Weekend Of The Long Knives – Rodgers And Potter Dismissed – Who Replaces Them?

By Ian John
April 3, 2023

Defeats this weekend for Leicester City and Chelsea were the final straw for the board and/or owners of both these teams.

On Sunday 3rd, Leicester announced that they had come to a mutual agreement to terminate Brendan Rodgers contract with immediate effect after their loss to Crystal Palace.

Then a couple of hours later, the more surprising news came through that Chelsea’s owner Todd Boehly had sacked Graham Potter following his team’s 0-2 defeat at home to Aston Villa.

The two sackings bring the total number of managers sacked in the Premier League to 12 – a new record for sackings in a season.

So what is the story behind both sackings? And why have Leicester and Chelsea decided to pull the plug on their managers now, with around 10 games left of the season?

Additionally, we will take a look at some of the names linked with the vacant positions at Chelsea and Leicester and the odds offered on them taking over as manager, as quoted by bet365 Sport.

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We are going to take a look at both of these sackings in more detail, focusing on each one individually.

So, let’s start with the surprise (and some would say ridiculously unfair) sacking of Graham Potter from his post as Chelsea manager at the weekend.

Chelsea Sack Graham Potter

After a 2-0 home defeat to Aston Villa, Chelsea announced that the club had parted ways with manager Graham Potter after his 11th defeat in 31 games as Chelsea manager.

The former Brighton boss, who only joined Chelsea back in November, had been handed a 5-year contract when he signed for the club, earning him £12m per year, plus Chelsea had to pay Brighton around £21m in fees associated with taking their manager to Stamford Bridge.

He had succeeded Thomas Tuchel, who was surprisingly sacked following a Champions League defeat to Dinamo Zagreb.

Potter will receive a significant chunk, but not all of his contract with the club, after his dismissal.

The former midfielder had a lengthy career, playing in all four divisions, as well as the Conference for a number of clubs including Birmingham City, Wycombe Wanderers, Stoke City, Southampton, West Brom, York City and Macclesfield Town.

He enjoyed a successful spell as manager of Ostersund in Sweden, before being appointed Swansea manager in June 2018 and then Brighton procured his services just under a year later, where he remained until September 2022.

Potter’s Record At Chelsea

  • Played – 31 Games
  • Won – 12 Games
  • Draws – 8 Games
  • Lost – 11 Games

Premier League Position – 11th (P28, Pts 38, GD – -1)

FA Cup & Carabao Cup – Eliminated

Champions League – Quarter Finalists – (V Real Madrid – 12th & 18th April)

Was Replacing Potter The Right Call?

No.

Potter took over a club that was already in something of a state of disarray after Todd Boehly spent big on new players in the summer, but only late on in the window, denying then manager Tuchel the chance to get his team fully ready in pre-season.

When Potter took the helm, it is also fair to say that the Chelsea faithful, who are used to high-profile, big-name managers, were somewhat surprised not only with the appointment but the cost and length of the deal.

As Chelsea continued to struggle, the transfer window opened and Chelsea once again were very active signing a huge number of expensive players in the window.

Unsurprisingly, this turmoil at the club has seen a number of players playing time decreased, making them unhappy, while this fragmented squad clearly has not gelled as a team yet.

Despite having a squad to challenge for the top, Chelsea have struggled and Potter has been blamed for that, when in fact it is Todd Boehly’s hap-hazard, scattergun approach to signing players that is perhaps much more to blame.

Who Will Replace Graham Potter?

Latest Bet365 Odds

  • Julian Nagelsmann – 1/2
  • Luis Enrique – 8/1
  • Ruben Amorim, Brendan Rodgers – 12/1
  • Mauricio Pochettino, Bruno Saltor – 14/1
  • 16/1 bar

Rumours abound that former Bayern Munich boss Julian Nagelsman will be the man to replace Graham Potter with the young German coach now a very short-priced favourite to take the role. It is hard to disagree with that assessment.

Leicester City Sack Brendan Rodgers

After a game which saw Crystal Palace have 31 shots at goal (9 on target) compared to just 3 for Leicester, combined with a 2-1 defeat in that game thanks to a 94th minute winner for Palace, Leicester City parted ways with Brendan Rodgers.

