silverware, this may well be his last season in charge of a giant club like Arsenal.
Steve Kean, Blackburn Rovers
Ever since the Venky's took over the Lancashire-based club, Blackburn Rovers have seen a lot of weird decisions made.
After an Arsenal-like thrashing at the hands of Manchester United, the club's ever so reliable manager Sam Allardyce was sacked much to the amazement of the fans who thought the manager was good enough to keep them in top flight for the short term.
Steve Kean's appointment as a manager of the club was itself thought to be a huge surprise after the club was being linked to names ranging from Rafael Benitez to even Diego Maradona for the managerial post.
However, although Steve Kean has managed to keep the club in top flight, it went down right to the last match of the season to see the Rovers through.
Kean though, has been fairly active in the transfer market after the sale of the much coveted Phil Jones to Manchester United. He has also brought fairly impressive names like David Goodwillie (Scottish player of the year 2010-11 in the SPL), Radoslav Petrovic, Scott Dann, and Simon Vuckcevic to the club which should augur well.
However, except for Dann, none of the players have the desired Premier League experience. The addition of Yakubu may help on this account, but the points tally showing nothing after 3 relatively even competitive matches (2 of those at Ewood park) is a cause for concern. Even the Premier League newcomers have gathered more.
It's high time that Steve Kean's men start delivering the goods. In not, it wouldn't be much of a surprise if the Blackburn Boss was forced out.
Neil Warnock , Queen's Park Rangers
Neil Warnock is the only manager among the Premier league newcomers with previous Premier league experience, but that hasn't kept many from doubting his coaching ability. It has been frequently suggested that Warnock is a better Championship club manager as opposed to a high pressure Premier Club.
Even after the shock victory at Goodison park against Everton, the Premier league newcomers have managed only 3 points this season in as many matches and have been thrashed at home by the Bolton Wanderers.
Now, with a fresh injunction of cash, after the takeover by Tony Fernandes, Warnock has been able to make various changes to the squad and added much needed Premier league experience (with Joey Barton, Wright Phillips and Luke Young).
However, all this also adds to the huge pressure of needing to perform at the highest level. If his stint at Sheffield United is anything to go by, the odds look heavily stacked against the man.His winning record at Sheffield United was 42.53 %. His success measure at QPR (of course in much fewer matches) so far is 45.45%.
Harry Redknapp, Tottenham Hotspur
It would be an understatement to say that Harry Redknapp cuts a dejected figure at Tottenham Hotspur.
Harry's friends in the media are calling for him to be considered for the English National Football team. On the other hand, his club's performance has taken a huge dive.
An example of the same can be found from this fact.
Juande Ramos was in charge of 54 games at Spurs in all competitions. He won 21, drew 16 and lost 17. In Redknapp’s last 54 games, he has won 22, drawn 17 and lost 15. That’s 83 points for Redknapp and 79 points for Ramos – a difference of just four points over 54 games. Ramos was ridiculed, Redknapp is applauded because his media association is stronger.
In simple words, Harry Redknapp's reign at White Hart Lane may be ending soon as they have lost all the steam that made them an attractive Champions League side last season.
A few candidates have made this list for team performances that are not entirely the fault of management
After a relatively good start at Liverpool (result-wise at least), Steve Bruce's Black Cats have shown a gradual fall from grace. After a feisty affair in one of the biggest matches Sunderland plays every season, Bruce still managed to lose the Tyne side derby against Newcastle. This was followed by a tasteless draw away against Swasea City away.
Considering the fact that Sunderland have been one of the most active clubs in the transfer market, much is expected from Steve Bruce's Sunderland this time. And successive losses at home against Newcastle hasn't endeared Bruce to the Stadium of Light faithful.
Last year after the departure of Darren Bent, Sunderland's impressive first half of the season almost took a 180 degree turn and they seemed destined for a relegation fight. However the good work done earlier saved them the blushes. A poor beginning this time may not leave Bruce any cushion and with the strengthening of clubs like Stoke City and Fulham things may easily spin out of control for Bruce.
Alan Pardew and his Newcastle men have begun in a bright manner, but Newcastle's plight is far from predictable.
There has been nothing short of a mutiny at the club with most of their core squad departing for greener pastures. The talent pool may be dangerously shallow. Other than Yohan Cabaye and Mehdi Abeid (who may not have been bought for 1st team action anyway), Sylvain Marveux & Davide Santon have had horrible injuries in the near past, and not had much action after coming back.
Demba Ba may have been impressive this entire year, however, his failing a medical at Stoke says that there may be a case of impending injury there too. Ben Arfa who signed on a permanent basis for the club this summer, has again had an injury recurrence.
Even Gosling, Vuckic, Williamson, Perch, Shola Ameobi and Obertan have also had recurring injuries in the past.
All this may come into play later as the season moves on and if the relegation dogfight gets anywhere as close as last season,a and with Mike Ashley as owner, anything is possible.
With the merry-go-round surrounding Chelsea's hot seat in the recent seasons and no real strengthening of the squad this summer, things could get tough for manager Andre Villas-Boas.
Villas-Boas did sign Mata, Lukaku and Meireles this season, however, the latter was very much a last minute stop-gap arrangement after failing with astronomical bids for Chelsea.
Juan Mata may improve wing-play but, the much needed improvement in mid-field is nowhere to be found
Meireles may prove to be a good cover, however, his inability to last beyond 60 minutes on a regular basis for Liverpool by the end of last season tells me that Chelsea's lofty ambition may not bear fruit this season if something really surprising doesn't happen in the January transfer window. Lukaku, although a good buy, is surely considered one for the future, after his omission from the Champions League squad for Chelsea.
All in all, the ambitious Roman Abrahimovich has fired managers of greater pedigree than Villas- Boas because of their inability to win him silverware. With the squad that Chelsea has assembled, serious challenge for either the Premier league as well as the Champions League doesn't look to be on the cards.
An early litmus test for the Portuguese may come as soon as mid-September when his squad takes on the defending Champions Manchester United.
However, Villas-Boas is a good manager and possibly a great one in the making. But with Roman Abrahimovich at the helm, money will be plentiful; the same cannot be said with patience.