After the 14 round of fixtures we only have had one axe drop. With Steve Bruce officially off of this list, let’s see who the pressure is mounting on (love this phrase) in this week’s Wednesday’s Wielding the Axe candidates (in club alphabetical order, not sack order):
Blackburn Rovers’ Steve Kean
Kean scored a huge win at home against Swansea. Wait, shouldn’t Blackburn actually count on points from fixtures like this? Well in Kean’s case this was a massive win and he owes Yakubu a steak dinner (which he will gladly take him up on). According to my prediction, the 3 points in the bag allows Kean to only needs 2 more from the next two matches to avoid the axe for now. With a revitalized Sunderland at the Stadium of Light with Martin O’Neill at the helm, the Rovers may find the going tough. West Brom at home in the fixture after looks like the make or break game for Kean.
That one win moves them up to 10 points, only one point away from moving out of the relegation zone. Sunderland (A), West Brom (H), and Bolton (H), Kean has a run of matches where points may be gained. Here is where he either proves his worth, or his worthlessness. I still lack faith and am keeping the sack week the same.
Estimated sack week: 16
Bolton’s Owen Coyle
Coyle is not new to the list, but found a bit of reprieve with the current events of some high profile managers making the news. Now is the time for the Wanders to sound the alarm. Coyle may have bought himself an extra couple of weeks with Gary Cahill’s red card debacle writing off the Tottenham loss. However, he is under the microscope for sure. How could you not be sitting 19th in the table with only 9 points and 11 losses? I like Coyle, and he isn’t having the best run of luck this year, but Bolton look like a ghost of the team from last year. With Cahill most likely moving on in the winter, “no money” Bolton’s future looks bleak, and the manager is usually a casualty.
Sitting second from bottom, every match is important. Villa (H), Fulham (A), and Blackburn (A), Coyle faces an interesting run of matches. Difficult on paper, Coyle still needs to secure points or the pressure will become unbearable, even for owners that don’t particularly care.
Estimated sack week: 26
Chelsea’s Andre Villas-Boas
AVB has gotten two of the three victories needed to relieve the pressure that was gaining momentum. A solid victory at St. James’ Sports Direct Arena Park.com has seen them leap frog Newcastle in the table. A Champions League victory at home against Valencia sees them progress to the knock out stage as group winners. Next up is a huge test as they welcome Manchester City to Stamford Bridge. While AVB has had a very nice week, you can still sense a bit of tension among the Blues’ faithful. The confidence/no-confidence pendulum swings at a rapid rate at Chelsea, and I still believe that only victory at home this Sunday will completely ease the pressure.
Now sitting in 4th, Chelsea again have an important set of matches coming up against two clubs ahead of them in the table. Manchester City (H), Wigan (A), and Tottenham (A), are up for Chelsea and either allows for a quick and established climb up the table, or more distance created at the top. The latter will see AVB pull a facial muscle.
Estimated sack week: 38
Wigan’s Roberto Martinez
How can you not put the bottom team’s manager on this list? I guess you have to, even though in scouring the news, I haven’t found much dissatisfaction with Martinez. Probably because Wigan is resolute on finishing at the bottom and having Martinez managing them in the Championship. I have no idea what this does to our list, but it is really hard to get a read on what is happening at the DW. My guess is that Martinez finishes out the season there, no matter what the form of the Lactics is.
The next three matches for Wigan include a trip to West Brom, a visit from Chelsea, and then hosting Liverpool. Not sure if any of these matches will make or break Martinez, but if they put up a doughnut on this stretch, someone has to complain right?
Estimated sack week: No idea
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