The first Premier League manager has already bitten the bullet as Swansea City parted company with Francesco Guidolin. The Swans have endured a poor start to the season, collecting just four points from their opening seven matches, leaving them in 17th and only outside the relegation zone on goal difference.
Former United States national team manager Bob Bradley has been brought in to replace the Italian, who inspired the club’s run to safety last term, but has seen his tenure ended at the Liberty Stadium.
Guidolin was the first to be sacked this season, but he certainly won’t be the last if past campaigns are anything to go by. West Ham are in dire need of a victory in their next contest to ease the growing pressure on Slaven Bilic.
The Hammers are backed in the latest international football betting odds at 5/2 to defeat Crystal Palace on October 22, and a victory would silence the club’s critics following their poor start to the term. Bilic’s men have taken just four points from their opening seven fixtures, the same amount as Swansea, although the Croatian has more credit in the bank than Guidolin after guiding the club to a seventh-place finish last season.
West Ham have struggled at home since their move to the Olympic Stadium, beating only Bournemouth and losing heavily to Watford and Southampton. The Hammers ended a run of four-straight defeats however, in a 1-1 draw against Middlesbrough.
Dimitri Payet showed his first signs of getting back to the form he displayed last season and in Euro 2016 when he weaved through the Boro defence before finding the back of the net. Should the Frenchman get back to his best then his side will have no problem in front of goal, although their failure to sign Alexandre Lacazette over the course of the summer could come back to haunt them.
Bilic’s biggest problem though has been keeping the goals out this term. No team in the Premier League has conceded more than the Hammers’ 17, a run that included shipping four goals apiece against West Bromwich Albion and Watford, with the Baggies especially not renowned for their scoring prowess.
It’s a striking contrast to the days of Sam Allardyce during his tenure as West Ham boss. The supporters grew frustrated by their inability to play attractive football, despite earning respectable results. Now their problems lie with the Croat, who cannot keep them out and has faced questions over his overly-attacking tactics.
The good news for Bilic is that he faces a few favourable fixtures before life gets tougher in November and early December. The two teams below them in the Premier League, Stoke and Sunderland, are the next two visitors to the Olympic Stadium.
Those clubs have endured greater hardship than the Hammers this term, and will offer the opportunity for the East London outfit to get their season on track. Victories in these contests should ease the pressure on Bilic and give his team confidence, although the road ahead still remains tough before Christmas with Tottenham, Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool on the horizon.
It’s a crucial few weeks for West Ham and one that will determine whether they will follow Swansea as the next club to part company with their manager.