Monday Oct 23, 2017 saw the sacking of Ronald Koeman as manager of Everton after a run of only 2 wins in 13 matches, after finishing 7th last season, a run which left them bottom of their Europa League group with little to no chance of qualifying for the knock out stages, and also slip into the relegation places in the Premier League after their abject 5-2 defeat by Arsenal at Goodison Park on Sunday. After spending in the region of GBP 150 million in the summer transfer window, there were high expectations for Everton this season, but their current position sees them facing an uphill struggle, with a need to balance the side and accommodate some of their high profile signings, at the same time as trying to nurture and bring through some of their young players. They also need to fix the problem of not having replaced Romelu Lukaku, sold to Manchester United, with another goal scorer.
Several high profile names have been associated with the new managerial appointment, and several others have expressed their interest in taking up the role, but temporary caretaker, long term Everton servant as both player and coach, David Unsworth, is hoping to stake his claim for the position by collecting a number of wins or points won whilst he is in charge.
Leicester City showed an immediate improvement in results after the sacking of manager Craig Shakespeare with a 2-1 win at Swansea under caretaker manager Michael Appleton and, despite much speculation, named a new manager, Claude Puel, on a 3 year contract on Thursday after having departed the manager’s role at Southampton in the summer and has not working with another side since.
With 3 EPL clubs having already changed manager before reaching the 10th game of the season, it seems certain that more clubs will do the same, most likely in the next 6 weeks, prior to the busy Christmas period, which is followed by the January transfer window.
It appears that the new era of foreign owners has brought with it a mix of fixation on money, and a fear of dropping out of the lucrative division. This is leading to even shorter periods of patience with a manager regarding time to achieve results, and somewhat limited perspective of the realities of the competition in which they participate,
the realities of what is required to achieve the results that they demand, and the abilities of the players in their respective squads set against their hopes of playing an attractive style of football. Some of the owners in the less fashionable, smaller northern cities are perhaps more likely to stick with an incumbent, realising that although they might achieve a respectable league position most seasons, there might be some seasons when a run of bad results, injuries, or suspensions may lead to them having to survive a difficult period before recovering or, in the odd season, leading to relegation.
Tuesday’s meeting of EPL clubs about the division of international rights was abandoned without any new agreement being reached, with the ‘big six’ of Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City and United, and Spurs, failing to convince enough of the others to agree to basing the distribution on table position rather than evenly. Only 3 other clubs have so far agreed, whilst a total of 14 is required to carry the change.
Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, and Manchester United all went through to the next round of the Carabou Cup, knocking out Norwich, Everton, Wolves, and Swansea, though Spurs exited after losing a 2 goal lead to West Ham. Teams such as Crystal Palace were knocked out, several fielding fringe players in order to see whether they could convince their respective managers to give them a starting position in their EPL team. After yet another fiasco of a draw for the Carabou Cup, the delayed draw managed to keep the big 4 remaining in the competition, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United, apart, and pairing them with Bournemouth, Bristol City, Leicester City and West Ham.
Matches next week
The Premier League continues next weekend (Nov 4, 5, 6) with Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge, Everton entertaining Watford at Goodison Park, Huddersfield hosting West Bromwich at the John Smith Stadium, Newcastle entertaining Bournemouth at St James Park, Southampton hosting Burnley at St Mary’s Stadium, Stoke City entertaining Leicester City in the derby at the Bet 365 Stadium, Swansea hosting Brighton at the Liberty Stadium, Spurs entertaining Crystal Palace in the derby at Wembley, and West Ham hosting Liverpool at the London Stadium.
Allan Jackson has been involved in soccer for more than 40 years as a player, referee, administrator and freelance writer.