Antonio Conte –
Chelsea’s cyclical nature has ensured a familiar, inevitable demise for Conte.
The board, players and fans have settled into a rhythm of short-termism that now delivers two types of seasons: a Premier League title, or a crisis.
Since the Italian voiced his discontent last summer, each defeat has been billed as the first instalment of an impending catastrophe, because that is what Chelsea do.
It took consecutive three-goal defeats to Bournemouth and Watford to finally make discussions about sacking him fair game.
That said, now is not the time to back the Italian to leave next.
Victory over West Brom has eased the tide, but it is the triple-header against Barcelona, Manchester United and Manchester City later this month that could seal his fate.
Mauricio Pellegrino –
Though Sunday’s listless defeat to Liverpool was a setback, Pellegrino’s prospects look better than a month ago.
Previously unbeaten in six, Southampton redeemed their collapse at Watford in January by holding on to a crucial 3-2 victory at West Brom in their last away game.
The win confirmed a season-long suspicion that the Saints squad is genuinely behind the Spaniard, a view echoed by the board: January signing Guido Carrillo has previously played for Pellegrino.
Such is the hectic nature of the Premier League bottom half that, while things still look ugly, different managers are now under more pressure.
The best value lies elsewhere.
Sam Allardyce –
Everton’s initial improvement under Sam Allardyce has faded.
The 63-year-old is not on the same wavelength as the club’s hierarchy, as shown by his declaration that he is unable to field summer signings Gylfi Sigurdsson and Wayne Rooney together, before disputing the departure of Ademola Lookman to RB Leipzig.
Yet airing his view that Arsenal are defensively weak, only to watch his own side crumble to a 5-1 defeat at the Emirates, was the most gratuitous of all his denouncements.
His post-match assertion that his side’s season is already a “write off” proved beyond doubt that the Toffees have no clear identity or direction, other than scraping together the points required to stay up.
While it would be a surprise if they did anything before the end of the season, the Everton board might not want to once again miss out on the currently out-of-work Marco Silva, who they tried and failed to appoint before Allardyce in November.
Alan Pardew –
Pardew’s price to go next is big, considering that West Brom’s league record has worsened rather than improved since he succeeded Tony Pulis at the Hawthorns.
The Baggies did win three matches in January – their first victories since August – but two of them were in the FA Cup.
Home defeat to Southampton – winless on the road since September – will concern the Albion board, particularly after the in-form Jay Rodriguez was dropped to accommodate Daniel Sturridge. And Monday night’s defeat at Chelsea left them seven points from safety, with Sturridge hobbling off injured.
There is little chance that the club hierarchy will sit tight and watch the 56-year-old sink West Brom into the Championship.
Huddersfield visit The Hawthorns on 24 February for a game that could prove decisive.