EPL 2017/18: 5 early contenders for the sack race
#4 Slaven Bilic
2015/16 was a great season for the former Croatia boss Slaven Bilic in his new home at West Ham United. He led the Hammers to a solid 7th place finish in the Premier League and had the side playing far more attractive football than his predecessor Sam Allardyce. 2016/17 though was much more of a struggle. While West Ham finished a respectable 11th, progress certainly wasn’t made – instead, it could be argued that the club took a huge step backwards.
Playing their first season in the Olympic Stadium didn’t seem to help – the Hammers only won five home games all season and lost seven – and they struggled on the goal front too, with midfielder Michail Antonio finishing as top scorer with just nine goals. The often-injured Andy Carroll was their best striker with seven, but loan signings Simone Zaza and Jonathan Calleri – brought in to score goals – failed miserably, managing one goal between them.
West Ham fans basically demand attractive football – witness them turning on Sam Allardyce for playing football considered boring, even if it was usually effective – and club owners David Gold and David Sullivan have proven to be somewhat ruthless in the past too. They’ve mentioned the need for a new striker or two already, but thus far Bilic hasn’t been able to bring in anyone new.
The pressure is clearly on Bilic this season to improve on 2016/17 – both in results and in the quality of football played – and if he can’t handle that pressure then he may find himself a winner in the sack race.