For whatever reason, Frank Lampard and Steve Gerrard can’t seem to get away from each other.
They probably should have been allowed to get away from each other when they played together for England, but every coach insisted on persisting with them.
Now they are both trying to forge managerial careers for themselves and neither will likely be especially happy with how that is going either. Gerrard is struggling to make any kind of an impact at Aston Villa after the best part of a year in charge, while Lampard does not appear to be making any real progress in turning Everton around.
Both look very vulnerable to the sack right now, but who is most likely to go first?
It’s probably fair to say that nervously looking over their shoulders towards the Premier League relegation spots is not what Steven Gerrard or Aston Villa expected this season. That is exactly the situation in which they find themselves, though.
It could have easily been much worse as well. A run of three games unbeaten, including a home draw with Manchester City, has bought Gerrard some precious breathing room for now.
The problem that Gerrard ultimately faces at Aston Villa is the lack of a track record. He got the job on the back of his name as a player and impressing in his first managerial job at Rangers, although in truth the latter counts for little when it comes to the Premier League. A run of just two wins in 11 matches to close out last season won’t be helping Gerrard’s case either.
What we do know is that the Aston Villa board have acted before. Last November they sacked Dean Smith after a similar start to the campaign that Gerrard has produced this year. There is little reason to think Gerrard will fare any better if things don’t improve relatively quickly.
Aston Villa recent form
Crystal Palace 3-1 Aston Villa
Aston Villa 0-1 West Ham
Arsenal 2-1 Aston Villa
Aston Villa 1-1 Man City
Aston Villa 1-0 Southampton
Leeds 0-0 Aston Villa
While Gerrard might have to worry about the lack of a track record, Lampard may just have the opposite problem at Everton. Lampard is with his third club in five years and has not achieved a thing yet in his managerial career.
It may be unfair, but the days of Lampard being considered a new manager with potential are long gone. He is not awaiting his first big opportunity in management. In fact, he has had far greater opportunities than his achievements have warranted.
In fact, it has reached a point where Lampard probably can’t afford to fail at Everton if he wants to continue his managerial career. It is certainly hard to imagine that nearly getting Derby promoted as a career pinnacle will be impressing many prospective employers.
Lampard may ultimately be given more time due to the fact that Everton probably can’t afford another mistake either. They have spent a lot of money, too much really, and delivered little. They also have a new stadium to pay for and are unlikely to want to absorb the cost of sacking and replacing a manager.
Lampard has also stabilised Everton since a poor start and at least made them tough to beat, which is always a decent start to lasting change.
Everton recent form
Brentford 1-1 Everton
Leeds 1-1 Everton
Everton 0-0 Liverpool
Everton 1-0 West Ham
Southampton 1-2 Everton
Everton 1-2 Man Utd
At the moment you would have to say that Gerrard is looking in a lot more danger of getting the sack than Lampard.
Gerrard has had more time in the job, been backed better in the transfer market and is at a more trigger-happy club.
Lampard is treading water a bit at Everton, but that is probably enough for them for now. By comparison, you get the sense that Gerrard is falling short of the expectations of the Aston Villa board, and we know they are not afraid to make a change around this time of year.