The Premier League sees managers come and go quite often in the first half of the season, but rarely do you see a sacking this close to the conclusion of one. Of course, there are times when your season needs saving and you bring a new manager in to revitalize what has been a poor start/middle, but that’s exactly what West Bromwich Albion were hoping to do when they hired Alan Pardew on November 29th.
Pardew was sacked by relegation threatened West Brom on Monday after eight straight defeats coming from teams like Huddersfield, Southampton, Bournemouth and most recently Burnley. Really, the only shining light of Pardew’s tenure as West Brom boss was the 3-2 FA Cup win over Liverpool in January. Since then, they haven’t won a game.
It’s never easy for a relegation threatened club to entice a “big” manager to come to their club and save them, but West Brom surely didn’t have to settle for Alan Pardew, the meme of the Premier League.
After West Brom’s senior players were involved in a taxi scandal in Barcelona earlier this year, the Baggies have actually stolen
more taxi’s than they have won Premier League games in 2018.
This scandal wasn’t exactly a breaking point, however. Pardew had only managed to win one game in the Premier League as the West Brom boss, so stealing a taxi at 5:30 a.m. is just the icing on the cake of what has been a ridiculously bad season on and off the field.
On the same trip, Pardew lost his wallet and phone on a night out, presumably pissed up trying to raise morale in a squad that had already turned on him and was questioning his authority.
Two of the senior players involved in taxi-gate were in the squad for the FA Cup defeat against Southampton, showing Pardew’s complete lack of spine. Later when they lost the Leicester in the Premier League, Grzegorz Krychowiak told him to “fuck off” as he was substituted after a decent first half performance.
It’s surprising that Pardew had even lasted this long. News came out a month ago that the only reason he hadn’t yet been sacked was because no other manager was interested in the job, followed by the club’s new Chief Executive saying that there was “no more money for wages.”
Now, none of this is exactly Pardew’s fault (other than just being a dreadful manager). A lot of the blame must be put on the previous Chief Executive of the club along with former manager Tony Pulis, who nearly doubled the wage bill at West Brom, buying players that simply were not good enough for the Premier League and paying them top six wages.
The 2-1 loss to Burnley wasn’t the worst of the many losses they endured during his tenure, but it was the straw that broke the camel’s back, and with just six games to go in the Premier League, caretaker manager Darren Moore has a massive job on his hands. Three of the six games come against Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham. Enjoy Brentford away!
A bit further up the M6, Manchester United and Manchester City both gained three points from Swansea City and Everton respectively, setting up one of the most highly anticipated Manchester Derby’s of recent years.
Both teams winning means that if Manchester City beat United this weekend, they will regain the Premier League title against their bitter rivals at the Etihad Stadium.
Failure to do so will just delay Manchester City’s celebrations till the following week when they play Tottenham away, or failing that, when they welcome Swansea to the Etihad on 4/22.
It is an inevitability that Manchester City will win the title at this point, but a win would be much sweeter at home and against their neighbors.
City have put together a title winning team that plays like they all grew up together. Pep Guardiola deserves a huge amount of credit for getting the team to play the way they are, although hundreds of millions of dollars have gone in to making it happen.
The modern game will be played this way for the foreseeable future, and teams will have to catch up or see themselves get left behind by the Manchester Cities and Uniteds of the world.
Presumably already planning their Summer business, both teams will be looking to improve heavily. City will want to carry their momentum in to the 18/19 season and hope to extend their dominance, while United will be looking for consistency in performances next season, with the fans screaming out for attacking football, especially after the loss to Sevilla in the Champions League.
Whatever happens at the weekend, we can be sure that we’ll eventually see Manchester City lifting the Premier League title again (barring a complete meltdown), and the race for the top four will continue on, but with eight points between Chelsea in 5th and Tottenham in 4th, it may not be long till we draw the curtains on that too.
Relegation is still a huge possibility from 13th place downwards, with Stoke City and West Brom being the two favorites to go down first, which will leave a scramble in the last couple weeks for survival with Brighton, West Ham, Swansea, Huddersfield, Crystal Palace and Southampton all still involved.
Wake up bright and early on Saturday for a double-derby day, with Everton playing Liverpool before the big one between City and United later.
Ryan Oldham is a Manchester native and a lifelong supporter of Manchester United. He knows far more about English Premier League football than you do, and therefore was selected to write a weekly update on the most popular professional sports league in the world. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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