With the new season in full swing, teams across the Premier League have started to give their fans a fair glimpse of what is to come for the rest of the 2023/24 season.
Last season, the Premier League saw 14 in-season departures by managers – a new record. Though still relatively early in the season, some clubs may be looking to shake things up in the dugout if results and performances don’t improve. Julen Lopetegui was the first manager to depart this season, leaving Wolverhampton Wanderers just days before the new Premier League season kicked off.
With the busy festive period approaching, we take a look at five Premier League managers that will be feeling the heat as the cold winter nights draw in.
Paul Heckingbottom – Sheffield United
The bookies favourite to be the league’s next managerial casualty. Sheffield United have endured a torrid return to the Premier League. They sit rock bottom of the table, picking up just one point from 10 games and shipping 29 goals – an average of almost three a game. Their form is hardly surprising given the fact that Heckingbottom had little backing from the board in the transfer market, whilst losing two of their best players in Sander Berge and Iliman Ndiaye without finding suitable replacements. The Blades have been heavily affected by injury woes though, with three of their four starting defenders sidelined for extended periods of time. With a more favourable run of fixtures to come, Heckingbottom will need to come away with some points or the owners will be forced to intervene.
Andoni Iraola – Bournemouth
Many were surprised when Bournemouth dismissed Gary O’Neil in the summer after he guided them to safety and got them playing some entertaining football. Iraola has endured a tricky start to life at the Cherries, but a first win of the campaign against Burnley last weekend saw them climb out of the relegation zone and ease the pressure on their new manager.
Mauricio Pochettino – Chelsea
The Argentinian was Chelsea’s third managerial appointment of last season following the departures of Thomas Tuchel and Graham Potter. Tasked with the job of trimming down an expensive and inflated squad over summer, Pochettino hasn’t managed to get his Blues firing in front of goal yet. Chelsea sit 11th in the league, already 14 points behind London rivals and table-toppers Tottenham after just 10 games. Things don’t get any easier for the former Spurs gaffer, who faces a treacherous run of fixtures against Tottenham, Man City, Newcastle, Brighton and Man United. Pochettino will be fully aware that the board won’t hesitate to act swiftly and ruthlessly if the slump continues – as they have done so often in the past.
Part two to follow.