Premier League Next Manager Betting: Which of Silva, Emery or Pellegrini will go first?
Alex Keble takes a look at the three Premier League managers on the verge of losing their job and assesses which of them will win the sack race...
Marco Silva - 3/1
The Everton manager looked certain to get the sack at the beginning of this week following a catastrophic 2-0 defeat at home to Norwich City - arguably the worst result of his tenure in charge - but reports on Tuesday have seen his odds lengthen again to 3/1.
Owner Farhad Moshiri has given Silva at least another week in the job simply because Everton lack an obvious alternative, per the Mirror, with the mooted short-term appointment of David Moyes on hold as Moshiri considers the potential repercussions.
Toffees' supporters aren't thrilled at the idea of a return to more negative football, and Moshiri is hesitating after making so many managerial mistakes. Hiring Sam Allardyce for a fire-fighter role in the middle of the 2017/18 campaign was a huge error. Moshiri is wary appointing Moyes might repeat the cycle.
And that cycle, lurching from progressive tacticians to defensive organisers, is precisely why Silva was never likely to succeed at Everton. The team is littered with possession-centric players from the Ronald Koeman era, one-dimensional footballers from the Allardyce days, and now technically-gifted but lightweight players signed by the soon-to-be-departing manager.
Silva's fate is already sealed. Nobody recovers from such open pursuit of other managerial options, and he will soon be gone no matter the result at Leicester City on Saturday. It would certainly be a brave man to take on a disjointed and confused Everton squad as they enter a devilishly difficult Christmas run that includes Liverpool, Chelsea, Man Utd, and Arsenal. Eddie Howe and Mikel Arteta are reportedly uninterested.
Fans will argue that anyone is better than Silva at this point. The Portuguese has failed to instil a clear tactical identity, with familiar weaknesses from his time at Watford undermining Silva's vague attempts to play direct, high-pressing, full-back-focused attacking football. Everton have been dreadful defending set-pieces and hopeless in the transitions.
They have also looked generally lethargic for months now, perhaps reflecting the number of their players who took a step down to join the club. It is hard to get players to fight for a collective goal when they're on their way down from Barcelona, Man Utd, Arsenal, Tottenham, or Man City, and particularly when that goal - to finish sixth rather than eighth - is pretty uninspiring to begin with.
Silva will limp on to Monday morning, but not beyond that. At 3/1 now is a good time to bet; already hovering over the red button, Moshiri could certainly pull the trigger a couple of hours before Arsenal.
Unai Emery - 1/2
The Arsenal manager is also in imminent danger of losing his job, which has reportedly been described as 'just a matter of time' by a senior source at the club, per Goal. However, given that there were no talks this week of immediately replacing Emery despite a terrible performance against lowly Southampton - Arsenal conceded 21 shots to a team that only managed a combined total of seven in their previous two - we can assume he won't be gone over the weekend.
Arsenal supporters will not have to wait much longer though. Emery's confusing tactics appear to constantly unsettle the players, who over 18 months under the Spaniard have rarely looked anything other than disorganised, error prone, and unsure of exactly what they are supposed to be doing. That's hardly surprising; Emery changes formation every week, constantly testing and tweaking with an anxiety that cannot possibly instil his players with a sense of calm.
From weirdly narrow formations against teams with superb attacking full-backs (like against Liverpool) to unnecessary three-man defences against relegation candidates (like Southampton), nobody can quite work out what Emery is trying to do.
That has left supporters angry and on the verge of mutiny, the Granit Xhaka incident encapsulating a toxic atmosphere at the Emirates this season. Little wonder, then, that reportedly several senior Arsenal players want to leave the club at the end of the year if Emery remains in charge. That's been put forward as one of the main reasons the board will act sooner rather than later, although on results alone the Gunners aren't left with much choice.
They are eight points off the top four at the one third point of the campaign having won a mere four of their 13 league matches, extending a horrible run that began towards the end of last season; since April, Arsenal have won 25 points from 20 Premier League games. Worse still, they've now gone six games without a win in all competitions and seen their once dependable home form evaporate.
Like Everton with Silva, Emery could be helped by a dearth of attractive options elsewhere. Freddie Ljungberg is being touted as a possible interim manager having impressed since his promotion over the summer, but with Arteta not wanting to leave Man City midseason and Max Allegri unavailable until the summer Arsenal could find pulling the trigger backfires. Ljungberg has no senior experience in management; this is hardly the controlled, supportive environment to throw in an untested former player. Another option that has recently come up is Wolves' Nuno Espírito Santo, who is the favourite to replace Emery as the next Arsenal manager. But again, would he leave Wolves mid-season, especially that they're one point above the Gunners and in fifth place?
One thing is for sure, Emery cannot continue with the atmosphere like this, with the club's form so disastrous and the dressing room in disarray - although Silva is still the likelier to go first.
Manuel Pellegrini - 10/1
The Telegraph report that West Ham have held 'crisis talks' with their manager about the need for performances and results to improve, and yet the board's favoured option is to stick with their manager given the £150 million he has spent on players since the beginning of the 2018/19 season. It would take a couple of emphatic wins for Everton and Arsenal over the next fortnight, then, for Pellegrini to be the first to go.
That being said, West Ham's owners can be an erratic bunch, prone to wild decisions based on sudden fear of public opinion. Others have suggested the club are already looking into the availability of Rafael Benitez and Moyes, with Chris Hughton a backup option.
The fans are certainly turning against Pellegrini during this run of just two points won in seven league games that leaves them within three points of the relegation zone. That is unbelievably poor and enough to put any manager under pressure, while it would appear that the late resurgence against Tottenham last weekend was not, in fact, sign of fire in their bellies.
The most damning line in the Telegraph report is that the West Ham hierarchy fear 'that Pellegrini is not accepting the seriousness of the situation.' When Pellegrini joined the club from China, in the twilight of his career and having previously won the Premier League title with Man City, many questioned if he had the motivation to succeed. It looks like we have our answer.
Certainly his ideas have gone stale at the London Stadium. Initially finding success in a counter-attacking 4-5-1 in 2018/19, with Declan Rice holding the base and fast wingers attacking down the flanks, Pellegrini hasn't remotely looked to evolve his system over the past 15 months. That hints at a manager unaware of the gravitas of the situation.
Mark Noble is still fighting for the cause, of course, but his positional play is leaving an under-performing Declan Rice exposed in midfield. Behind them, the back four seems too static and disconnected, while Felipe Anderson and Andriy Yarmolenko are inconsistent, as ever. The slump looks set to continue, meaning Pellegrini will, eventually, be shown the door.