Yet more managers teetering on the edge
Blackpool have far exceeded expectations, this much is clear, and wins away at Wigan, Newcastle and Liverpool have provided the Tangerine Army with much to cheer. Reality has now set in, however, and a winter of discontent looks apparent.
The cracks are even starting to show at Bloomfield Road, with Charlie Adam this week reportedly desiring to leave the club after a dispute over unpaid bonuses.
Premier League fans will recall how Hull City had a great start to the season in 2008/9, only to slip away dramatically, only surviving relegation by a single point. The problem Blackpool have is that even after their honeymoon period they sit just one point outside the relegation zone.
A home game against West Brom was always going to be in the one-not-to-lose category. Even with Albion’s lofty position, it remains so.
Manchester City did play for 85 minutes with ten men last Sunday, but the 3-0 defeat to Arsenal was still as emphatic as it was damaging.
Roberto Mancini’s problem is that he is dealing with potentially the most impatient board in Europe. With the news that Sheikh Mansour has now invested over half a billion pounds, he will desire success quickly.
Saturday’s game against Wolves therefore comes under the ‘must-win’ category.
Manchester City’s Strikers
Even before Carlos Tevez’s injury against Arsenal last Sunday, Citeh’s lack of goals was a cause for concern. It is a frightening statistic that the team that finished the game against Arsenal had scored one league goal between them.
With Tevez out injured, and a Manchester derby fast approaching, someone needs to step up to the plate. Whether this is the unfancied Adebayor or new signing Balotelli remains to be seen, but improvements are needed: City have scored less that Bolton, Blackpool and West Brom.
In very much the same way as Chris Hughton at Newcastle, there is a feeling that Simon Grayson is seen as a slightly temporary manager at Elland Road. Whilst the club should be reasonably happy with consolidation after their years in the wilderness of League One, fans would have hoped for more.
This season, Leeds have been the Newcastle of the Championship. Jekyll performances include wins over Middlesbrough, Sheffield United and Watford, whereas Hyde comprises of three consecutive home defeats, conceding twelve goals in the process.
This weekend sees a trip to Scunthorpe. When home form is poor, away points are needed, or Leeds will be in danger of a struggling season.
Mark Hughes tenure at Fulham is in danger of going sour. Hughes’ current penchant for draws is famous, but his side have now won just once all season, against second from bottom Wolves. More worrying still is the fact that Fulham have dropped ten points this season from winning positions.
It is at times like these that home games against Wigan are appreciated. Nothing less than a win will appease the doubters, and Fulham will be odds-on to do so.