Head-To-Head: Roy Hodgson vs Slaven Bilic

Chloe Beresford by Chloe Beresford / 27 October 2017, 14:58

With Frank de Boer, Craig Shakespeare and Ronald Koeman already having faced the axe in the Premier League, it seems like Roy Hodgson - who replaced the first man on that list at Crystal Palace - or West Ham boss Slaven Bilic could well be next to win the Premier League Sack Race.

The latter masterminded a stunning comeback in midweek against Tottenham in the Carabao Cup, the Hammers coming back from a 2-0 deficit to win 3-2, but league form still means that Bilic is teetering on the brink. West Ham have gained just eight points from their opening nine matches, having suffered five defeats in those early rounds and this weekend’s clash will remain a high-pressure one for the Croatian.

Reports suggested that the West Ham board met last week to discuss the future of the under-fire man in charge, and that in turn Bilic met with the players to hold a crisis meeting just before that midweek encounter with Spurs. That victory will have provided some much-needed relief in the camp, largely provided by two-goal hero Andre Ayew.

“When you are at a club like West Ham and the results are difficult, the manager is under pressure for sure,” 27-year-old Ayew said after the match. “But so are the players. We have to keep working hard and the manager knows the players are behind him. We will give everything we can.”

High expectations from the Premier League side are perhaps inevitable, but it is not only Bilic that is feeling the heat. Former England boss Roy Hodgson took over from Frank de Boer at Selhurst Park after the Dutchman was fired just five league and cup games into the new season as Palace failed to score a single goal.

Defeat to Southampton followed Hodgson’s appointment, then came 5-0 and 4-0 thrashings to Manchester City and Manchester United respectively in what was an unkind run of fixtures for the new man at the helm. The 70-year-old did pull off a superb 2-1 win over Chelsea just two weeks ago, but further defeats to Newcastle and Bristol City in the cup mean that his future remains in doubt.

The media have reported that Hodgson has been given two more games to save his job, a notion that seems ridiculous to the experienced boss as he stood in solidarity with the likes of Bilic. “Are you asking me if I understand having two matches to save your job? No, I don't understand it,” he declared in a press conference.

“Managers are either good enough to be running their teams or they're not.

“Clubs should be able to work out whether their current manager is the right man for the job, and then accept there will be periods in the season where the team will be winning or losing.”

His statements mean that members of the Crystal Palace board have some thinking to do in order to assess whether the man they brought in to replace De Boer can turn the situation around in the long-term.

In the meantime, Hodgson looks set to name a similar side to the one that was beaten by Newcastle in their last Premier League outing. The Eagles chief named ten changes to the starting lineup in midweek, and a 4-1 defeat to Championship Bristol City left him explaining to the press that none of those performances would make him re-think his regular XI.

His adversary Bilic will have the advantage of being buoyed by his spectacular comeback against Tottenham, but the fact he is facing a side with such a miserable record this term could be a double-edged sword. Defeat would mean that any good memories of midweek would be long forgotten, as opponent Roy Hodgson happily erased his Carabao Cup nightmare.

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