The post of a football manager is arguably the most precarious job in the beautiful game at the moment. Several legends of the sport have tried their hand at managing a high-profile football club and have come up short over the past decade.
Football clubs across Europe generally set expectations of their managerial appointments at the start of the season and are often ruthless with their assessments of the team's results. A host of big names including Thomas Tuchel and Lucien Favre have already taken the fall this season for failing to get the best out of their charges.
While Tuchel and Favre have already been served the short end of the stick, there are a few managers across Europe who are hanging on to their posts by a thread and a few others who have managed to make a few improvements to largely disappointing campaigns.
With football in a distinct transitional period at the moment, managers in the sport have experimented with young players and fresh tactics over the past year. There have been a few big names that have not enjoyed the most positive of campaigns this season and will need to take it up the notch in the business end of the season.
#5 Mikel Arteta (Arsenal)
Mikel Arteta had a particularly topsy-turvy 2020 at the helm of an Arsenal side that is now a shadow of the great Gunners teams of the past. The Spanish manager took charge of the club after Unai Emery's sacking and has suffered difficult periods with the North London giants.
Arsenal are currently in 11th place in the Premier League standings and while relegation is not a threat for the Gunners, a top-four finish still seems like a distant dream. Arsenal's squad needs plenty of work in the coming months and Mikel Arteta has his work cut out for him.
There is a light at the end of the tunnel, however, for Mikel Arteta. Arsenal have several young prodigies in their ranks and have witnessed an uptick in fortunes since the start of the new year. The Premier League is an unforgiving competition, however, and Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta and his troops will need something special to satiate their fanbase by the end of the season.
#4 Andrea Pirlo (Juventus)
Juventus' domination of the Serie A in recent years has often painted Italian football in a rather predictable light. Over the past decade, Juventus have won an astonishing nine consecutive Scudettos and have reduced a historically competitive league to a one-horse race.
The 2020-21 campaign, however, has witnessed the resurgence of AC Milan and a fair share of impressive performances from Inter Milan and AS Roma. Juventus have done themselves no favours with a series of underwhelming performances in the Serie A and Juventus manager Andrea Pirlo will have to cop some of the blame.
Juventus have recovered over the past few weeks with a crucial victory over AC Milan and impressive performances against Sassuolo and Udinese. The Bianconeri remain seven points behind AC Milan, however, and need to pull their socks up ahead of an important set of fixtures.
#3 Ronald Koeman (Barcelona)
Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman may have had his fair share of positive results at the Catalan club but still has plenty of work to do to meet the expectations one of Europe's most successful clubs. Barcelona have endured miserable patches in La Liga this season and Koeman's tactical acumen has consistently come under the spotlight.
Barcelona have already lost matches to Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, and Juventus this season and while their recent resurgence will soften the blow, Koeman will need to build on his progress over the past month and deliver results in the Champions League.
Barcelona's have managed three consecutive three La Liga victories under Ronald Koeman and can potentially grow into a powerful force under the Dutch manager. Koeman does have a few detractors, however, and needs to win silverware this season to win over the Barcelona fanbase.
#2 Frank Lampard (Chelsea)
Chelsea's slump over the past few weeks has been one of the most shocking elements of the Premier League this season. The Blues seemed to be set for a top-four finish after a positive start to their campaign but a series of upsets have now seen Frank Lampard's side manage only four points from their last six league games.
The Chelsea manager made several headlines with his high-profile signings last year and was tipped to compete for the Premier League title after an eventful transfer window. The likes of Timo Werner and Kai Havertz are yet to adapt to English football, however, and their manager's fortunes have suffered as a result.
Chelsea have slipped to ninth place in the Premier League standings and have struggled to come to terms with their new set-up. Blues manager Frank Lampard will be well aware of Chelsea's ruthless streak when it comes to managerial appointments and cannot afford many more slip-ups this season.
#1 Chris Wilder (Sheffield United)
Sheffield United's unmitigated disaster of a season has already made a piece of unwanted history in the Premier League. The Blades have made one of the worst starts to a Premier League season and have managed only two points from their 17 league games.
A combination of untimely departures and unfortunate moments have already condemned Sheffield United to a record-breaking low in the Premier League. Under Chris Wilder, Sheffield United exceeded expectations last season but now find themselves stuck in an irreversible spiral.
The Premier League is becoming increasingly competitive and will several teams involved in a relegation scrap every year, Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder might not be able to keep the Blades in the top flight this year.