Bruce leads the sack race

The Premier League just isn’t the Premier League without at least a couple of managerial casualties a season. This season is no different, although only two bosses have left their clubs – West Brom’s Slaven Bilic and, more recently, Frank Lampard. History tells us, though, that might not be the only sackings. In the 2019-2020 season, for example, seven managers lost their jobs.

Incredibly, Watford (who went on to be relegated) sacked three of those. But while this season might be quiet in terms of managers losing their jobs, many are only a couple of results from a perceived crisis. Let’s look at those looking nervously at the forthcoming fixture list.

Poor run could be costly

After starting the season relatively well, and Callum Wilson chipping in with goals, Newcastle have had a horrific run of form recently. From December 16 to January 26, Steve Bruce’s side lost every match apart from two (draws against Fulham and Liverpool). The run saw Newcastle crash out of the EFL Cup quarter final against Brentford and FA Cup 3rd round against Arsenal.

They also picked up the dubious honour of being the first side to lose against bottom of the table Sheffield United this season. Now, apart from a match against Manchester United on February 21, they have a run of matches which doesn’t feature a current top four club until they come up against Liverpool on April 24.

Much will depend on how they perform against:

  • Wolves at home – February 27
  • West Brom away – March 6
  • Aston Villa at home – March 13
  • Brighton away – March 20

It’s no wonder after their recent poor form that Unibet has Bruce as leading the sack race, at a very short 11/10. Next in the running, though, might surprise a few people.

Mour agony?

Jose Mourinho is next at 4/1 with Unibet to lose his job. The Tottenham manager has seen his side slump from a solid looking start to the season, towards mid-table. His odds shortened after a 1-0 home defeat to bitter rivals Chelsea, which was preceded by defeat to Brighton by the same score. Spurs also have history of sacking big name bosses, parting company with Mauricio Pochettino in 2019.

Mourinho can, of course, point towards a number of injuries among his squad, most notably star striker Harry Kane. But he has not been able to get the most from on loan Gareth Bale, and has largely frozen out Dele Alli. Now Spurs face a testing run of matches, including away to Manchester City on February 13 and away to perhaps surprise performers of the season so far, West Ham, on February 20. In addition, Spurs also have Europa League ties against Wolfsberg to contend with. That said, though, if anyone can turn Spurs’ fortunes around, you would think it would be the Special One. Good luck, Jose!

Big Sam’s next in the betting

Sam Allardyce, who only replaced Bilic in mid-December, is priced at 5/1. While he has picked up a few notable results, beating Wolves 3-2 and drawing with Liverpool 1-1, Allardyce has so far been unable to do what he’s been so good at with other clubs – stopping his side conceding.

Leeds put five past the Baggies in the last game of 2020, while Arsenal bagged four against them in the first game of 2021. Up to the defeat against Sheffield United on February 2, Allardyce’s side hasn’t kept a clean sheet with him in charge. With the Blades picking up a few wins recently too, it may not be too long before West Brom are rock bottom of the league.

Others in the firing line

Elsewhere, it’s 7/1 for no manager to lose his job for the rest of the season. Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo is 8/1 for the chop, Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson 9/1 and Fulham manager Scott Parker 12/1.