Analysis

Ranked! Every Premier League manager by their job security

Eddie Howe

As the 2018/19 season starts, Huw Davies assesses how likely each Premier League boss is to stay in their current seat. Whether they’re pushed or walk away is another matter...

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We know what you’re thinking: no Premier League manager is leaving their post this early.

It’s not going to be like last season, when Frank de Boer left Crystal Palace in mid-September as the first of six top-flight sackings before Christmas. Nor will 2018/19 be like 2016/17, when Francesco Guidolin was dismissed as early as October 3; nor 2015/16, when two managers were fired on October 4; nor 2014/15, when Tony Pulis was gone by the start of Palace’s season; nor 2013/14, when Sunderland’s Paolo Di Canio was let go in September; nor… hmm.

OK, maybe it wouldn’t be a gigantic surprise if one or more of these 20 managers didn’t survive to see October at their club. Some are far safer than others, however, and that’s where our countdown begins: with the securest manager in the Premier League.

20. Sean Dyche (Burnley)

Burnley were admirably loyal to Dyche when they were relegated on a tiny budget in 2014/15 (most expensive signing: George Boyd for £3m), giving him time to reshape the team a bit and lead them back into the Premier League, then on to new heights. He could take them down again and still keep his job.

Oh, except Dyche’s Burnley inexplicably finished seventh last season, qualifying for Europe against all expectations. His job with the Clarets is safe as safe can be – plus, bizarrely, no bigger club seems to want him.

19. Pep Guardiola (Manchester City)

Put it this way: if Manchester City tell Guardiola to clear his desk after he masterminded their record-breaking 100-point title win, he would probably be justified in having a word with HR.

18. Jurgen Klopp (Liverpool)

A Champions League final and top-four finish puts Klopp in the same boat as our No.19 at Liverpool, and there’s the added factor that the German is universally popular among the club’s fans (though, to be fair, Guardiola isn’t exactly lacking in this area either). Kloppo’s jovial but passionate personality endears him to the players and supporters of any club he manages, and that helps at Liverpool, where managers are put on something of a pedestal.

Klopp has been backed in the transfer market to the tune of £170m, which cued up Jose Mourinho to bleat that Liverpool must win the title now. It’d take more than a bad start to the season, such as the one that saw Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund sitting joint-bottom at the halfway stage in 2014/15, for the Reds to let him go any time soon.

17. Unai Emery (Arsenal)

If Emery matches his predecessor’s record, he’ll leave Arsenal at the beginning of 2040, when the world is a barren desert and Joel Campbell is telling himself that this is his season.

Emery would probably be happy to reach 2020 right now, although the suits at Arsenal recognise that he’s a new man in a new league. Not only that, but in the past year the club have brought in 10 first-team players and let go of 13 who, between them, had made more than 1,500 Premier League appearances for Arsenal. Emery will be given time to get an unfamiliar squad singing his tune.

16. Eddie Howe (Bournemouth)

It’s not inconceivable that the Bournemouth board sack Howe if things are looking desperate, but it is very unlikely. For a start, the former Cherries player took over as a rookie manager in 2008 and guided them all the way up from League Two to the top flight – and he’s still only 40.

More to the point, there have been times in Bournemouth’s Premier League tenure when another club might have asked him to bite the bullet while they pulled the trigger. Howe’s charges were in the bottom three in December 2015 and December 2017, having begun the 2017/18 campaign by losing their first four matches. That didn’t faze the higher-ups, though, and neither would another poor half-season in 2018/19. Howe has always recovered up to now.

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