The season is less than a week old, but some managers are already feeling the strain as their clubs have come under scrutiny after less than impressive performances on the first weekend of the season.
Arsene Wenger must negotiate a difficult trip to Istanbul in the Champions League, before focusing his energies on keeping the increasingly restless Arsenal fans at bay between now and the end of the transfer window, ideally by landing a couple of signings.
Ironically, the man who criticised Wenger’s decision to submit a bid for Yohan Cabaye on Sunday has navigated through a similarly turbulent summer and shares the same concerns as the Arsenal manager.
Alan Pardew’s summer promised little when Joe Kinnear was unveiled as Newcastle’s new Director of Football and, so far, has delivered nothing, apart from an abject failure to land any significant signings.
Throughout this transfer window, Newcastle have lost Danny Simpson, Steve Harper, James Perch and Shane Ferguson, with Loic Remy the only arrival at St James’ Park, albeit on a loan basis, from QPR.
The transfer window has been a tale of two worlds in the North East this summer – while Paolo Di Canio has revolutionised his squad at Sunderland, Alan Pardew’s greatest achievement was arguably keeping Papiss Cisse at the club, even though the Senegalese striker cut a disconsolate figure against City on Monday night.
Newcastle’s limits were laid bare at the Etihad, as Manchester City thrashed the Magpies 4-0, whose performance should be cause of bigger concerns than the scoreline itself.
Even before Steven Taylor got himself sent off, Newcastle were hapless. Disjointed, disorganised, slow and devoid of any ideas, Pardew’s men looked exactly like a side that flirted with relegation last season, and might find themselves in the same murky waters this year.
Pardew claimed that Arsenal’s bid for Cabaye forced him to leave the Frenchman out of the squad that traveled to Manchester, thus disrupting preparation and strategy but, as big an influence the Frenchman is, the Newcastle manager’s rant sounded like a rather tired excuse.
The 52-year-old, however, shouldn’t shoulder all the blame for his side’s poor start to the campaign for, as it has become custom on Tyneside, problems originate from the top, namely Mike Ashley’s decision to bring Kinnear back to the club.
The former Wimbledon manager is nobody’s idea of a popular figure in Newcastle and since returning to St James’ Park, he has done nothing to earn himself a better reputation among the Toon Army.
Kinnear has spent the last couple of months reiterating how pivotal a figure he’s for the club when it comes to signing players, before blaming agents and their clients for being a lot greedier than they used to be when he was in charge of Wimbledon.
The 66-year-old did nothing to dismiss the impression that Ashley only decided to appoint him so that Kinnear could supervise Pardew’s operate and report to the powers that be.
Having handed Pardew a laughable eight-year contract, Ashley would have well been within his rights had he decided to sack his manager at the end of what was a largely disappointing campaign last season.
Instead he decided to introduce Kinnear, whose only achievement so far has been to pile pressure on Pardew, while failing to sign any of the players the Newcastle manager has set his sight on.
In his post-match interview on Monday night, Pardew looked like a man running out of escape routes as he expressed his desire for the transfer window to be shut before the season kicks off.
Rather ironically, should Cabaye end up leaving, as it seems increasingly likely, Pardew might not have enough time to reinvest the £20m that are likely to be poured into Newcastle’s coffers by Arsenal, PSG or Monaco.
Should Newcastle fail to pick up points in successive home games against West Ham and Fulham, regardless of his eight-year contract, Pardew might not be around to see the January transfer window open as it looks increasingly likely this chapter of his managerial career will close.
Will Alan Pardew manage to strengthen his squad before the end of the transfer window? Is he going to be under pressure if Newcastle fail to win their next two games? Let us know below or get in touch via our Facebook or Twitter.