Rare period of common sense in Premier League and Sheffield United has to be a good thing

Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom has weathered something of a storm so far this season (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom has weathered something of a storm so far this season (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)
Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom has weathered something of a storm so far this season (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images) | Getty Images
We have yet to see a managerial change in the Premier League so far this season, which is fairly surprising considering a trend appeared to be forming

At this stage last season, six Premier League clubs had already changed their manager. The season before, it was five, though if we waited another week, Ole Gunnar Solskjær would join that list to ensure parity.

It appeared as though club owners had lost their minds, or at least their patience, for in the previous year to that it took until December 16 for a manager to get the chop when Slaven Bilic was replaced by Sam Allardyce at West Brom. There were two out by now in 2019/20 and just one in 2018/19.

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We were in danger of snap sackings becoming the norm, with managers getting little opportunity to put into practice their plans for the season, before they were out the door. Everyone had already become numb to that, whereby nothing was coming as much of a surprise. So much so, the surprise this season is that all the managers who started the campaign are still there.

And if we were to take the previous two years as the reasoning, there are probably some who would have been sitting on a Sky Sports pundits panel by now, rather than in a dugout.

Is this to be a new trend then, or are there other reasons why owners are keeping the P45 in the drawer? Is common sense spreading?

At the top end of the table, everyone is more or less performing as they would be expected, or in some case like Spurs or Aston Villa, arguably over-achieving.

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Of the big teams, only Erik ten Hag at Manchester United and Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino can count themselves fortunate by the standards of previous seasons. At Old Trafford, however, everything at the minute is a bin fire by their standards and the ongoing issues with the proposed takeover means it would be mad, even for the Glazers', to be trying to search for a new high-profile boss.

Meanwhile at Stamford Bridge, perhaps they've just realised that a period of calm was needed after the chaos that ensued in the aftermath of Todd Boehly's arrival.

Looking at the bottom end, where the sackings normally happen, we appear to have three clubs with a 'we are what we are' mentality. Only Burnley properly spent money, though a drop in the ocean compared to the majority, but it seems as though they have a plan for the long term, with Vincent Kompany at the helm. If they go down, they'll feel well-equipped to come back up and give it another go, with lessons learned.

Luton weren't tipped to do much but battle hard - as they have been - such are their meagre resources and whatever happens, they'll have pocketed the equivalent of a lottery win for their unexpected time in the top. Rob Edwards was never going to be heavily judged on this season.

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Then we come to Paul Heckingbottom at Sheffield United, for some reason the only manager who has been under the pressure of national media speculation - emphasis on national there - when most Blades fans knew that this was going to be a hugely difficult season, having lost two of their best players and added prospects to the squad rather than much with Premier League experience.

For Heckingbottom to fall on his sword in these circumstances when, though it wasn't stated outright by the ownership, rather with what they coughed up in transfer funds, they too were content to take the cash, go back down and give it another bash with a decent squad and a manager who's done it before.

Added to the fact that, Heckingbottom was already well in credit having steered the team to promotion through the choppiest of waters last season, he deserved as long as possible to give it a go. That's not to mention the injuries United have had to deal with.

As for the other team really in difficulties, there's perhaps a sense of not losing face at this stage for the owners of AFC Bournemouth, who surprisingly got rid of Gary O'Neill for the fancier name of Andoni Iraola, all the while having to watch their former caretaker-turned-permanent boss do a decent job with Wolves.

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How long it takes for the Cherries' hierarchy to swallow their pride remains to be seen but with a trip to Sheffield United coming up and the team just four points away from the drop zone at the moment, it's perhaps at the Vitality, even off the back of a fine win against Newcastle, where the first faller arrives.

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