The cash-rich English Premier League 2016-17 season has been eagerly awaited like no other before.
Despite having a cracker of a European Championship in France, aficionados across the world were salivating at the prospect of having so many excellent managers plying their trade in the most-watched league in the world.
With great talent, comes great expectations and with great expectations come mid-season sackings. Gone are the days when managers were given a free reign for seasons on end, chairmans (and owners!) demand instant results.
And with the EPL truly underway, we take a look at the plethora of ‘top’ managers plying their trade in the league and asses their chances of being given the pink slip before the season finishes.
For there is only one top spot and three Champions League qualification places below it.
Managers in green are almost guaranteed immunity, those in yellow are relatively safe and the ones in red face a high probability of being sacked come Christmas time.
The self-proclaimed ‘Special One’ has had a truly special start indeed, aided no doubt by the big-names that have flocked to Old Trafford. While tougher tests are coming on the horizon, a big Manchester derby in particular, the Portuguese is expected to deliver a trophy come May. His squad certainly has the ability and Manchester United are quite confident Mourinho will deliver on his promises.
Hired to start a revolution of sorts, Pep Guardiola is perhaps the most vaunted manager in world football currently. His start at Manchester City has been quite impressive, ruthless even. Just ask Joe Hart. After a year or two of courting, the Cityzens finally have their man, and the final frontier: Europe awaits. Not many people know, but he is the second-youngest manager in this list, and yet has won more titles than any other.
Gregarious, affable and passionate, Klopp since his arrival at Anfield has transformed Liverpool from has-been to serious contenders. Having accentuated his squad over the summer, a loss at Burnley has suddenly increased the pressure on the German. While his ‘gegenpressing’ style guarantees results, a lack of Plan B turns the tide in the opponents favour quite often. A failure to address the obvious defensive failings could prove to be Klopp&’s bane even as he strives to out-score their rivals.
Taking over a squad that was severely lacking in confidence and discipline, Conte has a somewhat an unenviable task at Chelsea. However, so far so good with two wins out two, albeit very close ones. Add to the fact that there are no European distractions for the Blues, the fiery Italian has a few things going for him. While all his big guns seem to be firing, he will be wary of a certain Russian around Christmas. For two out of three preceding Chelsea managers have been sacked before the end of the year.
Oh Arsene. No other manager quite manages to polarise his club&’s support the way the Frenchman does. While their rivals have significantly strengthened, Wenger has made the one notable singing in Granit Xhaka. No striker, despite some very public chases, and his squad seems like it will contend for the top four yet again, not go above. While fans will be wanting the sack by as early as December, depending on results, Wenger does seem to have the unwavering support of the Gunners board.
After a truly magical 2015-16, Leicester City seem to have come down to earth. While their slump is not going to continue for much longer, Ranieri&’s men are unlikely to retain their title. Either way, the Foxes will probably never want away with the ‘Tinkerman’, who will always be welcome in the East Midlands regardless of this season&’s results or the next.
Attractive football at a mid-table club, proving that a certain kind of ‘footballing philosophy’ works.
Everton have seen that before, and while Koeman is not as naive as Roberto Martinez was, whether the Merseyside’s can get the glory days of the mid-1980&’s back remains to be seen. A new owner has splashed the cash, and with a very good squad already, Koeman has plenty of high-quality raw material at his disposal and nothing less than a top-four finish will make the Goodison Park faithful content.
It turned out to be a case of so close yet so far for the Argentine manager Pochettino and his Spurs side as Leicester beat them quite comfortably to the title. Still, he has been at the club for some time now, and his still-young team proved that they can give the big guns a run for their money. What Daniel Levy wants, however, is that the Lilywhites firmly establish themselves as one of league&’s best. How they manage that with their European travels will make for an intriguing tale.
West Ham have begun slowly, but surely are looking like they will play their way to the top under Slaven Bilic&’s slick guidance. No more do they bruise, no more do the play the long ball. No less than a revolution has been started, and plenty of top clubs will be eyeing the Croatian manager should he repeat last season&’s numbers yet again. Meanwhile, plenty of his forward line seem to be inconsistent and injury-prone, and without goals one cannot win matches, can they?