The 2019 /20 football season is underway across the major leagues in Europe – La Liga, Ligue 1, Serie A, Bundesliga and the Premier League – and although different numbers of games have been decided in these leagues depending on when they kicked off, but none of them have reached the 10 game mark.
However, that in itself represents the irony and unusual situation some of the top clubs in these leagues are currently facing, especially in Spain and England.
In La Liga, the two biggest clubs – Barcelona and Real Madrid have had poor starts to the season and the fates of their managers have been the subject of media speculations. In the Premier League, three of England’s biggest clubs – Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United are struggling.
Although Chelsea’s case doesn’t appear quite as terrible as Arsenal and United’s, given the fact they couldn’t sign players during the summer transfer window owing to a transfer embargo, while club hero Frank Lampard is only in his first season in charge.
The Gunners and the Red Devils are however in different scenarios. Unai Emery is in his second season and Ole Gunnar Solksjaer is in his second as well, albeit his first full season as the United gaffer.
From Zinedine Zidane to Ernesto Valverde to Emery and Solksjaer, we take a look at which of these managers will be the first to bite the dust before the season runs out.
Unai Emery – Arsenal
To be fair, Arsenal have not exactly had a bad start to the Premier League season. Three wins from six games with two draws and a defeat doesn’t exactly scream “crisis”. They have 11 points for their efforts and sit fourth. If the season ends today, they will back to the Champions League – the season isn’t ending today of course – but you get the point.
His biggest headache has however been the fans, who believe he’s just not good enough for the club and has failed to properly to utilize the squad at his disposal, hence piling the pressure on him. However, if they continue with their current form of averaging almost two points per game, it’s hard to see him getting sacked before the end of the season especially with the real possibility of winning the Europa League this term, having reached the final last season.
Sack probability: 3/10
Zinedine Zidane – Real Madrid
‘Zizou’s second coming to the Santiago Bernabeu has hardly mirrored the first and fans have been understandably riled and there are silent calls for his sack, with Jose Mourinho reportedly waiting in the wings. However, like Arsenal, Los Blancos have also not had a terrible start to the La Liga season. The biggest angst stems from the fans feeling they’re not playing well enough and should be doing better than they’re currently doing.
That also has not been helped by the availability of Mourinho, with increasing calls for the former Manchester United manager to take over. In five La Liga games, Real have won three and drew two, without a loss. They sit second and tied on 11 points with Athletic Bilbao. But they were however hammered 3-0 by PSG in their first Champions League game of the season. In the end, do not be too surprised if and when Florentino Perez decides to wield the axe.
Sack probability: 5/10
Ernesto Valverde – Barcelona
Valverde is probably the one man who fear most for his job but considering Barcelona’s antecedents, he could still see out the season with the Blaugrana. Barca have had a poor start and lie eighth in La Liga with seven points from five games. They’ve won two, lost two and drew the other one.
They were also poor in a 0-0 draw with Borussia Dortmund in their opening Champions League fixture. Although given the nature of La Liga and the squad they have and with Lionel Messi’s return from injury, it is expected they will pick up sooner rather than later. He may see out the season, but whether he will continue will be another conversation.
Sack probability: 4/10
Ole Gunnar Solksjaer
He started like a house on fire, but ended quite on the low. Then he started the season on a high – an impressive 4-0 win over Chelsea – but it has gone downhill since then. They’ve failed to beat Wolves and Southampton, losing to Crystal Palace and West Ham, with Leicester being their only win since the opening day. Although they opened their Europa League campaign on a winning note with a 1-0 victory over Astana, it was however drab at best.
Currently positioned eighth on the Premier League table with eight points from six games, it sure looks a long season ahead for the Red Devils. However, Solksjaer still has a strong support capital from most of the fans and the suits at Old Trafford, but it remains to be seen how much longer he will last if results don’t improve.
Sack probability: 5/10
Who do you think will get sacked first?