Neil Mellor Exclusive: Mauricio Pochettino could be the first Premier League manager to leaveby Jack Kitson / 15 August 2019, 11:57Tweet
The new Premier League season is only one wave of fixtures old yet speculation is already brewing as to which manager will vacate their post first.
History tells us that four of the previous 27 ‘winners’ of the Sack Race have departed in the opening month of August - Paul Sturrock, Ruud Gullit, Kenny Dalglish, and Peter Reid being the unfortunate quadruple - while September has proved to a real month of doom for managers; featuring eight of the opening season sackings, a record.
Who will be the first boss to leave this time around?
Roy Hodgson is currently the bookies favourite at 4/1, ahead of Javi Gracia who was cut from 16/1 to 6/1 following Watford’s opening day shocker against Brighton.
Man Utd’s Ole Gunnar Solskjaer remains in the frame at 6/1 - despite Man Utd’s 4-0 destruction of Chelsea - whereas Newcastle’s Steve Bruce is an 8/1 shot.
The Sack Race caught up with former Liverpool and Preston striker Neil Mellor, who played under the likes of Gerard Houllier, Rafa Benitez, and Alan Pardew during his career, to see who he thinks will be the first Premier League manager to clear his desk this season...
“I’m amazed that Watford have stuck with Javi Gracia for so long as they are a club that have notoriously changed managers quite soon into their reign,” revealed Mellor.
“Roy Hodgson has done a decent job [at Crystal Palace]. I don’t think the window went the way they wanted it to go, there was a lot of talk about Wilfried Zaha leaving but they’ve kept hold of him, which is certainly beneficial for Hodgson.”
“But you start looking at it and you think maybe it could be someone less obvious, like a Mauricio Pochettino. You look at Real Madrid with Zinedine Zidane where there’s a bit of unrest there - could he leave?
“If a club like Real Madrid are looking for a top replacement, Pochettino would be a really strong candidate for that. I think he’s done an incredible job at Spurs, taking them to the Champions League final, and consistently finishing in the top-four.
“Who’s going to go first? It could well be the least expected one…”
When the market first opened up a month ago Pochettino was way out at 50/1, however the Argentinian has since been shredded to just 10/1 in the betting, making him the joint-fifth favourite alongside Frank Lampard.
Spurs fans will be hoping Mellor’s prediction doesn’t come to fruition, although should Zidane leave Real Madrid the Spanish giants could well subsequently turn their attention to North London...