The 2020-21 season has been a surreal one in many ways. Owing to the COVID-19 outbreak earlier this year, the 2019-20 season extended till August, leaving clubs and their managers with a very short turnaround before the start of the next season.
Expectedly, a lot of clubs in Europe's top-five leagues, with the exception of PSG and Bayern Munich, have struggled for consistency this season.
Nine-time defending Serie A champions Juventus are struggling in fifth place in the league table. Premier League champions Liverpool are a point adrift of surprise leaders Leicester City. Spanish powerhouses Real Madrid and Barcelona are not in the top four after eight rounds.
If the trend continues for a while, a bevvy of managers could face the sack before the end of the season.
Five managers that could be sacked this season
It is perhaps one of the worst-kept secrets in football that whenever a team struggles, more often than not, it's the manager who gets the boot regardless of his past performances at the club.
With the 2020-21 season being unlike any other in recent memory, several managers of top-5 league clubs could lose their jobs during the season if they are unable to turn around the indifferent forms of their teams.
On that note, let us have a look at five such managers who may not last at their present clubs till the end of the season.
#5 Antonio Conte (Inter Milan)
Last season, Antonio Conte sparked a remarkable turnaround in the fortunes of Inter Milan who ended just a point behind Juventus in the Serie A and also reached the Europa League final.
However, the former Juventus manager has failed to elicit the same kind of performance from the Nerazzurri this season with Inter sitting at a lowly seventh place in the league table and five points behind surprise leaders AC Milan.
Even in Europe, Conte's men have struggled to get going; Inter sit bottom in their Champions League group that contains Bayer Leverkusen, Shakhtar Donetsk and Real Madrid, garnering a solitary point from their first three games.
If Conte is unable to turn around Inter's indifferent form after the international break, he may even be out of his job by the turn of the year.
#4 Andrea Pirlo (Juventus)
In one of their worst starts to a Serie A season in recent memory, serial winners Juventus are four points adrift of early pacesetters AC Milan after seven games.
The Bianconeri started life under their new manager Andrea Pirlo with a convincing win on the opening day of the season but have unraveled as the season has progressed.
The absence of Cristiano Ronaldo for a few games after the player tested positive for COVID-19 hurt Juventus big time. The Serie A champions were beaten 0-2 at home by Barcelona in the Champions League and produced a few uninspiring results in the Serie A as well during this period.
In fact, Pirlo, who has taken the Juventus top job without having prior managerial experience, is yet to recognize his best playing XI and has tinkered with formations, something that has affected the team's performances. Further, his inability to utilise the services of new Barcelona arrival Arthur has also been criticized.
Despite the good form of Alvaro Morata, Juventus and Pirlo need to find a way to score goals and win games, convincingly or otherwise, when Cristiano Ronaldo is unavailable or has an off day.
It may be early days in the season, which means that Pirlo is not in immediate danger of losing his job. However, if the Bianconeri do not win a tenth consecutive Scudetto and are unable to crack the Champions League code yet again, the Juventus manager is unlikely to remain at the club's helm next season.