That defeat saw them tumble back into the relegation zone for the first time in a while and it has come on the back of a dismal run of form where they have lost six of the last seven games.

Rodgers was perhaps lucky to escape the sack earlier in the season when the Foxes were bottom of the Premier League table, but a run of good results at just the right time moved them away from the drop one and into mid-table.

However, following a 4-1 win over Spurs on the 11th February, Leicester have picked up just one point from the next six EPL games, as well as going out of the FA Cup at home against Championship Blackburn Rovers.

Rodgers started his managerial career with Chelsea reserves, before moving to Watford as manager in 2008, joining Reading a year later in 2009.

He moved on to Swansea in 2010, before getting a move to Liverpool in 2012. He joined Celtic in 2015 and then in 2019, switched to Leicester.

Rodgers’ Record At Leicester City

  • Played – 204
  • Wins – 92
  • Draws – 42
  • Lost – 70

Premier League Position – 19th (P28, 25pts, -10)

FA Cup & Carabao Cup – Eliminated

Trophies Won – FA Cup (2020-21), Community Shield (2021)

Was Replacing Rodgers The Right Call?

Yes.

It was pretty clear that there was something going on between Rodgers and the Leicester ownership from the start of the season with the team radically underperforming and players being sold on.

Rodgers was perhaps lucky to survive Leicester’s poor start to the season and after the team had won a few games and moved into mid-table, it looked like they were going to be fine and continue their improved form.

However, following the World Cup, their form has been dismal and defensively, they are shipping so many goals that even the talented attackers that they have, and they have a number, cannot score the goals needed to get them a win.

It was clear there was a breakdown somewhere along the line here and in truth, I am surprised that Rodgers lasted as long in the role as he did.

Who Will Replace Brendan Rodgers?

Latest Bet365 Odds

  • Graham Potter – 5/4 fav
  • Rafael Benitez – 4/1
  • Ange Postecoglou, Steven Gerrard – 8/1
  • Thomas Frank, Ralph Hasenhuttl – 10/1
  • Adam Sadler, Michael Carrick – 11/1
  • Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Kasper Hjulmand – 12/1
  • 16/1 bar

A strange quirk of fate may mean that Graham Potter leaves one role but is then appointed into another as I think he would be a superb fit for Leicester City.

Steven Gerrard and Rafa Benitez are interesting alternatives and I think Thomas Frank would be an excellent choice, but the likelihood is that the Danish manager won’t leave Brentford.

So for me, it is Potter the most likely option with Benitez as a distant second choice.

A New Record For Premier League Manager Sackings

The sackings of Rodgers and Potter mean that this current season has seen a record 12 Premier League managers sacked from their posts since the season began, two more than the previous record.

Furthermore, two teams, Southampton and Chelsea, are now onto their third manager of the season so far, albeit both teams have caretaker manager in post at present.

A full list of the managers dismissed in the Premier League this season is shown below:

  • Aug 30th – Scott Parker (Bournemouth) replaced by Gary O’Neill
  • Sep 7th – Thomas Tuchel (Chelsea) replaced by Graham Potter
  • Oct 2nd – Bruno Lage (Wolves) – replaced by Julen Lopetegui
  • Oct 20th – Steven Gerrard (Aston Villa) – replaced by Unai Emery
  • Nov 6th – Ralph Hasenhuttl (Southampton) – replaced by Nathan Jones
  • Jan 23rd – Frank Lampard (Everton) – replaced by Sean Dyche
  • Feb 6th – Jesse Marsch (Leeds United) – replaced by Javi Gracia
  • Feb 12th – Nathan Jones (Southampton) – yet to appoint replacement.
  • Mar 17th – Patrick Vieira (Crystal Palace) – replaced by Roy Hodgson
  • Mar 26th – Antonio Conte (Tottenham) – yet to appoint replacement.
  • Apr 2nd – Brendan Rodgers (Leicester City) – yet to appoint replacement.
  • Apr 2nd – Graham Potter (Chelsea) – yet to appoint replacement.

What does this prove? It shows that the difference between success and failure in the Premier League is growing smaller all the time and that nobody is immune to the sack.

*All odds shown were correct with bet365 Sport at the time of writing but may have changed in the meantime.

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