As the season's unpredictability starts to take it's toll, I've taken a look at the managers most likely to be relived of their misery. The four managerial candidates I have chosen have all been under ginormous amounts of scrutiny of late and it's only a matter of time until one of them gets shot down.
First up is odds on favourite:
Roy Hodgson - 1/3
He's kind of brought it on himself hasn't he? Having appointed Hodgson in July this past year, he was looked to halt Liverpool's downward spiral brought on by Rafael Benitez. Hodgson, though, has made things inevitably worse. He's lost 9 of the 20 games in the Premier League this season and that's simply not good enough for a manager of his magnitude. Hodgson had been under massive pressure since losing to Everton in September and he continued to dominate the headlines, losing out to newcomers Blackpool, Manchester United and most recently, losing in dramatic circumstances to Wolverhampton Wanderers and Blackburn, strenghtening the rumors he's due to be relived of his duties at Liverpool football club. His summer recruitings proved he does not have what it takes to become a top Premier League manager, with the signing of two has-beens and out of the four players he has signed, only two have retained a first team place with Joe Cole & Cristian Poulson forced to settle on the bench. It's becoming an increasingly worrying time for Liverpool fans but he's currently odds on favourite to get sacked and rightly so, as I don't see him lasting much longer.
12TH - P20 W7 D4 L9 PTS 25
Second on the list :
Carlo Ancelotti - 2/1
A phenomenal start to his reign as Chelsea manager was later highlighted by their abysmal form of late. Ancelotti had started his era at Stamford Bridge winning six out of his first seven and continued that form into October before hitting an error strewn November. Assistant manager Ray Wilkins was sensationally given the boot and this has, more than likely, been the cause of Chelsea's recent downfall. It had all started with a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Liverpool and the champions then started to tumble uncontrollably, and soon Ancelotti was wondering where it had all gone wrong. In Chelsea's last ten Premier League games they've only managed a dire two wins, accompanied by four draws and four losses, not the form of champions. Wednesday evening had arrived and Chelsea travelled to the Molineaux to take on relegation battling Wolves. It went from bad to worse for the visitors as an own goal in the fifth minute from Jose Bosingwa ensured Wolves had captured a famous 1-0 win over the Blues for over 30 years. It was pure ecstasy for Mick McCarthy's side but agony for Ancelotti's men as they succumbed to their sixth league defeat of the season, bringing the total for the season to an astounding 8. The shocking form Chelsea have produced of late has seen them slip to 5th position, leaving gaffer Ancelotti pondering whether or not he has to start competing for Champions League football, never mind the league title. Despite all the speculation, I don't see Ancelotti getting sacked anytime soon.
5TH - P21 W10 D5 L6 PTS 35
Next on the list is the struggling West Ham gaffer:
Avram Grant -11/2
Grant was seen as a suitable replacement for the inexperienced Gianfranco Zola but he failed to live up to expectations, having not gained a point by mid September. Grant continued to stumble as Hammers boss and had won only two matches prior to the festive fixtures but a recent surge of results had seen them catapult up to 16th, only to fall back into the relegation zone, seeing recent results going against their luck. Grant, rather presumptuously, claimed that West Ham's recent good form was down to his new scarf he had started sporting against Manchester United in their Carling Cup clash at the end of November and it had returned for the boxing day clash with relegation rivals Fulham, who the Hammers trounced 3-1. The scarf remained wrapped around Grant's neck for the next two matches, a 1-1 draw with Everton and a 2-0 win over Wolves just last weekend. Grant had left the scarf out in the cold for Wednesday's bout with Newcastle, which Newcastle ran riot, running out 5-0 victors, once again landing Grant in the limelight. Grant is definitely worth a punt or two.
20TH - P20 W4 D8 L8 PTS 20
And finally last but not least, comes the Liverpudlian favourite
Gerard Houllier - 10/1
His relative success at Merseyside was a key factor in his appointment and he was looked to provide more or less the same than what he achieved with Liverpool, and to apply it to a side still shaking from the resignation of adored gaffer Martin O'Neill. An outside favourite, Houllier has endured a turbulent time since his return to the Premier League. A slow start hadn't helped ease the nerves at Villa Park and Aston Villa have yet to pick up pace in this years campaign. Maybe it's down to the absence of several of their key players, maybe not, but a side with this much quality should be up there among the best, challenging for those coveted Europa Cup spots. Yes there's still half the season left and yes those players are due to come back but you can't help wonder, what has HoullierHoullier, although a dark house, will undoubtedly be given more time as manager but if he fails to break the top ten, he'll be gone.
18TH - P21 W5 D6 L10 PTS 21
Betting odds are courtesy of thesackrace.com and are subject to change.