It’s getting to that time of year when bad teams have passed the arbitrary point where the media believe they have a good enough sample size to make pronouncements about sackings and sacks and firings and pink slips and P45s and whatever. Also, the news is awash in rumours and skipped training sessions, so now would be a good time to break down the leading contenders in order of likelihood to see their careers destroyed for a month or two.

1. Mark Hughes

The Record: Career record at QPR is 34 played, 8 wins, 8 draws, and 20 losses, with a win percentage of 23.53%. QPR’s 2012-13 season record in the Premier League is 0-4-8. This is some record considering owner Tony Fernandes’ impressive investment, albeit one that seemed to take into account nationality as much as skill.

The Media Narrative: Oooh boy is the football establishment gagging for a Hughes sacking. The Daily Mail leads the charge, with reports the former Manchester City boss missed QPR’s training session today. And, ever important, QPR lost to their relegation rivals in Southampton, always the surest sign of an impending metaphorical axe falling on someone’s neck.

The Google Search Results:





The Current Betting Odds: Hughes leads the way in betting aggregates, with almost all shortening, around 4/1.

The Verdict: Sacked in the morning! Or maybe later this week, I don’t know.

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2. Nigel Adkins

The Record: Adkins career at Southampton total is 113 played, 64 wins, 20 draws and 29 losses for win percentage of 56.4. However, Adkins Premier League total is a giant pile of turds in the shape of Ls (prospective sports writers take note of that): Southampton have started with a record of 2-2-8. Classic example of the little upstart club that didn’t make enough changes in the off-season? Outside of picking up Jay Rodriguez from Burnley for 6 million pounds and £12 million for Gaston Ramirez, it’s not certain Southampton were aware of what they were getting into this year.

The Media Narrative: Pretty magnanimous, consdiring SoHo beat their drop zone buddies QPR last weekend. The Sun has a little puff piece on him, but most papers are now backing off after practically salivating for his immediate termination last week after the “crisis talks“.

The Google Search Results:





The Current Betting Odds: Though second only to Hughes, Adkins’s odds are improving almost across the board, averaging around 10/1. Adkins will probably be right back in the mix after a heavy home loss to Newcastle or something.

The Verdict: Fifty-fifty to make it until the January transfer window.

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3. Roberto Mancini

The Record: Roberto Mancini has no problems in the domestic front. His total win record with Manchester City stands at an impressive 59.12%, and, despite a few niggles here and there (not too different from the latter part of his season with City last year), his team now sits on top of the Premier League table with an above average 8-4-0 record, well on their way to seeking a second Premier League title in as many years. As far as results go however, his downfall as ever is the Champions League. City managed to reach 0-2-2 so far in the group stage. If that’s all City’s owners care about, Mancini is in trouble.

The Media Narrative: Blargh! Three at the back! Mario Balotelli has no respect for anyone! David Platt mask! Mancini can’t do it in the Champions League! Dzeko scoring from the bench! Come from behind wins! Did you see in the Dortmund game? He sat on some steps and not his chair in the game last weekend! Blargh!

The Google Search Result:





The Current Betting Odds: Remarkably, though his odds are long, Mancini is neck and neck with Roberto Di Matteo, and his odds are shortening even after City’s 5-0 mutilation of Aston Villa last weekend. What a fucked up world we live in, you and I.

The Verdict: Unless Pep Guardiola is waiting in the wings, Mancini should be fine even with a Champions League crash n’ burn.

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4. Roberto Di Matteo

The Record: Since taking over Chelsea he’s managed 41 games, in which Chelsea have won 24, drawn 9 and lost 8. His Premier League record this year is 7-3-2, which has put Chelsea in third place four points from the leaders. The Champions League tally is 2-1-1, and Chelsea leads their group on goal difference, tied on points with Shakhtar.

The Media Narrative: But NONE OF THAT MATTERS because Chelsea have lost two and drawn two in their last four Premier League games. It’s clear by the weird media reaction (the Telegraph currently leads with a story on Di Matteo and how the loss at West Brom led to a dressing room shouting match) that they’ve been waiting a while for a clear slip-up to pile on. It doesn’t help Di Matteo’s cause that everyone thinks Roman Abramovic gave him the job as a feel good move, which didn’t change the fact the Russian is batshit mental. This is pretty thin stuff though, even by the tabloid industry’s standards.

The Google Search Results:





The Current Betting Odds: Big range from the bettors, from 25 all the way down to 10 to one odds! And all save Ladbrokes are shortening. What the effing hell.

The Verdict: He will be gone by Christmas.

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