The Premier League is back this weekend after the final international break of 2023 and there are some big games at both ends of the table immediately. Manchester City vs. Liverpool, Sheffield United vs. Bournemouth, Tottenham Hotspur vs. Aston Villa and Everton vs. Manchester United are all massive for a variety of different reasons. Unexpectedly, though, the highest stakes arguably come in the clashes between the Blades and the Cherries as well as the Toffees and the Red Devils -- two games with many different managers who are under the microscope.
We take a look at those most at risk coming back into English top-flight action.
Sheffield United's Paul Heckingbottom
With Everton being docked 10 points and dropping back into the relegation zone level on points with bottom club Burnley, the likes of Sheffield United and the Clarets suddenly have greater hope of immediately pulling clear of the bottom three. Although the Blades are unbeaten in two after a barren six-game losing streak in the Premier League, one win all season and being out of the EFL Cup will not help Heckingbottom's case. Given that the next two are Bournemouth and Burnley, it feels like this is a key moment and that the next two games will decide Heckingbottom but also possibly Andoni Iraola and Vincent Kompany's futures.
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Burnley's Vincent Kompany
The Toffees' points penalty is a positive and a negative for the Belgian tactician with Everton now within reach as well as a potential place outside of the relegation zone. However, it also increases the scrutiny over whether a new manager could do a better job than Kompany has been doing since the start of the EPL season. On a six-game losing run across all competitions and out of the EFL Cup, Kompany is living largely upon the credit built up during an impressive promotion campaign in the Championship. Most damaging of all, this campaign's losses have included both Bournemouth and Everton which makes West Ham and particularly Sheffield United must-win games.
West Ham United's David Moyes
With three wins from the last eight games across all competitions, more worryingly is one single win from the last five Premier League outings with three of those defeats. Moyes, as it stands, is living off of past glories. European success and tangible silverware has counted in his favor while under major pressure but that could soon tell despite UEFA Europa League and EFL Cup progress. Poor results against Burnley and Crystal Palace could spell the end for Moyes regardless of the TSC Backa Topola game.
Bournemouth's Andoni Iraola
Although the win over Newcastle United just before the international break counts hugely in the Spaniard's favor, two wins from the last three Premier League games was preceded by a nine-game winless run which nearly saw Iraola axed. Should that sort of form return, then it could be game over for the Basque which makes this next game against Sheffield United vital given that Villa and Manchester United follow that.
Manchester United's Erik ten Hag
The Red Devils might not be under Erik ten Hag's leadership by then depending on how things play out on and off the field these next few weeks. With nine losses across all competitions already, United are sixth in the Premier League table and within four points of Europe but out of the EFL Cup and bottom of their Champions League group. Two wins from their last five across all competitions is not the sort of form expected of United but the ownership situation around Old Trafford has possibly given him a stay of execution thanks to four wins from five in the EPL.
One to watch: Fulham's Marco Silva
Although the Portuguese tactician is unlikely to get the chop just yet because of his recent contract extension which is only one month old, the Cottagers' current slide could be cause for concern. One Premier League win in the last two months despite EFL Cup progress and one victory from six with four losses in the EPL will mean that few were as relieved as Silva to see Everton drop down the table with their points deduction which has improved Fulham's position regardless of form.