Has the grass been greener for the sides who axed their manager?

There have been several manager changes in the league so far this season but which decisions have paid off?

Graham Potter (Chelsea manager) and David Moyes (West Ham manager) at the West Ham United v Chelsea EPL match, at the London Stadium, London, UK on February 11, 2023.

It’s been quite a season for writers of P45s in the Premier League, with no less than eight managers already being let go from their clubs so far. Currently, the bottom half of the table sees just four managers still in place from the start of the season, West Ham’s included.

At a time when a portion of Hammers fans are getting itchy to show David Moyes the exit door, it seems the right time to take a look at how other clubs in the league are getting on with new managers, whether they’ve seen any pickup, or whether actually the grass isn’t always greener with someone else in charge.

Southampton

The Saints are on their third manager of the term. Ralph Hasenhuttl started off the season in charge, having been in place since 2018. But sitting in 18th position with just two wins from 13 wasn’t good enough for the board and he was swiftly replaced. Nathan Jones took over in November and was in charge for just three months before being given the boot. Eight games yielded one win and seven losses, leaving him with just a 12.5% win rate, and the Saints sitting precariously at the bottom of the Premier League table.

It was Jones’ comments that may have caused alarm for his employers. In the Brentford post-defeat press conference described as ‘bizarre’ by many press outlets, he claimed that he had stepped down from Luton, a better ‘pound-for-pound’ club, and that he was statistically one of the best managers in Europe. He added: ‘I’ve listened to people and it’s been to my detriment – I’ve compromised too much. What you’ve seen today, that’s not the way my teams play.’

A dig if ever there was one. Ruben Selles won his first game back in temporary charge, a shock win at Stamford Bridge. 

Bournemouth

Continuing along the south coast, the Cherries showed Scott Parker the door in August after 13 months in the hot seat. He managed the club 55 times in total with a 51% win rate and 1.82 points per game, his best as a manager so far. After sealing automatic promotion to the Premier League last season, the board gave Parker just four games in the league to prove himself. He was sacked whilst in 17th place with one win, three defeats and goal difference of -14.

The final straw was the 9-0 hammering by Liverpool. While that’s a very heavy defeat, it seemed a little knee-jerk to pull the plug on that anomaly. Bournemouth are still in 17th position in the league, so are moving very much sideways since letting Scotty go. His replacement, Gary O’Neill is averaging 0.95 points per game and has since led the club to exits from both domestic cups. He was given the job full time after just three wins out of 11 as caretaker. There’s a lot of head scratching to be done around this managerial change.  

Chelsea

The circumstances surrounding Thomas Tuchel’s dismissal seem to be based around discontent between himself and the board, and himself and the players. This season he managed the team to three wins, two draws and a loss, averaging 1.67 points per game (compared to his overall club average of 2.07 across 99 games).

Chelsea sat in sixth place when Tuchel was let go, and have since gone down to 10th place under Graham Potter who has amassed nine wins out of 23 games, and 1.48 points per game.  It’s fair to say that Chelsea fans have not witnessed an upturn in fortunes since replacing their manager in September.    

Wolves

Wanderers got rid of Bruno Lage in October, with a 2-0 loss at the London Stadium sealing the deal. With four losses, eight games into this season, the club sat in 18th spot. Add this to the end of last season and Wolves had won just one in 15 matches.

Considering Nuno Espirito Santo’s achievements of promotion and consecutive 7th place finishes, Lage had a lot to live up to. And while he had a good run of form to get them within touching distance of a Champions League place in 2022, results this season needed to be on par.

After eight games in charge, Julen Lopetegui has won 50% of them, which is enough to see Wolves clamber up to 15th, so there has been some progress fairly early in his tenure. 

Aston Villa

Steven Gerrard was a strange appointment in the first place, right? He had less than a year in charge and left behind an overall win rate of 32.5% across 40 games. This season, he amassed 0.82 points per game and left Villa in 17th place.

Unai Emery has had 11 games in charge so far and has led them to 11th place and they sit in the top half of the form table across those games. However, that spring in their step has somewhat come to an end, with three defeats on the bounce in the league and being dumped out of the FA Cup by League Two Stevenage.  

Everton

Frank was sacked for being rubbish – Ha! Immature mocking aside, he had a woeful win rate of 27.3% at Everton in his one year in charge. Again, it was defeat to the Hammers that put the nail in his managerial coffin as the Toffees put in another soulless performance.

His side finished four points above the relegation zone last season, and at the time of his sacking they were in 19th place with just 15 points from 20. Sean Dyche has managed two wins out of three so far for Everton, including an impressive win over top-of-the-table Arsenal. The changes at the top are proving to be fruitful for the north-west side, but they still face a tough end to the season.  

Leeds

Firmly sitting in 19th place and at the bottom of the form table over the last 10 games, Leeds really needed to make another change and relieve Jesse Marsch of his duties. If his overall win rate of 29.7% can be considered poor, his win percentage for this season was at 19% at the time of his sacking.

As an aside, Marcelo Bielsa’s total points per game was 1.61, while Marsch notched up 0.9, so it was clear there was a lack of improvement. Javi Gracia has just been introduced so it remains to be seen how much of an impact he can have to get some vital momentum to the end of the season.

But the Yorkshire Post has helpfully worked out that he has a ‘50% new manager bounce’, meaning he has half a chance of winning his first games – literally!

Back to Moyes

David Moyes has had two spells at West Ham, his first yielded a 29% win rate under difficult circumstances. His current rate is 44%. He’s averaging 0.87 points per game this season. Last season we managed 1.47 points per game overall.

We know the team has gone downhill following a season that can be considered an anomaly in modern history. Studying the form table over the last 10 games of the season, the Hammers find themselves 18th, which does improve to 17th if we look at the last five games.

Having looked at the other clubs above, it’s getting harder for new managers to have an instant positive impact. On a scale of Graham Potter to Sean Dyche, it’s pretty hard to predict the clubs that can see quick upturns in results with the number of variables to consider.

Sometimes it’s better the Devil you know, sometimes it’s not – which isn’t a helpful conclusion in deciding how West Ham should go forward, I know.

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