Date: 10th September 2021 at 6:32pm
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The new Premier League season has begun and brought with it a sense of excitement reminiscent of pre-covid times, with full stadiums a notable benefit. 

As the international break forced domestic football into a two-week sabbatical at the end of August, Tottenham Hotspur sat top of the table, with North London rivals Arsenal sat rock bottom at the other end.

Chelsea, Manchester United, Everton, Brentford and West Ham United all still remain unbeaten, while Norwich City and Wolves join Arsenal in being yet to secure a point.

With the league season returning this weekend, there are a number of standout fixtures including Liverpool’s trip to Leeds United, Manchester United hosting Newcastle United and Chelsea hosting Aston Villa.

With the fixtures coming thick and fast between now and the new year, however, it won’t be long until the dreaded cliche of ‘managerial casualties’ looms once again.

Below, we list three managers who could be contenders to be the first manager sacked.

Mikel Arteta – Arsenal

The Spaniard has endured a tough time as Arsenal boss since taking over the reigns from fellow countryman Unai Emery in 2019. Despite winning the FA Cup at the end of his first season, the former Gunners midfielder could only guide the club to a disappointing eighth-placed finish last term, meaning that they missed out on European competition for the first time in 25 years this season.

Despite spending almost £130 million over the summer, the Gunners’ campaign has arguably started even more poorly than last season.

Arteta’s side are yet to score a goal in the league this season

An opening day defeat to Brentford in what was the Bees’ first ever Premier League match set the tone for Arsenal’s August, with a 2-0 loss to Chelsea following a week later, before a humiliating 5-0 thrashing at the hands of Manchester City just before the international break ensured Arsenal held up the Premier League table for a fortnight.

Now, talk of Arteta’s future has already begun. While it may seem premature, the Spaniard has done little to appease his sceptics and, if they fail to beat Norwich City on Saturday, the Gunners boss could be in line to be the first sacking of the Premier League season.

Xisco Munoz – Watford

Arguably the most unfortunate name to appear on this list, the Spanish manager makes the cut primarily due to his employers’ history of hiring and firing, rather than his own wrong doing. Watford have had 16 managers in the past decade, including four in 2019.

Few expect Xisco to last the entire season at trigger-happy Watford

Last season, Vladimir Ivic was sacked as Hornets boss after just four months, despite sitting fifth in the Championship table.

At present, Watford sit 12th in the table having managed one victory and two defeats, however a favourable run of fixtures until mid-October could see them register some more points on the board in the coming weeks.

If they struggle, however, then few would bet against Xisco becoming the first manager to be sacked this season.

Patrick Vieira – Crystal Palace

While Steve Bruce may have been the other obvious option to join the Spanish pairing on this list, Newcastle owner Mike Ashley’s reluctance to get rid of the former Manchester United defender makes it unlikely that he will go anytime soon.

Therefore, former Nice boss Patrick Vieira, now in charge of Crystal Palace, completes the list.

The Frenchman has endured a relatively mediocre managerial career to date, which has only included spells with Nice and New York City FC, the former of which he guided to just 35 wins during his 89 games in charge.

This summer played host to a mass overhaul of the Eagles’ squad, with the likes of Gary Cahill, Scott Dann and James McCarthy all having been departed and replaced by Conor Gallagher, Michael Olise and Marc Guehi to name a few.

After an unconvincing 3-0 defeat to Chelsea on the opening day of the season and a 0-0 draw with Brentford the week after, Vieira’s side scored their first goals of the season in a 2-2 draw with West Ham United in gameweek three, with most coming courtesy of Gallagher.

Vieira will likely have to get the best out of the likes of Zaha to ensure a successful season

Palace are another side with a history of making snap decisions on managers. Look no further than Frank De Boer, who lasted just four league games before being sacked, as a prime example of this.

Despite their slow start, Eberechi Eze is still to return after a long lay-off, and the form of the Englishman, alongside the likes of Wilfred Zaha and Gallagher, may go a long way towards determining exactly how long the former Arsenal midfielder lasts in the capital.

With only four weeks until the next international break and both Carabao Cup and Champions League action to come in that time, the next month could prove to be a pivotal one for a number of Premier League bosses.

 
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