The footballing world was shaken to its very core when Claudio Ranieri was sacked this week.
Apparently winning the most unlikely sporting title in history is not enough to keep your job for another complete season. While Swansea, Crystal Palace and Hull have all made managerial changes this campaign, Leicester’s decision to replace the lovable Italian reflects the cold, ruthless world of football management.
No one is safe if Ranieri can be disposed of, regardless of how his players treated him in the closing weeks of his tenure. With clubs beginning to panic about their end of season fate, there are a couple of other managers who could yet be under real pressure…
Another defeat for Middlesbrough at Crystal Palace will have their board wondering if Karanka can guide them out of this slump. Failure to score for the third match running and with no Premier League victory in nine outings, Boro are in real danger of relegation.
The respective improvements of Hull and Swansea have made it a nervy few weeks for the recently promoted North-East club. Crystal Palace’s victory over Karanka’s side could also provide a springboard for Sam Allardyce’s team as we enter the closing few matches of the season. Just one point out of the bottom three and with form firmly out of their favour, Boro’s faith in Karanka must be wavering.
As a result of their form and the peril they are in, Karanka is now favourite to face the sack next. At worrying odds of 5/2, there is value to be had there especially if Boro continue to be so short of creativity.
The thumping of Crystal Palace a couple of matches is looking increasingly like a false dawn for David Moyes. His Sunderland side have lost successive matches since then, conceding six goals and scoring none.
Bottom of the Premier League table and three points away from the Promised Land of 17th place, the former Everton boss is continuing to field a team that looks short of ideas. Without a set identity as many of their rivals have developed, Sunderland are relying almost entirely on Jermain Defoe to drag them to safety.
Moyes has been a constant feature near the front of the sack race and there are no signs of that changing. Sunderland may yet press the managerial panic button if Moyes shows no improvement. At 6/1, the price is very good on Moyes to be next to go.
Stoke City have gone backwards in recent months. Despite results preserving their mid-table status, the Potters have reverted to a direct style of football and are relying on the midfield performances of Charlie Adam and Glenn Whelan.
Discontent amongst the fan base is growing at Hughes, who has effectively discarded Bojan and Giannelli Imbula, and it will only have increased with their inept performance that led to a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Tottenham this weekend.
While the Potters’ board are calm and supportive of Hughes on the whole, frustration of the fans can quickly become a problem. Although the support is currently split on Hughes’ tenure, this could snowball into a more significant issue should they go on a poor run as they did at the start of the season.
The longshot option at 66/1, Hughes’ odds could come crashing down if they perform like they did at White Hart Lane again.