Premier League: Who goes next?

Our Sam Pollock takes a look at the Next Premier League manager to leave betting market.

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Meulensteen: Heads the betting in Sky Be

Meulensteen: Heads the betting in Sky Be

It's that time of the year again.

Swansea's Michael Laudrup last week became the latest Premier League manager to pay the price as owners decide whether to stick or twist as the season hits the finishing straight.

Laudrup's sacking came only a day after chairman Huw Jenkins dismissed speculation that senior figures at the club had discussed the Dane's future. The Welsh outfit then decided to put club captain Garry Monk in charge for the "foreseeable future".

Football is a strange game.

So with only eight points spanning the bottom half of the Premier League, Sam Pollock looks at the contenders in Sky Bet's next Premier League manager to leave market.

Rene Meulensteen, Fulham (5/4)

Fulham owner Shahid Khan only sacked Martin Jol at the start of December following a miserable start to the season, so some may be surprised that Rene Meulensteen is now 5/4 favourite with Sky Bet to be the next Premier League manager to leave.

Fulham find themselves bottom of the table and four points from safety having only won six games all season. The Cottagers have also lost more games (18) and conceded more goals (58) than anyone else in the Premier League. It's certainly grim reading for the west London club who suffered an embarrassing 1-0 defeat to Sheffield United in their FA Cup fourth-round replay at Craven Cottage last week.

However most worryingly for the Cottagers is their Premier League form. They've lost five of their last six games and hold a terrible record against the teams around them. They lost 6-0 against Hull at the KC Stadium in late December, were completely outplayed by Sunderland in a 4-1 defeat at Craven Cottage and lost 2-0 away at Swansea who are having problems of their own.

Possibly the only saving grace for Rene Meulensteen is the fact he used the January transfer window to great effect. Fulham made a couple of excellent additions to their squad by bringing in Lewis Holtby from Tottenham on loan until the end of the season and Olympiacos striker Kostas Mitroglou for an undisclosed fee. Even though star striker Dimitar Berbatov swapped the relegation threatened club for Ligue 1 title contenders Monaco, Meulensteen will be extremely pleased with the club's transfer business in January.

Having battled hard to record a memorable 2-2 draw at Old Trafford against Manchester United last weekend, there will still be concern at Craven Cottage as they narrowly lost to 3-2 against Liverpool at Craven Cottage on Wednesday. Fulham's goal difference of -32 is the worst in the top four divisions and it doesn't look as if things will be getting any easier in the near future.

However the beginning of April signals the start of a make or break period for the club as they face fellow relegation strugglers in five of their last six Premier League fixtures. This run of games could possibly decide their Premier League future, with a home game against Crystal Palace on the last day.

Meulensteen is the clear favourite at 5/4 with Sky Bet and the knowledge that the Fulham players haven't responded to the new manager like those at Sunderland and Crystal Palace will be a worrying sign for owner Khan.

Chris Hughton, Norwich (5/2)

Norwich spent nearly £30million in the summer in an attempt to build a squad to build on what was a solid season last year.

Chris Hughton enjoyed a successful summer transfer period, brought in the likes of Ricky van Wolfswinkel and Gary Hooper, which put the Canaries ninth on the list of Premier League spenders in 2013. The new arrivals didn't stop there, though. Norwich also bolstered their squad in January by signing experienced Premier League pair Jonas Gutierrez and Joseph Yobo on loan until the end of the season.

However, after recent losses against Cardiff and West Ham, the Canaries find themselves just one point above the relegation zone.

A narrow 1-0 victory over Hull in mid-January is their only victory in eleven Premier League games. A late header from defender Ryan Bennett had looked to relive some of the pressure on Chris Hughton but the Canaries have failed to build on that victory.

What will be concerning to the Norwich fans is their away form. Having only won two games on the road and conceding 28 goals in the process, it's something that will need to improve if they want to avoid a tricky end to the season.

This isn't the only issue facing Norwich at the moment. Scoring goals has also been a real problem. In 26 Premier League games, the Canaries have only managed 19 goals. This is quite staggering when you think that they have a £14m strike force to play with. Gary Hooper is the club's top scorer with seven goals, but playing in a team that has only won one game in the league since December 7, things have been tough for the former Celtic man.

