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The EPL sack race odds. Gary Monk heads the list of betting favourites to be the next managerial casualty, Joe Gann isn't so sure though..

Posted on 29/11 by Joe Gann

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As we approach the run up to Christmas, football enters the time of year where the actions of Premier League chairman come under almost as much scrutiny as the action on the pitch. It is the game of managerial roulette. To stick or twist? The potentially multi million pound question.

The Chief Executives of a sizeable number of top flight clubs battle to ward of the cataclysmic scenario of relegation, and the financial upheaval that it entails. Will a decision to make a hasty appointment turn out to be a fantastically astute move, or push a club over the precipice?

Last year, we had to wait until 27th December for the first parting of the ways; when Neil Warnock was relieved of his duties at Crystal Palace after only four months in charge. This time around, the first dismissal was at Anfield in October, with Brendan Rodgers replaced by former Borussia Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp.
Surprisingly, Gary Monk heads the list of favourites to be the next managerial casualty.

Despite a solid start to his career in the dug-out, this season has not gone as he would have liked. Boos have echoed around the Liberty Stadium on more than one occasion, most recently against Bournemouth as the cherries stormed into a two goal advantage – a lead which was later cancelled out. However, after a very respectable eighth position finish – the second highest top flight placing in club history - in his maiden season, it would have seemed that Monk had earned some goodwill from his owners.

However, one win in ten matches is the alarming statistic that will be of concern the Swans board; with last season already a distant memory.

There surely won’t be many out there surprised by Steve McClaren’s name appearing as second favourite to be relieved of his duties. Under owner Mike Ashley, the Geordies have had a scatter gun approach to hiring and firing; thirteen managers in the last ten years points to a club which has a vision of the future with no discernible objective. Taking over from previous incumbent John Carver in the summer, McClaren is already under severe pressure with his team lying just a point clear of the relegation zone.

The intense recent speculation surrounding the future of Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has highlighted how past success counts for very little in the cut throat world of premiership football. Despite laying claim to being the greatest manager in the history of the club, an opinion he offered himself, it seems even the special one is not immune to the threat of dismissal.

It won’t help that in Chelsea, and in particular, owner Roman Abramovich, the Real Madrid model would appear to be the example to follow when it comes to hiring strategy. It was former player Roberto Di Matteo who eventually delivered the trophy that Abramovich craved, when in 2012, his Chelsea side beat Bayern Munich on penalties to walk away with Europe’s top prize. Few inside the stadium that night would have predicted that Di Matteo would be relieved of his post before the year’s end, a victim of the club owner’s obsession of employing a stellar name in the dug-out.

An ability to stabilise and consolidate a club with limited means is a very much sought after trait in the Premier league. Tony Pulis is the most obvious example of what can be achieved through organisational ability, an incredible work ethic and motivation of players to implement a game plan. His spells at Stoke, Crystal Palace and now West Bromwich Albion have seen those clubs sit mainly comfortably mid table during his leadership.

Newly appointed Sunderland boss, Sam Allardyce is another manager who, despite his critics, has the knack for keeping his employers sat safely at football’s lucrative top table. An invaluable commodity for any chairman working with budget constraints. He is already showing early signs of turning around the fortunes of the Mackems with a dogged victory at Upton Park on Monday.

Fresh from impressive wins at Chelsea and Manchester City, Jurgen Klopp is, predictably, the outsider in this contest. The FSG will no doubt be basking in the reflected glory of a decision which is sowing seeds of optimism at Anfield. The speed in which the German has introduced his ideas and tactics – his famed high press technique which reaped so many rewards at Borussia Dortmund, and destroyed Manchester City on Sunday - onto the pitch will have, in their eyes, justified the decision to dismiss former manager Brendan Rodgers.

Roberto Martinez has continued his solid work since succeeding David Moyes. He has been assisted by the upturn in the club’s financial situation; they have been able to hang on to their prized assets such as Leighton Baines, Ross Barkley and John Stones amongst strong interest from Manchester United and Chelsea respectively in recent times. Also, the acquisition of Romelu Lukaku for a club record fee of £27million was a piece of business unthinkable under previous financial limitations.

Having collected two trophies in his spell at the Etihad so far, Manuel Pellegrini’s job should be safe enough - until the end of the season at least. By releasing sizeable funds to allow the Chilean to purchase the likes of Raheem Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne and Nicolas Otamendi in the summer, the Abu Dhabi owners have shown an element of faith in the manager. However, the shadow of Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola looms large, with persistent rumours linking him to the Eastlands job refusing to go away.

Premiership new boys Norwich City, Bournemouth and Watford have all experienced predictable ups and downs as they seek to adjust to life amongst the big boys. Managers Alex Neil, Eddie Howe and Quique Sanchez Flores have acquitted themselves well and it would be extremely harsh if they were not given the opportunity to see the result of last season’s labour bear fruit on the biggest stage.

