Revisited: Could Sam Allardyce become the next Premier League manager to leave?

Jack Kitson by Jack Kitson / 28 January 2021, 12:11

You could argue that the two Premier League sackings we’ve seen so far this season were both on the harsh side of the spectrum.

While Chelsea had slumped in recent weeks, last month they were at the summit of the table. The peculiarities and open nature of the current campaign means an upturn in results could well have shot Lampard’s Blues right back in the mix. Afterall, for 18 months Chelsea had appeared to have altered their trigger-happy mantra.

In the end, Roman Abramovich reverted to type as he wielded the axe, then brought in elite manager Thomas Tuchel - who you can read about here.

There’s a stronger case to be made when it comes to Slaven Bilic; brutally axed after West Brom secured a spirited point at Man City, who have since won 11 successive games. At the time it looked to be a myopic decision from the club, and even more so now the dust has settled.

In came ‘firefighter’ Sam Allardyce, to a mixed reception, although few could argue with his impressive ‘never been relegated from the Premier League’ record. After all, it was the exact reason why he was hired.

Fast-forward six weeks and Big Sam has been installed as the second favourite for the chop after bookmakers Bet Victor cut his odds from 20/1 to just 5/1, behind odds-on frontrunner Steve Bruce.

Could Allardyce now become the next Premier League manager to leave? It's a question we asked only a few weeks ago, but one we've now revisited.

While it was always going to be a tough gig, it’s fair to say Allardyce hasn’t yet stamped his mark on the club, in fact so far he’s exacerbated the situation. Even his critics would have expected incremental gains by now.

A few years ago Allardyce shared his survival blueprint with us all, which included making clean sheets a priority, exploiting the weaknesses of the opposition, and showing quality in the final third.

So far his previously untarnished blueprint has proved unsuccessful at West Brom.

Under his watch the 19th-placed club have: picked up just four points from a possible 21, failed to score and been comprehensively hammered in every home game, leaked in an alarming amount of goals, and been booted out of the FA Cup by former side Blackpool.

Bizarrely, the only two games in which West Brom have impressed came in a shock goalless draw at Liverpool, and a 3-2 win away to Wolves in the Black Country derby.

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Sam Allardyce is now the second favourite to leave, at 5/1

“I’m sorry you have had to wait so long but I had more important things to do in the dressing room,” Allardyce told the media after Tuesday’s 5-0 defeat at home to Man City (quotes via the Express & Star). 

“A few home truths needed to be said. I think it had to be done now because there is a short period of time before the next game and then a short period of time for the game after that. And these two games really do stand high on what we need to do and how we need to try and perform.

“I needed to get my disappointment and my feelings out the way immediately after the game - that’s why it took so long. They [the players] needed to air some of their views - that’s fine because we are all in it together. But I was disappointed with that performance, to say the least. To get it out the way means it’s done and dusted.”

The brace of crunch clashes Allardyce mentioned are pivotal six-pointers against Fulham this weekend, immediately followed by Sheffield United on Tuesday.

The big worry for Allardyce is while West Brom have gone backwards, their relegation rivals have each shown positive signs of a revival.

They may have struggled to convert draws into wins but stubborn Fulham have a new-found resilience to them, having held the likes of Tottenham, Liverpool and Southampton. Whereas, Sheff Utd have just conjured up one of the upsets of the season in a 2-1 victory away to title-chasing Man Utd.

Elsewhere, Sean Dyche has propelled Burnley up to 15th following a superb couple of wins over Liverpool and Aston Villa, Steve Bruce’s Newcastle look shocking at the moment, however they are still eight points better off than the Baggies.

To lose those two aforementioned games would be devastating for both West Brom and Allardyce.

Could the club then wield the axe? 

They have a history for it, having sacked both Tony Pulis and Alan Pardew in their previous (doomed) Premier League season. Yet, despite Allardyce’s ineffective impact so far, you get the feeling that at this stage if the Midlands side did pull the plug on his tenure it would completely extirpate any hope they had of survival.

Alternatively, there’s the possibility that Allardyce could walk away.

While you never truly know what’s going on inside a manager’s mind, Allardyce doesn’t strike us as the sort of boss who quits when the going gets tough, in fact he usually thrives in these situations. 

The man himself still holds onto the hope that he can spark a resurrection. “We have to believe - we have still got 18 games to go. I know it’s a difficult task and we’ve got to achieve a minimum of 27 points from 18 games. That is the minimum to stay safe.”

There are still numerous games left on the cards, 18 for West Brom, but there’s no getting away from the fact that the next two are pivotal. As we said a couple of weeks ago, win those and the situation suddenly looks a bit more rosy. Lose, and they’ll be in an extremely perilous position.

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