Hughton's problems are beginning to stack up and at the end of April he will face a tough run of fixtures that will no doubt be playing on the manager's mind. Norwich will face Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal in their last four fixtures of the season, which could prove to be difference between survival and relegation.

Hughton is second in the next manager to go market and remains under huge pressure at Carrow Road.

Alan Pardew, Newcastle (6/1)

Newcastle United, it's fair to say, have had a bad couple of weeks. Following an embarrassing 3-0 loss to Sunderland at St James' Park, Joe Kinnear then resigned as Newcastle's director of football having not made a permanent signing during his time at the club. Adding insult to injury, reserve team manager Willie Donachie was then suspended by the club after allegedly striking a player.

Just to round things off, the Magpies then suffered two heavy defeats in quick succession, losing 3-0 at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea and 4-0 at home to Tottenham. Things seem to be going from bad to worse up on Tyneside.

Putting the boardroom problems to one side, the club aren't having much success on the pitch either. Newcastle have lost six of their eight Premier League games since beating Stoke 5-1 on Boxing Day and still have to play Everton, Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool before the end of the season.

Their task hasn't been made any easier with absence of top scorer Loic Remy. The Magpies lodged an appeal against the 27-year-old's dismissal after the striker clashed with Norwich midfielder Bradley Johnson at Carrow Road.

However, while Johnson's red card was overturned, Remy's stood and he missed the league games against Sunderland, Chelsea and Tottenham.

Midfielder Cheick Tiote has also been ruled out for up to three matches, this time with a hamstring injury. Tiote suffered the injury during training last week and had a scan to confirm the extent of the damage.

Although the Magpies are well clear of the relegation zone, boss Alan Pardew must be worried about the state of affairs at the club. Having recently been quoted saying Joe Kinnear did a "lot of good work" at Newcastle, many fans would be quick to highlight the business in the January transfer window.

Yohan Cabaye was sold to the Ligue 1 champions Paris St-Germain in a deal worth up to £19m and even though they are set to make a £14m profit on the player, fans will be aggrieved that no replacement was brought in.Newcastle did try to replace Cabaye but after a substantial bid was bid was made for Lyon midfielder Clement Grenier, but a deal never materialised for the 23-year-old.

Their only piece of business came in the form of Borussia Monchengladbach striker Luuk de Jong, who joined the Magpies on loan for the rest of the season. Not exactly an inspiring piece of transfer activity.

Alan Pardew is currently 6/1 from 9/1, and his price could be one to keep an eye on over the coming weeks.

Garry Monk, Swansea (13/2)

It had been ten years since Swansea last issued their manager his marching orders but last week's sacking of Michael Laudrup came at a bizarre time with the Swans preparing for one of their biggest games of the season.

It paid off - in the short term at least - as Monk inspired his side to a 3-0 victory at the Liberty Stadium in what was one of the most important South Wales derbies in living memory and relieved some of the pressure on the club.

While Laudrup's sacking came as a surprise, a run of two wins from their 12 Premier League games goes some way to explaining Huw Jenkins' thinking. They've been on the slide ever since winning their first piece of silverware last February.

Having played 35 games since beating Bradford City 5-0 in the Capital One Cup final at Wembley, Swansea have seen their win rate drop from 33% to just 23%.

The stats continue to make grim reading for Swansea fans with their loss rate and average goals conceded significantly increasing and their average goals scored and points per game massively decreasing.

Despite their convincing victory against Cardiff at the Liberty Stadium, Swansea will still be concerned about their home form. The Swans have recorded just five league home wins since their Wembley triumph and have managed 39 points from 39 Premier League games in the last calendar year.

Laudrup became the latest manager to fall victim to a jinx that has now claimed five of the last six men who led their clubs to victory in the League Cup final. Apart from Alex Ferguson, every man who has led his team up the famous steps at Wembley has left their cup-winning clubs before the next final was played. Laudrup joins the likes of Jose Mourinho (Chelsea), Juande Ramos (Tottenham), Alex McLeish (Birmingham) and Kenny Dalglish (Liverpool).

Monk has been place in charge for the 'foreseeable future' but it's understood that, whilst Swansea's hierarchy are willing to give the new set-up a chance, they are actively looking at alternatives.

With star striker Michu is still recovering from an ankle operation that has kept him out for six weeks, Garry Monk will have to find another way of firing the Swans back up the league.

