Crystal Palace are just three points above the Premier League’s relegation zone and the club’s bosses have decided to sack Patrick Vieira with just 11 games remaining.
Patrick Vieira has been sacked by Crystal Palace after 20 months in charge.
The Arsenal legend leaves Selhurst Park with the Eagles 12th in the Premier League table – just three points above the relegation zone. Palace have not confirmed who will replace Vieira or take charge of Sunday’s Premier League game against Arsenal at the Emirates.
Former Leeds boss Jesse Marsch and ex-Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl are the early front-runners for the job, but a permanent successor is unlikely to be in place before the Arsenal game. Vieira’s sacking was announced on Friday 17 March – which ironically is St Patrick’s Day.
Vieira’s backroom – Osian Roberts, Kristian Wilson and Said Aigoun – have also left Selhurst Park. Dean Kiely remains as goalkeeping coach. Palace chairman Steve Parish admitted: “It is with enormous regret that this difficult decision has been taken.
“Ultimately, results in recent months have placed us in a precarious league position and we felt a change was necessary to give us the best chance of retaining Premier League status. That said, Patrick’s impact since he joined us in the summer of 2021 has been significant, and he has the highest respect from myself and all his colleagues.
“He led the team to a Wembley FA Cup semi-final and a respectable 12th-placed finish last season, playing some exciting football in what was a challenging and crucial campaign for the club given the changes we made to the squad prior to his arrival.
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“Patrick has given everything to the club and we all thank him and his team for their service. We also wish Patrick, Osian, Kristian and Saïd the best for their future.”
Vieira was appointed by Palace in July 2021 to succeed former England manager Roy Hodgson. His first season at Selhurst Park was a success, guiding the Eagles to a 12th-place finish in the Premier League and the FA Cup semi-final, which they lost to Chelsea.
Palace started this season well – winning five of their first 13 Premier League games, including a 2-1 win over London rivals West Ham. Yet they have won just one game since the World Cup in Qatar. Vieira failed to win any of his last 11 league games in charge.
It has brought Palace to a relegation scrap. The Londoners are just three points above the drop zone and face a fight to stay up as the bottom nine teams all have a chance of survival. There are just five points between Southampton in 20th and Palace.
The last straw for Vieira was Wednesday’s 1-0 defeat to rivals Brighton. His downfall was Palace’s inability to score. They have only found the net 21 times in the league this term, with only Wolves, Everton and Southampton owning worse records (all scoring 20 goals).
“Obviously when you create chances but don’t take them, you worry about that,” Vieira said after the Brighton defeat. “Our forwards have to change their thinking. We have to be more aggressive going forward.”
That result persuaded Parish to take action. Rumors on Thursday night suggested that the Palace chairman was seriously considering giving Vieira the boot. They turned out to be true.
The timing of Vieira’s firing is interesting. With Palace only 11 games remaining, his successor will not have much time to save their season. In fact, the new boss will only have 10 games to play due to the Arsenal game taking place in just 48 hours.
Furthermore, it is unclear who Palace could appoint. Marsch and Hasenhuttl are free agents but were released by clubs in a similar position to Palace earlier this season. They are hardly relegation specialists – a trait Palace will want.
There is a possibility that Parish will go for someone who is tried and trusted until the end of the season – but his options may be limited.