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Who is facing the most pressure in the Premier League? After the latest round of Champions League games and the ensuing fallout, Ben Lyttleton runs down the candidates in his Pressure Power Rankings.

By Ben Lyttleton
December 11, 2015

After the end of the Champions League group stage this week, the Premier League is back this weekend, and the storylines are in overdrive.

Swansea City searches for a new coach after firing Garry Monk; Manchester United’s current boss, Louis van Gaal feels the heat after his side's Champions League ouster; and Jose Mourinho is breathing a bit easier after Chelsea, which still sits in 14th place in England, defeated his former side, Porto, en route to winning its Champions League group. A test against first-place Leicester City on Monday could put him and the Blues right back under the microscope, though.

Here are the latest Premier League Pressure Power Rankings as matches resume this weekend:

10
Diego Costa
Chelsea forward
But if Mourinho wanted a reaction from the striker whom he dropped for the last two games, he got one. Costa’s movement was good, his hold-up play participated in Willian’s goal and all that was missing from his performance was a goal. He has only scored once in the last 11 games and Monday at league leader Leicester would be a fine time to start.
Diego Costa
Chelsea forward
But if Mourinho wanted a reaction from the striker whom he dropped for the last two games, he got one. Costa’s movement was good, his hold-up play participated in Willian’s goal and all that was missing from his performance was a goal. He has only scored once in the last 11 games and Monday at league leader Leicester would be a fine time to start.
9
Ryan Giggs
Manchester United assistant manager
It was reported Friday that Swansea might consider offering him its head coach job; would Giggs take the risk? It’s a similar situation to that of Gary Neville, his friend and business partner who just took over at Valencia (although coaching in Spain gives Neville some distance from the hyper-critical English media). Will Neville’s choice encourage Giggs to take the plunge? If the ultimate ambition is to coach United, will staying increase those chances? Can he bear to watch United playing like this for another 18 months?
Ryan Giggs
Manchester United assistant manager
It was reported Friday that Swansea might consider offering him its head coach job; would Giggs take the risk? It’s a similar situation to that of Gary Neville, his friend and business partner who just took over at Valencia (although coaching in Spain gives Neville some distance from the hyper-critical English media). Will Neville’s choice encourage Giggs to take the plunge? If the ultimate ambition is to coach United, will staying increase those chances? Can he bear to watch United playing like this for another 18 months?
8
Wilfried Bony
Manchester City forward
His 11 months at the Eithad have not been smooth, but there were signs the confidence is returning with a goal and some smart combination play with Raheem Sterling. If Aguero’s injury-hit campaign is to continue, then Bony needs to start winning over the doubters.
Wilfried Bony
Manchester City forward
His 11 months at the Eithad have not been smooth, but there were signs the confidence is returning with a goal and some smart combination play with Raheem Sterling. If Aguero’s injury-hit campaign is to continue, then Bony needs to start winning over the doubters.
7
Jose Mourinho
Chelsea manager
Ranieri took that with good grace, as he usually does, but Mourinho made some unnecessarily offensive comments against the Italian during their time in Serie A (Mourinho was at Inter, Ranieri at Roma). Ranieri may have the moral high ground but Mourinho will only care about winning in Monday’s key game.
Jose Mourinho
Chelsea manager
Ranieri took that with good grace, as he usually does, but Mourinho made some unnecessarily offensive comments against the Italian during their time in Serie A (Mourinho was at Inter, Ranieri at Roma). Ranieri may have the moral high ground but Mourinho will only care about winning in Monday’s key game.
6
Joel Campbell
Arsenal forward
Injuries have played their part–specifically with Arsenal’s midfield pair missing, and Aaron Ramsey moving to the center–but Campbell has seized his opportunity. He scored last week in the win over Sunderland and was outstanding against Olympiakos in midweek. With Theo Walcott back from injury and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain almost there, can Campbell keep his place in the side?
Joel Campbell
Arsenal forward
Injuries have played their part–specifically with Arsenal’s midfield pair missing, and Aaron Ramsey moving to the center–but Campbell has seized his opportunity. He scored last week in the win over Sunderland and was outstanding against Olympiakos in midweek. With Theo Walcott back from injury and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain almost there, can Campbell keep his place in the side?
5
Wayne Rooney
Manchester United forward
Van Gaal has made Rooney his leader on the pitch, but this season the faith has not been repaid. Former England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson wants to sign Rooney for a lucrative contract in Shanghai. That’s the least of Rooney’s issues ahead of a potential banana-skin fixture against Bournemouth Saturday.
4
Jack Grealish
Aston Villa
“I am pleased with how Jack trained over the past two weeks,” said Garde. “Jack is back. I am happy for that–and for the team.” Now it will be up to Grealish to prove himself again. The one problem? Sunday’s visitor is in-form Arsenal, Garde’s former club.
3
Huw Jenkins
Swansea City chairman
His next decision will be the most important: will he go back in for Gus Poyet, whom he wanted back in 2010, or make an audacious effort for a first-timer, like Dennis Bergkamp, currently a coach at Ajax, or Giggs? For Swansea, the stakes could not be higher.
Huw Jenkins
Swansea City chairman
His next decision will be the most important: will he go back in for Gus Poyet, whom he wanted back in 2010, or make an audacious effort for a first-timer, like Dennis Bergkamp, currently a coach at Ajax, or Giggs? For Swansea, the stakes could not be higher.
2
Christian Benteke
Liverpool
That’s not the case at Anfield and it’s a curious stat (and with a very small sample) that this season, Liverpool averages 1.1 goals per game with Benteke starting, 1.9 with him not playing and 3.2 when he comes on as a sub. With Daniel Sturridge injured again, this could be a chance for Benteke to stake his claim. Will he get it, and will he take it? Next up is West Brom on Sunday at Anfield, where Liverpool’s form has been patchy.
Christian Benteke
Liverpool
That’s not the case at Anfield and it’s a curious stat (and with a very small sample) that this season, Liverpool averages 1.1 goals per game with Benteke starting, 1.9 with him not playing and 3.2 when he comes on as a sub. With Daniel Sturridge injured again, this could be a chance for Benteke to stake his claim. Will he get it, and will he take it? Next up is West Brom on Sunday at Anfield, where Liverpool’s form has been patchy.
1
Louis van Gaal
Manchester United manager
Blaming the season so far on bad luck and high expectations, as he did Friday, does not help. The fans have seen through the emperor’s new clothes.

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