Hot Seat Watch for World Football Players, Coaches After Weekend August 29-31
Welcome to our usual roundup of the coaches and players around the game who are under intense public scrutiny at present, following another week of action in the 2014-15 season.
This week we're splitting our focus half-and-half; partly on the domestic scene as usual to take into account results and performances from the weekend just gone, with the other half looking ahead to the upcoming international week of matches.
New coaches, old ones expected to impress and players brought back into the national team fold; here's our take on who needs to do well over the next time or two they take to the field to avoid those awkward questions being raised.
Louis Van Gaal
Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal just can't get things quite right yet with his new club.
Following on from a dismal 4-0 thrashing at third tier MK Dons in the Capital One Cup during last midweek, his United side then played newly promoted Burnley in the Premier League and could only manage a 0-0 draw.
Things must, and will, turn soon for the Red Devils—but in the meantime they've given themselves a hand by signing Daley Blind and Radamel Falcao on transfer deadline day.
Oh dear, Ronny Deila.
As if getting knocked out of the Champions League twice before it even got started wasn't bad enough, the latter occasion requiring only to not lose to Maribor of Slovenia at home to progress, Celtic's domestic form has not been going swimmingly well, either.
Celtic have lost and drawn their last two SPFL games, with a draw at Dundee their most recent game, leaving them fifth in the table, six points off top spot after four games, one less than their rivals. Celtic won the league by 25 points last term.
Frank De Boer
Ajax have won four Eredivisie titles in a row but no side has ever managed to make it five.
Frank de Boer is the man in charge still, having seemingly been presented with chances to leave his club and pursue his career elsewhere, but this term has not started as well as they would have hoped.
A defeat in the Super Cup has been followed up with two defeats from four in the league, including against rivals PSV and, last time out, away to Groningen.
Real Madrid tasted a first defeat of the season at the weekend and it was another tell-tale sign that, system-wise, the team is not prepared for the campaign ahead.
Someone is going to have to make way in midfield for a better balance throughout the team and, initially at least, it could be big new signing James Rodriguez.
James played on the right of the front three against Sociedad and, though he had a few good moments in the second half, did not impact play hugely throughout, especially when Madrid were on top. The return to fitness of Cristiano Ronaldo will see him back into midfield...or perhaps to the bench.
Everton have started the season with below-par results—just two points from three games—and their defence has been unusually leaky, shipping 10 goals in that period already.
Central defender Sylvain Distin has been a big reason for that, struggling for early season form and not dealing well with Chelsea's movement in attack at the weekend at all.
With England defender Jon Stones awaiting his chance, Distin might be out of the side sooner rather than later.
Bridging the divide between club and country form is Iker Casillas.
The Real Madrid man was beaten four times at the weekend by Real Sociedad, with three of the four goals being scored from inside his own six-yard box. He was once more not commanding in the slightest, took no real responsibility for the defence and looks a shadow of his former self.
He is in the Spain squad, though, as captain, with just one-cap David de Gea and uncapped Kiko Casilla for competition. Spain play a friendly against France and a Euro 2016 qualifier against Macedonia in the coming week.
There will be few men in international football under as much scrutiny over the next year or so as Dunga.
Back for a second spell in charge of the Brazil national team, Dunga takes over a team soundly beaten in the last four of the World Cup on home soil and expectations will be on him to find a far better balance between attack and defence, less reliability on the few star names and to restore the reputation of the country's football elite.
Colombia and Ecuador are their two first opponents.
Roy Hodgson somehow survived the mass cull of international coaches post-World Cup, despite England's dreadful performance in failing to win a game and ending bottom of the group.
England have a fairly standard Euro 2016 qualifying group to get through, with Switzerland the most impressive rival to face.
Hodgson has to rejuvenate a failing side, shorn now of some long-standing stars, and start positively against the Swiss following a friendly against Norway.
Stephan El Shaarawy
Italy have a new coach and a new-look squad, with Milan forward Stephan El Shaarawy one of the faces returning to the frame.
Long has much been expected of the wide attacker, though his career has yet to really hit the heights he should be capable of, partly due to injuries and the deterioration of his club side, of course.
The 21-year-old has 10 caps to his name, and the Euro 2016 qualification campaign has to be the one where he steps up and claims his place in the Azzurri XI.
We finish up with Brazil, who have recalled Robinho to the national side, having not been a regular for them since 2011.
With 92 caps to date, he is the most experienced player in Dunga's first squad, with the likes of Neymar and Diego Tardelli his main competition.
Having not lit up European football the way he initially threatened to, Robinho is now back in Brazil with Santos and at 30 years of age will be looking at this as a last chance to make a big impact with the national team after missing out on the 2014 World Cup.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!