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It's now make or break for new bosses at helm

Men like Moyes parachuted in to turn around club fortunes must earn corn


Nigel Pearson has given Watford a fighting chance of Premier League survival

Nigel Pearson has given Watford a fighting chance of Premier League survival

Carlo Ancelotti has turned Everton from relegation fodder into a club chasing European football for next season

Carlo Ancelotti has turned Everton from relegation fodder into a club chasing European football for next season


Nigel Pearson has given Watford a fighting chance of Premier League survival

The procession towards Liverpool's reinstatement on their Premier League perch lacks drama.

With the club already a staggering 22 points ahead of their nearest rivals, it seems nothing short of an unexpected inter-galactic asteroid strike on Anfield will halt Jurgen Klopp's squad claiming their first title in 30 years.

But, even without the thrills and spills of a title race run-in, there are plenty of attention-grabbing sub-plots in this season's tournament. Not least the fate of those managers who were appointed during the season to rescue under-performing clubs.

Watford was the first club to send out distress signals when, with one point from their first four matches, they said goodbye to Javi Gracias and welcomed back former boss Quique Sanchez Flores.


Flores found it impossible to turn things around and, as Watford's poor form continued, the board said goodbye on 1 December. Just one win in ten games saw the club was stuck at the bottom of the league.

The Spaniard wasn't bitter, saying as he exited, "You'll always be in my heart. Hope, passion, fight, commitment, effort, hard work and luck. Drop by drop, until we achieve it. Stay strong."

Watford turned to Nigel Pearson (56), who'd been fired from his job at Leicester City in May 2015.

Pearson's contract is due to expire at the of the season but, so far, he's proving himself to be the right manager for the relegation battle.

With 12 matches remaining, Watford are off the bottom and just one point away from safety. They've beaten Manchester United and Wolves and after the winter break meet Manchester United and Liverpool, with Pearson saying, "The intention is to go out there and fight for every point."

Securing a top-four Champions League place is the ambition of both Jose Mourinho at Spurs and Carlo Ancelotti at Everton. Mourinho replaced Mauricio Pochettino on 19 November when Spurs were 14th in the league after 12 matches.

His salary was reported as £8m a year after tax. And the club chairman pointed out that Mourinho "has won honours at every club he has coached."

Currently four points behind Chelsea who are fourth, Mourinho's in a position where he needs to keep winning matches which piles further pressure on Spurs visit to Stamford Bridge later this month.

While his team's form hasn't been consistent, Mourinho has to contend with the absence of star striker Harry Kane as he plots to progress against Aston Villa on Sunday and against RB Leipzig in the first leg of their Champions League Round of 16 tie on Wednesday.

Carlo Ancelotti took charge of Everton a month after Mourinho joined Spurs.

The club's slide towards the relegation zone had been halted by caretaker manager Duncan Ferguson after the sacking of Marco Silva on 6 December.

From 15th, four points off the relegation zone, Ancelotti, without any histrionics, has revitalised Everton, earning 17 points which has brought them to a point behind Spurs and European football next season within their grasp.

With the air of a suave EU diplomat, Ancelotti declares, "The Europa League has to be the target", which Everton fans accept as preferable to a relegation dog-fight.

Mikel Arteta remains bullish about Arsenal's future, despite the club having had just two wins since early October.

Having replaced Unai Emery on 29 November, Arteta is treating the winter break as "a mini pre-season."

Ten points behind Chelsea and coming off a run of four successive draws, Arsenal need to show they can win matches.

They play Newcastle on Sunday. Then, following Thursday's Europa League match away against Olympiakos, they host a resurgent Everton at home on Sunday 23.

February has traditionally proved a crucial month for clubs no matter what their aspirations.

One manager who doesn't need to be told is David Moyes, who took over at West Ham following the dismissal of Manuel Pellegrini in December.

Before the month is out, West Ham will play Manchester City, Liverpool and Southampton which presents a daunting challenge for a club that's earned just two points in its last five matches.

When Moyes took charge, West Ham were in 17th place, one point above the relegation zone.

Today, they've slipped into the relegation zone on the same points as fellow strugglers Watford.

Moyes is under unique pressure to save West Ham's season. And his own reputation.

Will Mourinho, Ancelotti, Arteta, Pearson and Moyes earn their corn this season?