Rafa Benitez (Chelsea)
The interim boss at Stamford Bridge has been desperately in need of a positive result in the League following two goalless draws and a defeat at West Ham since taking charge. Although his new team went out of the Champions League in midweek he will have been highly encouraged by the 6-1 demolition of Nordsjaelland. Saturday’s convincing win against Sunderland could have the necessary effect and kick-start Chelsea’s title challenge. Benitez will be hoping his long-time relationship with Fernando Torres will bring about more than just the two strikes he hit at the Stadium of Light as they aim to catch the two Manchester clubs.
Sir Alex Ferguson (Manchester United)
The United boss must be delighted with being the first team to take all 3 points away from Manchester City in 2 years thanks to Robin van Persie’s late clincher. Having seen his side throw away a two goal lead the legendary Old Trafford manager will certainly take extra enjoyment from his customary post-match glass of red wine after going six points clear of the champions in the quest to regain the title. Ferguson will rightly consider United to be firmly in the driving seat with his team renowned for being strong finishers to a season.
David Moyes (Everton)
Everton boss Moyes will be breathing a huge sigh of relief as his men somehow managed to steal a victory at home to Tottenham and put themselves back into pole position to finish in a Champions League qualification place. Their two injury time goals nullified the unlucky deflected strike by Spurs which would also have been a fortunate way to win a very even contest at Goodison Park between two of the leading contenders for the top 4 this season. Following a frustrating run of results which has seen the Toffees dominate games without taking the points they feel they should have, the Scotsman will see this result as a launchpad to a strong second half of the season. The January transfer window will also be crucial to Moyes’ chances of success as the Blues do lack quality in depth in their small squad.
Roberto Mancini (Manchester City)
Manchester City’s manager will be frustrated by the performance against their neighbours and chief title rivals. After an ineffective first half showing and his side’s sterling second half comeback to come from two goals down, he will be devastated to lose to Robin van Persie’s last minute deflected free kick. The selection of the moody and enigmatic Mario Balotelli ahead of the more reliable Carlos Tevez proved a poor one, especially as the Argentinian’s arrival sparked City’s revival. Having been humbled yet again in the Champions League in midweek and now finding themselves six points behind Manchester United, this has been a week to forget for Mancini. The pressure is growing on the Italian who will be desperate to retain the Premier League crown to preserve his employment at the Etihad Stadium.
Harry Redknapp (Queens Park Rangers)
It looks increasingly likely that Harry Redknapp is going to need more than his famous powers of recovery to dig QPR out of the hole they find themselves in. With three consecutive draws since his appointment, Rangers now hold the record of 16 games from the start of the season without a victory in the Premier League and with stats like that it’s hard to see anything other than a miracle being good enough to avoid the drop. Although a point at Wigan is far from being a poor result, it’s games like these that are already must-wins for Redknapp and continued failure to record victories over their relegation rivals will prove fatal sooner rather than later.
Martin O’Neill (Sunderland)
One of the surprise packages of the season so far but for the wrong reasons, Sunderland find themselves languishing in the bottom 3 as the busy Christmas and New Year schedule approaches. Martin O’Neill, who did so well when he first joined the Black Cats a year ago, finds himself under increasing pressure to arrest the slump in form and drag Sunderland to safety. A lack of creativity in his side and too much reliance on Steven Fletcher to score their goals means he will be desperate to enter the transfer market in January to bring in more flair and ruthlessness in front of goal. More poor results in December and O’Neill might not be given the opportunity to improve his squad and may find his tenure ended earlier than many would have ever expected.921091