• Sam Quine

THE PREMIER LEAGUE SACK RACE: WHO'S GOING TO LEAVE FIRST?


The dawn of another Premier League season is fast approaching and with it comes excitement, nerves and heated debates.


However whilst many fans ponder the success of new arrivals and wonder if their team makes progress compared to last season, bookmakers have released the three most likely managers to be sacked to pile on the pressure.


Frank Lampard: 7/2


The bookie's favourite to get axed first, the former Chelsea legendary midfielder hasn’t found the transition into management as seamless as other ex-players. Everton narrowly escaped relegation last season in what was a disappointing campaign for the Toffees, often playing with no recognised style of play, swapping personnel and formations every other game and fan protests occurring often with their distaste for the Everton hierarchy.


Over the summer the Blues lost their star man in Richarlison whose goals, in a far from free-scoring attack, and enduring effort kept the side up and his presence around the club will be sorely missed. The transfer window itself hasn’t been the busiest for Frank’s side, so far only acquiring James Tarkowski and Dwight McNeil from relegated Burnley to bolster a squad clearly lacking in quality.


But to Lampard’s defence, the club have been hampered by the restrictions of financial fair play due to ludicrous spending across a number of seasons prior to his appointment. Despite this, Everton are looking to make smart, cheap moves such as operating in the loan market and reportedly bringing back former fan favourites Idrissa Gana Gueye and Ross Barkley.


With his dangerous position and possible tactical naivety considered, Frank Lampard should be commended on two things. The first was his approach to getting Everton to play simple, direct football which suited his player's strengths. Unselfish wingers willing to press such as Demarai Gray and Andros Townsend who would look to get to the byline and get crosses into Dominic Calvert-Lewin helped the Blues survive last season. The new acquisitions as well as Calvert-Lewin being fully fit will look to continue this style of play into the new season.


Secondly, he was able to unite a largely disjointed fanbase at the back end of the last campaign who acted like the 12th man as they gave their utmost support to help the Blues avoid relegation. As the ownership is held in such bad regard by the fans, Frank does have the backing of supporters so sacking him would be an unwise decision if the board are to avoid any more internal uproar.



Ralph Hasenhuttl: 9/2


The only manager on this list who has spent more than a full season at his club, Ralph Hasenhuttl has certainly flirted with departure from Southampton on numerous occasions. Suffering a 9-0 defeat not once, but twice as well as often fighting in a relegation battle during his tenure has raised the eyebrows of fans and neutrals as to why the Austrian is still in a management position.


The Saints struggled last season to develop any sort of consistency in the form of results which led them to a 15th place finish just five points above the drop. Whilst Tino Livramento was a bright spark up until his injury, other new signings Adam Armstrong, Romain Perraud and Lyanco failed to discover form throughout the season and replace former quality players such as Danny Ings and Jannik Vestergaard.


This summer window has been a successful one so far, with Southampton taking a different approach to signings opting to acquire high-potential players for the future. Gavin Bazunu and Romeo Lavia have been brought in from Manchester City as well as Joe Aribo from Rangers, Sékou Mara from Bordeaux and Armel Bella-Kotchap from Bochum. All of these players are either teenagers or in their early twenties and Hasenhuttl will look to integrate them into the squad either as a first-team or rotation players.


So Ralph Hasenhuttl’s job ultimately lies in the hands of youth. Will they be able to succeed and keep him in a job is a question which will be answered by the end of the season.



Jesse Marsch: 6/1


The last on the list is the most recently appointed man in the form of American Jesse Marsch who came in last season and managed to keep his Leeds side up on the last day of the season. The former RB Salzburg gaffer was appointed in February of this year to replace cult hero Marcelo Bielsa after a series of poor results and has managed to steer the ship, albeit continuing the gung-ho style of football.


Despite the elation of maintaining their Premier League status, Leeds saw their two best players leave this summer in the form of Kalvin Phillips to Manchester City and Raphinha to Barcelona. The ‘Yorkshire Pirlo’ and exciting Brazilian winger have easily been the two best players in the squad since Leeds gained promotion from the Championship putting in consistent performances most weeks.


However, the transfers of these two players brought in around £100 million which the club have reinvested wisely which may mean these losses may not be as big as once perceived. Marsch has been on a shopping spree opting to take players from his former club in the form of Brenden Aaronson and Rasmus Kristensen. Luis Sinisterra from Feyenoord, Marc Roca from Bayern Munich and Tyler Adams from RB Leipzig have also been brought in to replace the qualities of Phillips and Raphinha whilst also bringing youth and quality into the first team.


With these new signings improved areas which were in desperate need of bolstering, paired with Jesse Marsch’s clear gameplan on playing high tempo, fluid and attacking football, it is hard to see Leeds struggling as much as they did last year.