‘Same old Arsenal, problems not addressed, same defensive frailties’. Those were just some of the quotes you may have heard following the Gunners’ 3-2 defeat to London rivals Chelsea at the weekend. It raises an age-old yet interesting debate. How long should managers get?
Unai Emery was originally not one of the front-runners for the coveted position at the Emirates. However after it was announced that he was to be leaving Paris St Germain, his name came into the forefront to be the successor to Arsene Wenger. Despite a very tricky opening 2 fixtures at home to title holders Manchester City and away to Chelsea, a very small section of Gunners are sceptical of the Spaniard’s dealings in the transfer window and tactical decisions in the opening 2 matches. Club legend Tony Adams said he ‘didn’t know what Emery had been doing for the last 6 weeks’ following the opening day defeat to Manchester City, alluding to the apparent lack of preparation that had been done leading up to the game. The decision to persist with Petr Cech against after an unconvincing display versus City also raised eyebrows.
The modern way of football ownership at the top level demands instant success. Just look at Chelsea’s dismissal of Antonio Conte who – despite the texts to striker Diego Costa which didn’t help his cause – was relieved of his duties at Stamford Bridge after 2 seasons with the blues, delivering a Premier League title in his first season and an FA Cup win in his second. Fellow Italian Maurizio Sarri has taken over from Conte becoming their sixth manager in as many years. Roman Abramovich has been brutal before when it comes to managers with an example being Roberto Di Matteo. Di Matteo delivered the Champions League just 6 months before he was sacked following a 3-0 defeat to Juventus.
Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United fell to a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Brighton on Sunday. Despite having won the Europa League and the EFL cup during his time at Old Trafford, the pressure is now starting to ramp up again on the United manager, albeit after 2nd place finish last season. One of United fans’ criticisms of Mourinho is the style of football that his side has been playing, a slower more defensively based brand of football, rather than the fast-paced slick attacking play that was scintillating to watch during the Sir Alex Ferguson era. With a poor result and performance against Brighton at the weekend, odds of Mourinho being the first manager to be sacked in the premier league this season have slashed, with whispers of former Real Madrid manager Zinadine Zidane to be taking over at United.
Jurgen Klopp bought a different style of play to Brendan Rodgers to Liverpool when he took over, but despite the fluid attacking style that has graced Anfield since the German came into the club, the reds are still yet to win a trophy under Klopp. With Liverpool’s big spending spree following the Champions League final defeat in May, expectations have risen and many feel Klopp needs to deliver a trophy this season for this campaign to be a successful one. Interestingly Bill Shankly took 3 years to deliver a major trophy, perhaps illustrating the change in mentality towards managers in the modern game.
Sacking managers early into tenure is fashionable in the modern footballing world of big money transfers, global fan bases and huge TV deals. Last season this was done with great effect as we saw Frank De Boer lose his job at Crystal Palace after just 4 matches in charge. Roy Hodgson’s appointment was met with justifiable worry given his disastrous reign with England, but he managed to steer the Eagles to a respectable 11th place finish.
Sacking early has recently proved a good ploy for teams, however making the right appointment after sacking is vital. After West Bromwich Albion parted company with Tony Pulis in November last year, the appointment of Alan Pardew turned out not to be the one for the Baggies winning just 1 of his 18 league matches in charge. Pardew left the club in April and despite a brief resurrection from Darren Moore, West Brom was relegated from the premier league.
Let me know your thoughts on managerial sackings appointments and how you think your team should handle your managerial situation.