Crystal Palace have become the first Premier League club to sack their manager this season after the London based club were defeated 3-1 at home to Southampton on Boxing Day.
Neil Warnock departs after winning only three of his 16 Premier league games in charge. In the history of the Premier League it is highly unusual for clubs to wait so long before the first manager is given his marching orders.
Normally the sacking season begins during October and November but this year, for one reason or another, club chairmen seem to have had more patience than normal. Not since the 1995/96 season, when Bolton dismissed Roy McFarland on January 2, have we had to wait so long for the axing of a top-flight manager.
Now Palace have set a precedent this season it may now prompt other clubs to act before it is too late. But who will be favourites to axe their manager next? Clearly all eyes have to be focused on the bottom of the league where staying in the Premier League is of paramount importance for teams who are struggling for form.
Who is next?
West Brom's Alan Irvine has admitted that his job is under threat after some disappointing results that have left his side languishing just two points above the relegation zone. The Baggies will not want to end their association with the Premier League this season and will want to pull out all the stops to escape the dreaded relegation.
If Irvine is not the man then they may want to appoint a manager who can use the January transfer window to attract players to the club, reinvigorate the current crop of players and stave off the threat of relegation at the same time.
Nigel Pearson is clearly struggling with his newly-promoted Leicester side. On and off the pitch Pearson has had issues and their early season impressive victory over Manchester United now seems to be a distant memory. With just ten points from their 18 games so far, and a severe drought in front of goal recently, Leicester are languishing at the foot of the table and in urgent need of a boost.
Harry Redknapp could be another who is in contention for the sack. Likeable Redknapp is thankful that QPR have a very good home record otherwise he could be on the verge of being dismissed. However, they are still in danger and are only hovering about the relegation zone because of this home form. If this slips then Redknapp could be under increased pressure.
More notable candidates?
Looking at the more established Premier League clubs there could be question marks over the futures of Liverpool's Brendan Rogers, Everton's Roberto Martinez and Arsenal's Arsene Wenger.
Personally I believe all three have plenty more to offer their clubs and should for many more years but sometimes clubs panic and make decisions that are not necessarily logical from an outsiders point of view. These clubs are not known to make rash decisions but we know that sometimes football can spring a surprise or two.
Such is Premier League life that a string of poor results can all of a sudden bring question marks over any manager's future but I would like to think that this season will become more of a norm in the future. Changing managers is not always the right thing to do but remaining in the Premier League, or capturing a valuable European place, can prompt rash actions particularly given the pressure.
One thing is for sure Neil Warnock's sacking will not be the last that we will see in the Premier League this season.
Who is your favourite to suffer the dreaded chop next? Let us know in the comments box below...
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