Top 5 Premier League Managers on the Brink

Lately there have been some rumblings of managers who may be losing their jobs. Here are 5 Premier League managers that should keep an eye on their jobs this season.

5. Arsene Wenger – Arsenal: 16 years in charge has seen him bring plenty of trophies into the Gunners cabinet, however, that last trophy came in 2004-05 with their dramatic FA Cup win over rivals Manchester United (the first FA Cup won on penalties). This has fans up in arms along with the club’s (and therefore Wenger himself) preference to continue selling their captains year after year while refusing to go out and spend what is surely a large sum of profits being pocketed.

I’m not so sure that Wenger’s time is up anytime soon at the Emirates, but fans are restless and making comments about placing fourth in the Premier League being as good as a trophy really don’t help his case. You can add to this the perception that he may be getting a kickback from the owners for continuing to sell without buying, and the case against him gets stronger.

The mantra coming from Arsenal management has been to be patient and just wait till Financial Fair Play kicks in then Arsenal will take their place on top. I think this is more wishful thinking coupled with the facts about Arsenal’s finances. They are turning a pretty massive profit (with the highest tickets combined with large turnouts) and not spending this profit. Arsenal’s board thinking that they can sit on the money and wait till other teams also have to follow FFP regulations, therefore driving down the costs of players. The question then becomes when, or better yet, if FFP will kick in and how severe it will become. By that point Arsenal’s Champions League dreams may be just a fleeting memory.

For the board and owners making it to the Champions League is good enough, but for fans, they want to see trophies. Wenger seems to be becoming obsolete this season. Whether this is due to his hands being tied by ownership or his own complacency remains to be seen. Regardless, he continues to try to put together the same sides year after year, but not always getting the right people for the job. Since losing the back four of the Invincibles, he has yet to find quality replacements to build upon. This has probably been his biggest failure. Without that core back line, they will only be grasping at straws.

Wenger has become an institution at Arsenal, and one that will probably not be gone any time soon. If he is sacked, I could only see it coming if they are not able to get a top 4 finish, and even then, it would be a tough call for that board.

Verdict: It would be hard to think of Arsenal without Arsene Wenger, but it could become a possibility at the end of the season. I think that the only real way this will happen is if they fail to qualify for the Champions League. If this happens it would be the first time they have failed since Wenger took over.

4. Roberto Mancini – Manchester City: Mancini is now in his fourth season with the Eastlands club and has managed to bring them 3 trophies with the FA Cup in 2010-11, the Premier League last season 2011-12 and this year’s 2012 FA Community Shield. He has recently signed a new 5 year deal to keep him in Man City blue sill 2017 as well. So, why is he on the brink?

I’m not so sure he is exactly, but I also wouldn’t be surprised if he was sacked. With Sheikh Mansour naming ex-Barcelona executives Ferran Soriano as new CEO and Txiki Begiristain joining him as Director of football, it could mean changes will come if results do not. Recent Mancini interviews have become increasingly heated and he definitely seems to be losing his cool more often while appearing stressed at times.

He began the season by claiming Manchester City’s next step is winning the Champions League. Within the past week he has gone back on this statement by saying that they probably will not make it out of their group.

Roberto Mancini is one of those managers that seem to take on a project to get them to the next level then move on to his next project. Which is why it shouldn’t be surprising that he held talks with Monaco this summer. To date his biggest achievements have been in winning the Serie A title 3 times with Internazionale and the Premier League with Manchester City. Remember, it wasn’t until Mancini left Inter to be replaced by Jose Mourinho that Inter was able to win the Champions League.

Mancini is good at taking teams into the Champions League, but I have a hard time seeing him winning it. This year’s team has loads of talent, but I would use the word “team” loosely when referring to Man City. If Mancini is not able to take ahold of this squad and turn them into a team, then they will not be winning anything this term. No trophies this year, could spell the end of his time at the Eastlands.

Verdict: Roberto Mancini would probably lose his job before Wenger, but I think this would only happen if they aren’t able to turn around their results. I would say to watch out for the January period to see how they are doing by then.

3. Brian McDermott – Reading: McDermott was able to get Reading promoted to the Premier League from the Championship last season with a second half burst. Since then they have really struggled to gain some stability in the bottom of the Premier League.

Thus far Reading is without a win with their 5 points coming from draws. They have struggled to shore up a shaky defense that really hasn’t been upgraded since gaining promotion. As far as stats go, they have had problems with goals, namely keeping them out. The Royals have scored 12 goals, but allowed 18 leading to their -6 goal difference.

At the moment they are sitting in 18th place above QPR and Southampton by just a single point. While they may have a match in hand, even a win could not put them out of the relegation zone.

Why would McDermott be up for a possible sacking? Well, I think it all depends on how the results go in the next few weeks. Coming up they face 3 teams in the lower half of the table (Norwich City at home, Wigan Athletic and Aston Villa away). These are 3 matches that they need to target for taking 3 points. If they cannot do so, they will be looking extremely desperate. To start December they then play Southampton and Sunderland away. Southampton will be a must win for them and they will hope to get the away draw against Sunderland.

