Three people in the spotlight this weekend

Sports Mole singles out three people who need to enjoy successful weekends for very different reasons.

Premier League clubs, players and managers are running out of time to call their difficulties in recent months a poor start, and as a result, the pressure is on some individuals more than others.

This weekend, the spotlight is shining on people at both ends of the table as all 20 teams prepare for another vital few days in the top tier.

Below, Sports Mole singles out three people desperate for success this weekend.

1. Manuel Pellegrini

The Premier League title race is not over. Some may have you believe that the trophy already has Chelsea's name on it, but it would be foolish to suggest that no-one can catch Jose Mourinho's side, who currently have a six-point lead at the top of the table.

Manchester City's Chilean manager Manuel Pellegrini watches the action during the English Premier League football match between West Ham United and Manchester City at Upton Park in London on February 11, 2014© Getty Images

However, Manchester City's troubles have been clear recently. Two defeats in a week, which included a League Cup loss to Newcastle United, has seen Pellegrini come in for criticism. As was the case in the 2012-13 campaign, City appear to be struggling to handle the pressure of being champions. Chelsea deserve the credit for their improvement, but Pellegrini's side have to be honest about their inconsistent form.

After one of the more difficult weeks of his stay at the Etihad Stadium, Pellegrini faces a big test - winning the Manchester derby. The champions host Louis van Gaal's Manchester United side on Sunday afternoon and nothing but a win will be good enough for Pellegrini. Another defeat will hand Chelsea a huge advantage going forward. City have to get back to their best as soon as possible. Beating their fierce rivals could be a turning point in their season.

2. Paul Lambert

In the early stages of last month, the morale could not have been higher at Villa Park. Aston Villa had started the new season by going unbeaten in the opening four games and the future looked bright for Lambert and his players.

However, six weeks is a long time in the Premier League. That excellent start has quickly been forgotten, and the optimism has been replaced by frustrated groans in the stands. Villa have lost their last five games without scoring a goal, and they head into Sunday's match with Tottenham Hotspur just two points above the relegation zone.

Villa manager Paul Lambert gives the thumbs up against Swansea during the Premier League match on April 26, 2014 © Getty Images

The absence of Fabian Delph has had a big impact, while the fans are still waiting for Christian Benteke to reach full fitness following his long spell on the sidelines. However, Lambert will know that the buck stops with him. During his time in charge, he's always had his critics. The club have stuck by him and the Villa hierarchy will be relieved that his new deal came when the team were on top form.

Lambert must quickly find a way to inspire his players again. Whether that means he will dare to adopt a more attacking approach this weekend, or if it's a major change of personnel, one thing is certain. He needs to end this torrid run of form quickly.

3. Leonardo Ulloa

Hold on, Leicester City supporters. This is certainly not a criticism of your striker, who has made a good start to life as a Premier League player. There is a reason why Ulloa makes our list this week.

Leonardo Ulloa of Leicester City scores his team's fifth goal from the penalty spot during the Barclays Premier League match between Leicester City and Manchester United at The King Power Stadium on September 21, 2014© Getty Images

Leicester's style of play has won plaudits from supporters early in the season. Very few football fans will ever forget their 5-3 victory over Manchester United in September. However, it's been a disappointing few weeks for Nigel Pearson and the Foxes. They've not won since that famous triumph over United last month and four games have passed without Ulloa finding the net.

When teams are in a difficult run of form, it's the striker who feels the pressure more than anyone. If Leicester manage to stay in the Premier League this season, Ulloa will surely have a big say. We've seen that he has the quality to be a success in the top tier of English football, and it's times like these when Leicester need him to deliver.

West Brom visit the King Power Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Can Ulloa prove he is the man to lead Leicester back to the good times?

Saido Berahino of West Brom celebrates scoring his second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Sunderland at The Hawthorns on August 16, 2014
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