Keep an eye on David Moyes, Aitor Karanka and Mike Phelan this weekendby Jack Kitson / 19 October 2016, 09:30Tweet
The ninth round of Premier League fixtures take place this weekend, with Sunday in particular catching the eye as league leaders Man City host in-form Southampton, which is instantly followed by Jose Mourinho's eagerly anticipated return to Stamford Bridge.
However, down at the other end of the table three gaffers are desperately looking to scrape hold of some valuable points when their respective teams take to the field on Saturday.
David Moyes (Sunderland)
David Moyes is unwantedly hogging column inches at the moment following Sunderland's shocking start to the season. The struggling Scot stormed to the summit of the Sack Race (11/10, Sky Bet) last weekend after his side's torrid 2-0 defeat at Stoke, and he's more than likely to stay stuck there should the Black Cats' woeful winless run be extended to nine league games on Saturday.
The under-fire Moyes takes his troops all the way down to the capital where they come up against a rejuvenated West Ham side, who ended their own winless run (five games) with an impressive victory at Crystal Palace last weekend.
Unfortunately for Sunderland they have a less than desirable record against the Hammers, failing to win any of the last six clashes, while they are winless on the road in the Premier League since mid-April.
However, should Moyes and his troops conjure up a surprise win at the London Stadium, the pressure will instantly switch dugouts, moving onto the shoulders of Slaven Bilic, whose current odds of 7/1 would subsequently plummet.
Aitor Karanka (Middlesbrough)
Aitor Karanka has sunk into murky waters of late following Middlesbrough's failure to win any of their last six top-flight games, losing four of the last five. Alarm bells are ringing as Boro have slumped down to 17th - with their slightly superior goal difference all that prevents them from a place in the relegation zone - while Karanka has been chopped from 25/1 to just 4/1 (Bet Victor) in the Sack Race.
Boro were always going to experience a rough patch on their return to the Premier League, but after opening up with five points from three games expectations instantly rose. However, the Riverside outfit are now struggling towards the bottom of the league ladder, and in truth they are unlikely to end their rotten run on Saturday when they travel to Arsenal, who have won their last six successive league games.
Mike Phelan (Hull City)
Mike Phelan may only have put pen to paper to become Hull City's permanent manager last Thursday, but the shambolic 6-1 defeat at Bournemouth 48 hours later has already thrust him into dangerous territory in the Sack Race (14/1). That humiliation on the south coast was free-falling Hull's fourth defeat on the spin, leaving the club just one point above the relegation zone.
Back in August the Tigers roared out of the blocks with two twins from two, but they have since endured a torrid time, picking up just one point from six matches. In truth Hull have a tricky run, but now they will desperately be looking to register points against the likes of Stoke, Watford, Sunderland, West Brom and Hull in the next six weeks.