Oh, how the other half live.
Whilst Liverpool are thriving at the top of the table, Manchester United are floundering. As West Bromich Albion remain on course for a top-flight return, Stoke City look to be going the way of Sunderland. With Wolves benefiting from smart ownership, Mike Ashley continues to suck the life out of Newcastle United.
There are countless teams who have disappointed in 2019/20, but only a select few are truly in the midst of a crisis. However, some of those sides have it worse than others – much, much worse.
Here, 90min looks at six clubs currently facing a whole host of issues, with an assessment of just how serious their problems are.
Aside from the teams in the Premier League relegation zone, no side has scored less goals in the top-flight than Everton this term, with their 1-0 loss at Burnley this weekend seeing many fans lose patience with Marco Silva.
Given the Toffees have spent over £110m on three different forwards since his appointment in the summer of 2018, that is a rather troublesome statistic.
However, the situation can be rectified to some extent with the termination of the Portuguese’s contract at Goodison Park. He is simply not up to the standard required and his sacking will invariably help lift Everton up from their lowly position in 17th.
Of course, the Merseysiders are unlikely to be pushing for a spot in Europe once – not if – Silva is replaced, but a savvy, proven manager will be of enormous benefit, especially once they’ve built their new state-of-the-art arena in the coming years.
Crisis Level: 2/10
What’s the clever thing to do when you have a coach who is loved by the players and supporters in equal measure, whilst also bringing stability to a notoriously volatile club? Sack him, obviously.
That’s what Valencia owner Peter Lim chose to do in September, with popular gaffer Marcelino only finding out he had lost his job after reading the local newspaper. You can probably guess how the fan-base have reacted.
Delivering last season’s Copa del Rey could not save the Brazilian as his personal relationship with Lim deteriorated, yet the latter’s decision has likewise failed to save Los Ches’ form.
They may be eighth in La Liga, but many of their displays have been sub-par, particularly in the 3-0 drubbing at home to Ajax in midweek.
Crisis Level: 4/10
What a difference five months makes.
Rewind back to May and Mauricio Pochettino had just masterminded Spurs’ remarkable comeback in the Champions League semis in Amsterdam.
Reaching the showpiece event in Madrid teed up what promised to be the crowning moment of his Lilywhites project following years of diligent work on the north London outfit.
Now, they’ve just shipped ten goals in the space of five days, probably lost their captain for the remainder of the year, have several first-team stars who want to be anywhere but Tottenham, and are out of the League Cup.
The Lilywhites now sit on a grand total of 17 defeats in all competitions in 2019 after their 3-0 humbling by Brighton, the most for any top-flight side at present. We may be witnessing a brutal end to Pochettino’s tenure at Spurs.
Crisis Level: 5/10
When Rafa Benitez was around, there was always the sneaking suspicion that Newcastle would survive in the top-flight. With Steve Bruce at the helm, you start to wonder if they’ll still have a hope of staying up come Easter.
It’s not that he’s a bad manager, but the 58-year-old exacerbates what is already a sour atmosphere at St. James’ Park, what with public enemy number one in control of the club’s finances.
Until Ashley vacates his position as Magpies chief, they will always be a shadow of their former selves. He’s brought the team to its knees and alienated supporters, that low mood seriously hampering on-field performances.
The only clubs they’ve defeated this term are likewise riddled with problems, Manchester United and Spurs managing to out-crisis Newcastle.
Crisis Level: 5/10
In modern times, it seems like even Stoke City can’t do it on a rainy Wednesday night in Stoke, nor can they do it any other day of the week in any other part of the country.
Once held up as the model to follow when fighting Premier League relegation, the Potters are now a laughing stock as they languish at the foot of the Championship table.
Fortunately, a dying-embers win at Swansea on Saturday ended a run of 17 second division games without victory and halved the deficit to 21st place.
Nevertheless, Stoke fans can expect League One football next year, unless their side are able to restore belief and put in some more convincing displays.
Crisis Level: 7/10
United have been in crisis since Sir Alex Ferguson hung up his chewing gum in 2013. The David Moyes era was an abject failure, Louis van Gaal played dire football and Jose Mourinho nearly burned the club to the ground in the post-Fergie years.
Somehow, things have gotten worse under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, with Sunday’s loss at St. James’ Park meaning the Norwegian has lost half of his 16 Premier League games as boss and won just four.
Teams are coming to Old Trafford believing they can get at draw at the very least, the players are in disarray, and the Red Devils’ stock price is once again in decline.
The most worrying thing is the lack of an answer for all of this – no managerial changes have satisfied supporters or United’s ambitions. Until they find the right man to lead them out of the wilderness, the club will continue to stagnate and tarnish the good work of Ferguson.
Crisis Level: 9/10
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