Who will 'win' the 2019/20 Premier League Sack Race?

Jack Kitson by Jack Kitson / 19 July 2019, 14:58

In three weeks time the Premier League will explode back into our lives, and with it the most important men in football: The Managers.

Only 11 of the managers who started the previous Premier League campaign will be back this time around. New faces in the top-flight dugout include Frank Lampard, Graham Potter, Dean Smith, Chris Wilder, and Daniel Farke, while veteran Steve Bruce returns to the Promised Land for the first time since 2015.

Bruce is among the previous ‘winners’ of the Premier League Sack Race accolade, an unwanted title given to the first manager to be relieved of their duties. The former Sunderland manager was sent packing by the Black Cats in November 2011 after 13 matches.

In fact, the month of November should strike fear into the hearts of managers, as it has previously accounted for seven of the ‘first managerial departures’, one behind September which leads the way on eight exits.

Last season Fulham axed Slavisa Jokanovic - in November - after he registered only five points from 12 points. Other recent ‘winners’ include Frank de Boer (2017/18) - sacked after just four league games - Francesco Guidolin (2016/17). Dick Advocaat (2015/16), and Neil Warnock (2014/15), while Jose Mourinho, Glenn Hoddle, and Kenny Dalglish have all been previous victims.

So, who will fall first in 2019/20?

Bookies have installed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as the surprise 6/1 frontrunner to be the first of the 20 bosses to be given the boot, although while it’s worth noting that while no Man Utd manager has ever suffered this fate in the Premier League era, Mourinho was the second boss to be ejected from his hot seat in 2018/19.

Solskjaer enjoyed an electric start as interim boss, only to falter once his appointment was made permanent. You’d expect Mourinho’s successor to be given time to shine, but a wobbly start would get the nerves jangling.

Graham Potter has yet to manage a game at Brighton, however the Englishman finds himself priced at 8/1. Potter worked wonders in Sweden with Ostersunds, then at Swansea he enjoyed a solid 2018/19 season in difficult circumstances, which subsequently caught the eye of the Seagulls who lured him over to the south coast back in May.

Veteran Roy Hodgson, the oldest Premier League manager in history at 71, can be backed at 10/1, ahead of the aforementioned Bruce (12/1) who appears to be already under-fire. West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini and Sheffield United’s Chris Wilder are also hovering around the 12/1 mark.

Elsewhere, new boys Norwich - managed by Daniel Farke (14/1) - have been handed a horrible start, which pits them against last year’s top-three in their first five games. One to watch out for perhaps, but given his popularity it would take a truly rotten run of results to force the club to pull the trigger.

It would be a huge shock if Frank Lampard was the first to be axed, although you simply never know with Chelsea, although the consensus is that the club legend will be given plenty of time (famous last words…).

Southampton are no strangers to a managerial switch-up, yet in Ralph Hasenhuttl (16/1) they have a hugely popular boss who has sprinkled his managerial magic since replacing Mark Hughes back in December. The danger could lie in attempting to swat away other interested parties.

One manager to keep an eye on his Unai Emery. In terms of transfers Arsenal have had a pretty nondescript summer so far, although captain Laurent Koscielny looks to be on his way out of the club. Arsenal have Liverpool, Spurs, and Man Utd in their opening seven games, meaning a sluggish start would put the Spaniard under severe scrutiny.

Unsurprisingly, the likes of Mauricio Pochettino (50/1), Jurgen Klopp (66/1), and Pep Guardiola (66/1) are all long shots in the market.

Managers Departed

Last man down

Nigel Clough
Nigel Clough
(Burton Albion)
18th May
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