Ronald Koeman and Slaven Bilic leading Premier League sack race

Ronald Koeman and Slaven Bilic leading Premier League sack race
From ESPN - October 13, 2017

An international break can be a nervous fortnight for club managers.

Not only are players out of their care, twitchy club chairmen and owners have often used the extra breathing space in between matches to make big decisions. It now looks as if Premier League bosses have escaped the axe this time around, with Frank de Boer, sacked by Crystal Palace after four matches, remaining the sole dismissal of the season.

That is not to say there are no managers under pressure. ESPN FC makes it that five return to action this weekend with questions hanging over their immediate future.

Ronald Koeman (Everton)

Losing 1-0 to Burnley at home last time out made for a poisonous atmosphere at Goodison Park. Everton have won just two league games all season, and beating Bournemouth 2-1 on Sep. 23 was the first victory since a 1-0 opening day defeat of Stoke.

"It is always about the money," said Koeman after Burnley, forced into talking of "net spend" in the face of 140 million of investment in the team to defend a record of five defeats in eight matches. It is true to say that 75m came Everton's way for Romelu Lukaku, but failure to adequately replace him has depth charged Everton's season.

The return of prodigal son Wayne Rooney has not been serene, with attendant off-field problems being followed by Koeman dropping him to the substitutes' bench, due to Rooney not fitting alongside 45m Gylfi Sigurdsson. Koeman has received public backing from majority owner Farhad Moshiri, with the caveat that fans "deserve better". A defeat at Brighton on Sunday would cause the pressure and dissent to be ramped right back up again.

Roy Hodgson (Crystal Palace)

Hodgson was dealt a bad hand at Selhurst Park. Not only did he take over a squad suffering the confusion of De Boer's regime, in which Palace personnel were wholly unsuitable for a slowed-down version of "Total Football", but the former England manager was also greeted with an unforgiving fixture list.

Once his first match had been lost 1-0 to Southampton, then defeats to Manchester City (5-0) and Manchester United (4-0) embraced the inevitable, though some of the body language at Old Trafford in particular was worrisome as defeat was sealed; Andros Townsend threw up his arms in submission after being nutmegged by Anthony Martial.

More of the same at Chelsea on Saturday, and a continuing absence of goals, already a record-breaking drought, might soonput pressure on Hodgson. As De Boer found out, Palace's owners are not afraid to be hasty in their decision-making.Results are desperately required in Palace's two matches that follow Saturday, away at Newcastle and at home vs. West Ham.


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