Brian Under Duress List Gameweek #26

The Brian Under Duress (BUD) List is back for Gameweek 25 of Premier League fixtures. Every week players, teams and managers will be assessed and narrowed down to a list of 5 who I believe are under the most pressure heading into the upcoming Premier League game week. Starting off in 5th place is:

 

5th: Antonio Conte (Tottenham)

The Tottenham head coach takes the final spot on the BUD List. Spurs have lost their last 3 Premier League games in a row. Those losses included back-to-back home defeats to Southampton and Wolves, which dealt Conte’s side a big blow in their quest to clinch the final Champions League spot. Although Tottenham go to Manchester City and no one gives them a chance of getting a positive result, it’s still a big game as they need to make up for the two very disappointing home defeats. Also, the former Juventus coach has upset Spurs fans by claiming that Tottenham are competing in the same boat as Aston Villa, Newcastle and Everton. A fourth defeat in a row won’t make for good reading, especially if they hold a battering that everybody expects.

Next Game: Manchester City (A)

Tottenham head coach Antonio Conte

 

4th: Roy Hodgson (Watford)

At Watford, you can never not feel the pressure of being a manager. Just 3 games into his tenure, Roy Hodgson has made the BUD List. In those games, his side has only managed 7 shots on target while failing to register a single goal in games against Burnley, West Ham and Brighton. Although Watford look better defensively, their offensive style has lacked as a consequence with Hodgson reverting to a more pragmatic style of play that fans were very critical of in their most recent home defeat to Brighton. Additionally, Hodgson launched a scathing attack on his forward players echoing that “if they are very good players as everyone seems to think they are when they get the ball at their feet, they’ve got to do something with it.” Given Newcastle’s recent resurgence in form, Hodgson’s side are at risk of falling further behind as they currently lie 6 points from safety. For a man that’s never been relegated, he may have his work cut out with this Watford side.

Next Game: Aston Villa (A)

Watford manager Roy Hodgson

 

3rd: Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal)

Lacazette has found himself on the BUD List this week. The Arsenal captain has really struggled for goals this season and although Arsenal secured a huge away win at Wolves last week, the Frenchman missed a guilt-edged opportunity to put the game to bed but he fluffed his lines putting his effort wide. The miss summed up Lacazette’s season who has only registered 3 league goals in 17 games this season which is funnily enough still has less than Aubameyang who was exiled from the squad in mid-December and then sold to Barcelona. Even more embarrassingly, Arsenal defender Gabriel has registered the same amount of goals as the French striker. Lacazette needs to step up big time if Arsenal are going to get top 4. With the added responsibility of being the captain, he needs to lead by example especially given that he is one of the most experienced players in a very young Arsenal squad.

Next Game: Brentford (H)

Arsenal captain Alexandre Lacazette

 

2nd: Brendan Rodgers (Leicester City)

It’s becoming a habit, but the pressure just refuses to leave Brendan Rodgers. Last weekend, he was only a few minutes away from securing a huge win that would have taken him off the BUD list, but Tomas Soucek’s late equaliser keeps him on the list for another week. As Leicester’s poor run of form continues, sources from the Footy Insider have claimed that the front office are ready to pull the trigger and fire Rodgers if Leicester loses to Wolves this weekend signifying that Rodgers is treading a very thin line. Also, there are additional rumours claiming that the Leicester coach has also fallen out with the director of football Jon Rudkin over their recruitment strategy. Having not won a league game since 28 December, Rodgers is on a ticking time bomb. A 4-1 win against Danish outfit Randers FC in the Europa Conference League in midweek won’t be enough to ease the pressure of Rodgers.

Next Game: Wolves (A)

Leicester City Manager Brendan Rodgers

 

 

1st: Marcelo Bielsa (Leeds United)

Last week, I said that Leeds United and defending were a match made in hell and how important it was for the Whites to put in an important defensive performance. But, in typical Leeds fashion, they shipped another 3 goals which really could have been more if not for Everton’s poor finishing. Bielsa got his tactics completely wrong by playing Klich, a player with no defensive awareness, in front of the defence. Furthermore, the decision to play Daniel James and/or Tyler Roberts up top ahead of youngster Joe Geldhart, who has looked promising, is baffling to Leeds supporters. 

Not only is Marcelo Bielsa number one on the BUD list due to Leeds lingering around relegation, but also because they are facing their most hated rival in Manchester United. This is by far one of their biggest games at Elland Road in years matching the level of the 2019 Play-off semi-final second leg or the 2010 game against Bristol Rovers. Due to last year’s fixture being behind closed doors, it will be the first time in almost 20 years that Leeds fans will see their team face the reds in the Premier League at Elland Road. The atmosphere is going to be electric, and given that they lost 5-1 in the reverse fixture this season, they will be expecting a performance.

Next Game: Manchester United (H)

Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa

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