We’ve made it through the November international break with just a few Premier League managers having been sacked. This is by no means unusual, but in a league this competitive, as all supporters know, there are always rumours swirling around certain managerial figures. Now, as we head toward the last set of matches before the New Year, the question becomes simple: are there any more managers who won’t make it through the remainder of the season?
The first name to come up if you were to look at “sack race” odds might actually be that of Marco Silva, who was viewed as a likely candidate at the outset of the season. That’s because Watford was dancing on the edge of relegation in 2016/17. This year, however, it has been one of the more surprising clubs in the EPL, reaching as high as ninth in the table as of the international break. The talk now isn’t so much about whether Silva might get the sack, but whether he could make a move to Everton. With Ronald Koeman having been let go (one of the few league sackings referenced above), there’s talk that Everton should wait for Silva. We can probably cross him off the list, unless things go dramatically south for Watford or the front office gets wind of Silva wanting to be elsewhere.
Another figure who’s been at the centre of rumours since before the season started was Stoke City manager Martin Hughes. As one account pointed out, last year’s 13th place finish was the lowest position under Hughes’ four years in charge – and if anything, the club looks marginally worse this year. There hasn’t been a complete disaster with Stoke just yet, and the team appears to have the talent to stave off relegation. But at this point a finish near the bottom third of the league would be pretty disappointing. Despite having now been at the club for close to five years, Hughes could be shown the door if his players don’t find some inspiration quickly (though this feels more like it would be an end of season move).
The only other name that comes to mind at this point other than those of coaches leading teams facing relegation (who to some extent are always in jeopardy) is that of Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger. The Gunners are staring down the barrel of another good-but-not-great finish in the Premier League, and seem these days to be a solid tier below the best clubs in the league. That’s unacceptable to a prideful and perennially disappointed base of supporters, and at some point it’s going to be too much. Throw in the fact that Wenger has recently begun to publicly make plans for life after Arsenal, and this 20-plus-year marriage looks to be on the rocks. That said, even in this case a midseason sacking seems fairly unlikely.
If we’re going to see any more sackings this season, aside from obviously picks on bottom-dwelling teams, these may be the people to keep your eye on. That said, after an early flurry of management changes, we could also now be acquainted with the 20 managers who will finish the 2017/18 season.