Frank de Boer

Premier League Sack Race: De Boer Already Under Pressure

Sam Cox
2017-09-07
Dutchman has struggled to inspire confidence at Selhurst Park

Three Premier League matches have been played - that is apparently enough time for managers to be under severe pressure.

Not long, really, and a sign of the twitchiness of Premier League boards given the riches at stake.

It can perhaps be understood, in some instances at least, but it does make you wonder about the decision making and planning at the higher levels of these clubs. If this man was the right one to have the freedom of the transfer market all summer, he is probably still the right man.

If he is certainly the wrong man now, it is was probably a terrible decision to hire/keep him over summer.

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The market has Frank de Boer as the favourite to go first this season. The Crystal Palace boss is at 13/20, after losing his first three Premier League matches and failing to score a goal.

De Boer suffered a torrid time at Inter last season, and his appointment at Selhurst Park had to be as a project. Inter were not prepared to wait for results to improve, and the Eagles similarly are showing a lack of understanding to what they bought into with de Boer.

A change to the club’s footballing culture was inevitably going to mean a couple of steps backwards, but there are strong murmurs that defeat away to Burnley this weekend will mean that’s where de Boer’s Palace tenure ends.

The start to the season has been painful, but Palace were notably unfortunate at home to Huddersfield on the opening weekend, and lost by a solitary goal to Liverpool. This season is far from disaster.

Replacements at this time of year are few and far between, which leaves any board with a dilemma. If they are to replace de Boer just four matches into his tenure, where can they possibly turn?

West Ham face similar questions. The second favourite in the market is Slaven Bilic at 4/1.

West Ham’s once-fan-favourite has watched his side lose all three – just like de Boer’s Palace – but their performances have been abject. They battled to almost pull off an impressive 10-man draw against Southampton, but fell short. The other two matches have been woeful, and the Irons look a side in disrepair despite heavy summer investment.

Reports have also surfaced that Bilic will be handed his P45 should the Hammers fail to beat Huddersfield this Monday.

The former Croatia manager was fortunate to keep his job through this summer after a season of battling and underwhelming performances, and now West Ham are a poor result away from appointing a manager to take over a squad built for Bilic.

With their spending plans clear, the new boss should have been able to mould the squad how he would have liked this summer, instead it is crisis management.

The 4/1 price has to be worth considering given the meetings that reportedly took place after their defeat to Newcastle.

via GIPHY

Only marginally behind Bilic, we have Rafa Benitez at 6/1. Newcastle’s boss is touted as the likely replacement should Bilic be sacked, but looks set to stay in the northeast for the time being. The difficulties of working with Mike Ashley are well publicised, however Benitez’s relationship with the Newcastle faithful makes that price seem a bit short.

There’s not much value elsewhere at the moment. The one that could be worth considering, though, is Craig Shakespeare at 20/1. The Foxes face Chelsea this weekend, followed by a tough trip to Huddersfield and the visit of Liverpool, which could quickly see Shakespeare under pressure.

And, if there’s one thing we learnt last season, the Leicester board will not hesitate to remove a manager should the club’s results downturn.