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Rediff.com  » Sports » EPL sack race: The five to fall this season

EPL sack race: The five to fall this season

December 20, 2013 09:18 IST

EPL sack race: The five to fall this season

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Andre Villa-Boas joins Paolo Di Canio (Sunderland), Ian Holloway (Crystal Palace), Martin Jol (Fulham) and Steve Clarke (West Bromwich Albion) in this season’s 'pink slip' club.

The 2013-14 English Premier League season is turning out to be the most unpredictable. A club that was No. 1 last season is languishing in eighth position currently, and, worse, already five managers have been shown the door following dismal performances by their teams.

The latest of them is Andre Villa-Boas, who was sacked by Tottenham Hotspur after a humiliating 5-0 defeat by Liverpool.

Since Spurs sold Gareth Bale to Real Madrid early in the season, Villa-Boas was walking a double-edged sword. He needed the results, and consistently at that, to keep critics and skeptics at bay.

His misery at the club was compounded by an erratic showing by new signings Paulinho, Christian Eriksen, Roberto Soldado, Nacer Chadli, Etienne Capoue, Vlad Chiriches and Erik Lamela.

Villa-Boas joined four other high-profile managers -- Paolo Di Canio (Sunderland), Ian Holloway (Crystal Palace), Martin Jol (Fulham) and Steve Clarke(West Bromwich Albion) – in this season’s sack race.

A look at managerial changes.


Image: Andre Villas-Boas
Photographs: Toby Melville/Reuters

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Paolo Di Canio(Sunderland)

Premier League club Sunderland sacked head coach Paolo Di Canio after a string of poor results. The Italian left the club in September since being appointed last March.

Di Canio, 45, began his playing career in Serie A before spending seven seasons in the Premier League with Sheffield Wednesday, West Ham United and Charlton Athletic, before entering soccer management in England with Swindon Town.

He was appointed manager of Sunderland last March on a two-and-a-half year contract after Martin O'Neill was sacked.

His appointment was controversial and the Italian was forced to counter critics alleging that he held fascist beliefs.


Image: Paolo Di Canio
Photographs: Tony Marshall/Getty Images

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EPL sack race: The five to fall this season

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Martin Jol (Fulham)

Martin Jol's two-year spell as Fulham manager ended after the Dutchman was unable to reverse the club's sinking fortunes.

He was sacked and recently-appointed coach Rene Meulensteen put in charge of the first team following a run of five consecutive Premier League defeats and six in all competitions.

Jol, 57, replaced Mark Hughes as Fulham manager in 2011 after spells at Tottenham Hotspur, Hamburg SV and Ajax Amsterdam.

He was the third managerial change in the Premier league this season, after Di Canio left Sunderland and Ian Holloway departed Crystal Palace in September.

Fellow-Dutchman Meulensteen was initially recruited to work alongside Jol at the start of November.

The 49-year-old spent 11 years working under Alex Ferguson during two spells at Manchester United and had previously been linked with the managerial post at Fulham's London Premier League rivals Crystal Palace.

His last job before joining Fulham was in Russia in July at Anzhi Makhachkala, whom he joined as assistant coach to fellow Dutchman Guus Hiddink.

However, Hiddink left the club two games into the season after which Meulensteen lasted only 16 days as manager.


Image: Martin Jol
Photographs: Ian Walton/Getty Images

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Ian Holloway (Crystal Palace)

Ian Holloway left the Premier League team by mutual consent after its poor start to the season.

Holloway, 50, guided Palace to promotion via the play-offs last term, having joined from Blackpool in November 2012 but they struggled to compete in the top flight and were second-bottom with only three points from eight matches.

Holloway said the spirit at the club, who brought in over a dozen players in the close season, had suffered after the team's poor start.


Image: Ian Holloway
Photographs: Clive Rose/Getty Images

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Steve Clarke (West Brom)

West Bromwich Albion sacked Steve Clarke after the side lost to Cardiff City. The club was just above the relegation zone.

They surprised many by finishing eighth last term in Clarke's first season in charge, but won only seven of 34 league matches in 2013 and picked up 31 points in total.

‘This club's track record proves we do not take such decisions lightly, having only enforced a change in this position three times in approximately 14 years,’ West Brom's sporting and technical director Richard Garlick said.

‘But with key games coming thick and fast, we felt it was important we acted now to give the club the best possible chance of a successful outcome this season,’ he added in the statement on the club's official website.


Image: Steve Clarke
Photographs: Ben Hoskins/Getty Images

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Andre Villas-Boas (Tottenham Hotspur)

Andre Villas-Boas got the pink slip as two Premier League thrashings in three weeks were too hard for the owners to digest.

Spurs were humiliated 5-0 by Liverpool in front of their own fans, having been thrashed 6-0 by Manchester City last month, and the club announced the Portuguese coach's departure "by mutual consent" in a statement on their website.

The former Porto coach, who took over in July 2012, lasted longer than in his previous job at Chelsea, where he was sacked eight months into his first season.

Spurs brought in a host of new players including Roberto Soldado - for £26 million - Erik Lamela, Christian Eriksen and Paulinho with the transfer booty received from the sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid for a world record 100 million euros.

The vast number of new faces of varied nationalities have seemed to make it difficult for Villas-Boas to settle on a preferred side, resulting in an inconsistent season for the club.

A paltry return of 15 goals in 16 league matches left the fans frustrated, while some appalling defending contributed to the Man City and Liverpool heavy defeats.

Although they are going strong in the Europa League and Capital One Cup, they are seventh in the league, eight points behind local rivals and leaders Arsenal.


Image: Andre Villas-Boas
Photographs: Paul Gilham/Getty Images

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