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Another Premier League Manager Bites The Dust

Atakan Uzun


This Premier League season has witnessed several sackings. At the start of October, Watford manager, Xisco Munoz was the first to be sacked. He was replaced by the former title-winning Leicester City FC manager, Claudio Ranieri. After the controversial takeover by a Saudi-based consortium, Newcastle FC manager, Steve Bruce was sacked after around 18 months in the role. He was replaced by former Bournemouth manager, Eddie Howe, who led his former club to promotion, and kept the club in the Premier League for four consecutive seasons, before being relegated at the end of the 2019/2020 season. 

The beginning of November witnessed three sackings of English Premier League managers in the space of one week. At the beginning of November, Tottenham manager, Nuno Espirito Santo was sacked after four months in the role, despite winning his first three Premier League games as manager. However, a sticky spell followed, as the club was defeated in five out of the last six games of his rein. Ultimately, the final blow for his spell as manager, was the 3-0 defeat to Manchester United, and an underwhelming performance. He was replaced by Italian manager, Antonio Conte, who was linked with the role, in the summer. 

Santo’s sacking was followed by the sacking of Norwich FC manager, Daniel Farke, who lasted over four years in the role. This sacking came after he clinched the club’s first win of the season against Brentford, and clinched two separate Premier League promotions. Next day, his sacking was further followed by the sacking of Aston Villa manager, Dean Smith, who spent three years as manager of the club, he supported, growing up. Smith has since joined Canaries just days after his tenure came to an end.

He led the club to promotion in his first season as manager, and kept the club up from relegation in the 2019/2020 season, with a 17th place finish. In the following season, he led the team to an 11th place finish, with notable highlights such as a thumping 7-2 win against the then reigning champions, Liverpool FC. While Villa started the season solidly, in recent games, they have had five successive defeats on the trot. He was replaced by Rangers manager, Steven Gerrard, who will have future ambition managing his boyhood club, and the club that he spent most of his career with, which is Liverpool FC. These past few weeks have shown, the brutal reality of being a Premier League manager. While a manager had the possibility of a longer timeframe to turn around a dismal run for their respective teams, in the modern Premier League era, managers could face the sack if they suffer from a sticky spell in results. 

The tenure-ship of Dean Smith is a fine example of the latter. As a manager, he helped to bring the club back into the Premier League, and kept it up in the past two seasons, in part, due to the significant transfer budget spending by the club owners. However, having faced a winless period, in almost half-a-dozen games, he suffered the inevitable sacking of such dismal form. The club will hope that the appointment of Steven Gerrard, will reinvigorate the form of the majority of last season. At the time of writing, his first game as manager will be against the in-form Crystal Palace team, under Patrick Viera. His first home game will be in opposition to Brighton on the 20th of November. 

Turning to the appointment of Claudio Ranieri as Watford manager, his tenure-ship to date has been mixed. While he led the club to a 5-0 defeat to Liverpool, in his first game in charge, he led the team to a 5-2 victory against Everton, and a Josh King hat-trick against his former club. At the time of writing, in its recent game against Arsenal, it lost 1-0 to the latter. Judging upon the past record of the manager’s time periods at Watford, it is unlikely that Ranieri will be given a long managerial period as manager and will be expected to keep the club in the Premier League. 

Meanwhile, the sacking of Nuno Espirito Santo was inevitable. Despite having a solid start to his managerial period with Tottenham, as the games went by, it became clearer that his brand and style of football would not suit the club. Consequently, star players such as Son Heung-Min were unable to rediscover the regular goal-scoring and assisting form, while Harry Kane, whose mind is most likely focused on a bigger move, has struggled for form. It will be intriguing to see whether Antonio Conte, with his defensive brand of football, will be able to get the best out of Tottenham’s attacking players. His first game in charge was in the Europa Conference League against Vitesse. In his first game in charge, Tottenham took an eventful victory, against Vitesse by three goals to two, as both players went down to ten men. In his first Premier League game in charge, his team entertained Everton, and the result was a nil-nil draw. His first home game in charge, in the Premier League, is against Leeds United on the 21st of November. 

Going forward, it will be intriguing to see who the next managerial sacking in the Premier League will be. If I had to predict the next sacking, one should closely follow the rein of Ranieri at Watford, as past history has shown that the owners at the club are impatient for results. Ole Gunnar Solsjkaer is also treading on thin ice, as Manchester United have lost four out of their last six games, including a 5-0 thrashing by Liverpool FC, and a 2-0 defeat against Manchester City, in the Manchester derby. Meanwhile, Brentford manager, Thomas Frank, will be looking to improve his team’s results, after a sticky spell. Inevitably, the Christmas period will be a crucial juncture for all managers, as they seek to guide their respective clubs, to the best ending to the 2021 period, possible.