THE clocks haven’t even gone back yet but time is already running out for several Premier League managers – just three weeks into the new season.
West Ham boss Slaven Bilic is in the most perilous position. The Hammers have lost all three of their games so far, scoring just twice and shipping ten.
In South London, Frank de Boer’s Crystal Palace revolution is already proving a disaster.
The Dutchman has lost all three games without scoring and the Eagles look destined for another relegation battle.
And there are plenty of others feeling the heat at this early stage.
Our friends at Football Whispers have come up with the six Premier League bosses most in danger.
Slaven Bilic – West Ham
THE Croatian’s stock hit an all-time low at St James’ Park on Saturday as the Hammers were taken apart at previously winless Newcastle, losing 3-0.
Things could have been different had West Ham not lost in the final moments against Southampton a week earlier.
Trailing 2-0, a brace from Javier Hernandez got the East Londoners level only for former Saints defender Jose Fonte to concede a last-minute penalty which Charlie Austin duly converted.
After guiding West Ham to a seventh-place finish in his first season at the club, Bilic’s side struggled at the London Stadium last term, papering over sizeable cracks by coming 11th.
A big improvement is expected this season.
Frank de Boer – Crystal Palace
SAM ALLARDYCE’S shock resignation in the summer gave Palace the opportunity to reinvent themselves after several seasons of narrowly avoiding the drop.
And the appointment of former Ajax and Inter Milan coach de Boer suggested the Eagles were looking to go in a new direction with an emphasis on passing football.
But so far it’s been a disaster. With a squad not suited to the style of play ingrained in the former Dutch international, the Eagles are goalless and pointless after three games.
It was telling the South London side improved against Swansea City on Saturday after going more direct, something midfielder Luka Milivojevic tellingly admitted afterwards.
Antonio Conte – Chelsea
BEING manager of the Premier League champions is a dangerous business.
Each of their last three title-winning coaches have been sacked the following season: Claudio Ranieri, Jose Mourinho and Manuel Pellegrini.
The Italian coach would be wise to watch out and the mood music coming out of Stamford Bridge does not bode well.
Conte has not been pleased with the club’s failure to boost his squad for their assault on the Premier League and Champions League.
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has a history of falling out with his coaches and when he does there is only ever one winner.
Mark Hughes – Stoke City
AFTER three successive ninth-place finishes, Stoke supporters were looking for anything but the same again. They got it too, finishing four places worse off in 13th.
That, coupled with a dismal style of play was enough to put Hughes under pressure at the end of last season.
But the Welshman saw out the summer and has been allowed to spend in order to improve the Potters this term.
A 1-0 win over Arsenal at the bet365 Stadium will have done the former Manchester United striker the world of good but Stoke are only a few poor results away from mutiny.
Rafael Benitez – Newcastle United
SATURDAY’S 3-0 demolition of West Ham has relieved the pressure and lifted the mood at St James’ Park.
But Benitez is experienced enough to know what is needed in the Premier League and he has been desperately trying to enhance his squad in order to avoid an immediate return to the Championship.
However, Newcastle owner Mike Ashley has continued to keep a tight control on spending and only a handful of new signings have been made.
A Champions League winner at Liverpool, Benitez will not want to see his reputation harmed by a bad season in the North East and could walk before he is pushed.
Pep Guardiola – Manchester City
THE Catalan coach’s sense of relief was clear on Saturday as City overcome plucky Bournemouth with a goal in the seventh minute of stoppage time via Raheem Sterling.
After the first trophyless season of his career, the pressure is on Guardiola. City have backed the former Barcelona coach in the transfer market with almost £200m spent so far.
The expectation now is City will sweep all before them and land the Premier League and, hopefully, Champions League while harnessing Guardiola’s unique style of play.
Anything less with be unacceptable to the club’s ambitious owners and it will be Guardiola’s head on the block.
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