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Stick Or Twist: The Comparison That Is Proving Premier League Clubs Are Right To Change Manager

16/03/2017 12:21 GMT | Updated 16/03/2017 12:21 GMT
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It is nearly three weeks since Leicester City made the somewhat controversial decision to remove manager Claudio Ranieri.

The uproar sparked by the Italian's dismissal was perhaps a little unnecessary, considering the Foxes' abysmal form and Ranieri's own record in management, which if anything, suggested his tenure at the King Power was always likely to be short-lived.

Ranieri sacking may be cruel, but it's in-keeping with his managerial career. Always struggled to hold down a job for any length of time.

What the decision of Leicester owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha really highlighted was the little room for sentiment that remains in football. Here was a man who found himself without a job, just nine months after he had overseen one of the most astonishing sporting triumphs ever witnessed.

The volatile reaction that was directed towards the club was not aimed solely at the owners, as the players were also subject to criticism; something that was perhaps further justified by seeing the team improve ten-fold to win their next two league matches 3-1, against Liverpool and Hull City.

In light of those two results, interim manager Craig Shakespeare has been handed a permanent role until the end of the season. His future in the hot-seat beyond the summer remains uncertain, but regardless of that outcome, few can doubt that change is paying dividends, as the Foxes have improved considerably since Ranieri's dismissal.

With a new appointment proving positive at the King Power, it should be noted that Leicester are not the only team in the top flight to have changed managers for the better this season.

Crystal Palace removed Alan Pardew in December after the team had embarked on a thoroughly miserable run of form throughout most of 2016, whilst both Hull City and Swansea have unfurled their third different head coach of the season in the form of Marco Silva and Paul Clement.

All three sides have seen a remarkable improvement in their respective form since the new appointments and hindsight is now showing that a change of manager can provide the fresh impetus needed to turn things around.

Of course, that hasn't been the case every time this has happened this season, with Swansea's initial appointment of Bob Bradley backfiring spectacularly, as he lasted only 11 games.

Whether Bradley deserved more time, or indeed greater backing from his employers, will remain the question mark in that particular situation, but there can be no doubting that Clement has worked wonders at the Liberty since succeeding the American in January.

Whilst the four teams in places 18 to 15 are currently enjoying a revival under new management, the same cannot be said of the division's bottom two clubs, who unlike the sides above them, have boldly stuck by their men.

Both Sunderland and Middlesbrough are stuck in a rut, with the former only scoring 19 goals all season and yet to win a league game in 2017.

Whilst both boards' decision to back their manager is admirable, it could prove ill-fated, as the gap between themselves and the other four relegation candidates starts to widen by the week.

Sunderland have long appeared favourites to go down ever since they went 12 matches without a win at the start of the campaign and with David Moyes currently unable to find a solution to the team's terrible form, the Black Cats may finally be looking at one 'great escape' too many and find themselves playing Championship football next season.

That the Sunderland manager hasn't been sacked is surprising, as previous head coaches have been given far less time than the Scot, who is now solely relying on Jermain Defoe to score enough goals to spark a miracle and retain the club's Premier League status.

As mentioned, local neighbours Middlesbrough are hardly faring much better when it comes to both goals and points. Winless in the league since 17th December, Aitor Karanka is fast running out of ideas in how to turn his team's fortunes around.

With just 10 matches left to go until the end, it's unlikely that either Moyes or Karanka will be dismissed as there would be little time for a new man to work their magic. Both teams still have ample time to pull themselves out of the drop zone, but with the form book and fixture list suggesting that may be unlikely, the league's bottom two sides are now the bookies' favourites to go down.

Many condemned Leicester's decision to remove Ranieri last month, but considering how faith in both Mayes and Karanka is currently backfiring in the North East, hindsight is clearly showing that a change in manager can make the difference when it comes to beating the drop.

The situation at the bottom could well alter before the end of the season, however, should the current trend continue, then many of us will need to warm up that humble pie and concede that there may be some sense behind switching managers after all.