With a disjointed weekend of action, managers were left working out quite where they stand. The Premier League table is now messy with teams having played different numbers of games while others were focused on FA Cup fixtures.
Two of the mid-season appointments went head-to-head at the KCOM Stadium as Marco Silva’s Hull came out on top against Paul Clement’s Swansea, but Sam Allardyce had the weekend off thanks to an FA Cup caused postponement. This time of the season the table must constantly be qualified by ifs and buts, but only the teams with points on the board have any sense of security.
Managers are almost universally stressed at this time of the season, but there are a couple who should be a bit more on edge than others.
Usually a 5-0 FA Cup quarter-final win would relieve some pressure from a manager. Not for Arsene Wenger.
Protests and cringeworthy banners were the main story from Arsenal’s victory over Lincoln City in the Cup sadly.
The situation remains that Wenger will have the final say over whether he stays at the club. The belief is there is a contract offer on the table for Arsenal’s long-serving manager and it is in his hands whether he opts to sign it or wave a fond farewell. A second humiliation to Bayern Munich last week only worsened the fury of the Arsenal fans, who are marching and chanting against the man who made the club what it is today.
Wenger has been honest about his position thus far. He has been clear that the fans’ voices will make a difference to him and, rather than being defiant, has said he wants what is best for the club. Which is all expected, really, but that could all change if Arsenal slip outside of the top four this season.
Odds of 9/2 to leave the post before any other Premier League manager make Wenger a sound option.
Things are looking no brighter for Middlesbrough. Although the FA Cup has provided sweet relief from a dire 2017 in the Premier League, an inevitable 2-0 defeat to Manchester City has brought them back down to earth. T
Boro were fortunate it was only two in truth as they were carved open almost at will. Offensively they looked short of any ideas once again too, as Rudy Gestede was unable to really dominate against Manchester City’s defence. The league’s lowest scorers need something to change quickly if they are to avoid a seemingly obvious relegation.
Karanka has suffered criticism from fans at points this season, understandably so. The atmosphere at the ground is a frustrated one all too often, leaving their promotion winning boss under serious pressure to face the sack at 1/2.