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Premier League Sack Race: Most Likely Candidates for the Chop
Simon Winter
Simon Winter
November 13, 2018
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Born in the south east of Ireland, Simon put his life-long love of football to good use when he started a successful independent blog in 2010. That opened up an alternative route to a career in journalism, and having had work published across a number of sites and publications, Simon joined the staff at Spotlight Sports Group in 2018.

The Premier League’s managerial merry-go-round has been spinning at an unusually slow speed so far this season – in fact, it hasn’t been spinning at all.

Premier League chairmen have been surprisingly slow on the trigger in 2018/19 and at the time of writing, the 20 managers that started the new season in their respective hotseats are still keeping them warm now.

Comparatively, by the same time last season, 4 Premier League managers had already been removed from office.

Frank de Boer became the first managerial casualty of the 2017/18 season when he was sacked by Crystal Palace on the 11th of September 2017. The Dutchman had been in charge at Selhurst Park for just 77 days.

Leicester City parted ways with Craig Shakespeare a little over a month later on October 17th, while de Boer’s compatriot Ronald Koeman was handed his P45 by Everton 6 days after that on October 23rd.

West Ham fired Slaven Bilic on November 6th 2017 after their poor start to the same season. The Croatian had been in charge of the Hammers for 881 days before being ousted from the London Stadium.

To date in 2018/19, no manager has had to reluctantly clear out a desk or negotiate a severance package. However, with the Premier League really starting to take shape as we approach the busy Christmas period, that first managerial dismissal feels close.

Let’s take a closer look at the most likely candidates for the chop.

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Premier League Managers: Favourites to be sacked

 Slavisa Jokanovic (Fulham) – Odds: 4/5

Slavisa Jokanovic Fulham

Serbian Manager Slavisa Jokanovic has been at Fulham since December 2015, though his chances of reaching his 3rd year anniversary at the club feel slim.

Jokanovic guided Fulham to Premier League promotion via a playoff win over Aston Villa last season after a Championship campaign where the Cottagers played some of the slickest football in the division.

Fulham had hoped that Jokanovic and his players could replicate their successful style of play in the Premier League, however a major overhaul of the team’s playing staff has had a detrimental effect on performances.

The Cottagers spent approximately £100m on squad refurbishments over the summer and just 4 of the players who started Fulham’s Play Off win in May featured in their most recent Premier League defeat to Liverpool.

Fulham’s new look defence has thus far failed to fuse into a cohesive unit and as a result the Cottagers have the worst goal concession record in the Premier League this season. Fulham have shipped a total of 31 goals in their 12 league fixtures in 2018/19 and they have yet to keep a single clean sheet.

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Mark Hughes (Southampton) – Odds 2/1

Mark Hughes has been Southampton manager for just 8 months, having joined the club as something of a surprise appointment in March.

Sparky has so far failed to reignite the struggling Saints’ fortunes however, and already the club hierarchy have given the Welshman the dreaded vote of confidence.

Hughes win percentage of 20.83% is the lowest any Southampton manager has had in over a decade, and the Saints have won just 1 of their 12 Premier League matches since the summer.

At the root of most of Hughes’ problems has been his inability to formulate a fully functioning attacking system at Southampton. Under his management, the Saints have scored just 20 times in 24 competitive matches.

Southampton avoided the drop by the skin of their teeth last season and many Saints supporters feel a change of direction could be needed to avoid relegation this time around.

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Roy Hodgson (Crystal Palace) – Odds 16/1

Roy Hodgson Crystal Palace

Former England boss Roy Hodgson has done a steady if unspectacular job since being appointed as Crystal Palace manager, the club he supported as a boy, in September 2017.

Crystal Palace are the 19th club Hodgson has been in charge of in a managerial career that started with Swedish outfit Halmstad all the way back in 1976.

Hodgson and Palace closed out the 2017/18 season with a 6-match unbeaten run in the Premier League on their way to finishing in a respectable 11th position, and it was hoped that the Eagles could pick up where they left off when the new campaign got under way in August.

However, things haven’t gone as smoothly in 2018/19 and Palace find themselves just 2 places clear of the relegation zone having collected just 8 points from the 36 available.

The most galling aspect of the team’s start has been their dismal points return at Selhurst Park. Palace are still waiting for their first home victory of the season, and the Eagles have hit the net just twice in 6 games.

There are growing murmurs of discontent in the Selhurst Park stands, with many believing that Hodgson is failing to get the most out of a talented set of Crystal Palace players.

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