PL SACK RACE: WHO WILL BE NEXT? OLE OR FARKE
With Steve Bruce predictably removed of his duties up in Tyneside, it wouldn’t be a shock to see this start a trend of managerial casualties. Newcastle firing Bruce could well see another club get rid, with two obvious examples at both Manchester United and Norwich City standing out. In Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Manchester United will have to think long and hard over whether the Norwegian is the best man for the job anymore - the 5-0 humbling by Liverpool at the weekend not working in his favour. Likewise, Norwich will have to put sentiment to one side and work out if Daniel Farke is the man they want leading the Canaries forward. With two points from nine so far, and a 7-0 thrashing at Chelsea fresh in the memory, they may well act fast.
Yet, it isn’t an easy yes or no decision when deciding to sack the manager leading your club - a lot of factors will be tossed back and forth before that final decision is made. Looking at Ole in his time at Manchester United, it’s fair to say it’s been an entertaining ride to be a Red Devils supporter. But, that entertainment is a smokescreen at times. Ole’s side often go behind in matches, before letting their attacking talent singlehandedly bail them out. In one of his most famous nights as Red Devils boss - a 3-1 away win at PSG to go through to a Champions League quarter final - Manchester United fluked their way to victory in Paris. This side looks like it’s crying out for some tactical nous, some more direction than simply outscoring their opponent. It’s fine being able to overwhelm the likes of Atalanta, but when you face up against a big rival in Liverpool and get humiliated, an internal assessment needs to be done. With the likes of Bruno Fernandes, Paul Pogba and Cristiano Ronaldo in that side, Ole is falling way short of the mark.
Looking at the rumoured faces being lined up to potentially out the Norwegian from his post at Old Trafford, the options are better equipped at fixing the issues Ole hasn’t. Antonio Conte is the man they should be looking for if Ole was axed, less of the nice man approach at Old Trafford and instead a coach who demands performances with little to no room for error. In Conte, you’ll see a Manchester United side begin to be shored up instead of leaking four goals and five goals every other match. But, would Conte work under the Glazers? The outspoken Italian isn’t afraid to speak his mind and work on his own accord, disagreements with the Inter Milan board saw him leave prematurely. Conte is, however, a serial winner and proven in English football - lifting the title with Chelsea, Eden Hazard in the form of his life. Conte would be some statement, leaving the nice guy approach behind.
Time will tell if the ex-Manchester United footballer turned Red Devils boss will stick around at Old Trafford, the Manchester United hierarchy willing to give him time, but there feels like a level of inevitability to his eventual dismissal.
A level of inevitability looms over Norwich too, the very definition of a yo-yo club. But, the start they’ve made to this Premier League campaign feels like a new low. At their current rate, they could go down as one of the worst Premier League sides of all time based on points total. Is it time for The Canaries to say goodbye to a manager who has succeeded for them in the Championship? It is beginning to look that way, Farke’s men rooted to the bottom of the Premier League in abysmal form. This is some difference from last season, where Farke and co were jubilant at winning the Championship title.
Where has it all gone wrong then at Carrow Road? The recruitment for this season looked to be encouraging for Norwich - the likes of Rashica, Gilmour and Lees-Melou coming in to add quality - but the players who have arrived are yet to get up and running. In Billy Gilmour, a clearly talented youngster, the Canaries have barely seen his influence since joining on loan. Moreover, spending big bucks on strikers like Josh Sargent has proven to be a gamble - yet to score in his Norwich career, missing an open goal in a stalemate against Brighton. Norwich’s struggles for me lie in failing to buy talent accustomed to the demands of the top tier, and further, failing to replace their star man in Emi Buendia when he left for Aston Villa.
Watching their performances too, the players seem to lack any belief or fight they can compete at this level. In the 7-0 demolition at Stamford Bridge, the Norwich players simply allowed Chelsea to glide past them and win with ease. Watford at home further exemplifies a lack of fight, a match you need to win to showcase your credentials but the fellow new boys strolled into Norwich and won 3-1. Farke has to take some blame for this, not the most astute at in game management, but the German won’t be saying for his players to fold on the training pitch. The Canaries might well need a new man to reinstate some belief into the camp, Farke taking them as far as he physically can. It feels to me like David Wagner at Huddersfield, the good times have now simply ran out.
It’ll be intriguing to see if either Solskjaer or Farke can turn their fortunes around if they are kept in the respective jobs, both seemingly unstable in their positions. With rumours circulating, both managers may well be on borrowed time.