Managerial sack race still on hold in Premier League

December is usually a month when managers of struggling Premier League clubs feel about as safe as a festive turkey.

Reuters| Updated: Dec 07, 2014, 21:22 PM IST
Managerial sack race still on hold in Premier League

December: December is usually a month when managers of struggling Premier League clubs feel about as safe as a festive turkey.

Last December Fulham`s Martin Jol, Tottenham Hotspur`s Andre Villas-Boas, Steve Clarke at West Bromwich Albion and Cardiff City`s Malky Mackay all left their posts.

Yet, so far in this campaign no top-flight managers have been sacked and only one of the 20 clubs have made a change, and that was an enforced one when Crystal Palace`s Tony Pulis quit of the eve of the season and Neil Warnock was appointed.

Providing there are no sackings on Sunday it will be the quietest time as far as top flight managerial casualties for 18 years. So have club owners gone soft, or is a sense of realism spreading across the top flight of English football?

A scan of the league table offers a clue as to why chairmen have not hit the panic button.

While the title appears to be a two-horse race between Chelsea and Manchester City, below them very few points separate the next eight clubs.

Tottenham Hotspur, where managers come and go like London buses, are a disappointing 10th under new boss Mauricio Pochettino, yet are only four points away from the top four.

Level with Spurs are Liverpool, another side apparently under-achieving this season, but no one is seriously suggesting Brendan Rodgers is on borrowed time.

Two managers who began the season in serious peril -- West Ham United`s Sam Allardyce and Newcastle`s Alan Pardew -- are flavour of the month with their sides in the top seven.

Likewise at the bottom, no team has been cut adrift with bottom club Leicester City only four points behind the safety zone, although boss Nigel Pearson is favourite for the chop having lost seven out of nine matches since his side`s astonishing 5-3 victory over Manchester United.

Burnley, promoted along with Leicester and Queens Park Rangers, are second from bottom but manager Sean Dyche has impressed many with the job he is doing on a small budget.

QPR`s Harry Redknapp has been under fire, but Saturday`s win over Burnley took them out of the bottom three.

Tellingly, all the clubs who went down last season -- Fulham, Norwich City and Cardiff -- jettisoned managers during the campaign with little effect so club owners may not be quite so ready to make changes.

"I`d like to think stability is coming back into the game but when you look at the money side in the Premier League, it is unbelievable," Warnock said recently.

"If a club thinks it might be going back down, it`s a frightening situation. It`s still down to the boards. Some are more consistent and one or two might panic a little bit easier."

The coming weeks could up the ante, however, with 15 points available between now and New Year`s Day. A poor run now and the sack race may begin.