The Premier League sack race is a competition that frankly no one wants to win. With less than half of the season to go and a barren January transfer window now behind us, we’re getting to that stage of the season where clubs start feeling that only a change of manager can improve their fortunes.
For some, it's already becoming a matter of urgency. The bottom end of the table is looking increasingly congested while the top five are starting to pull away and close off opportunities to sneak a coveted European place.
Here’s who the bookies think might be most at risk, with odds correct per SkyBet's at 3pm on Friday 2nd February.
Premier League sack race odds: 1. Roy Hodgson (4/7)
Crystal Palace fans have made no secret of their feelings towards their club's decision makers in recent weeks, even staging an organised protest during their 5-0 drubbing at Arsenal that criticised…well, basically everything about the running of the club and calling for the owners to leave.
A dicey 3-2 win against basement boys Sheffield United on Tuesday will have alleviated some pressure on Hodgson, but a trip to Brighton for an oft-mocked-but-nevertheless-fierce El Gatwicko could prove make or break. Win, and the Premier League's oldest gaffer will be safe for a while longer. Lose, and he may be gone, according to the bookies.
2. Erik ten Hag (7/1)
While Manchester United's lacklustre showings in, well, just about every competition this term means Ten Hag never appears far from the hangman's noose, it is worth mentioning that his odds have lengthened following his side's dramatic 3-2 win at Wolves on Thursday night.
The Red Devils remain a basket case but, with the return of several key players – including Lisandro Martinez and Casemiro from injury and Andre Onana from AFCON – there is reason for optimism. So you can expect them to lose 5-0 to West Ham on Sunday afternoon then...
3. Eddie Howe (10/1)
A victim of his own success, perhaps, but it’s fair to say the Newcastle manager has struggled to get his side in anything like the form of last season that saw them claim a Champions League place and announce themselves as one of the Premier League’s most upwardly-mobile sides.
The Magpies have not fared well in balancing domestic and European commitments this season, but a much-needed win against Villa on Tuesday night arrested a desperate run of four straight defeats. Howe's Saudi overlords will not accept a return to losing ways, however, and the bookies fear for his future.
4. Vincent Kompany (12/1)
The former Manchester City captain had a brilliant managerial debut season in English football, with his Burnley side demolishing the rest of the Championship as they eased to promotion with over 100 points last season. They played some lovely stuff, too.
That step up to the top flight is arguably bigger than it’s ever been, though, and Kompany’s sumptuous stylings have not translated well to the bigger stage: Burnley sit second from bottom, six points from safety, with their only victories this season coming against Fulham and fellow relegation fodder Luton and Sheffield United. Do the Clarets keep the faith or push the panic button? Lose at home to Fulham this weekend and it could spell curtains for Kompany.
5. Marco Silva (20/1)
Fulham entered the New Year off the back of a shock 2-1 win over Arsenal and then swiftly dispatched Rotherham in the FA Cup ahead of a League Cup semi-final showdown with Liverpool. In short, things were looking rosy.
Yet a poor few weeks have seen the wheels come off. The Cottagers were knocked out by the Reds, crumbled against neighbours Chelsea in the Premier League and then fell to Newcastle in the FA Cup Fourth Round. Silva has cut a frustrated figure all the while, and even appeared to take a few thinly-veiled digs at the Fulham board in the latter throws of the transfer window. His days could be numbered.
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