For the first time in the Premier League era, all of last season's top three clubs have new managers. It's difficult to overstate the impact that will have on the new season and the three men filling those hot seats will all be under an especially intense level of scrutiny and pressure. David Moyes with the shadow of Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, Jose Mourinho with the shadow of Jose Mourinho at Chelsea and Manuel Pellegrini with the shadow of a massive pile of money at Man City. So to track their ups and downs, DT will feature the PelleMoyMou Superiority Rankings and/or Sack Race every week throughout the season.
In addition to ranking the three managers against each other, we will also feature the Troll of the Week — the person who did the most to grease the slide towards a sacking for one member of the trio. And with the introductions out of the way, let's get to our opening ranks...
1. Jose Mourinho, Chelsea — After getting sacked by Chelsea in 2007, Mourinho went on to win the treble with Inter and La Liga with Real Madrid before internal strife poisoned his reign and led him back to the welcoming confines of his old club. Mourinho takes over a side that underachieved their way to a third-place finish and a Europa League title with interim manager and one of Mourinho's many personal nemeses Rafa Benitez at the helm for the final six months of the season. Yet, as the most domineering personality and only member of this trio to have won the Premier League before (twice...back to back...breaking records along the way) he has to be given the pole position at the start.
2. David Moyes, Manchester United — Man United are the Premier League's most successful club and one man presided over all of those victories. The problem? That man isn't David Moyes. Replacing Sir Alex Ferguson was never going to be easy for anyone, even coming off another title winning season. Though Moyes already won his first trophy by beating Wigan in the Community Shield, his highly regarded tenure at Everton was noticeably devoid of shiny pots. He's spent an unpleasant summer continuously denying Wayne Rooney's transfer demand, fending off attempts to paint him as unfit for the job and...not doing much else (in the transfer market, at least). He still has the champions at his disposal, but he will need time to wash the red wine stains and old man smell out of his office. It remains unclear whether he'll get it before the jackals pounce.
3. Manuel Pellegrini, Manchester City — Pellegrini starts here through no real fault of his own. He's been able to operate under the radar to some degree with many people distracted by the two guys above him on this page. City have spent nearly £90 million on four big signings this summer in their effort to reclaim the Premier League title after finishing a distant nine points behind Man United last season. Pellegrini earned praise for navigating the financial mess that is Malaga to the Champions League quarterfinals last season, but moral victories aren't going to cut it anymore. That said, if Moyes and Mourinho take all the heat this season, Pellegrini might just stroll past them and quietly take up residence at the top.
Troll of the Week: Cesc Fabregas — Whether through secret signals or his natural charms, Fabregas had David Moyes waste much of the summer transfer window pursuing him in a bizarrely public fashion before finally saying that he doesn't want to leave Barcelona just last week. Why didn't he say so sooner? Why did Moyes think he had a strong enough chance at him to go public with his interest in the first place? We may never know, but it certainly hasn't help Moyes make a powerful first impression at his new club. And for that, Arsene Wenger will probably send his former captain a large fruit basket purchased at a sizable discount for being close to its expiry date.