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How secure are Premier League managers between Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve?

We've already seen six sackings so far this season
We've already seen six sackings so far this season

The frenzied period between Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve is often viewed as a perilous time for Premier League managers who must juggle a hectic fixture list, injuries, expectations, and now the on-going threat of Covid.

With the pressure on, a selection of managers have previously fallen victim to the Sack Race during this small but pivotal chapter in the season.

Below we’ve taken a look at how many top-flight bosses have lost their jobs in this period and whether any of the 20 incumbents should be fearing for their future this time around…

Hit us with the figures

Since 1992 six Premier League managers have had their contracts terminated between Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve - fortunately no club has, of yet, been extra mean and savagely sacked a manager on Santa’s Big Day.

The half-a-dozen figure may not sound overly high given that those six sackings occurred over the course of 29 seasons, but let’s not forget that this is only a single week in a season.

Furthermore, it’s well worth noting that five of the six departures have taken place in the last eight seasons alone, while all six have happened since 2009.

Manuel Pellegrini was sacked by West Ham on 28th December 2019
Manuel Pellegrini was sacked by West Ham on 28th December 2019

Who were the victims?

We’ll start with the most recent which was Manuel Pellegrini on 28th December 2019. West Ham pulled the plug after a rotten run of nine defeats in 12 games. David Moyes came back for a second spell in what most viewed as an underwhelming appointment; yet the Scot has proved us all wrong in emphatic fashion.

On 27th December 2016, Swansea sacked Bob Bradley after all of 85 days, with Paul Clement coming in to keep the club in the Premier League.

2014/15 witnessed two Premier League managers fall victim on the 27th (Neil Warnock, Crystal Palace) and 29th (Alan Irvine, West Brom). Alan Pardew then took Palace to 10th, and Tony Pulis finished 13th with the Baggies.

In the season prior to that Cardiff City sacked Malky Mackay (27th) when they were 16th, only to be relegated under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

The Premier League’s very first departure to happen between the aforementioned period didn’t occur until 2009 when 18th-placed Bolton axed Gary Megson (30th). Owen Coyle ditched rivals Burnley in order to replace Megson, and kept his new club in the league while the Clarets suffered relegation.

What about January?

Just because a manager survives the crammed phase between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, doesn’t necessarily mean a safe road awaits them in the New Year.

In the Premier League era a total of 19 permanent managers have departed in the month of January, including in 10 of the last 14 campaigns, one of whom was club legend Frank Lampard who was sacked by Chelsea last term.

Rafa Benitez is the favourite in the betting
Rafa Benitez is the favourite in the betting

Who is under-pressure right now?

We’ve already seen six managers axed this season, all of which took part between a brutal seven week period in October and November.

It’s now been a month since the most recent victim let - Ole Gunnar Solskjaer - with the microscope swapping over to Everton boss Rafa Benitez who at one point was as short as 1/7 to be the seventh managerial casualty.

The Spaniard has overseen just one win from his last 11 league games, although in recent weeks he’s taken four points off Arsenal and Chelsea. He will now be expected to get results during a favourable run of games against Burnley, Newcastle, Brighton, and Norwich

Paddy Power still have Benitez at a short 1/4 in the betting, although he’s drifted to a best-priced 5/4 with BetVictor.

As we’ve frequently said, we can’t see Leeds sacking Marcelo Bielsa who is available at 7/2. But while he’s an absolute icon at Elland Road, that’s not to say that he’s immune from the chop. No manager is. The Whites have been absolutely hammered by injuries this season, and if he’s not given investment in January then perhaps the Argentine could walk, as he’s done in the past.

The fixtures don’t get any easier for Leeds who face Liverpool and a rejuvenated Aston Villa before the New Year.

Watford’s Claudio Ranieri is available at 15/2, while six winless games and a frustrating frequency at giving away leads means that Southampton’s Ralph Hasenhuttl is well worth keeping an eye on at 8/1.

Full odds below...

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