There comes a time in every season when people start to consider their roles. This not only includes players who may be weighing up their options in terms of a move but managers are also on the chopping block.
With less than 10 games to go in the season, some individuals may already have their feet up and thinking about stretching out on their loungers, whilst sipping on a Long Island Iced Tea. Yet for some coaches, this is the time when the pressure mounts up. This is largely in part thanks to teams chasing promotion as well as severe relegation dog fights. This is none more so than Sunderland who only this week got rid of their manager Gus Poyet.
The Uruguayan had been walking a footballing tightrope for some time after a number of different results. This featured an 8-0 mauling by Ronald Koeman’s Southampton not to mention a recent 4-0 home defeat to a rejuvenated Aston Villa. The writing was certainly on the wall for the former Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder. His fate was sealed with the Black Cats hovering just above the relegation zone with only nine games to go. Step in experienced Dutch task master Dick Advocaat who has the intention to restore order and to rescue Sunderland as soon as possible. The ex-Rangers manager has a hard to please reputation and has previously coached around the globe from Zenit St. Petersburg to the Dutch national team.
Nevertheless, there are a host of managers who at present are facing their own battle of saving their own skin before the end of the campaign. So which coaches are likely to stay and which are likely to leave with their tail between their legs? Here is the top 10 Managers likely to be fired before or at the end of the season.
10 Sam Allardyce
The managerial maestro that is Sam Allardyce has not always been a fan favourite with the West Ham United fans. In fact, he has been lambasted on several occasions when it comes to the Hammers' style of play. Many Irons have been up in arms around what is the actual West Ham way. This has not gone down well with the former Bolton Wanderers manager who to his credit has changed things around this season. With a record points total on the way in the Premier League, Allardyce has introduced a more attacking flow to West Ham’s play which saw them rise to the dizzying heights of third place around Christmas time. However, they have dropped in recent weeks and currently lay mid table. Whether this will be enough for the Boleyn Ground faithful is something to behold in the forthcoming weeks. Furthermore, there has been a wealth of reports swarming around the tabloids surrounding his position as coach for some time. However, with a new move to the Olympic Stadium in East London on the cards, there is no doubt his job is well and truly on the line.
9 Dick Advocaat
Although he has just been appointed head coach at Sunderland, their chairman Ellis Short has literally been brief in getting rid of people where necessary. This stretches back to Sunderland’s former years where they were struggling. In this way, the change was a swift one as Short got rid of Roy Keane, Steve Bruce and just last year Paolo Di Canio. In spite of the Italian keeping them up and banning ketchup from the canteen among other strange tales, he had to go as well. If Sunderland are to be relegated at the end of the season then the Short’s trend for parting ways with his managers will rear its ugly head once again.
8 Laurent Blanc
French World Cup winner Laurent Blanc has managed to steer Qatari owned Paris Saint Germain to the quarter finals of the UEFA Champion League. However, this might not be enough for the Middle East consortium who run the show over at the Parc des Princes. Their thirst to make PSG one of the leading lights on the European stage knows no bounds and they may be ready to dismiss Blanc at the drop of a hat. An extremely difficult quarter final tie against the might of Barcelona awaits for the Ligue 1 champions which may bring down the curtain on Blanc’s time. As PSG struggle to retain their French crown, it may well be the end of the footballing road for Blanc come the end of the season.
7 Zdeněk Zeman
Cagliari’s chairman often changes his mind like the wind. It is little surprise that he has dismissed more than 20 managers in quick succession. Former Chelsea icon Gianfranco Zola was in charge at the Serie A side for less than 10 games which clearly shows his trust factor. In addition to thi,s the chairman Massimo Cellino has not held back in his condemnation of the side. According to some reports from 2013, he even mentioned that all the players could leave which obviously doesn’t bode well for his coaches. He has now reappointed Zdeněk Zeman who is well into his 60’s. Given Cellino’s past record as far as dismissing managers is concerned, he is highly unlikely to be given even a quarter of a season.
6 Roberto Mancini
The fiery Italian showed his managerial skills in England where he was in charge of Manchester City. The former Blues boss was often involved in wrangles with Liverpool front man Mario Balotelli and by the end of his reign; Mancini had lost the dressing room. After being fired by the Blues, Mancini was on his way to the San Siro to coach Inter Milan. Reports in recent times have linked Mancini with a reunion alongside Yaya Toure who has been linked with a move to Italy. Meanwhile, the recent defeat by German side Wolfsburg in the Europa League has certainly dented his campaign this year. This is coupled with trailing Juventus in Serie A by nearly 30 points which may deal the final blow to Mancini’s tenure.
5 Roberto Di Matteo
No manager can hide in the shadows, even if they have managed to win the UEFA Champions League despite all the odds. This is what happened exactly to former Blue Roberto di Matteo who is in charge of Schalke in the Bundesliga. Having successfully defeated Barcelona in the semi-final over two legs and beating Bayern Munich on their own home soil in 2012, his time in Germany may come to a close. This comes after a narrow defeat to Real Madrid where Schalke actually beat Los Blancos 4-3 at the Bernebau just a few weeks ago. Nonetheless, Di Matteo may be sitting on a soccer time bomb if his side don’t finish the season strongly.
4 Filippo Inzaghi
The man who according to Sir Alex Ferguson was “born offside,” Pippo Inzaghi is another manager who needs to be firing on all cylinders. The former AC Milan striker is number 1 at AC but with Milan in the footballing midst at the moment, his reign could come down in the blink of an eye. At the moment, Milan are in 8th position in Serie A which for a team of their calibre is nowhere good enough. After all, Milan have previously set the standards in European football, especially at the end of the 1980s where they won back to back European Cups. It is a far cry from the days of Sacchi and Fabio Capello but a change may be in the offing very soon.
3 Carlo Ancelotti
The Madrid faithful are a demanding bunch and believe it or not rumours are circulating that Carlo Ancelotti could be on his way out. It seems that nobody is safe at Real Madrid. Ancelotti steered Madrid to the all-encompassing La Decima or tenth European Cup last season. This footballing obsession was put to bed thanks to a 4-1 victory over rivals Atletico Madrid last May. On the other hand, Ancelotti has also achieved other cup success including the Super Cup and World Club Championship which has added extra kudos. Yet this may not be enough from the Italian ending up on the chopping board at the end of the season. However, if Real were to defend their European crown, he may be given some grace. They would go down in history as the first team to successfully defend the UEFA Champions League.
2 Arsene Wenger
Arsene Wenger does seem to have all the power at the Emirates. But for him to walk it only require the mercurial Frenchmen to turn around and call it a day. Football is a business and there is no denying the influence Wenger has had on and off the field. He has already made the club significant amounts of cash which unfortunately has not translated onto the field of play. One FA Cup victory in nearly a decade is the only evidence of silverware in recent times. There are no trophies for finishing in the top four which the Gunners have done over the last 15 years or so. Consequently, the fans have become restless and if they are unable to defend their FA Cup title from last year, Wenger may up sticks and walk.
1 Manuel Pellegrini
In his first season, Chilean born Manuel Pellegrini managed to achieve a double at Manchester City including the League Cup and Premier League. But for the Abu Dhabi Group, this may not be enough which has been emphasised by a dismal Champions League campaign. Over the last two years, City have been well beaten by Barcelona and exactly at the same last 16 stage. They are poles apart in challenging for a European crown and this may be the final straw for the powers that be. Several names have already been touted to replace Pellegrini including Diego Simeone and Pep Guardiola but it seems his bags are already being packed for him.