Let's begin with a few caveats. First, no manager outside of the top five or six clubs in England's top division should feel anywhere near as much pressure as those in charge of contenders—until they get to, say, January and find themselves near the relegation zone.
Second, a lot of the pressure on the English Premier League managers has to do with the players who may or may not be with their current clubs when the transfer window closes. Gareth Bale is all but gone from Tottenham, which will decimate the Spurs' chances to content for the EPL crown this season but, in a way, actually takes the pressure off of Andre Villas-Boas this season.
If Bale miraculously manages to stay in London, AVB has the most pressure of any manager in the world. If Bale leaves—when Bale leaves—the pressure is essentially off, at least for this season.
Conversely, David Moyes at Manchester United should feel more pressure if his top star departs for other—read: "bluer"—pastures. If Wayne Rooney stays in Manchester, Moyes has a great team that won the league title last year and should contend this season. Sure, Moyes might be under pressure to recapture what Sir Alex Ferguson was able to do a season ago, but having Rooney in the fold and, presumably, content with his role takes a lot of pressure off of the former Everton skipper.
If Rooney leaves, Moyes will take the brunt of the blame, despite the fact Rooney was unhappy at the end of last season as well. While Bale leaving Tottenham will fall on Daniel Levy's desk (no relation), Rooney leaving would land on Moyes. That is more pressure than he needs in year one.
Jose Mourinho, by the way, must be loving all of this. Never has a manager come into a situation as volatile as Chelsea and felt less pressure. The same, ironically, should go for Arsene Wenger. Surely he needs to upgrade the offensive output at Arsenal, and the angry Gooner lot constantly want him fired, yet year after year he manages to get his club in the Champions League and contending for—if not winning—titles.
This year shouldn't be any different for Wenger, and while his detractors are loud, one should suspect they don't hold much clout around The Emirates.
No, in all of this, the man who should be under the most pressure is probably the manager getting the least preseason buzz. Manuel Pellegrini took over the reins at Manchester City after Roberto Mancini was sacked. What did Mancini do while in Manchester? He won nearly 60 percent of his matches and finished in the top three of the EPL in his final three seasons, winning one league title while finishing runner-up in the year that got him fired.
Mancini won three trophies while with City and still got sacked. They may not be getting as much buzz this summer, but when the season starts, there will be no manager with more pressure in the EPL than Pellegrini.
Depending, of course, on what Bale and Rooney decide.
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