Three people in the spotlight this weekend

Sports Mole takes a look at which three people need a strong showing this weekend to relieve pressure.

Another weekend of Premier League drama lies ahead, and millions of football fans around the world will watch on full of expectation once again.

Just as the case is on every other weekend, there will be some people under more pressure than others, and Sports Mole has taken a closer look at three individuals in need of success.

1. Mesut Ozil

By this stage of his Arsenal career, many people would have expected Ozil to be one of the most feared players in the Premier League. However, it just hasn't clicked for the German since his arrival last summer. Why has he struggled so much? It doesn't seem like anyone has an answer for that particular question. Before moving to the Gunners, Ozil was a regular in the Real Madrid lineup, and proved in Spain that he had the ability to be considered one of the best around.

Arsenal's German midfielder Mesut Ozil (R) runs with the ball chased by Leicester City's Algerian midfielder Riyad Mahrez (L) during the English Premier League football match on August 31, 2014© Getty Images

The 25-year-old is now over a year into his stay at the Emirates Stadium, and the criticism just seems to keep on coming. Even some of the Arsenal supporters, who have backed him repeatedly, appear to have finally lost patience with the club's record signing following his poor start to the new campaign. It has been suggested that Ozil needs to be dropped, if not for his own good than for the benefit of a side who are yet to hit top form this season.

As expected, Arsene Wenger has been quick to defend his player, and appealed for fans to have more patience with him. A tricky match against high-flying Aston Villa awaits them on Saturday afternoon. Ozil needs to relieve some pressure with a big performance.

2. Alan Pardew

It will come as no surprise to anyone that Pardew is included in this list for the second time in as many weeks. Every season Pardew seems to be under pressure from a large majority of Newcastle United's supporters, but it is now, more than ever, when he looks to be running out of time.

Alan Pardew, manager of Newcastle United gestures during the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and Crystal Palace at St James' Park on August 30, 2014© Getty Images

Earlier in the month it was claimed that he had two games to save his job. One of those matches has passed, and it ended in a humiliating 4-0 defeat to Southampton. That may have been Pardew's lowest point as Newcastle boss as he watched his team capitulate against the Saints. How his side respond to the loss could determine how long he remains at the club.

Pardew has labelled the campaign from some fans calling for his sacking "mass hysteria" as he prepares for the game against Hull City knowing that there will be protests from the home supporters. Reports earlier this week suggested that owner Mike Ashley was fully behind his man, but will he risk harming his relationship with the fans further if Newcastle's poor season continues? If the Magpies taste defeat again, Newcastle could be looking for a new manager next week.

3. Yaya Toure

Alongside Luis Suarez, Toure was surely one of the two best players in the Premier League last season. The Ivorian seemed to dominate every match he played, and very rarely did any other midfielder get the better of him as he made a huge contribution to Manchester City's title-winning campaign.

Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure kneels down in pain after injuring himself during the Premier League match against Liverpool on April 13, 2014© Getty Images

However, we are yet to see the best of Toure this season. It's true that he has been battling a couple of injury problems since returning from the World Cup, but the most alarming sign that he is currently out of form was his display in the defeat to Bayern Munich on Wednesday night. Toure looked well short of his best. Usually such a commanding figure in the centre of the pitch, the 31-year-old was unable to make any impact in Bavaria. Not only did he struggle to attack in his trademark fashion, the midfielder failed to fulfil his defensive duties on a number of occasions, exposing Fernandinho to two-on-one situations far too often.

All of that will soon be forgotten if Toure gets back to his best on Sunday. Man City head into the meeting with Chelsea five points behind the leaders, and a positive result is crucial for Manuel Pellegrini's side. Big players need to step up in the biggest matches, and that's usually what Toure has done in the past few seasons. Control the game and lead City to victory on Sunday, and the concerns over his form will soon disappear. Failure to produce a trademark performance against a title rival, and the criticism aimed at Toure will intensify.

Bayern Munich's Polish striker Robert Lewandowski and Manchester City's French defender Bacary Sagna challenge for the ball during the first leg UEFA Champions League Group E football match Borussia FC Bayern Munchen v Manchester City in Munich, Germany o
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1Manchester CityMan City23202167175062
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd23155348163250
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8Leicester CityLeicester238783432231
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham2367102941-1225
12Crystal Palace2367102133-1225
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15Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2365122131-1023
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18Stoke CityStoke2355132350-2720
19West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom23310101830-1219
20Swansea CitySwansea2345141435-2117
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