Significant names

1) Mauricio Pellegrino -


Southampton sacked Claude Puel for all the right reasons.

Yet where can the Saints say that the appointment of Mauricio Pellegrino has got them in their ambitious drive for continuous improvement?

This season, they have scored fewer goals, conceded more, won less, lost more, got fewer points and – in a supposed show of ambition – held on to their wantaway best player only to lose him in January.

Though not entirely his fault, Pellegrino is likely to be sacrificed before the threat of relegation becomes something more sinister.

The New Year vote of confidence from his board achieves little other than confirming that the pressure is on.

Defeat at Watford on Saturday could prove terminal.

2) Marco Silva -


Silva’s ruthlessness is both endearing and disenchanting to supporters and, presumably, employers.

When the Watford side he has produced are at their best, they are merciless in their energy, doggedness and skill, banging on the door and finally knocking it down to claim vital points against Swansea, West Brom and Arsenal early in the season.

Yet the Portuguese’s flirtation with Everton in November tells the story of a head coach whose sole motivation is, ultimately, himself, which is fine when results are good, but damaging when things go badly.

That episode with the Toffees will not have amused Watford’s autonomous board, particularly when the man who has revealed he 'expects' them to deliver new players this month has overseen a run of 10 defeats in 14 league matches.

The Hornets should, of course, not part with one of the game’s best young coaches, but that Silva is now the second-favourite to leave his post next is not as surprising as it may seem.

3) Alan Pardew -


Newcastle lost just four of their first 13 matches when they appointed Alan Pardew in 2010, beating Liverpool in their first home game.

In 2015, Pardew led a Crystal Palace side on an eight-match winless run to 10 victories in his first 15 games in charge.

That success at St James’ Park was, to some extent, maintained for a while, but neither team’s form was ever much better than in that initial burst.

All of which is a mighty cause for concern for West Brom, who will have relied on Pardew’s laddish charm to revitalise a stale dressing room in the short-term, but have only seen their winless run extend from 12 to 20 league games.

Pardew has not delivered on what defines him as a Premier League manager, so either he or his board must make a change.

With away games at Everton, Liverpool and Manchester City in the next four, the latter is not the worst bet.

5) Jose Mourinho -


Mourinho won’t leave Manchester United until, at the earliest, the end of the season – so isn’t worth placing big money on – but the striking drop in his price is significant.

Various reports have equated his current predicament to fast-forwarding a year in his standard three-year management cycle.

The 54-year-old’s blame game – players, supporters, board, referees, pundits – is reminiscent of his third seasons at Real Madrid and Chelsea, when he had already delivered a second-season title.

That the same success is not imminent, or even particularly close, at Old Trafford must concern the United hierarchy, particularly when the current trajectory of the Mourinho-Guardiola rivalry will only see the latter pull further clear.

With a vacancy at PSG set to open up, this could all come crashing down pretty quickly.

A 16/1 punt says that every other club sits tight until the summer, and that United then act first.

16) Roy Hodgson -


Hodgson would shy away from defining the safety act he is orchestrating at Selhurst Park as anything like redemption.

But an internal punch of satisfaction must accompany his outward delight with every Premier League win he delivers for Crystal Palace.

The former Liverpool boss was wrongly categorised as a boring England manager: indeed, should the national team enjoy success in Russia, he would deserve credit for selecting and persevering with several members of the team’s youthful core.

And the same blueprint has worked wonders at Selhurst Park.

At 70, plenty suggested Hodgson was simply too world-weary to find the intensity and spark required in a relegation battle.

Yet the team he has produced – accentuating the strengths of Andros Townsend (again) and Wilfried Zaha – pride themselves on precisely those qualities, and ensures that Arsene Wenger is likelier to lose his job next than him.