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Premier League Sack Race: Three managers to watch after the international break

Steve Bruce is winless after three games
Steve Bruce is winless after three games

After a brief pause in play the Premier League returns at the weekend.

While the likes of Nuno Santo, David Moyes, and Rafa Benitez have all enjoyed positive starts to the season, there are other managers who have yet to perform.

With that in mind, here are a trio of top-flight bosses who are well worth keeping an eye on over the next month in the first Premier League manager to leave odds market.

Mikel Arteta

Next Premier League Manager To League

Mikel Arteta
Odds correct as of 2023-02-07 18:13 Odds subject to change.

Out at 12/1 before a ball was kicked this season, a shocking start swiftly saw Mikel Arteta inserted as the early odds-on favourite for the sack.

The pressure is on the big-spending Spaniard who splashed more cash than any Premier League manager this summer, with £156.8m spent on the likes of Ben White, Martin Odegaard, and Aaron Ramsdale.

Given that Arteta has been trusted with so much money, you’d expect Arsenal to give him time to embed his new recruits. However, football doesn’t quite work like that.

The basement club have yet to register a single point or even find the back of the net after three games. Temperament has also been a problem once again with Granit Xhaka’s red card the tenth of Arteta’s tenure; that’s four more than any other top-flight club.

The Gunners now have a more favourable fixture list ahead of them which includes clashes against Norwich, Burnley, Brighton, and Crystal Palace within their next five games.

However, a failure to fly in either of their next outings against Norwich and Burnley - both also winless to date - would really sound the alarm bells ahead of the North London derby at the end of the month.

Mikel Arteta's Arsenal have yet to register a point
Mikel Arteta's Arsenal have yet to register a point

Steve Bruce

Next Premier League Manager To Go

Odds correct as of 2023-02-07 18:13 Odds subject to change.

Steve Bruce has looked unsackable during his Newcastle tenure.

That’s not because the Toon Army have been in sizzling form, play pulsating football, and have a very satisfied fanbase.

It’s because Mike Ashley is reluctant to make a managerial change, much to the crushing devastation of many Magpies fans.

Bruce has faced overwhelming criticism since his appointment two years ago. He’s an affable and honest man - personal abuse directed his way is uncalled for - however, fans have every right to vocalise their discontent at what they see on the pitch and what they’ve witnessed so far this season indicates that they could well be battling to avoid the drop.

Bruce’s men are already out of the League Cup, they lost their league opener 4-2 at home to West Ham then suffered a 2-0 defeat at Aston Villa,  they were then fortunate to get a first point against Southampton, and that’s despite taking the lead in injury-time. 

Newcastle had just 36% possession and conceded 22 shots against the Saints, who dominated throughout. In fact, the Toon have let their three league opponents to date fire in 50 shots, while they are in the bottom-three for completed passes.

Ranking the summer transfer window of every Premier League manager

An underwhelming summer transfer window produced a single signing - albeit Bruce’s No.1 target Joe Willock - while up next is a trip to Man Utd and the returning Cristiano Ronaldo. 

Newcastle released a statement four days ago in which they reminded Bruce - who is away on holiday - that the club has spent £160m since his arrival and that he has a “talented and committed group of players who have shown that they are fully capable of delivering.”

A rift between Bruce and the hierarchy could potentially lead to frustrations further down the line…

Dean Smith is a 22/1 outsider to leave first
Dean Smith is a 22/1 outsider to leave first

Dean Smith

Next Premier League Manager To Go

Odds correct as of 2023-02-07 18:13 Odds subject to change.

The pressure gauge has risen significantly at Aston Villa this season as boss Dean Smith is tasked with mounting a challenge for the European places. 

Villa may have lost their best player for a British record of £100m, but Smith was allocated £93m to spend on the likes of Danny Ings, Emi Buendia, and Leon Bailey. This comes after the club spent £80m last summer, and £150m upon their return to the Premier League in 2019.

Four points from games against Newcastle and new boys Brentford and Watford, isn’t exactly the return Aston Villa fans had hoped for ahead of an extremely tough run of fixtures against Chelsea, Everton, Chelsea again in the cup, Man Utd, and Tottenham. Then Wolves, Arsenal and West Ham follow.

Smith has an exciting looking squad at his disposal; either they begin to thrive or struggle to gel together and before they know it they are playing catch-up. There’s a lot of pressure on Smith to take the club to the next level and if the owners don’t see a return on their significant investment then the Englishman could soon find himself stuck in stormy waters.

At 22/1 Smith is an intriguing outside price.

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