Several Premier League coaches will probably be feeling that tie around their necks drawn a bit tighter this weekend as they go into their sides’ respective matches with their jobs very much on the line.
West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini can’t be relishing the trip to Stamford Bridge to face a confident in-form Chelsea as he looks at his own side’s recent results.
Although Pellegrini said this week his side can still fight for a place in Europe, a run of eight games without a win in all competitions (including a 4-0 defeat to Oxford United) tells a different story and with Pellegrini’s side shipping three goals in each of their last three games, it’s not hard to see where the problem lies.
A heavy defeat on Saturday could be the Chilean’s last game in charge.
Everton coach Marco Silva can’t be looking forward to his side’s visit to second-placed Leicester City on Sunday, especially in the wake of last weekend’s 2-0 home defeat to Norwich (who had gone into that game bottom of the table).
Everton have just one point more than West Ham and this week the debate has not been whether Silva will survive at the club, but who will replace him and barring a miracle Sunday will be Silva’s last game in charge.
Managerless Arsenal find themselves under pressure after taking a pounding after Thursday night’s Europa League defeat at home to Eintracht Frankfurt.
Unai Emery was sacked with the club lagging behind their rivals in the table. Arsenal icon Freddie Ljungberg will be in the hot seat as the interim coach.
Arsenal may have considered themselves favorites to win away to Norwich, but with the sudden change in leadership it’s all to play for a Carrow Road.
At the top of the table, Liverpool play at home to Brighton and will hope to find it easier to break down the visitors’ defense than they did against Napoli in midweek – a result which leaves them with work to do in order to assure their place in the next round of the Champions League.
Liverpool will be without midfielder Fabinho after he limped out of the Napoli game and that will be a blow to coach Jurgen Klopp’s plans.
Manchester City are without the injured Sergio Aguero for their trip to Newcastle, which kicks off the weekend and they will need to show more spark than in their 1-1 draw at home to Shakhtar Donetsk in midweek.
Elsewhere Crystal Palace travel north to face seventh-placed Burnley with the home side’s strikers Ashley Barnes and Chris Woods the main threat for the home side.
Jose Mourinho will no doubt capture headlines again as Tottenham look to continue their recovery with a home game against Bournemouth, who have the attacking talent to exploit any defensive lapses if Spurs start as badly as they did in midweek.
There will be drama at Saint Mary’s where second from bottom Southampton entertain bottom of the table Watford while Sunday sees fifth-placed Wolves at home to Sheffield United, who are sixth and still haven’t lost away from home on their return to the Premier League.
Finally, Aston Villa take on a Manchester United side chastened from their European defeat away to Astana and although seven United players made their first-team debut in the defeat it is still something Ole Gunnar Solskjaer needs his side to bounce back from at Villa Park.