Two up, Two down – Managers on the brink?

Two up, Two down – Managers on the brink?


In the first of our weekly ‘Two up, Two down’ pieces, we look back at the weekend’s football and who will be heading into the week with a spring in their step and who will be doing everything to forgot the weekend ever happened!

TWO UP – Mauricio Pochettino

Mauricio Pochettino’s stock continues to rise after they easily brushed aside Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool at Wembley on Sunday.

Everything the Spurs boss does seems to work at the moment and his impact on the Premier League has been a breath of fresh air given his ability to bring through young English talent. The conveyer-belt of England internationals is showing no signs of slowing down, with Harry Winks the latest to win his first England cap under the guidance of Pochettino. If you looked at the Spurs side 12-months ago, Winks would’ve been considered as a back-up option to the likes of Eric Dier, Victor Wanyama and Mousa Dembele. Out of nowhere, Winks has slotted in with ease and complements the talents of Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen, Harry Kane and even Kieran Trippier, who is allowed even more freedom to join Spurs attacks. The former Burnley right-back has more assists in 2017 than any other Premier League defender with nine in total, seven of which have been converted by the world-class Harry Kane.

Pochettino’s quality can also be highlighted by Everton’s recent struggles. The season before Pochettino took over at Spurs, they finished three points behind Everton. Since then, Everton have spent £168m more (net) than Spurs on new recruits.

Sunday’s 4-1 win against Liverpool highlighted the ruthlessness that Pochettino has brought to Spurs. So much so that Jurgen Klopp hooked Dejan Lovren off 30 minutes into the game after he was continuously tortured by Harry Kane. It remains to be seen whether Tottenham can win a trophy under the former Southampton manager however it’s hard not to be impressed with the job he’s done and continues to do.


TWO UP – Shrewsbury Town

Shrewsbury Town are now into 6/4 to be promoted from League One after making it 11 wins from 15 league games this season with a 1-0 win against Fleetwood on Saturday. Paul Hurst’s side started the season as 33/1 outsiders to be promoted but after moving 10 points clear of third place Bradford City, the bookies seem to be taking them serious. Shrewsbury are now the only Football League side who remain unbeaten this season after finishing 18th last campaign, just 7 points above Swindon Town, who were relegated to League Two.

League One is now home for several former Premier League clubs with Wigan, Blackburn, Charlton, Blackpool, Portsmouth and Bradford City all competing for the 3 promotion places. From these so-called ‘big clubs’, Shrewsbury have already beaten Wigan and drawn with Blackburn.

November looks set to be a big test for Paul Hurst’s side with games against Walsall, Charlton, Rotherham, Bury and Bradford to come. If they can sustain their current form, they could easily be 15 points clear of the play-offs heading into a hectic December.


TWO DOWN – David Sullivan & David Gold

It seems to be a weekly occurrence that West Ham manager Slaven Bilic’s job is being discussed. The former Croatia boss has reportedly been told he now has two games to save his job with Spurs away on Wednesday and Crystal Palace away on Saturday. If Friday’s performance against Brighton is anything to go by, West Ham owners David Gold and David Sullivan will be on the search for another manager by next Monday morning.

After taking over in 2010, David Sullivan stated he had a ‘seven-year plan’ to get the Hammers into the Champions League. “We have a seven-year plan to get them into the Champions League and turn them into a big club over the seven-year period we do plan to spend a lot of money”. West Ham are currently outside the relegation zone on goal difference after just two wins from their first nine games.

Is there a more short-term mentality than giving a manager two games to turn it around? Surely it’s in the clubs owners’s best interest to either fully commit their support to Bilic or look for a new manager straight away. What happens if West Ham beat Spurs and Crystal Palace but go on to lose their next two games against Liverpool and Watford? They’re back to square one.

You would think West Ham would be competing with Leicester to attract a manager of a certain calibre so the sacking of Craig Shakespeare would fast-forward a change in leadership at the club but the owners appear to be giving Bilic another chance. This hesitance and lack of clear decision-making could cost The Hammers their Premier League place.

TWO DOWN – Garry Monk

It’s now over a month since Middlesbrough’s last victory, which was a 2-0 away win at Aston Villa in the League Cup. Since then, 1-0 home defeats to Norwich and Cardiff along with three score-draws has seen pre-season promotion favourites Boro drop to 13th in the Championship.

Garry Monk left Leeds in the summer after being unable to “agree a suitable way to move forward together”. In contrast to Boro’s poor start, Leeds currently occupy fourth place in the Championship.

Since taking over at Boro, Monk has splashed the cash with their transfer record being broken with the arrival of Britt Assombalonga from Nottingham Forest. Other big money arrivals included Ashley Fletcher, Martin Braithwaite and Darren Randolph.

Boro have drifted to 7/1 from 15/8 pre-season to be promoted with the likes of high-flying Wolves, Cardiff and Sheffield United starting the season in brilliant form. If the slump continues for Boro under Monk, how long will it be before one of the best Chairman in football, Steve Gibson is looking for another new man to lead his boyhood club?