Premier League teams have not played their sixth league matches yet, and we already have a managerial casualty.
Frank de Boer was shown the door at Crystal Palace ludicrously early, but it still looks probable there will be another sacking before long.
The boards at these clubs too frequently make misjudgements in their appointments, and often leave it to the point of crisis before pulling the trigger. Yes, it’s a natural process in sport, and ‘results-based business’ will be regurgitated with painful regularity whenever anyone loses their job, but the lack of direction from many clubs in this multi-billion pound industry is puzzling.
The leader in 888sport’s sack race market is Slaven Bilic. The West Ham boss has been under almost constant pressure for the last 12 months. His price of 15/8 reflects the uncertainty of managerial futures, but the fact he continues to be on the brink says plenty about the Hammers.
He could have gone in the summer, he could have gone a couple of weeks ago, and he definitely could have gone last season. For a variety of reasons he has kept his job. Any replacement would be left with a costly, ageing squad built for Bilic. There’s a feeling of inevitability about Bilic’s departure, but it’s still tough to predict when exactly it will be.
The Hammers currently sit just outside the relegation zone and have failed to score in three of their opening five. Bilic will be hoping for a positive turn of events in the coming months...
Following Bilic, we have Ronald Koeman. Everton, like the Irons, looked to have had a decent summer window. They are below Bilic’s side on goal difference, and have lost their last three league matches without finding the net.
Koeman is at 5/2 to go next. Fixtures ease up for the Toffees after their challenging start, and the Dutchman will likely be given time to work with a squad that has had a severe overhaul in the last 18 months.
The problems for Everton to date have been fundamental, however. Their previously positive window looks disappointing and Koeman’s hands are loosely tied when it comes to his forward line. Their two marquee additions – Gylfi Sigurdsson and Wayne Rooney – struggle to operate together without a more mobile companion in the final third, for instance.
Everton’s patience with Koeman could well be tested if results do not improve soon. He belongs at longer odds than Bilic, but that may change quickly. The Dutchamn continues to remain positive though...
The next few managers are longshot hopes.
Even after a poor start, it’s hard to see Bournemouth parting company with club icon Eddie Howe any time soon. His price of 10/1 is even tougher to support after back-to-back wins.
Rafael Benitez at 14/1 is similarly unappetising. If he was going to leave Newcastle because of difficulties with Mike Ashley, it would have happened by now. And, surely, even Newcastle wouldn’t sack Benitez. Benitez may leave the Magpies if another Premier League post opens up, but that obviously won’t be enough for that 14/1 to come in.
The only other manager worth considering is Mauricio Pellegrino at 12/1. The Saints have only lost one of their five so far, however, and it would be distinctly un-Southampton to sack Pellegrino this soon into his tenure.
Keep an eye on Jurgen Klopp at 66/1, mind...