Claudio Ranieri did the impossible last season by leading Leicester City to an improbable first place finish in the English Premier League. Armed with a tiny budget and light-weight players, Ranieri outwitted all of the big names in England and clinched the league title.
Shocking as his victory was last season, the spectacular fall this season is even more so.
As if bent on undoing all that was done and achieved in the glorious season, the side can not catch a break right now as they continue to lose games with reckless abandon. A two-nil defeat (at home) to Everton on Boxing Day made it nine defeats in 18 games for the club. They presently occupy 16th position with only three points above the relegation zone.
The things that stood them out last season have all now disappeared. Home wins are as rare as working ATM in most Nigerian states except Lagos, defence is one of the worst in the league (with 31 goals already conceded), and attack is a shadow of what it was last season with Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez both enduring a terrible run of form.
Although things are slightly tempered by a decent Champions League group stage campaign, the collapse in the league now presents a fresh worry that not only means they won’t be featuring in the elite club competition next season, but also in England’s first division.
Ranieri will have little excuse given that bar Kante (who represents a huge loss, to be fair) the club kept the bulk of the players that won the league and added more legs for variation and depth. Objective for the tinker man this season was never to replicate the feats of the previous one but to secure a mid-table position or at most, a slot for the Champions League’s ugly sister. Results simply haven’t matched expectations or investment.
Given his deserved god-like status in the City of Leicester, will Ranieri ever be made to genuinely worry about his job as the manager of the club? Will Leicester City ever get to the point where they would consider enough being enough and make a move to secure the future of the club? Questions, questions, questions.
And while we are trying to find an answer to that, here are other managers who definitely have to worry about their jobs:
For this guy, things can not get any worse. Thrown in the deep to salvage things and deliver immediate result in a league and country that he knows nothing about; the American has to battle opponents on the field and himself in conferences to say the “right” things and not piss off journos and fans.
No need telling that Swansea City have gotten worse under his watch and if things continue in this direction, the owners of the club might have to make another managerial choice. One only hopes that this time, it’s not someone from Azerbaijan who calls penalty – ‘pikachu’.
Riding on fumes of the fire he’s set off in the past, Bilic is at the edge at West Ham United. His trademark big wins and steady defence have both gone missing this season with the club managing only six wins in 18 games and have conceded 32 league goals already (even more than Leicester City).
West Ham have big ambitions, as seen with the change of venue, and Bilic has to prove fast again that he can deliver them otherwise, he won’t need to be Don Jazzy or Wande Coal to hear ‘the kick’.
This guy has turned a club that wins the league routinely on Valentine’s day to one that cannot see out games against Guingamp. Laurent Blanc must be somewhere laughing his head off right now because he was sacked for winning just the league and not delivering in Europe only to be replaced by a guy that is on the back-foot in the league title race to Nice and Monaco.
PSG’s league dominance is under serious threat and they are not faring any better in Europe. A second-place group stage finish after a last game collapse to Ludogrets handed the French side Barcelona in the round of 16 and everyone, except Emery, knows that is as far as they would go. He surely cannot sleep with both eyes closed.
It is one thing to lose out in a race to Bayern, it is another to fail to pick up any win in three straight games against Cologne, Hoffenheim and Augsburg despite possessing one of the best attacks in Europe’s top five leagues. Bayern are having an unusual sloppy season but Dortmund’s inconsistency has prevented them from taking any advantage.
“We’ve lost our threat and made insanely simple mistakes,” Thomas Tuchel said after the club’s 1-1 draw against Augsburg and unless he returns the threat and fix the insanely simple mistakes, Dortmund will lose another thing: their manager.
Article written by ‘Shina Peter, follow him on Twitter – @Shina_Pitta