The Premier League stragglers’ managerial merry-go-round

As is often the case halfway through the season, teams struggling near the bottom of the Premier League tend to make managerial changes. This has been no different this season with Swansea, Hull and Crystal Palace making what they deemed necessary changes in order to stay in the division. But to what extent will a change of manager be enough to keep these sides in the division?

Palace were the first side to change their manager, appointed Sam Allardyce just a day after sacking Alan Pardew. Having won just six Premier League games in 2016 and with the club sitting just outside the bottom three, the only surprise was that he wasn’t relieved of his duties earlier.

If you’re in a relegation battle then there is surely no safer bet than Allardyce, a man who has never been relegated as a manager and worked miracles in keeping Sunderland up last season.

But things haven’t exactly gone to plan with Palace picking up just one point from his first five games. This is a major surprise as Allardyce was expected to delivered a new manager bounce, especially as, apart from Arsenal away, he had a winnable first set of games.

Despite a lack of goals in Allardyce’s opening games, they hardly lack firepower with the likes of Christian Benteke, Loic Remy and star man Wilfried Zaha. Their problems lie at the back, the Eagles posses the fourth highest goals against ratio in the division this season.

But if anyone can sort out a leaky defence it’s Big Sam who has a good track record of organizing defences and Jeffrey Schluup from Leicester, Patrick van Aanholt as well as potentially Carl Jenkinson will strengthen the back four. While things may look gloomy at the moment, with Allardyce in charge and new arrivals things should improve at Selhaurst Park.

The next side to make a change were Swansea, sacking Bob Bradley and replacing him with Paul Clement. The fact that Bob Bradley was only in charge for less than 3 months should come as little surprise, such is the financial importance of being a Premier League club.

He managed just two Premier League victories and Swansea looked lost during his time in charge. Clement took over with a strong reputation having been assistant manager at both Real Madrid and Bayern Munich and despite being sacked by Derby, it was widely acknowledged that he was treated unfairly.

Clement has certainly made an impact since taking over with a 2-1 win over Crystal Palace (although he was in the stands) and a famous 3-2 victory over Liverpool at Anfield. In the game against Liverpool they played with a confidence and swagger that sides in the bottom three tend not to display.

There is no doubt this Swansea side can play and they possess quality with the likes of Gylfi Sigurdsson and Fernando Llorente who both look set to stay this window. However, they still look incredibly suspect defensively and having let in the most goals in the division this season this is something Clement will have to sort out.

Hull were the final team to change their manager, sacking Mike Phelan and replacing him with Marco Silva. With Hull on an awful run of form this sacking also came as little surprise, in fact Hull were reluctant to appoint Phelan in the first place, waiting two months to confirm him as permament manager.

Most English football fans probably hadn’t heard of his replacement, Silva has a very impressive record in Portugal and Greece. But of course the Premier League is something completely different, but despite sceptics he has had a pretty good start.

A convincing 3-1 win at home to Bournemouth was followed by an impressive performance away at Chelsea which resulted in a 2-0 defeat, even though Silva’s men put in a determined display.

Hull are playing good football, but they still lack quality in their squad as they possess almost the same group of players that got them promoted last season, with very little reinforcements in the summer.

The sale of Jake Livermore to West Brom and the imminent departure of top scorer Robert Snodgrass to West Ham give the impression that Hull have given up. Snodgrass will be very difficult to replace and his sale will probably prove to be the final nail in the Tigers’ coffin.

Out of the new managers, Allardyce has the best chance of keeping their side in the Premier League. Paul Clement and Marco Silva are managing in the Premier League for the first time, whereas Allardyce has seen it all before and pulled off many a miraculous escape. What gives all three managers a chance though is that there is still time to turn things around and to strengthen their squads.

Tyler Gerrard

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