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History suggests fraying Norwich nerves could do for young boss

| 09.02.2016

Given the drastic financial implications these days, those managers flirting with Premier League relegation become a particularly endangered species as the season wares on.

Panic buttons are punched at various stages throughout each campaign, depending on the patience of the individual clubs and the state of the performances on the pitch.

The fallen

The spectre of the drop has already accounted for Tim Sherwood at Aston Villa, Jose Mourinho, incredibly, and the unfortunate Garry Monk at Swansea in 2015/16 – Brendan Rodgers gets the benefit of the doubt.

Meanwhile, Newcastle manager Steve McClaren has weathered a far more ferocious storm of speculation than many a St James’ Park incumbent might have done before him, after a season spent almost exclusively in the red zone.

With 25 games now in the books and relegation becoming a more tangible fate by the week, a casualty-free run in for the division’s dugout dwellers seems almost as implausible as Leicester gate-crashing the top four would have last August.

Norwich’s ill-timed nosedive

It’s the team that just allowed the Magpies a rare reprieve from occupying one of the doomed berths, whose manager must be among the most prime candidates in the running, yet his price is still very juicy.

Norwich have lost their last six games in all competitions (conceding 19 goals in the process), sliding into the bottom three for the first time since the opening weekend of the season.

And judging by the fate of Alex Neil’s predecessors in the Carrow Road hot seat, doing well in a previous campaign is clearly inadequate insurance.

Neil came into the job last January, after mounting pressure from fans proved too much for Neil Adams, who resigned, but it was Chris Hughton’s departure in April 2014 which makes the current manager a fine bet at 7/1 to be the next Premier League manager to leave.

Despite leading Norwich to an 11th place top-flight finish in his previous season in charge, Hughton was relieved of his duties with Norwich sat in 17th, to the bemusement of many outsiders, especially as the Canaries went down regardless.

The leading fancies look safer

Looking at the market, only Remi Garde who is the 9/4 favourite would be appear to be in a more precarious situation, though the recent win over Norwich has now sprung a few green shoots of hope over at Villa Park.

Given the situation he inherited, Garde arguably has little to lose in the remaining months of the season.

That only leaves Louis van Gaal, whose Manchester United side have finally found form, Guus Hiddink, who will surely have the Chelsea gig until May at least, and Manuel Pellegrini ahead of Neil in the betting.

With Pellegrini aiming for a silver-lining to his swansong, it’s difficult to see the Chilean bowing out prematurely either.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.