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Sunday, 14 November 2010

Mancini leads the way in the Premier League sack race

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Tottenham Hotspur boss Harry Redknapp was livid after his side’s midweek draw with Sunderland. However, it had nothing to do with the lack of commitment or effort from his players ‑ he thought they were terrific ‑ it was the fans’ decision to boo them off that enraged the Spurs chief so much. And you can see his point.

Redknapp has finally assembled a top class team at White Hart Lane and realised the club’s dream of playing in the Champions League. Not only are they holding their own in Europe’s elite club competition, they are beating giants of the game like the Champions League holders Inter Milan. That remarkable achievement came just seven days previous to Sunderland’s draw in north London and, considering the adventure Redknapp has taken Spurs on, I think he’s right to ask for more respect from the Tottenham fans.

However, Manchester City supporters have every right to vent their frustrations at Roberto Mancini. The Italian saw his side booed off against Birmingham City on Saturday at Eastlands following a third straight home game without a goal. With the amount of money City have shelled out for players over the past 18 months the least they expect to see is goals, not being bored to death with negative tactics and definitely not seeing their star striker being replaced with Gareth Barry with just 10 minutes to go when there is a game to be won.

Sure City are still in the top four and the Italian way is to win games by not leaking goals but, no offence to Birmingham, they should be beating the likes of these with ease.  Even United in midweek were there for the taking but the Italian was too scared to get beat by his city rivals to take the game to them.

Mancini’s spell at Eastlands has been dogged with rumours of player unrest and he may not have long left if the bookies are to be believed. He currently leads the Premier League sack race and is now 5/4 to be the next top flight manager to be axed, but he is closely followed by Avram Grant at 7/4. The West Ham United boss has managed just one league win all season and, despite playing some decent football in spells, they have been unable to convert their chances into points. Before the West Brom game David Sullivan demanded seven points from their next four games. Grant has managed just two so far so Liverpool away and Wigan at home are crucial for his survival.

Everton manager David Moyes has revealed this week that he lives in fear of the sack but he is clearly one of the untouchables in the Premier League, although you can get odds of 25/1 for him to be sacked.

His Merseyside counterpart Roy Hodgson though remains in trouble following his side’s defeat at Stoke City. The Liverpool boss looked to have turned the corner at Anfield by beating Chelsea last weekend but one point from the following two games has seen his odds of being the next Premier League manager to be axed shortened to 8/1. If he loses at home to relegation threatened West Ham United on Saturday he may be picking up his P45.

Wigan boss Roberto Martinez and Blackpool’s Ian Holloway are at 10/1 followed by Mick McCarthy of Wolves, who has been unfortunate in many aspects over the past few weeks. Despite thrashing Sunderland and beating Arsenal at the Emirates, Newcastle’s Chris Hughton is still 16/1 to be axed as his contract talks continue to rumble on and Birmingham’s Alex McLeish, who hasn’t seen his side win since beating Blackpool almost a month ago, is at 20/1.

However, Mancini remains in pole position for the chop and isn’t ironic that defeat away to Fulham on Saturday, who are managed by former City boss Mark Hughes, could seal his fate.

The odds to be the next Premier League manager to be axed:

Mancini 5/4

Grant 7/4

Hodgson 8/1

Martinez 10/1

Holloway 10/1

McCarthy 14/1

Hughton 16/1

McLeish 20/1

Hughes 25/1

Moyes 25/1

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Colin Illingworth



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