With the dust now settled after the opening weekend of the Premier League season, which manager’s look to be in the firing line?
Newcastle United – Steve Bruce
It was always going to be difficult for Bruce to win over the Newcastle faithful after replacing Rafael Benitez and the new manager started off with an uninspiring 1-0 home defeat to Unai Emery’s Arsenal.
With the Gunners missing several key players for the clash at St James’ Park, there was a feeling the visitors were there for the taking but the Magpies produced a lacklustre performance, devoid of any real creativity and attacking threat.
Barring a small period in the first half, Newcastle failed to seriously test Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno and the defeat has done little to settle things down in the north-east, with supporters staging protests to get owner Mike Ashley out of the club.
Everton – Marco Silva
The Toffees did get off the mark in their opener with a 0-0 draw at Crystal Palace but they were indebted to goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, who made two crucial saves to ensure his side left with a share of the spoils.
In fairness, Everton played with 10-men from the 76th-minute after Morgan Schneiderlin’s sending off but the prolificacy in front of goal prior to that dismissal will have supporters slightly worried, as just three of their shots were on target from 10 attempts.
Having spent over £100million on new players this summer, owner Farhad Moshiri will be expecting to see results from Silva, who led the club to an eighth-place finish in his debut campaign.
With expectation levels high at Goodison Park, the Portuguese must deliver and a slow start to the season could put his job under serious threat.
Aston Villa – Dean Smith
Smith is another manager that was backed handsomely this summer as over £100m was spent on 12 new arrivals. The likes of Wesley and Marvelous Nakamba, both signed from Club Brugge, and goalkeeper Tom Heaton were all added to the ranks.
The English boss will be afforded some time, having guided the club back to the Premier League via the play-offs last season, but failure to get the team firing would reduce that time massively.
At the end of the day, football is a results-driven business and if Villa are unable to pick up victories in the first half of the campaign, owners the NSWE Group could decide to pull the trigger on the manager.
Southampton – Ralph Hasenhuttl
St Mary’s has become a revolving door for managers over the past few years and although Hasenhuttl made an impression when taking charge in December 2018, he knows a bad run of results will put him in the firing line.
Southampton’s 3-0 opening-day defeat to Burnley is not the start the Austrian wanted and he will be hoping for a quick response when his side play host to Liverpool on Saturday.
Hasenhuttl is the seventh permanent manager at St Mary’s in the past six years, showing just how cut-throat the hierarchy can be.