With the results not quite going right for a number of clubs over the weekend, the sack race has intensified! With chairmen across the nation keen to make sure that if they do sack their manager, the next guy who comes into the job has a chance to review the squad ahead of the January transfer window, time is slowly running out for these four – but who will be first?
Mark Hughes (QPR)
There is only so long a manager can go on if his sides continue to lose or draw, regardless of how much money has been spent on acquiring talent that the next manager will undoubtably leave on the sidelines. Mark Hughes has presided over a start to the season that has seen the Hoops pick up just 4 points from 12 games, though thankfully the teams immediatley above them have been equally poor, meaning they are still just two wins away from breaking free of the relegation zone. The home defeat against their fellow strugglers Southampton has seen Hughes come under even more pressure, and the fact that chairman Fernandes hasn’t come out and done his customary defence of Hughes on twitter could spell the end. He’s just 1.17 to be the first to go.
Roberto Di Matteo (Chelsea)
Six weeks ago, Chelsea were sitting pretty at the top of the Premier League. A cursory glance at the table last night saw Chelsea dropping to third, now four points off the top, though it could have been more if United had capitalised on the West Brom defeat. A run of two losses and two draws has seen Chelsea slip from grace, and the problem Di Matteo has is that no-one is quite sure why they are losing. They don’t seem to have the same ruthless streak (and heart) that they had under Mourinho – not helped by JT’s enforced spell on the sidelines – and it seems that fernando Torres’ mental fragility has spread around the team. Whilst Di Matteo is at odds of 17.0 to be the next to go, he will be hoping that Chelsea scrape through in the Champions League – after four games they are in second, and need to get something from an away match against Juventus on Tuesday. If they drop out of europe, Abramovich will be tempted to turn to Guardiola.
Nigel Adkins (Southampton)
Saturday’s 3-1 away win at QPR will have done Nigel Adkins the power of good, and doubled the number of wins the Saints have managed this season. A 4-1 spanking of Aston Villa in the second week led some fans to believe that they were in for season comparable with their promotion-winning streak the season previously, but sadly that optimism has slowly died off, and many fans accept the grim reality of a relegation battle lies ahead. Soton have been praised for their attacking intent, but they still struggle to break teams down, and are so weak at the back that even if they had scored 30 goals this season (more than Manchester United) they would still have only drawn their matches, and have 12 points to theri name! If they can build on this win, Adkins has a chance. If they can’t, expect a new face at St Marys some time soon.
Andre Villas-Boas (Tottenham)
He started off saying all the right things – that Spurs could realistically challenge, that they have the squad to compete for the top spot – but as the season has progressed its become clearer and clearer that Spurs are nowhere near their previous best 4th placed finish, and are more unlikely than ever to make it into the Champions League next season. What this means for the likes of Gareth Bale remains to be seen. A 5-2 loss to Arsenal (admittedly with 10 men after Adebayor’s impetuous and dangerous sliding tackle) will have lost him some of the goodwill from fans who had been willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, but if they current run of poor form continues (four losses in their last five matches), then its might be time for a second Prem team to give AVB the heave-ho.
Who will go first?
Mark Hughes is a dead man walking.
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