The pressure of this task has been put on the shoulders of striker Wilfried Bony. All eight of the Ivorian international's Premier League goals have come in Wales but the forward will have to start scoring away from home if he is to ease the pressure of a relegation battle.

With reports suggesting that Spanish coaches Oscar Garcia and Luis Enrique are on Swansea's radar, there is certainly value in Garry Monk next to go at 13/2.

David Moyes, Manchester United (14/1)

This is the one that just won't go away. Manchester United, 20-time champions, are 15 points behind leaders Chelsea, 11 adrift of fourth, and down in seventh position. It's fair to say that their title defence ended a long time ago but the likelihood of even retaining Champions League football is fading fast. The transition from Sir Alex Ferguson's reign was never going to be easy but nobody envisaged it to be this tough. The pressure is really starting to build on David Moyes.

It's been well documented that the Manchester United boss has experienced a shaky start to his tenure at Old Trafford, having lost eight games in the league already. Since the turn of the year, his side has only won two of seven in the Premier League. Last weekend's 2-2 draw against bottom club Fulham at Old Trafford summed up their season in 90 minutes.

Having been chosen as the man to replace Furguson, Moyes believes he was awarded a six-year contract because Man United's hierarchy realised just how big the job was.

The 50-year-old has been quoted as saying: "Things were always going to take time. There has been rebuilding going on here year after year and we'll continue to do that."

There has been plenty of backing from the club's hierarchy, and executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has cleared the decks for a summer transfer splurge aimed at ensuring the Red Devils don't get left behind. With the recent announcement that captain Nemanja Vidic will be leaving the club at the end of the season, next summer's transfer window looks to be a vital period for Moyes. That's if he's still in charge, of course.

The United boss has always remained defiant, insisting that all is not yet lost for his team in the quest to finish in the top four. However the Red Devils are now 11 points behind Liverpool, after Steven Gerrard secured a dramatic late winner for in a 3-2 victory against Fulham on Wednesday night.

Following their third-round exit from the FA Cup to Swansea, the squad will head out to a warm-weather training break in Dubai before they resume Premier League action at Crystal Palace on February 22.

Even though Moyes is likely to be given time to get things right and mould his own squad during the summer, he surely can't afford many more mistakes.

No Manager To Leave (4/1)

Couldn't tempt you with any of the struggling Premier League managers? Well maybe you should have a look at the no manager to leave bet.

While most of the firing and hiring has already been done, club owners and board members will be starting to get a bit hot under the collar with Premier League survival at stake.

November is the period in which most managers are shown the door. No other month has seen more manager departures in 21 years of the Premier League. A staggering 23 bosses have been relieved of employment as chairmen, having had time to reflect on early-season form and begin to look ahead to the forthcoming transfer window, deem it time for change.

While just 11 managers have departed in February and 10 in April, a total of 14 managers have had their P45s processed in March. Could this be a sign of things to come?

VERDICT:

Rene Meulensteen is a strong 5/4 favourite with Sky Bet to be the next Premier League manager to leave after his side has lost five of their last six games, and managed just 20 points all season. The Cottagers have lost 18 games out of 26 and conceded 58 goals in the process. When they lose, they lose big.

Last week's embarrassing 1-0 defeat to Sheffield United in their FA Cup fourth-round replay at Craven Cottage was a notable low point and, even though they battled back to record a memorable 2-2 draw at Old Trafford against Manchester United, they are still four points adrift at the foot of the table.

Having made a bright start to his Fulham career, a lot rests on the shoulders of new signing Lewis Holtby. Rene Meulensteen will be hoping the German holds the key to Premier League survival and with Kostas Mitroglou still to come in to the fold, Fulham are by no means down and out just yet.

However what looks most likely right now is for no manager to leave. With most of the sackings done before Christmas, it would take a very brave chairman to get rid of his head coach so late in proceedings. With so little time left in the season, would the new man have enough time to make an impact? It would seem unlikely.

Moyes will surely be given the time and the money to turn things around at Old Trafford. Even though it looks as if their season is all but over, Moyes will no doubt be planning for the summer transfer window which is key to club's future. Unless something significant happens between now and the end of the season I can't see a knee-jerk reaction from the United board.


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