More heads roll off soccer field
The managerial merry-go-round has been swinging off its hinges this season, with Rafael Benitez the latest in a long list of highprofile managers to lose their jobs just halfway through their campaigns.
Real Madrid are only four points off the top spot in La Liga and are still in contention for the Champions League, but he was unable to win over the club’s fans following a 4-0 thrashing in El Clasico to archrivals Barcelona.
The former Liverpool boss was dismissed by Florentino Pérez after just seven months in charge, and replaced by Zinedine Zidane.
The major Premier League casualty in the first half of the season was José Mourinho, whose second spell at Chelsea ended in disaster just seven months after he guided them to the Premier League title.
Chelsea’s struggles in this campaign were as well documented as they were unprecedented, making the inevitable departure of the Portuguese tactician unsurprising.
Mourinho wasn’t the first Premiership boss to lose his job, however, with October turning out to be the most lethal month, starting with the resignation of Sunderland’s Dick Advocaat. The Dutch veteran took charge of the Black Cats last season when they found themselves struggling against relegation, a fate he successfully helped them avoid.
However, with the club in trouble early in the new season, Advocaat took the decision to step down.
Brendan Rodgers was the next high-profile manager to lose his job, with Liverpool way down in 10th place in the Premier League.
Tim Sherwood only lasted 21 days more than Advocaat at Villa Park. The former Spurs boss had managed to keep the club up and even guided them to the FA Cup final last term.
But Sherwood was helpless to keep the Villans out of the relegation struggle this season, and six consecutive defeats saw him out of the job by the end of October.
November passed without any casualties in England, but December saw changes at Swansea City, where manager Garry Monk had guided the Swans to an impressive eighthplace finish the season before with a record points tally, but one win in his last 11 league matches saw the Welsh side lose their patience.
With the body count at five in the Premier League, there remains one pressing question: who’s next?
Manchester United’s underpressure manager Louis van Gaal definitely springs to mind.
It would be a stretch to call United’s season a failure, but the style of football the Dutch coach has the Red Devils playing has not won him any fans and the sudden availability of Mourinho and Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola at the end of the season is sure to increase the pressure on Van Gaal.
Manuel Pellegrini also has some work to do if he wants to keep his job beyond the end of the season, with rumours that Guardiola is set to take over at Manchester City. –