Sports Gazette

by sports journalism students at St Mary's University, London

The managerial sack race

Posted on 28 November 2019 by Inam Yaphi

Once again, Unai Emery and his side left the pitch to some vigorous boos after their 2-2 draw against Southampton at home despite coming from behind at the Emirates last weekend.

At the end of the Jubilee line, Manuel Pellegrini received the same treatment after he failed to continue Tottenham Hotspur’s poor away form in Jose Mourinho’s first game in charge.

Up the country, Marco Silva’s Everton side struggled to dissect a dysfunctional Norwich City and saw his home fans turn on him for the first time.

After Mauricio Pochettino’s sacking last week, the Sports Gazette looked at which Premier League managers run the risk of being sacked next by their clubs.

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Football fans are different in all parts of the world and have their own distinct ways of showing their happiness or unhappiness towards their club.

In Spain, the fans take out and wave the white handkerchief as a sign of protest against the team’s performance or club directors. This is also known as the pañolada.

In Italy, form of protests is the use of banners by ultras with messages either to players or the club’s higher ups.

In England, you might find a different type of fan, a football fan that demands, that lacks patience… a football fan with a sense of entitlement and rightly so.

Football fans spend a lot of money travelling home and away to be able to follow their club around the country and sometimes into Europe.

But the quick rise of social media and fan television has given fans platform to speak their mind and a small group of people have profited off their “pain”.

This has led to the birth of the reactionary fan – a bit more toxic and shorter sighted.

Arsenal manager Unai Emery is prepared to go back to the drawing board and admits the tension affects his players.

“I understand the supporters are now frustrated and they are disappointed, and they are angry. And also, now the players are feeling the same and it’s my job to work and analyse” said a deflated Emery after the draw against Southampton.

He has taken responsibility of his sides’ failures just as much as Arsene Wenger did towards the end of his tenure.

Fans want to see all their best players on the pitch as Mesut Ozil is on a £350 000-a-week wage and they recently just brought Nicolas Pepe in for £72 million from Lille.

But Emery is still trying to figure out his best starting eleven. Whether it’s the 4-2-3-1 or the 3-4-1-2 system and choosing the personnel is also giving him headaches.

Managers can have money, state of the art training facilities and quality players but the only thing they can’t have is time. Because football fans want to see results and they want to see results fast and if it’s not going to work, the manager is out of the door for someone who can get the job done.

Emery is not the only manager with his job on the line.

Marco Silva voiced his disappointment on his team after their defeat to Norwich on the weekend. “You can’t play football and make the right decision if you are scared to play. We didn’t have the courage to make the right decisions” he told Sky Sports.

Everton have only kept three clean sheets all season and are averaging one goal a game – a stat they looked to improve when they brought in Moise Kean for £27.5 million in the summer from Juventus. But Silva has struggled to integrate him into the squad yet.

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Their xG (Expected goals) was 0.83 against Norwich City which is considerably low as they were playing a team that hadn’t won a Premier League game since mid-September

Everton now lie 16thon the Premier League table and the pressure is increasing on the former Watford boss.

Another South American with their job on the line is Manuel Pellegrini. The former Premier League winner has struggled in the last few months and West Ham haven’t registered a win in 8 games including a 4-0 loss to Oxford in the Cup.

Many neutral fans would hope this will be a clean break between manager and club, if it happens –  and not see a repeat of last years fan protests during their 3-0 loss against Burnley at the London Stadium.

Eleven managers lost their job last December, five in December of 2017. The season is now heading into its toughest months with the congestion of fixtures and some teams playing every three days.

With ongoing pressure from board and fans, which manager will follow Pochettino and start 2020 job hunting?