With the first week of both the Premier League and La Liga done and dusted, not to mention being two weeks in to the French league, already people have started to form opinions on what the results mean for their side and if they should have done things a little differently in the transfer window.
There is no escaping from the harsh glare of the cameras, fans and media and already top managers have found themselves under immense pressure – the reaction to the draw against Valencia for defending Spanish champions Real Madrid could be confused for thinking they are now dead certs for relegation, and god only knows what the red half of Manchester are now thinking about their super signing RVP – not much good signing yet another top striker when you have no one to pass him the ball but there you go.
Mourinho and Fergie might think it is bad, but spare a thought for Carlo Ancelotti, who’s spell at moneybags PSG has made Abramovich’s managerial merry-go round look like a fun filled tenure. Two points from two games and languishing midway down the table will not be tolerated for long, especially with the likes of Thiago Silva and Ibrahimovic now playing their trade in France.
Some managers have been lucky enough to get off the blocks well, with Mancini, RDM and new Barcelona manager Tito Vilanova recording wins and in Tito’s case a host of goals to boot. Of course there are managers of the so called smaller clubs who have done equally well, Moyes’ Everton – who traditionally take a while to get going – recorded a fantastic opening day win, as did Steve Clarke at WBA totally humiliating Liverpool and man under what is soon to be a ton of pressure Brendan Rogers.
Usually it is the so called bigger clubs who are trigger happy when it comes to their managers at the start of the season, and this year more than most, no one in the hot seat at a top club in Europe is safe, with Ancelotti and RDM being increasingly vulnerable. It is perhaps only Mourinho out of these who can claim he is unconcerned with the lurking threat in football, and not because he is the Only One or The Special One or whatever it is he wants to be called these days. No it is because the threat is none other than his former nemesis Pep Guardiola who is currently on sabbatical from football.
Pep may say that it will be at least a year until he considers another job in football, yet as managers out of work for whatever reason will tell you, 12 months away from the game you have been involved in your whole life is a long time and half way into that period someone with the drive and work ethic of Pep will be looking over his shoulder back at the game he misses so much.
A return to Barcelona so soon would be highly unlikely and rocking up in Madrid would be nigh on unthinkable, but at PSG or Chelsea – even one of the Manchester clubs – not so unlikely. Although if Pep took issue with Ibra’s taste in cars and eccentricity, one can only imagine how he would relate to Mad Mario – perhaps the red half of Manchester it is then!
Of course in reality being one game into the season tells us exactly nothing, with a whole 37 more to go, and being top at the start of the season does not mean you will be there at the end. City and United traded big leads until City finally won the title and Real Madrid at one stage last season trailed Barcelona. It is pure rumour and speculation, but roll on a few months and the pressure cooker will be close to bursting and I doubt any of us would want to be one of the managers who is on the cusp of being replaced.