Premier League owners were feeling charitable during the 2020/21 season with only four managers – Jose Mourinho, Chris Wilder, Frank Lampard and Slaven Bilic – getting the sack.
History suggests that there is little chance of their generosity being repeated this season, though.
Being a football manager – particularly in England – remains a hazardous occupation and if teams are not getting results it won’t be long until heads start rolling this term.
The question is: who should be most worried of being given their marching orders?
20. Pep Guardiola
Manchester City will likely win the Premier League this season – that normally happens when you have the most expensive squad.
Due to this, Pep Guardiola will be free from P45 danger. If he finally breaks the club’s Champions League hoodoo he might even be tempted to walk away a year before the end of his contract next summer.
Much like Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp has been successful enough to walk away from Anfield on his own terms.
Klopp experienced the toughest season on his career last time out, dealing with both personal trauma and a scarcely believable injury crisis. Yet, he still managed to secure the Reds a Champions League spot and the club remains heavily in debt to the German.
Brendan Rodgers’ arrival as manager has transformed Leicester from European hopefuls to bonafide members of the Premier League top six.
A lot was made of Liverpool’s injury problems last season but the Foxes also had serious issues with every member of their starting XI, other than Kasper Schmeichel, missing games. With this in mind, their fifth-placed finish and FA Cup triumph are even more impressive.
In years to come the streets will not forget Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United.
They were sumptuous to watch last season and also picked up some terrific results, eventually finishing just two points behind Arsenal in ninth.
Bielsa and his bucket could not be safer.
Some people are born to sing, dance or act. Sean Dyche was born to keep Burnley in the Premier League.
Dyche’s other-worldly ability to keep the Clarets clear of relegation trouble, despite their meagre, resources does not get enough credit. He has a job for life – even with the club changing ownerships in shady circumstances recently.
At the beginning of last season West Ham were being tipped for relegation and David Moyes was about as popular in the East End as an overcooked pie or an under-seasoned plate of jellied eels.
Come the end of the campaign, though, the Moyesiah had guided the Hammers back into Europe. Barring a complete catastrophe this time out, he should keep his job – although potential new owners might have a different perspective.
Thomas Tuchel has just won the Champions League. At any other club in the world, his job would be safe.
However, this is Chelsea. Start poorly and he will be off by Christmas.
Most people agree that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is making progress at Manchester United.
Saying that, the jury is still out over whether he has the acumen to guide the club he clearly loves to a Premier League or Champions League title.
Solskjaer has again been backed heavily in the transfer market. Any hint that United’s Champions League status is under threat and he might be shown the exit door – despite only just signing a new contract.
Nuno Espirito Santo was not Tottenham’s first choice of manager. In fact, he was barely in their top five…or perhaps 10.
This does not bode well for his long-term job prospects particularly if a certain Mauricio Pochettino finds himself unemployed mid-season and Spurs are struggling. He should be safe for now, though.
Norwich City kept faith with Daniel Farke even when his side were stinking up the Premier League with their rancid defending during the 2019/20 campaign.
They were rewarded for their support too, with Norwich bouncing straight back up last season. Provided their return to the Premier League goes better than last time around, we expect Farke to retain the board’s backing.
Thomas Frank has plenty of credit in the bank, registering close to a 50% winning ratio during his time at Brentford so far.
The Bees ownership also seem pretty level-headed, which should help the Dane keep hold of his job if the waters get choppy. Then again, the allure of Premier League survival can corrupt even the most forgiving of chairmen.
Graham Potter’s stock is extremely high at the moment. From here his career could go one of two ways.
He could end up being poached by a top Premier League side. Alternatively he could get sacked after a winless 10 games for Brighton, joining the likes of Aidy Boothroyd and Garry Monk on the scrapheap of exciting, young English managers who did not fulfil their promise.
8. Bruno Lage
We won’t lie. We had to look up who Wolves’ new manager is. It’s been a long summer okay.
Anyway…Bruno Lage is new to the Premier League and joins a side short of confidence after a draining season.
They have strengthened somewhat in the transfer window but Lage’s job security likely hinges on how well Raul Jimenez bounces back from his horrific head injury. Then again, maybe Fabio Silva will stop getting distracted by his Strokes tribute band and start scoring some goals.
It boggles belief that Steve Bruce is entering his THIRD season in the Newcastle United hotseat.
Results wise, things have gone okay, but the football has made the 2021 Watching Paint Dry Championships look like essential viewing.
Unfortunately for Magpies fans the board are happy as long as Bruce keeps them away from the drop zone, which he’ll probably manage to do yet again.
6. Dean Smith
Aston Villa are a mightily ambitious club with plans to break into the Premier League top six in the not-so-distant future.
Jack Grealish’s departure has not changed that, even though his exit leaves Dean Smith with a huge void to fill. Villa’s attack has flown through their former skipper for the past two seasons and if Smith cannot solve this tactical conundrum he could be in trouble.
Having half the fanbase wishing you weren’t there is never a great way to start out life at a new club.
Combine that with the fact that the Toffees’ marquee signing is Andros Townsend and things really don’t look great for Rafa Benitez. Saying that, if anyone can 1-0 Everton to an eight placed finish, Rafa can.
It’s make or break for Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal this season. The Spaniard has been backed in the transfer market, has no European distractions and has had more than enough time to transmit his message to the squad.
If Arsenal start badly, ‘trusting in the process’ just isn’t going to butter the supporters’ parsnips anymore.
It was not that long ago that Ralph Hasenhuttl was being linked with the Chelsea job and 90min’s very own Sean Walsh was backing Southampton for a seventh-placed finish.
Flash forward to the present and Hasenhuttl has aged about 20 years and Saints are widely expected to go down this term. He’s a good manager but Southampton might be tempted to press the Big Sam button if they are in the relegation zone at Christmas.
Patrick Vieira loves bringing through younger players – which is a surefire way to get sacked if you are a Premier League manager.
Expect to see him back in the television studio before you can say: “when’s Eberechi Eze back again?”
If you are not familiar with Xisco Munoz do not bother learning anything about the latest poor soul to be flung into the Watford managerial meat grinder.
The Pozzo’s will have replaced him with Quique Sanchez Flores by Christmas. We reckon Eddie Howe might end up having a crack of the whip this season too.