Under pressure, Premier League managers are hoping for Christmas merriment

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London (AFP)

West Brom’s dismissal of Slaven Bilic last week made him his first managerial departure in the Premier League season six years after it took Cardiff City 18 games to replace Neil Warnock in 2014.

The next shift may not long follow with a few bosses who have serious questions about their future.

AFP Sport is looking at three bosses who could do something Christmas merry:

Arteta to banish the blues

The success of Mikel Arteta’s FA Cup last season and then the victory over Liverpool at Community Shield suggest that the turbulent period for Arsenal under his predecessor Unai Emery has calmed down.

However, embarking on a tough home clash with high-ranking London rival Chelsea on Saturday, the bright new dawn has blurred and the future of the former gunner captain after just over a year at the helm is questionable.

The 38-year-old Spaniard has been watching his worst start since the 1974/75 season – they scored just 12 goals – and lie just four points above the relegation zone.

There is a lot of talk about the darkness around the club, that the board has inserted clauses in the players’ salary reduction contracts, if they are first evicted since 1912/13 when they were known as Woolwich Arsenal.

Areta will hope the board will keep their faith and listened to the main defense of their former Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola after the Gunners lost to them 4-1 in the League Cup on Tuesday.

“It’s only a matter of time and he will do well. Football changes in one week are so fast,” Guardiola said.

Bruce to take the magpies

Steve Bruce knows all about the ups and downs of football management, especially after Newcastle’s disappointing exit from the League Cup from the quarter-finals in the hands of second division side Brentford.

The Magpies look quite comfortable in 12th place in the table.

However, by traveling to Manchester City on Saturday and then welcoming the Liverpool champions a few days later, the eight points separating them from the relegation zone could be diminished, such is the volatility of this campaign.

Bruce, 59, is believed to enjoy the support of magpie owner Mike Ashley, but there is growing dissatisfaction among fans who, in addition to seeing a chance for the trophy to disappear, are not at all happy with the unimaginative style of play.

Bruce was not helped by the loss of two influential players, captain Jamaal Lascelles and French star Allan Saint-Maximin, both of whom are suffering the effects of Covid-19.

Bruce said after the defeat by Brentford that he did not lose the locker room, although that was not the most convincing answer.

“Do the players play for me? I think they play,” he said.

“They may not play well enough, but it’s not without effort and determination.”

The final cut for Blades’ Wilder

Bilic could scratch his head when the first manager was fired when he compares notes with Chris Wilder of Sheffield United.

The Blades board showed wonderful gratitude and restraint in keeping the faith with the 53-year-old Englishman, despite collecting only two points this season – the worst start in the history of the Premier League.

Wilder lives from the currency acquired by leading Sheffield United to the Premier League and then ninth place in the last term.

Wilder has a tough test at home with Everton on Saturday, but the board’s patience could break if he fails to secure points at Burnley on Tuesday.

The defeat by Manchester United with 3: 2, and then the draw with the fighting Brighton gave hope to Wilder.

“If we don’t show that right attitude, we make a toast – we understand that, so it won’t happen,” he said.

“At least there’s a little light at the end of the tunnel after the last two games.”

Schedule (initial GMT)

Saturday

Leicester – Man Utd (1230), Arsenal – Chelsea (1730), Manchester City – Newcastle (2000), Aston Villa – Crystal Palace (1500), Fulham – Southampton (1500), Sheffield United – Everton (2000)

Sunday

Leeds – Burnley (1200), Liverpool – West Brom (1630), Wolves – Tottenham Hotspur (19150, West Ham – Brighton (1415))

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