Whilst the year may be over, the season still has a long way to go and the pressure on Premier League managers to turn it all around in the New Year only increases with the opening of the winter transfer window.
First up, no prizes for guessing that Harry Redknapp features on this list – he has probably the most monumental task on his hands if he intends to save Queen’s Park Rangers from relegation. They’re currently the league’s basement side.
He’ll need at least a couple of new players on the cheap to plug some on the holes in his squad and he’ll need to get his players to fight for every point as if it’s the last game of the season.
Similarly, Paul Lambert’s days at Aston Villa may be numbered unless he invests well in his squad in January. There is a great deficiency in experience within the squad and they’ve not really put in a tight-nit team performance yet this season.
Villa are a big club that are used to quality and experienced professionals – he’ll need to bring a couple of players in of that description to avoid relegation. They currently sit uncomfortably close to the drop zone in 17th, separated by just a point.
At the other end of the table, Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini finds himself in a slight predicament – having won the title last season, there is now heavy expectation weighing on his slender shoulders.
City crashed out of the Champion’s League at group stage without a win and, after their defeat to United in the 90th minute of the Manchester derby; they now find themselves 7 points behind the leaders. They’ll still believe they can do it but they’ll have to beat United at Old Trafford and hope the leaders slip up along the way.
If they fail, Mancini could find himself replaced by the likes of Jose Mourinho or Pep Guardiola. It’s not easy being manager of one of the richest clubs in the world.
Conversely, Arsene Wenger does not have quite the same resources at his disposal for Arsenal – he does, however, have some cash to spend in 2013. If he doesn’t buy some known names of quality and reverts to type bringing in 16-year-old French unknowns, he could face a backlash from the fans.
He’s been under immense pressure already this season, especially as Arsenal crashed out of the League Cup to Bradford. If he fails to keep contract rebel Theo Walcott that could be another fans’ flashpoint. It’ll be yet another star player being sold off and it’ll demolish the faith in him the fans have shown him through 7 seasons without silverware.
To top it all off the minimum requirements are that he makes it in to the top four. They’re currently fifth but they’ve been inconsistent in both results and performances this season. They simply cannot afford another blip.
Synonymously, Brendan Rodgers hasn’t exactly set the world on fire at Anfield this season. The new boss has changed his system and stuck to his guns – he’s unequivocal in his philosophy and he’s put an immense amount of faith in his young players.
But he’ll need to bring in some experience in the New Year – there is no doubt they have quality within their ranks but it’s going to take those players time to develop and in the mean-time they need to take the burden off Luis Suarez for goals and Steven Gerrard for leadership.
They need quality and experience and they need it as cheap as possible – is processor Kenny Dalglish ensured there is only the dregs of misspent budget available to him. Liverpool are 9th presently but it sounds worse than it is – they’re actually only 5 points off of European football.
It’s certainly conceivable that Rodgers could march the Reds back up the table where a big club like that belongs. They’ve underachieved for so long now that they need some development and stability – they need a manager who can build a great team and make them play for him. Rogers could be that man but he’ll need the full support of the fans and the club behind him.
image: © Mafue