It's almost a year to the day when we explored who could be the first managerial casualty of the 2011/12 season. One year on, the situation is dire for some clubs already and the first managerial casualty is likely within the next 2 weeks. The bottom half of the table has a few surprise candidates but on the whole it is as predicted.
Apart from Liverpool and Newcastle we could have named the other 8 teams with only West Ham and Fulham, performing better than we expected. Of the 8 teams in the lower half which club is likely to pull the trigger first?
Norwich - Chris Hughton. Norwich have Chris Hughton at the helm and they recently beat Man Utd, this result has bought him more time with the fans. He will take Norwich to safety and may even finish in the top half
Stoke City - Tony Pullis. The work Pullis has done at Stoke over the past few years is remarkable but there is growing disquiet amongst fans, not happy with the long ball approach. Their away form is still desparate and it is paramount the home form stays strong or relegation could be a reality.
Sunderland - Martin O'Neill. Fans are growing restless but, unlike last year, Newcastle aren't doing so well so the pressure is slightly less intense. The table could be lying as Sunderland have played 3 more games away from home. We should know what fate lies in store for the Black Cats, in a matter of weeks.
Wigan -Roberto Martinez. Persuaded to stay for one more year, Wigan were expected start better than in previous seasons. Although in the bottom 5, Wigan are 5 points better off than at the same time last year. Performance have been better but we do expect Martinez to leave at the end of this season.
Reading - Brian McDermott. When sides get promoted, they either have shed loads of cash to spend or plan for survival but if relegated it would not affect the club dramatically. The rewards are well known but to chase the dream and fail is not the Reading way. McDermott will see out the season even though Reading will get relegated.
Aston Villa - Paul Lambert. Years of unrest and poor appointments see Villa once again struggling near the foot of the table. Lambert joined from Norwich in the close season but, the squad has not had the greatest of starts. Home form will be the key to how long lambert stays employed in the Midlands
Southampton - Nigel Adkin. A victim of his own success. Two successive promotions and now Southampton are having to come to terms with a league that is stronger than they appreciated. Many players are struggling with the step up in class and changing the manager will not alter the gulf in class. Relegated and Adkins gone after Christmas.
QPR - Mark Hughes. This time last year QPR were sat in 9th with 12 points, i bet Mark Hughes would bite your hand off now it that were offered to him. The surprise last season was the dismissal of Neil Warnock, when looking more comfortable than they are now. Mark Hughes has filled his team with quality players but, they were quality players some time ago. Other clubs outcasts and the failure to keep clean sheets make Hughes tenure fragile.
It was rumoured that Hughes was sacked yesterday morning but, that turned out to be wishful thinking of many QPR fans. Tony Fernandez who is struggling to stay positive and is clearly showing the strain, is finding increasingly difficult to maintain his public support for Hughes. Whether Hughes is around for the Home tie in December with Aston Villa, will depend on the next two games away the Man Utd and Sunderland. Mark Hughes needs a miracle to survive