6 February, 2014 - 12:25

Is Michael Laudrup the last Premier League manager to be sacked this season?

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So, the Dane has become the seventh manager who had been shown the door since the season started in August, following Paolo Di Canio, Ian Holloway, Martin Jol, Malky Mackay, Andre Villas-Boas and Steve Clarke. But does the panic button really works? Let’s see what’s happened to the clubs after managerial sackings in the middle of the season.

Sunderland: Paolo Di Canio for Gus Poyet
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Paolo Di Canio might have saved The Black Cats from relegation last season, but had mere 23% of victories to his credit. Regardless of his ideas on discipline and hard work, the players felt miserable and downtrodden. Gus Poyet, who took charge in October, brought 10 victories in 22 matches, including famous victories against Southampton, Chelsea and Manchester United in League Cup. He saw the team reach the Cup final at Wembley. Even if they can’t make it past powerful Manchester City, they are in a good position to stay up in Premier League.

Verdict: definitely positive change

Crystal Palace: Ian Holloway for Tony Pulis
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Ian Holloway won Championship play-off and helped the team to make it to the Premier League. However, once in the top flight, the Eagles looked like a team to beat and were all but prepared for relegation come the end of the season. Tony Pulis was just the man that Palace needed. Simple, unattractive but efficient football is probably what the club’s supporters enjoy right now, when relegation battle is so tight. Any kind of performance is brilliant if the final score is 1-0 for Palace right now, and this is exactly what Tony Pulis can do.

Verdict: definitely positive change

Fulham: Martin Jol for Rene Meulensteen
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Things are not that easy with the Cottagers. Fulham have been worryingly vulnerable defensively all season long and former Manchester United coach has had little impact on this game aspect so far. However, it is too early to draw conclusions, because Fulham had busy transfer window and introduced such players as Kostas Mitroglou, Johnny Heitinga, Lewis Holtby and United youngsters Ryan Tunnicliffe and Larnell Cole. The new blood might refresh the team and drag them out of relegation zone. Rene has been brilliant at training the champions from Old Trafford, but some supporters have fears Meulensteen is rather a coach than a man manager to keep his team spirit up. But let’s face it: Martin Jol seemed too tired and drained anyway. If Meulensteen can’t make it, Jol would probably not have done it either.

Verdict: too soon to be clear, rather positive than not

Cardiff City: Malky Mackay for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
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Malky Mackay won the Championship comfortably and Cardiff looked quite competitive in the top flight for a newly promoted side. But life is never easy if your boss is someone like Vincent Tan or Roman Abramovich. The exact reasons for parting ways with the Scottish manager were not quite clear, but the fact is the new man in charge of the Welsh club is former Manchester United striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. He made it past Newcastle United and Bolton Wanderers in the FA Cup, but did not prevent the team from dropping to relegation zone. Still, United connections helped Ole Gunnar bring in Wilfried Zaha and Fabio during the transfer window as well as three more Norwegian players. Cardiff supporters are now looking forward to Welsh derby against Swansea, who have lost their manager Laudrup.

Verdict: too soon to be clear

Tottenham Hotspur: Andre Villas-Boas for Tim Sherwood
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Andre Villas-Boas’ tenures with Chelsea and Tottenham were pretty much similar in terms of longevity and results. He seemed to have implemented his vision on the squad but his was probably not the style Abramovich and Levy wanted. 6-0 thrashing at Etihad and 5-0 humiliation from Liverpool at White Hart Lane were crucial in chairman’s ruthless decision. Considering the Portuguese manager had spent all of the jackpot received from the sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid on new players, much more was expected from the Spurs. Daniel Levy preferred someone from the club system to another high-profile name and appointed former coach Tim Sherwood. The new manager revived castaway striker Emmanuel Adebayor and beat Manchester United at Old Trafford on New Year’s Day, but was helpless against Manchester City at home and Arsenal in FA Cup. However, The Spurs are still in the race for a Champions League spot and Sherwood could feel secure about his future at White Hart Lane.

Verdict: little has changed for Spurs so far

West Bromwich Albion: Steve Clarke for Pepe Mel
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News about Steve Clarke’s sack came as a surprise as he was the man who had guided West Brom to eighth place in Premier League last term and did not look too bad this term. Patience is not the quality attributed to clubs’ owners these days and former Real Betis manager Pepe Mel was offered a job at The Hawthorns. There is something special about Spanish-speaking managers in Britain and you can be sure the Baggies will be fine come the end of the season, but the Spaniard is yet to celebrate his first victory in England.

Verdict: too soon to be clear

So, while Swansea City are looking for Laudrup replacement, we can assume that managerial changes in the middle of the season do cause some positive shake in the teams and could be crucial for team spirit revival, as Sunderland and Crystal Palace prove.

Read also:
Will Sam Allardyce become the seventh manager to be sacked during current season?

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Author: Leon Smolski

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6 February 2014, 12:35

There will be 10 more, except The Special One, Wenger and Pellegrini :)) Your job is only safe if you win the title these days.

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