The Premier League is an unforgiving workplace for managers with pressure growing on both Brendan Rodgers and David Moyes after Leicester and West Ham made poor starts to 2022-23.
Leicester are rock bottom of the table having failed to win any of their seven Premier League games so far, losing 6-2 at Tottenham to go into the international break with a single point. They have conceded 11 goals in their last two games and Rodgers appears unable to fix an utterly broken defence, leading to suggestions his time in charge of the Foxes is running out – and fast.
Questions are also being asked about the future of Moyes, with the Hammers sitting in 18th place, two points adrift of safety having won just one of their Premier League matches so far.
Rodgers and Moyes have credit from good prior work at their clubs – do they deserve time?
Leicester summer struggles cause issues for Rodgers
Rodgers hoped to rebuild his squad over the summer transfer window but ended up losing his first-choice goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel and best defender Wesley Fofana. Fofana’s fate rumbled on throughout the summer with Leicester eventually allowing the centre-back to move to Chelsea in a deal reported to be worth in the region of £75 million. Leicester continue to sell well, with Fofana’s fee in the same ballpark as the gigantic 2019 sale of Harry Maguire to Manchester United, but Rodgers was left with almost no time to reinvest that critical cash.
While the Belgian defender Wout Faes arrived as Fofana’s replacement, Leicester had other holes in their squad they were unable to fill as a result of leaving the Fofana sale so late. The loss of Schmeichel has been particularly acute with Danny Ward struggling as his successor. Leicester’s budget appears to have been hurt badly by the COVID-19 pandemic and Rodgers will have known he likely had to sell players before he could buy. The Foxes also face losing talismanic playmaker Youri Tielemans for nothing after he entered the last year of his contract.
A stale squad poses a problem for Rodgers, who has been in charge since 2019 but is experiencing a period of diminishing returns. While his side finished eighth in the Premier League last term, Leicester outperformed various metrics that suggested they should actually have finished closer to the bottom of the table, even after winning three of their last four games.
The Foxes are still highly reliant on Jamie Vardy for goals but the veteran is now 35 and he has yet to find the net in seven Premier League games this season. Patson Daka, signed as Vardy’s eventual replacement, has yet to thrive in English football and has scored only once this term.
While Rodgers has to take a lot of responsibility for Leicester’s issues defending set pieces, he can rightly point to a lack of investment that has led to an inevitable decline in the Foxes’ form.
Leicester have spent five straight years in the top half but they are in a relegation fight this time. Rodgers has little prior experience of such battles and that could lead to the club cutting ties.
Moyes’ mood shows Scot is feeling the pressure
While Leicester made a huge profit on players over the summer, West Ham were among the biggest spenders in Europe having laid out an investment totalling around £180 million.
Moyes cannot say he has not been backed but high profile arrivals such as the Brazil playmaker Lucas Paqueta and Italy striker Gianluca Scamacca have not hit the ground running. The Scot has previously worked wonders with a small, tight-knit squad at London Stadium but having more options has led to a surprising downturn in their form – and a darkening of his mood.
Snapping at a journalist who (oddly) addressed him as “Moyesie” in a recent news conference suggested that the former Manchester United and Everton manager is feeling the pressure.
West Ham have only won two of their last 14 league games with their poor end to the previous campaign continuing, though the grind of regular European games has to be considered. Twin wins in the Europa Conference League have provided a glimmer of hope that West Ham’s revamped squad could soon click, with Moyes surely given time to get a tune out of their new boys. Defender Nayef Aguerd is injured but Moyes is trying to bed in new faces like Alphonse Areola, Flynn Downes, Maxwel Cornet, Thilo Kehrer and Emerson Palmieri gradually.
The international break is often the death knell for under-fire bosses. A relegation battle was not expected at Leicester or West Ham this season. ut with less than a quarter of the campaign completed, both clubs should give their experienced managers a chance to turn things around.