The Premier League is now five matchdays in following the World Cup break and there are a growing number of managers sweating on their futures.
Before everything shutdown, Southampton decided that Ralph Hasenhuttl’s time was up after four years at the club, making him the fifth managerial casualty of the season.
The first was Scott Parker who was shown the door by Bournemouth after their humiliating 9-0 defeat to Liverpool, which formed a run of three straight defeats with no goals scored and 16 conceded – though they also faced Manchester City and Arsenal.
Problems off the pitch also played their part in Parker’s sacking and the same could be said for Thomas Tuchel. Three losses in Chelsea’s opening seven matches across all competitions, coupled with indifferent performances despite the club spending heavily in the summer, saw the German relieved of his duties.
Tuchel’s departure brought another managerial change in the Premier League, with Graham Potter leaving Brighton and Hove Albion to take over at Stamford Bridge.
Bruno Lage followed him out the door at the start of October; the Portuguese was coach relieved of his duties at Wolves, who were in the relegation zone after just one win in eight matches this term.
Steven Gerrard was the next to go, sacked after a poor start to the season with Aston Villa and it wasn’t too long before Hasenhuttl joined him. His former England midfield partner-in-crime Frank Lampard followed him after suffering an 11th league defeat across 20 matches.
David Moyes is now the overwhelming favourite for dismissal even after his West Ham side recently ended a seven-game winless streak.
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Eighth Premier League manager to go: Who are the favourites?
As we return from the World Cup break, Scott Parker, Thomas Tuchel, Bruno Lage, Steven Gerrard, Ralph Hasenhuttl and Frank Lampard have already lost their jobs (with Graham Potter also leaving), and there are a few other managers whose jobs aren’t so secure.
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David Moyes on the brink?
Despite guiding West Ham to the Europa League semi-final last season and achieving a seventh-placed finish in the Premier League, the perception of Moyes on the London Stadium terraces is starting the shift. The old adage ‘you either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain’ seems applicable here.
Moyes is responsible for a cultural shift at West Ham and a marked upturn in results (and performances). From flaky and disjointed under his predecessors, to well-oiled and diligent under him. Those basic tenets of his core philosophy, though, appear to have abandoned him, and his team are struggling as a result.
The problems haven’t been isolated to this season; many West Ham fans will say the performances have been lacking in inspiration and innovation for the best part of 12 months. The often one-dimensional brand of football espoused by Moyes was offset by an ability to grind out results and get the job done, by any means.
With the well now running dry and results not forthcoming, the drab performances have been illuminated — and fans are getting restless. Despite spending heavy in the summer on exciting flair players like Lucas Paqueta and Gianluca Scamacca, the Hammers are hovering around relegation zone and look bereft of ideas.
They were winless since October having lost seven of their last eight games, but a recent 2-0 win over Everton has perhaps just spared Moyes the heave-ho and relieved some of the pressure. The experienced Scot will now need to build on that result, but his next three games are high-flying Newcastle, Chelsea and Spurs.
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Graham Potter feeling the heat
Eyebrows were raised when Graham Potter left the south coast, and Brighton and Hove Albion, for Chelsea. Many thought it was a move that wouldn’t pay dividends in the long run and those naysayers may be proved right in the coming weeks with Potter coming under increasing pressure with the West London side’s form faltering.
The Blues have now won just four of their last 15 games, being dumped out of the EFL Cup and FA Cup by Manchester City, and falling to tenth place in the Premier League. Potter is certainly feeling the strain at Stamford Bridge but the Englishman is adamant he has the support of the right people.
“Everyone wants to try to do better”, Potter said following Chelsea’s third loss to Man City in 10 games. “I think there is support in the dressing room, it’s just we’re going through a bad moment and sometimes when you have these moments you need somebody to blame, something to blame, and I understand where that question comes from. But at the same time, we have to stick together and keep working.”
Potter will feel confident of transforming Chelsea’s fortunes, with the club already making significant transfer inroads this January, bringing in Mykhailo Mudryk, Benoit Badiashile, Noni Madueke, David Datro Fofana, Andrey Santos and Joao Felix. Other than Felix’s loan, the big one has been £62.1m signing Mudryk.
The Ukrainian, signed from Shakhtar Donetsk, made his debut against Liverpool on Saturday, and showed flashes of brilliance with his nimble footwork and snake-hipped dribbling — a notion that certainly wasn’t lost on Potter in the aftermath.
“[Mudryk] hasn’t played football for a while, he’s been on a mid-season break so we’ve had to manage his minutes and he’s still in that phase,” Potter told BT Sport after the game at Anfield. “But I think you can see his quality. I thought he had a good impact on the game.”
The 22-year-old will also have endeared himself to the Chelsea faithful after he recently re-shared an Instagram post of travelling Blues supporters chanting a new song in relation to him rejecting Arsenal for them. Such a tribalistic dig at a local rival is only going to boost his reputation in west London.
The chant went: “He flew in from Ukraine, on Boehly’s private plane, Mudryk said to me: ‘Have Arsenal won the Champions League?’. So I told him no, you know the place to go, then he said to me, I want to lift number three.”
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