Sack Race: Pressure increasing on LvG, Monk on the brink

Date published: Tuesday 8th December 2015 9:20

Louis van Gaal: United face test in Wolfsburg

Louis van Gaal: United face test in Wolfsburg

Swansea are expected to axe Garry Monk imminently, while the pressure is increasing on Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal, all in the latest sack race.

1. Garry Monk (NM)

Has he had the email yet?

Monk is on the brink and expected to go anytime. The Swans are believed to be holding talks about his future and according to several press reports former boss Brendan Rodgers is the man they want to replace him.

Monk is as short as 1/10 to go and clinging on to his job in south Wales, but the 26-year-old has said he will not quit, but it looks almost inevitable he will be gone by the end of the week. He has admitted he is struggling and he did mention relegation – after last week refusing to accept they were in a battle to survive.

“It is a precarious situation where we are getting dragged close to the relegation places,” said Monk, whose men are just one point clear of the drop zone.

David Moyes has also been linked with the job, but it is understood the former Everton and Man Utd boss is not interested in succeeding Monk, but Brendan certainly will be.

Swansea have only won once – against fellow strugglers Aston Villa – since the August success against Man Utd and face Man City up next at The Etihad. So it certainly is not getting any easier for Monk, who at 36 might just be getting one or two dissenting voices in the dressing room challenging his philosophy.

Why exactly did Michael Laudrup get sacked? And by email too.

2. Jose Mourinho (↑1)

We’re told by a few of the tabloids that Jose Mourinho will try and spend his way out of trouble in January, but in truth Roman Abramovich is such a closed book all the speculation is guess work. The fact that Mourinho is still employed would suggest that the Russian tycoon is behind the Portuguese tactician.

They have made their worst start to a Premier League season in history and have already kissed their title chances goodbye and after Saturday’s 1-0 home defeat by Bournemouth can it get any worse? Probably not, but they had been showing the green shoots of revival before Glenn Murray’s disputed late winner saw them beaten for the eighth time this season – only two sides have lost more.

Mourinho

The tabloids believe he will be able to spend in January with a striker and possibly a central defender on his shopping list, but will he be afforded the freedom of bringing in who he wants or will Abramovich hand technical director Michael Emenalo do the hiring?

3. Steve McClaren (↓1)

Dropped a place and bought himself some time with a hard-earned win over Liverpool.

4. Alex Neil (NM)

= Remi Garde (NM)

6. Eddie Howe (NM)

= Louis van Gaal (↑5)

The Dutchman has remarkably been under little pressure this season despite Manchester United’s underwhelming form, but that could all change if United are dumped out of the Champions League in the group stage. They face Wolfsburg tonight and they need a win to ensure their progress, while anything else could see them eliminated.

Van Gaal, who has moved up 10 places in the ladder in two weeks, said this weekend that United could not win the Champions League this season, but was that a clever ploy to dampen down expectations or refreshing honesty?

While after the goalless draw with West Ham at the weekend – United’s sixth goalless draw of the season – Van Gaal was perplexed by the Stretford End’s chants of “attack, attack, attack”.

“I don’t understand that they (the fans) are shouting, ‘Attack, attack, attack,’ because we are the attacking team and not West Ham. That’s not only today, it’s in every game,” said a bemused Van Gaal. That would be fair to comprehend had United battered the Hammers, but they managed just one shot on target and Slaven Bilic’s team were well worth their point despite just 37 per cent possession and United fans well justified in their desire to see a home team attack.

man u
The fans appeared divided over Van Gaal’s tenure, but if they fail in Lower Saxony his detractors may well be in the majority and the heat will definitely be on. It would leave all Van Gaal’s eggs in the domestic basket and considering their recent displays of late that would be a concern.

A top-four finish is the minimum requirement for Van Gaal. A run to the Champions League semis or further and or an FA Cup win would be a bonus and would of course help his cause, but a finish outside of the top four, in a league which is wide open, would surely be the end of the Van Gaal. Still, that possibility is months away and there are definitely more likely contenders out there.

= Sam Allardyce (↑5)

= Manuel Pellegrini (↑11)

The Man City boss is the biggest mover of the weekend after his injury-hit side were sent packing at Stoke. The weekend papers were full of talk that Manchester United would not rival City for the signature of Pep Guardiola, who is leaving Bayern at the end of the season. But that may well be a little bit premature and although City were dreadful in the 2-0 defeat at The Britannia, Pellegrini can point to the injuries to Vincent Kompany, Sergio Aguero and Pablo Zabaleta as key factors in the poor showing.

David Silva returned after a two-month absence but was more than a little ring rusty, but he will surely lift them once he gets back up to full speed and only a finish outside the top four will see an end to Pellegrini before the end of the season.

10. No Manager to Leave (↑3)

11. Quique Flores (↓3)

= Ronald Koeman (↓2)

= Tony Pulis (↓1)

= Mark Hughes (NM)

= Mauricio Pochettino (NM)

= Slaven Bilic  (NM)

= Alan Pardew (NM)

18. Roberto Martinez (↓1)

= Arsene Wenger (↓1)

20. Claudio Ranieri (NM)

= Jurgen Klopp (NM)

Even a 2-0 defeat at lowly Newcastle cannot shift Kloppy from bottom spot.

Matthew Briggs

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