We are just five weeks away from the start of the 2018/19 Premier League season. Now is the time when fans and pundits alike start making their predictions for the season ahead. Here I look at which managers are under the most pressure early on.
1. Antonio Conte – Chelsea
We are no closer to knowing wheatear or not Conte will be the Chelsea boss at the start of the season or not. If he is he will be under pressure from the start after last seasons disappointing 5th place finish. There have been no significant incomings or exists from Stamford Bridge so far this summer what does that suggest? Chelsea will need to strengthen their squad if they are to challenge for Manchester City to win the title this season. There will need to be better interaction between manager and board for this to be a successful season or we could be looking at another 2015-16 style season at the Bridge.
Will Conte still be Chelsea manager at the end of the season?
No! Conte in my mind if Chelsea make a bad start to the season. He could well be the first Premier League manager heading to the job centre.
2. Javi Gracia – Watford
When isn’t a Watford manager under pressure. Watford tend to change manager at least once a season and it is something that has worked for them since they returned to the Premier League. Marco Silva was the man in charge at the start of last season but was sacked midway through following a slump in form following interest from Everton. Watford did not end the season in the best of form last season and going by the history of Watford a bad start to the season could see the Spaniard heading out of the door.
Will Gracia be in charge at the end of the season?
In my opinion no. I think we are likely to see Watford looking for a new manager around Christmas time if they get off to a bad start.
3. Mark Hughes
While Mark Hughes was only appointed as the permanent manager in the summer, he will need to have a clear out of the deadwood and bring in some fresh players. The main problem the Saints had last season was failure to score goals and a lack of creativity. Only four teams scored less than the Saints last season so a goalscorer is going to be key for Hughes in the transfer window. If he does not get that sorted then he will feel some pressure from fans and the media.
Will Hughes last the season?
I think he will, Mark Hughes proved over his four years at Stoke he is a decent manager and can lead a club to safety quite well. He managed to achieve three successive 9th placed finishes with Stoke before the max exodus from the Bet365 stadium. He will clear out the deadwood and replace it with the players he wants so that the Saints have a comfortable season.
4. Unai Emery – Arsenal
It is never easy following a long serving manager just ask David Moyes. Emery was the man picked by Arsenal after Arsene Wenger decided it was time to end his 22 year reign. Emery a treble winner in France last season with PSG has had success but has a massive job to do at Arsenal. There is huge amount of deadwood that needs to be cleared. Emery has been busy with bringing in his own players but this will be a transition season for Arsenal and they need to be given the time to make things work as he will want them to.
Will Emery remain?
Yes he will the only way he leaves is if we see what happened at Manchester United. Expectations are going to be low at Arsenal. The top four will be their aim, it will take a couple of seasons of work for Arsenal to be able to be considered challengers to the title.
5. Mauricio Pochettino – Tottenham
Pochettino has just singed a new contract and has done a terrific job at Spurs but they still have not won a trophy. They have reached the League Cup final and two FA Cup semi-finals but have not managed to get over the line and win a trophy. Harry Kane and many others have singed long term contracts and you feel that this could be the season that Spurs finally win something. No additions have come in but I still believe that Spurs have the best starting 11 and this will be the season they win something.
Will he stay there?
Yes even if Spurs again fail to win a trophy he will still be there. It will take a lot from any potential club to lure him away from North London. Spurs are also moving into their new stadium which makes a new beginning for the club and he will want to be the figurehead going into that.