Arsene Wenger receives a luxury rarely afforded managers of big clubs; eleven years without the premiership and ten years without a trophy of any sort before finally breaking the duck in the 2013 FA cup final against Hull. Back to back FA cup wins have silenced the dissenting voices for the time being. But will it be enough to placate the Gunners fans who yearn for their team to be crowned Champions again?

The grace given to Wenger may be the result of a generous board who partly take into consideration the trophies he has accumulated in his career; in stark contrast to the cross town rivals down the Kings Road.

Tottenham under Mauricio Pochettino show signs of finally shedding the nearly men tag they have become accustomed to in recent years. Introducing a steely resolve, rarely associated with Tottenham teams of the past, Pochettino has implemented a high tempo dynamism into Spurs play, whist instilling a work ethic which is vital for success in the Premier League. Things could finally be looking up for the men from White Hart Lane as they attempt to break into the top four.

The task of taking up where Pochettino had left off at Southampton was entrusted to Ronald Koeman. In addition to his inexperience coaching in English football, the Dutchman also had to contend with big name exits as Luke Shaw, Dejan Lovren, Rickie Lambert and Captain Adam Lallana all left St Marys for pastures new. Replacements came in the form of Graziano Pelle, Dusan Tadic, and Sadio Mane; all of who performed extremely well – Pelle finished the campaign as top goal scorer - as Southampton finished the season in seventh place. A great achievement considering the considerable upheaval of the previous summer.

The pre-season period also highlighted what a shrewd customer Koeman is when dealing in the transfer market. The players he brought in at a fraction of the cost of that summer’s departures and contributed to the Saints actually improving on the league position from the previous year. There has been another solid start to this campaign, Southampton sit eighth at present, and Koeman further enhances his reputation in the coaching world.

Sitting comfortably mid table, Mark Hughes and Alan Pardew should have no undue concerns regarding their futures. Capable of upsetting anyone on the day, Stoke and Crystal Palace should be looking at pushing on and competing for one of the Europa league positions this season. A decent cup run would be beneficial for either manager and a look at the recent participants in the FA cup final indicates that a trip to Wembley should be well within the reach of both clubs.

West Ham have recorded unprecedented away wins at Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal already and ex player Slaven Bilic is the man taking the plaudits for this turnaround in form for the Hammers. The fans have been rallied this term and Upton Park is awash with optimism after the turmoil of last season where protests overshadowed much of the football. They see the vibrant team under Bilic as a welcome antidote to what they interpreted as uninspired fayre served up by Sam Allardyce, the style of football being the antithesis of the tradition of the club.

Remi Guarde, two games in, started with a commendable draw at home to Manchester City before a dreadful showing at Goodison Park in a 4-0 loss. It will be a remarkable achievement if he can manage to navigate Villa up the table away for their current situation, marooned at the foot of the table.

The honeymoon period is well and truly over at Manchester United for Louis Van Gaal. His first season ‘free pass’ was administered mainly due to the fact that he wasn’t David Moyes. However, after three transfer windows of lavish spending at Old Trafford, the fans unrest at the turgid football being served up is becoming increasingly evident. Despite sitting in second position in the table, Wednesday’s desperately disappointing goalless draw in the Champions league leaves qualification hopes hanging by a thread – they will more than likely need a victory away at Wolfsburg, a team unbeaten in twenty nine games at home in the Bundesliga.

His contract may run until the summer of 2017 but without some silverware making its way to the trophy cabinet, there’s no guarantee he will still be around to see it out.
In contrast, Claudio Ranieri is currently putting himself firmly in the frame for the Manager of the year award, his high flying Leicester team are the surprise package of the season so far. Playing with adventure and flair, the division’s top scorers are topping the entertainment charts as well as the league table.

This weekend will see them take on the league’s meanest defence when they face a goal shy Manchester United in a first versus second clash and a chance for the Foxes to increase the lead over the reds to four points. Could Ranieri be the man to guide Leicester into Europe for the first time since the 2000/2001 season?

Next EPL manager to leave odds:
Steve McClaren $1.66
Garry Monk $2.75
Jose Mourinho $12.00
Eddie Howe $19.00
Sam Allardyce $26.00
Manuel Pellegrini $29.00
Remi Garde $34.00
Quique Sanchez Flores $34.00
Alex Neil $34.00
Tony Pulis $34.00
Slaven Bilic $51.00
Mark Hughes $51.00
Mauricio Pochettino $51.00
Alan Pardew $51.00
Roberto Martinez $51.00
No Manager To Leave $51.00
Arsene Wenger $67.00
Louis Van Gaal $67.00
Claudio Ranieri $67.00
Jürgen Klopp $67.00
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