It’s the start of another season and that means there are a whole host of new managerial faces in the Premier League. Pressure is on for some of the world’s most highly regarded coaches and it could be one of the most competitive top flight campaigns for years. Antonio Conte and Pep Guardiola face their first season in England with Chelsea and Manchester City whilst Jurgen Klopp and Jose Mourinho hope to turn things around for Liverpool and Manchester United who have undergone transitional periods. There’s a return for David Moyes and Claudio Ranieri will be hoping to guide Leicester to a second Premier League title.
As well as a chance to claim glory, there could be some huge managerial casualties but which ones are in contention to become the first victim? Here’s just a few who could potentially see the sack early in the 2016-17 campaign.
Aitor Karanka – Middlesbrough
Middlesbrough comes into the Premier League for the first time since 2009 and after fighting at the top of the Championship for a few seasons, they’ll be happy to finally take the leap. Their manager, Aitor Karanka, hasn’t much previous experience besides Boro and after failing to guide the club to promotion in his first full season, he achieved the feat last season. It was a successful 2015-16 but Karanka’s side did undergo periods of poor form and lacked some consistency last year. There was unrest within the squad throughout 2016 too but Middlesbrough appeared to pull through and get the job done to secure automatic promotion.
He’s the bookies favourite to go first and it’s largely down to his inexperience. Boro have made some great signings in the transfer window though so a good first season in the Premier League could mean he extends his stay at The Riverside.
Tony Pulis – West Bromwich Albion
There’s a lot of unrest at West Bromwich Albion towards their manager and many feel frustrated with him at the helm. It’s easy to understand why as Pulis is renowned for lacking entertaining football. His rigid philosophy and hard to break down play isn’t popular with fans though it almost guarantees survival. West Brom’s style was far from attractive last season and if they hope to progress, they may look elsewhere for managerial influence.
The club’s new takeover could play a role too. Although they’ve vowed they have no plans to change the current ways of the club, they could look towards a new direction and Pulis may not be their choice.
David Moyes – Sunderland
After failing to showcase his managerial prowess at Manchester United and Real Sociedad, Moyes has a lot to prove at Sunderland. The former Everton boss enjoyed a reasonably respectable eleven year spell on Merseyside where he built a reputation for encouraging youth and getting the best out of average players. He oozed consistency but failed to win any titles and rarely looked like the man to take a club to the next level.
He’s taken over from Big Sam, who had an aggressive personality and a drive to get the best out of his side which will likely be replaced by Moyes’ calmer demeanour. However, the former United boss could be the right man for the job and a bit of consistency could be just what Sunderland need to consolidate their position in the Premier League. Moyes’ reputation and managerial career depends on a successful spell though so the pressure is on and past experiences suggest he may crumble under it.
Alan Pardew – Crystal Palace
Alan Pardew has a tendency to start well during his managerial tenures but often suffers a dramatic dip in form following a potentially successful start. His Crystal Palace side were in fifth place last Christmas after enjoying an emphatic start to the Premier League but they finished the season in 15th place after a dramatic ten-place drop emphasised inconsistency.
A similar fate could be experienced this year but Pardew may not be given the patience he was allowed last time and he could be a strong candidate to become the league’s first sacking.
Francesco Guidolin – Swansea
The Swans’ manager was relatively unknown when he took over. He did his job and kept Swansea in the Premier League but Guidolin was criticised for his side’s inconsistency. The Swans produced a number of erratic performances including a horrible defeat to Newcastle United in which they looked like a team unworthy of a place in the English top flight.
This year he’s had a full summer to work with his squad and he’s been able to enjoy a transfer window so there will be higher expectations for him at Swansea. The club will hope to push for a comfortable position in the league and will want to avoid a relegation battle but will Guidolin have enough to get the job done? Stagnation may end up being the cause of his sacking.