Man Utd boss Ten Hag now SECOND favourite for axe – but why haven't any Premier League managers been sacked yet? | The Sun
MANCHESTER UNITED boss Erik ten Hag is now SECOND favourite for the axe.
But after the brutality of last season, there has been a surprising show of solidarity from Premier League owners so far this term.
This weekend marks the 11th round of games in the top flight, the point at which last season a fourth manager of the campaign — Aston Villa’s Steven Gerrard — was given the boot.
Scott Parker, Thomas Tuchel and Bruno Lage had all already been handed their P45s by Bournemouth, Chelsea and Wolves respectively.
But just over a quarter of the way into the 2023-24 season, not one manager has been axed — although Julen Lopetegui did leave Wolves days before the campaign.
That is not to say owners and decision-makers have had a personality transplant, but lessons may well have been learned from the record 14 dismissals last season.
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In another record, four clubs changed boss more than once as part of those 14 changes — with two, Southampton and Leeds, getting relegated.
The other two were Chelsea and Tottenham, the London duo enduring horror campaigns. It is no way to run a successful football club.
One source said: “Clubs have seen the expensive mess both Southampton and Leeds got themselves into and don’t want to go down the same path.”
There are, of course, already clubs in trouble this season.
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Man United have made their worst start to a season in 61 years, with the pressure piling on Ten Hag after last night’s Carabao Cup exit to Newcastle.
The Dutchman is now the second favourite for the axe with bookies.
Rivals Chelsea are also struggling, and Mauricio Pochettino is fifth favourite for the chop.
Meanwhile, Sheffield United are sat on just a single point at the bottom of the table, leaving chief Paul Heckingbottom in a precarious position and the most likely to go first.
Fellow promoted sides Burnley, managed by Vincent Kompany, and Luton, led by Rob Edwards, make up the Premier League’s bottom three.
Bournemouth — who made the bold call to replace Gary O’Neil with Andoni Iraola at the end of last season — have only just grabbed their first victory.
The trouble in which the three promoted sides, and the Cherries, find themselves is another factor to take into account when assessing the lack of Prem job openings.
Next Premier League manager to leave odds
Odds from Paddy Power:
- Paul Heckingbottom (Sheffield United): 4/6
- Erik ten Hag (Manchester United): 2/1
- Andoni Iraola (Bournemouth): 15/2
- Vincent Kompany (Burnley): 9/1
- Mauricio Pochettino (Chelsea): 16/1
- Steve Cooper (Nottingham Forest): 16/1
There is a feeling that with Luton, Sheffield United and, arguably, Burnley looking well off the pace, there is a chance for those clubs who would usually get drawn into the scrap to build something.
A smaller relegation battle, compared to the almighty fight last time, benefits quite a few bosses.
Steve Cooper at Nottingham Forest spent most of last season fending off questions about his future before keeping his side up.
Now, with a settled squad, he has a potential cushion to be able to kick on without as much anxiety.
The same could be said for O’Neil, who quickly found himself back in work at Wolves, or Marco Silva at Fulham, who has just signed a new deal.
There were some successful sackings last season. Gerrard was replaced by Unai Emery, who has transformed Villa, while Roy Hodgson’s return helped steer Crystal Palace to safety with time to spare.
Further up the table the long-term success of Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp — as well as Arsenal’s early support for Mikel Arteta — is persuading some owners to stick to their guns.
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Unlike last season, there is no World Cup break for any new managers to get precious training time and make an impact.
Yet it has all made the Premier League look a more sensible place so far — though it doesn’t take owners long to forget valuable lessons.
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