One Mailboxer inserts his tongue into cheek to offer his thoughts on Liverpool's newest signing. Plus thoughts on league-owned clubs, badges, and swearing...
With only two weeks to go until the start of the season, Man United still have plenty of work to do in the transfer market. It seems the enormity of the task is dawning on Van Gaal...
Martin Jol (Fulham): 9/4
Form: Two wins in his last 13 Premier League games (against a terrible Sunderland and a holidaying Swansea). Paolo Di Canio was sacked after two wins in 12 games.
What's gone wrong? Martin Jol 'strengthened' his already ageing squad this summer with Fernando Amorebieta (28), Derek Boateng (30), Maarten Stekelenburg (31), Saccha Riether (30), Scott Parker (32) and Darren Bent (29) and then went and re-signed Giorgos Karagounis (36). Oddly enough, they've looked off the pace. Turning on the fans ("When people start yelling at you - I would like people to be a bit more appreciative. I can't tell them to come outside the stadium after the game so I put up with it") has not helped Jol, who was already under increased pressure after the arrival of their wonderfully moustachioed new owner Shahid Khan, who has not bought an established Premier League club to fight a relegation battle.
Will he get sacked? He is now facing two very winnable home games against Cardiff and Stoke. Defeat in both will surely spell the end of a reign that has never really had an air of permanency. We will miss his voice.
Chris Hughton (Norwich): 5/2
Form: Norwich have picked up just 23 points from their last 26 PL fixtures. That is relegation form.
What's gone wrong? Having bought well in the summer (though not buying another central defender was odd after chasing the excellent Toby Alderweireld), Hughton does not appear to have the faintest idea how to get the best out of a much-improved squad. After a creditable 2-2 draw with Everton, he dropped Wes Hoolahan - the natural creative link between midfield and attack - and then went to Hull with four central midfielders and lost against ten men. Since then he has brought in Johan Elmander to play behind Ricky van Wolfswinkel and it's patently not working. A poor start to the season might have been tolerated if Norwich had not gone through long, unconvincing patches last season (in 16 games between December and April, they won only once).
Will he get sacked? There are whispers that failure to get a result at Stoke on Saturday will see him chopped. The fact that they've won only one away game in 2013 means that it does not bode well for Hughton. The media will wail and moan about another British manager losing his job but Hughton simply hasn't delivered.
Alan Pardew (Newcastle): 4/1
Form: Seven points from five games. The same record as David Moyes at Manchester United.
What's gone wrong? The summer transfer business was woeful - but the good news for Pardew is that blame can be laid firmly at the bumbling feet of Joe Kinnear - and left Pardew with only one fit out-of-form striker. In hindsight, fielding Papiss Cisse alongside Hatem Ben Arfa and Yoan Gouffran on a visit to Manchester City on the opening weekend probably wasn't the smartest move, but Newcastle have since improved and the pressure on the manager has eased. But, as is traditional, it's been two steps forward and one back for Newcastle - twice throwing away a lead at home to Hull was damn-near unforgivable. We're not sure Pardew will ever be truly safe at Newcastle but the prospect of Kinnear taking over is keeping the natives relatively quiet - better the devil you know than the clueless buffoon you also know.
Will he get sacked? Not unless things go pretty badly wrong pretty quickly, culminating in defeat at Sunderland at the end of the month. When Nick Miller wrote this week that clubs should always have managerial replacements in mind, he was not advocating Kinnear.
Ian Holloway (Crystal Palace): 6/1
Form: One win against a terrible Sunderland in their first five games.
What's gone wrong? Everything that you would expect from Ian Holloway, basically. He bought so many attacking players this summer that he had to embarrassingly leave two of his new signings out of his 25-man Premier League squad, he thinks that Daniel Gabiddon and Damien Delaney is a perfectly good central defensive partnership for a Premier League club, he fielded three strikers and two attacking midfielders against Swansea and he earned himeslf a touchline ban within the first few weeks. Palace are 30/100 to be relegated and the odds look rather long. Nobody can be remotely surprised by the above.
Will he get sacked? There were bizarre rumours after the first two games of the season that Holloway would be sacked and replaced by Palace hero Pardew so we suspect his fate may be linked to that of the man above.
In the wings: Steve Clarke 16/1, David Moyes, Sam Allardyce, Malky Mackay 20/1.