The ultimate fate of any football manager is normally dependent on results achieved over an indefinite period of time, but for two such Premier League incumbents, 4-0 scorelines during the weekend have resulted in totally contrasting headlines and a wide gulf in job security. Since Manchester United beat QPR by a four goal margin on Saturday, Louis van Gaal has been mentioned in some quarters as the saviour of the Old Trafford club whereas the judgement and aptitude for the job has been questioned as regards Newcastle United boss Alan Pardew after his team’s tame surrender when losing 4-0 at Southampton.
For Louis van Gaal, the four goal margin of victory against QPR was a first Premier League victory and with recent signings Angel Di Maria, Ander Herrera, Daley Blind, Marcos Rojo and Radamel Falcao on view for the watching public, it was a defining moment for the Manchester United faithful. Granted, well in excess of £100 million has been spent in creating a team deemed sufficiently worthy of wearing the famed red shirts, but there will be stronger opposition than QPR in the coming months.
In the case of any further improvement in form for the Red Devils, van Gaal will be heralded as the manager most likely to restore United’s position among Europe’s elite teams. Meanwhile the tenure of previous incumbent David Moyes may be further ridiculed and vilified by whoever wishes to offer an opinion on the subject.
Further up the road in the North East of England, Newcastle manager Pardew is under increasing pressure to reverse the downward fortunes of his team. The proceeds of the sales of Yohan Cabaye and Mathieu Debuchy have been spent on several new recruits including Siem de Jong, Remy Cabella, Daryl Janmaat and Emmanuel Riviere. However, de Jong is now a long term absentee after injuring a leg in training while Cabella and Riviere are still settling into Premier League football after being signed from French Ligue 1 teams.
Another problem for Pardew is that his team has yet to win a Premier League match this season following a sequence of seven defeats in eight matches at the end of the previous campaign. A banner demanding the sacking of the Newcastle boss was apparently displayed by away fans during the warm-up exercises which cannot be described as ideal preparation for a game.
Newcastle duly lost 4-0 amid much away fan baiting and the team occupies 20th position in the Premier League after four matches. The short term prospects for the Magpies are not promising.
For two teams involved in 4-0 scorelines on Saturday, the contrast in fortunes could not be more diverse and the events have afforded ample opportunity for the British media to dissect the current standings of Manchester United and Newcastle United.