It came as no great surprise to Premier League fans when Claude Puel was sacked as Leicester City boss earlier this week.
And while the Frenchman departing the King Power may have no real impact on the battles for the title, top four, or to avoid relegation, it has caused a re-jig of the standings in the notorious Premier League sack race, which monitors which top-flight coaches are most likely to be the next managerial casualty in the top tier of English football.
So let’s check out which managers the Bookies think will be looking over their shoulders as we head towards the end of another Premier League campaign.
Rafael Benitez 20/1
A bit of a surprising one this, considering that most fans and pundits agree Benitez is one of the few managers capable of keeping the current Newcastle squad in the Premier League.
After last night’s 2-0 win over Burnley the Geordies moved up to 13th in table – seven points from the relegation zone – and with tight-fisted owner Mike Ashley having finally broken the clubs long-standing transfer record to bring in promising attacker Miguel Almiron in January, things are actually looking a lot rosier at St.James Park then they have in quite a while.
The most likely scenario in which Benitez leaves Newcastle is that the Spanish manager fails to renew his contract that runs out at the end of the season, and even if that happens the Magpies faithful will likely direct their ire at Ashley rather than the former Liverpool boss.
Neil Warnock 20/1
It’s been quite the eventful season so far for Yorkshireman Warnock in South Wales. The veteran coach became the subject of ridicule for his off-camera Brexit rant, but then handled himself with laudable dignity in the aftermath of the Emiliano Sala tragedy.
Let’s be honest nobody expected 70-year-old Warnock and his unfashionable side to have any chance of staying up this season after their promotion from the Championship, and it is somewhat of a surprise that they have spent more time outside the drop zone than they have in it this term.
However, successive home losses to Watford 5-1 and Everton 3-0 leave Bluebirds in 16th just a point off the relegation places, and they face a real battle to secure their top-flight status between now and the end of the season.
It does seem unlikely that Bond Villain Vincent Tan will sack his coach before the end of the season though.
Marco Silva 8/1
Everton are a club with big ambitions since Farhad Moshiri became majority shareholder in February 2016, and the club saw highly-rated young Portuguese coach Marco Silva as the man to drive them into the Premier League’s top six when they hired him at the start of the summer.
However, despite the second summer of heavy investment in their squad and early signs of progress, the Toffees have been on a terrible run of form since they lost the Merseyside Derby at the start of December, and the natives are becoming increasingly restless at Goodison Park.
Much of the early season goodwill towards Silva has evaporated, and although sitting in ninth place in the table is by no means a disaster, if the Blues slip to a heavy defeat against arch-rivals Liverpool this weekend and then suffer a few more poor results, then the Everton board may decide to cut their losses on the 41-year-old coach before the season is out.
Claudio Ranieri 3/1
Fulham owner Shadid Khan described lovable Italian coach Ranieri as a ‘risk-free,’ appointment when he replaced Slavisa Jokanovic as Cottagers boss back in mid-November. To be fair to Khan it did look like a pretty shrewd appointment at the time, and with plenty of talent amongst the Fulham playing squad, most observers expected the West London outfit to gradually start climbing up the table.
However, it seems Ranieri is actually making things worse instead of better at Craven Cottage, and large sections of the clubs fans have turned against the 67-year-old due to his team selections and at times bizarre substitutions. Although to be fair to Granda Claudio he hasn’t been helped by inheriting one of the worst defences in Premier League history.
Now we’ve never tried to hide the fact we love Ranieri here at the Football Faithful, the Cottagers are currently 19th, seven points from safety, and with his players reportedly not keen on his methods, we can definitely see the logic behind binning him and bringing in someone new for a last push at a great escape.
Maurizio Sarri 4/9
Oh, Maurizio, it wasn’t supposed to be this way, you were supposed to rock up to the World’s most famous of soccer tournaments and wow us all with your much heralded ‘Sarri-Ball’.
Sadly though for the chain-smoking Italian after a promising start things have gone pear-shaped at Stamford Bridge over the last couple of months. Embarrassing defeats away to Bournemouth (4-0) and Man City (6-0), before a 2-0 home defeat to Manchester United in the FA Cup, during which the former Napoli coach was treated to chants of ‘you don’t know what you’re doing,’ and ‘f*ck Sarri-Ball,’ by the Chelsea faithful, mean the former Napoli boss’s position is now reported to be in serious jeopardy.
Last weekend’s ‘Arrizabalaga Saga,’ during the Carabao Cup final only added to the general circus surrounding Chelsea and their 60-year-old coach, and it now seems a matter of when and not if Sarri will be handed his P45.