Premier League sack race: Ten Hag now fourth favourite to be next manager sacked

Erik ten Hag looks frustrated during a match. Credit: Alamy
Erik ten Hag looks frustrated during a match. Credit: Alamy

Erik ten Hag is moving rapidly up the list but it’s Sheffield United who are tipped to blink first with an old manager lurking.


1) Paul Heckingbottom (Sheffield United)
That point at Everton is still keeping them out of the relegation zone but some stoppage-time Spursing and a post-match referee rant leaves Heckingbottom in a precarious position, with Chris Wilder apparently lurking.


2) Sean Dyche (Everton)
We called it in our opening weekend kneejerk reactions, the defeat at Villa was utterly rancid and since then they have picked up just one point from two six-pointers v Wolves and Sheffield United.

READ MORE: Dyche leaves Everton, Chelsea above Liverpool, Man Utd outside top four and more kneejerk calls


3) Rob Edwards (Luton)
Surely not. Would be the most Modern Football thing ever.


4) Erik ten Hag (Manchester United)
The dumpster fire that is Manchester United off the pitch
 is starting to translate pretty poorly to things on it. There have been more official statements than wins this season yet the most annoyed Ten Hag seems to be is with Jadon Sancho’s timekeeping.


5) Gary O’Neil (Wolves)
It’s quite something that the man who came in to replace the first manager lost is as high as fifth to be the next one out. Not even Watford have managed first and second in the Sack Race before. But perhaps the most striking thing isn’t that O’Neil is fifth favourite, but that we’re actually a touch surprised he isn’t higher.

Four defeats from five and this already feels very fragile.


6) Marco Silva (Fulham)
He apparently turned down a big old pile of cash to move to Saudi Arabia. But Fulham have beaten teams they should beat and lost to teams they should lose to, while snatching a point at the Emirates.


7) Steve Cooper (Nottingham Forest)
Forest rightly stuck with him through the sticky moments last season and it all worked out fine in the end. Makes him slightly harder to sack if things go wrong this season – and means for us he’s probably a bit too high here at this early stage – but far from invincible. Even after a morale-boosting win at Chelsea. He probably wishes the club had not bought him a whole new team. Again. That comes with pressure.


8) Vincent Kompany (Burnley)
Linked with some bigger jobs early in the summer after his impressive work in getting Burnley straight back to the Premier League but was always pretty clear he intended to finish what he’s started. His profile as a player and quality of his early managerial work is always going to be a mixed blessing for Burnley, though. Hard to see them sacking him, not hard to see him inserted straight at the top of the odds for jobs that become available during the season if Burnley are getting things even halfway right.

Has been slightly diddled by Kenilworth Road’s unreadiness, mind. The postponement of that game inevitably makes Burnley’s situation look bleaker than it is having played a game fewer than almost everyone else while simultaneously condemning the Clarets to starting their return to the top flight with games against Man City, Aston Villa and Spurs. Harsh.


9) Eddie Howe (Newcastle)
Rightly or wrongly, Howe could quickly come under pressure if there is even the slightest hint that he is not the man to lead Newcastle through stage two of their quest for world domination no matter how impressively and swiftly he boxed off stage one. Newcastle have got so many big decisions right since getting all the money, but you still think at some stage there’s going to be a desire to get a Big Name Manager in charge. The defeats at Manchester City and especially against 10-man Liverpool both represented huge opportunities missed, and Howe is discovering quickly that he is in rarefied air now where it takes only a couple of defeats for talk to begin. Getting battered by Brighton was sub-optimal but the win over Brentford was welcome before a trip to Milan.


10) Andoni Iraola (Bournemouth)
Any of the new managers could go early this season and it’s reasonable enough to imagine Iraola sits near the top of that list. The brutal nature of his predecessor Gary O’Neil’s axing and replacement inevitably places a greater spotlight on Bournemouth and Iraola than would normally be the case, even if we think they made the right call.

One of the reasons we think it would be fair enough is that if O’Neil were still Bournemouth manager he would be a solid favourite in this market. Everyone knows O’Neil overachieved last season, but there really isn’t a great deal of solid evidence out there to support the idea he would have done so again. That won’t stop people saying Bournemouth were flying under O’Neil, though.

Could really have done without that Brentford equaliser.


11) Mauricio Pochettino (Chelsea)
Not hard to imagine how this goes wrong, is it? It shouldn’t go wrong, but you can see how it might. Getting off to a decent start is going to be a tall order for what is going to, by definition, be a new-look team trying to work things out under a new manager. Having avoided any opening-day disaster against Liverpool, they fell flat on their faces at West Ham and victory over Luton was welcome but also mandatory; it was only Chelsea’s second win in 15 Premier League games and Pochettino’s third in 14. Losing at home to Nottingham Forest was ouch. The questions only persist after a goalless draw v Bournemouth.


12) David Moyes (West Ham)
Ten points from five games. Moyes is inevitable.


13) Ange Postecoglou (Tottenham)
Spurs are Spurs and therefore nothing can ever be ruled out, and we’re absolutely certain there are going to be bad days alongside the good given the nature of their squad and Postecoglou’s all-out tactics. But the feelgood vibe around Spurs is huge and undeniable right now; while we can totally see it all unravelling (again, Spurs are Spurs) we absolutely cannot see that happening fast enough for Postecoglou to be gone before some of these other lads.


14) Jurgen Klopp (Liverpool)
There were several moments last season when it appeared far from certain Klopp would still be Liverpool manager this season. Liverpool will have to be better than they were for huge swathes of last season if further ‘Is Klopp’s Liverpool Empire Crumbling?’ beard-stroking ruminations are to be avoided. Three of their four victories if promising if unsustainable proof of their renewed mentality monstering, while the Darwin Nunez-inspired snaffle at Newcastle suggests they are also absurd chaos merchants. It’s a beguiling combination, and Klopp surely is going nowhere.


15) Unai Emery (Aston Villa)
Definitely won’t be the first manager out. Will be very near the top of the betting in any Big Seven job that comes up. Apart from Arsenal. But that won’t come up anyway, so don’t worry about it.


16) Thomas Frank (Brentford)
Far more likely to be poached by a rival than sacked which would already mean he was at worst the next but one manager to leave. How Brentford cope without Ivan Toney will obviously be significant, but the early signs at the back end of last season were along ‘absolutely fine, thank you for your concern’ lines, and that very much remains the case, edgy Newcastle defeat notwithstanding.


17) Roberto De Zerbi (Brighton)
Definitely won’t be the first manager out. Will be very near the top of the betting in any Big Seven job that comes up. Especially Arsenal. But that won’t come up anyway, so don’t worry about it.


18) Mikel Arteta (Arsenal)
Mikel, are you f***ing this up? Definite signs of overcomplicating things rather than just continuing with what worked splendidly well for 95 per cent of last season. He truly is a student of Pep. But also they’ve only dropped two points. It’s now just about possible to envision a scenario where things go badly enough that reluctantly Arsenal feel they have to change course. But still impossible to envision a scenario where that all takes place swiftly enough for no other manager to have bitten the dust first.


19) Pep Guardiola (Manchester City)
How big an offer from Saudi Arabia would it take, do we reckon?


20) Roy Hodgson (Crystal Palace)
Seven points from five games. As if it were ever in any doubt.

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