Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solksjaer won’t be the first manager sacked this season. That dubious “honor” fell to Watford’s Javi Gracia over the weekend. However, unless he starts winning consistently, it won’t be long until Solskjaer finds himself really feeling the heat.
The bookmakers see him as the second most likely manager to be the next man out, behind only Tottenham Hotspur’s Mauricio Pochettino. The Norwegian is typically priced at 10/1 while Pochettino’s going rate on the getting sacked betting market is 7/10. Of course, these are two very different situations, despite the fact that both teams are falling short of expectations.
Over the course of his Spurs career, Pochettino has been a miracle worker, leading Tottenham to the Champions League final last season, and two seasons in which his side was the last team standing between the eventual league champions and their inevitable glory. He did it all despite minimal support in the transfer market, andthe Argentine has repeatedly made public his frustrations about that.
Pochettino finally got financial support this past summer, but hasn’t done anything with it as the club sits in ninth place this international break.Some of his team selection decisions have been baffling.
He’s openly hinted at considering the idea of leaving, so if he does get sacked it could be one of those supposed “mutually parted ways” arrangements. Solskjaer, on the other hand, is very happy to be where he is as this is certainly his dream job.
And he got off to a Disney movie start, winning at will while under the “interim manager” label. Once that caretaker boss title was removed, the team started tanking and have remained down since.
United’s draw at Southampton in their last game means that they have now dropped points in their last eight straight away from Old Trafford across all competitions. Being unable to cinch a victory, while up a man for the final 17 minutes plus injury time, is simply inexcusable.
The result at St. Mary’s also gave United only five points from their first four matches, the club’s worst start since 1992-93. They have also won just three times in their last 16 going back to last season.
That’s simply unacceptable at United, a club with unparalleled resources that resides in rarified air when it comes to tradition.According to a study that came out on Tuesday,United’s roster is the fourth most expensive in all of world football.
Although it would certainly help Solskjaer if the board couldfinally get their act together on the hiring a Football Director front.
Despite all the jettisoning of the deadwood, they still have tons of talent so there is no excuse for them to be closer to mid-table than to the top.
Heading into the next game, against third place Leicester City on Saturday,United have a slew of injury/fitness concernsand a seven point gap already between themselves and the top of the table.
Their problems are multiple,but converting chances into points is the most pressing issue. They can control games,but just can’t finish.
Things have gotten so bad in the final third that they’re not even half-kiddingabout the idea of bringing Zlatan Ibrahimovic back.
You also have one player, Nemanja Matic who was a favorite of Jose Mourinho’s,speaking out against OGS’ team selection decisions.
Although it’s just one player so far, mutiny against the manager is never a good thing. And of course the real problem here isn’t OGS as much as it isExecutive Vice President Ed Woodward, but that is another discussion entirely.
United is probably a better team than how they appear in the results thus far, but at the end of the day, like legendary former NFL coach Bill Parcells popularized: “you are your record.”
Paul M. Banks runsThe Sports Bank.net, which is partnered withNews Now.Banks, the author of“No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly appears onWGN CLTVand co-hosts the“Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcastonSB Nation.