Being a manager of a football team these days isn’t easy.
With constant scrutiny and criticism of every decision that they make, one could feel as though they deserve a break. However, for these four managers, 2021 could be their last year in their current jobs if they are unable to reverse the current form of their respective sides.
Here are the four managers who may be out of a job in 2021.
1. Mikel Arteta-Arsenal
Arteta has overseen the Gunners’ worst start to a season since the 1974/75 campaign in which the North London club narrowly avoided relegation, eventually finishing in sixteenth. While many of the problems at the club have been inherited rather than manufactured by the former Arsenal midfielder, he has not helped himself with some of his decision making throughout the course of this season.
Arteta immediately put himself under pressure by exiling Mesut Ozil at the start of the season. The German’s shock exclusion from Arsenal’s Premier league squad has come back to haunt Arteta, with Arsenal scoring a measly 16 goals in the same number of games this season. With strikers like Aubameyang and Lacazette, Arsenal have some of the most sought after firepower in the league to score on demand but they have quite simply not had the chances to do so this season. A major reason as to why this is the case is Arsenal’s most creative player not being included in the managers plans.
The Spaniard has also failed to get the best out of his players this season. Despite possessing attacking stars such as Willian, Pepe, Aubameyang and Lacazette, Arteta has failed to find a system of play that benefits his attackers. If the former Gunners’ midfielder is unable to find a formation that produces these players’ best form, Arsenal’s struggles will continue and despite recent wins against Chelsea, Brighton and West Brom, Arteta’s position may become untenable if Arsenal do not improve their domestic performance sooner rather than later.
2. Ronald Koeman-Barcelona
The former Barcelona and Dutch great is feeling the heat at the Spanish giants. The Catalan side made their worst start to the season when they accumulated a dreadfully low tally of 14 points from their opening ten games of the La Liga season.
Despite a promising start to the campaign, Barca have suffered embarrassing defeats to Getafe and Cádiz on top of disappointing losses to fellow title-contenders Atletico Madrid and arch-rivals Real Madrid. With five wins from five in their Champions League group, Koeman seemed as though he could look to European competition for some much-needed respite. However, a crushing 0-3 defeat at home to Juventus and Cristiano Ronaldo meant that Barca threw away top spot and now face a daunting last 16 tie with PSG and former player Neymar.
While Koeman has turned the tide in his favour following two consecutive victories against Athletic Bilbao and Huesca, leaving Barcelona third in the table, failure to mount a serious title challenge and elimination from the Champions League at the hands of French champions PSG may spell the end of a brief stint in charge of the five-time champions of Europe for Koeman.
3. Frank Lampard-Chelsea
Another former player struggling to stamp his mark on the club. Lampard successfully guided Chelsea into this year’s Champions League having secured fourth in last season’s Premier League. It’s been downhill for the Chelsea legend since then, however. A 2-1 defeat to Arteta’s Arsenal in the FA Cup final at the end of last season meant that the wait will go on for a first trophy of Lampard’s managerial career.
This season has been plighted with inconsistency for the London outfit. After spending £222 million in the summer, Chelsea looked set to mount a serious challenge to Liverpool and Manchester City’s dominance in recent years. Much to the dismay of Chelsea supporters, that has not been the case at all. Lampard’s star-studded side currently languish in 9th position, level on points with West Ham. They trail leaders Liverpool by seven points and are not yet out of the title race, but if they do not improve their form soon Lampard may find himself on the end of the sack by his beloved Chelsea.
4. Neil Lennon-Celtic
Coincidentally, another former player turned manager finds himself under pressure. The Bhoys came into the season on the cusp of achieving their tenth consecutive Scottish title. Unfortunately, it’s gone terribly wrong for Lennon’s side and they look set to relinquish their title to their bitter Glasgow rivals Rangers.
19 points behind Steven Gerrard’s side after their narrow 1-0 defeat to The Gers on Saturday, Celtic’s season has been marred by fan protests outside Celtic Park and a string of disappointing results both domestically and on the European stage. The former European Cup winners managed only one victory in their Europa League group as they finished rock bottom of the table on four points. They crashed out of the Scottish League Cup at the hands of Ross County and failure to get back into the title race may see Lennon’s second spell in charge of hoops come to an abrupt end.
Other managers who may be in trouble in 2021
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer-Manchester United
Chris Houghton-Nottingham Forest
Zinedine Zidane-Real Madrid