I can’t imagine him getting sacked before Christmas, but if Reading are still in the bottom of the table he could easily be gone by the Manchester United match at home on December 1st. Losses to any of the three bottom half teams could result in McDermott being dismissed.

Verdict: McDermott has not been mentioned recently as being near firing, but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen. I would say that if results don’t change he could be without a job by the end of January.

2. Mark Hughes – Queens Park Rangers: Mark Hughes. I would say he’s a bit of an enigma. On the surface it seems like he should be doing so much better at QPR. In reality, the team is in shambles. He spent a ton of money this summer to try to rebuild a team that was already very expensive. My question is whether he purchased players that will actually work within his system as well as with one another. I think it remains to be seen whether this is the case as the results have shown.

Right now Queens Park Rangers are in 19th place tied with Southampton on 4 points. They are only ahead by goal difference (-11 to -14). They have been extremely poor and are the second team in the league without a win. They just happen to have one more draw than Reading has had.

I think Mark Hughes does have the backing of Rangers owner Tony Fernandes, but, who knows how long that could last. Hughes will need a whole lot of patience to do anything this season. It just really doesn’t look like he knows what he is doing with this team. There are some very talented footballers in there, but they are not playing to the best of their ability. I think that much of this blame needs to be laid with Mark Hughes. For a manager who left Fulham to seek further ambitions, he has not shown he can bring that. Fulham are now 11 places above Rangers and I wonder if Mark Hughes is regretting his decision.

I do hope that Tony Fernandes has a lot of patience. If Hughes’ QPR is not getting results by mid January, then he will surely be gone. Till then….. Hughes needs to make some changes. Coming up is Stoke City away, Southampton home, followed by away to Manchester United and Sunderland. Beginning December will be crucial run of matches against Aston Villa (home), Wigan (away) and Fulham (home). In that span of matches QPR will need to look for wins against Southampton, Aston Villa and Wigan and at least draws to Stoke and Fulham. If QPR cannot get something out of these matches, then Hughes could be let go much sooner than he plans.

Verdict: Will probably last until January, but wouldn’t be surprised to see him let go in February or March if results aren’t turned out.

1. Nigel Adkins – Southampton: On Wednesday (November 7th) the Southampton board came out to say that Adkins’ job is safe; however I would add to that the caveat, for now. Southampton has some very important matches coming up if Adkins plans to stay in his job through Christmas at the least. This weekend’s (Sat., Nov. 10) match against Swansea needs to end in at least a draw. I have already predicted a loss for them, but there is always the chance that they can pull something out of it. This is followed by playing away to QPR, back to back home matches against Newcastle United and Norwich City, away to Liverpool and home to Reading before their Dec. 15th match against Chelsea.

I think this will be the true test of the board and the turning point to his season. Adkins has already come out to say that he thinks he will be the first manager sacked this season and it could very easily come to fruition. He has a back line that has been shaky. Actually, saying they are shaky is an understatement. They are well on their way to setting a record for most goals allowed in a season. At the time of this writing they have the highest goal difference of -14. They have allowed a total of 28 goals this season. This is basically a Championship side back four that has been very slow to adjust to the tempo and style of the Premier League. If Adkins is not able to get them into shape, and soon, then they have no hope of staying up.

Thus far Southampton are sitting at the bottom of the table with 4 points coming from a single win and draw. Their win came against a poor Aston Villa side and their draw was a rather shocking one against Fulham. I think that for Adkins to keep his job he’s going to have to get results in the next 4 matches, in particular those against Newcastle and Norwich at home. Leading up to the Norwich match if he has not gotten any points and isn’t able to get anything against Norwich, then he will certainly be sent packing.

If he is able to get some results in that period then the next milestone will be the start of the New Year. The Christmas stretch has them home to Sunderland (where they need to get at least a draw), away to Fulham (hoping for a draw, but will probably lose) and away to Stoke City which will most likely become a must win for them. Their New Year’s Day match is against Arsenal who have been beatable this season so targeting a draw here is not out of the realm of possibilities.

So what can they expect and what will they get from their upcoming matches? For Swansea they need to be thinking win but will be happy with a draw. Unfortunately I don’t think they will get either. Against their fellow bottom three side QPR they will be hoping to get a draw from the away fixture. However, I think this is another one that will end in a loss. At home to Newcastle they will surely be going for the win, which could really open them up. I think if they target a draw they could possibly get that much. The Norwich match will become a big decider for Adkins. They will need to go for the win here and I think they could get it and thus win Nigel Adkins his reprieve for the time being.

Liverpool away will almost certainly be a loss though they will play for the draw. It could become a hard loss if things are too dire and Adkins goes for broke, of course they could also surprise a Liverpool side that isn’t as tough as they once were. Their home match against Reading needs to be a win or this will certainly be the end of the line.

In all honesty, I have a hard time seeing him staying in Southampton even as long as Christmas. In a way it’s a sad thing. He comes across as being a good fellow and seems like a nice guy, but that may be part of the problem. He just be too nice and not able to set things straight when he needs to, and this is a team that really needs it.

Verdict: Will be the first Premier League manager sacked this season.


Premier League Table

Premier League Fixtures