End game? Results leave managers under pressure

Hodgson stares into abyss, while Ancelotti, Houllier and Grant also facing uncertain futures after disappointing defeats

Another extraordinary evening of Premier League upsets left four managers staring at dismissal last night, with pressure mounting on Carlo Ancelotti, Gérard Houllier and Avram Grant. It was Liverpool's Roy Hodgson, though, who was hanging on to his job by the thinnest margin.

Though Chelsea's 1-0 defeat at Wolves was the surprise of the night, leaving Ancelotti effectively conceding that the title is lost, Liverpool's 3-1 loss at Ewood Park is the most likely to bring the axe down. Hodgson was favourite at 4-7 on last night to become the next manager to be dismissed, and though he insisted he would fight on and prepare for Sunday's FA Cup third round tie at Old Trafford, the club's American owners are actively considering a caretaker to see them through to May.

The sack race may be the only one he wins but Sam Allardyce, the man who Blackburn dismissed last month, could find himself in demand. West Ham, or even Villa, may ultimately value an individual with a track record of keeping clubs up.

Liverpool officials curtailed Hodgson's press conference to a minute and 57 seconds last night, though the 63-year-old – whose 31 games as Anfield manager have brought 13 wins, nine draws and nine defeats, and who has seen his side lose three of their last four games – said: "I am not prepared to talk about my future. At this moment I am depressed enough with the performance and the result. I am not hear to talk about that. I have no comments to make and I don't intend to answer any questions on the subject."

Ancelotti, like Hodgson a week earlier, found himself explaining how his side had lost to a Wolves side who went into the night bottom of the table. "Obviously it is going to be difficult to come back in the league, but there is still the Champions League and the FA Cup," he said. "We have to keep fighting but the gap is not so good." His side remain nine points adrift of Manchester United, with a game more played.

Ancelotti declared on Tuesday that he was "lucky" Chelsea had not sacked him but he said last night he would be surprised if Roman Abramovich removed him now. "I don't have [that] fear," he said after Jose Bosingwa's fifth-minute own-goal divided the sides. "But it's not my decision. I hope I can continue in the job. I have a good relationship with the players and they have the skill and character to move on. They are working hard, with a good spirit. But they could have done better with the little details and that's what decided this match."

Meanwhile, West Ham United collapsed to a 5-0 defeat to Newcastle United to put more pressure on manager Avram Grant while Houllier's Aston Villa find themselves only a point better off than Grant's club – and in the relegation zone for the first time since 2002 – after a 1-0 defeat at home to Sunderland.

The prestige match of the night was the least significant, as Arsenal outplayed Manchester City at The Emirates but could not find a way past their obdurate visitors in a goalless draw that boiled over in the final minutes when Arsenal's Bacary Sagna and Pablo Zabaleta of Manchester City were both sent off for a clash of heads.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before