Arsene Wenger backed to come through bad patch by Steve Clarke

Arsenal manager under pressure following poor start to season

West Brom boss Steve Clarke insists Arsene Wenger will ride out the latest Emirates Stadium storm as the Baggies look to get their own Barclays Premier League season back on track.

Clarke's men hit the dizzy heights of third place before successive defeats to Swansea and Stoke, but their problems pale into insignificance compared with those of the Gunners, who were stunned 2-0 by the Swans last week.

But Clarke said: "This week it is Mr Wenger, next week it might be someone else and the following week it will be someone else again.

"It's the way the game is now. It's probably the way the game has always been but there is so much more spotlight on it now.

"There is always going to be somebody up there that they want to have a pop at."

Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill is also feeling the pressure as he leads his side out against Chelsea desperate to improve a dismal home record which stands at just one Stadium of Light win since March.

O'Neill, who could be without Steven Fletcher due to an ankle problem, told the Sunderland Echo: "It takes a strong player to play. It's demanding and you have to have plenty of courage and ability. You have to have a good mentality and a bit of self-confidence."

Reading boss Brian McDermott leads his side into a crucial relegation battle against fellow strugglers Southampton at St Mary's admitting he would swap his side's exciting performances for more points.

The Royals were unlucky last time out in a 4-3 defeat to Manchester United but McDermott said: "We have had some fantastic games with lots of goals, which is really entertaining for our fans, but our fans want results as well."

In another important clash at the bottom, Harry Redknapp looks for his first win in charge of QPR as they travel to Wigan, whose boss Roberto Martinez is refusing to panic about his own team's plight.

Martinez is without eight key players for the clash but insisted: "We've been in this situation time after time.

"There is a really good feeling in the squad: we always look forward, we always look up and at the next game as an opportunity."

Stoke boss Tony Pulis hopes to have striker Peter Crouch back as his side look to continue their recent good run at Aston Villa, while Swansea have a doubt over winger Pablo Hernandez for their home clash with Norwich.

Everton and Tottenham clash at Goodison Park on Sunday while Sam Allardyce hopes his West Ham side can build on their impressive win over Chelsea last week by seeing off Liverpool at Upton Park.

Fulham meet Newcastle in the Monday match.

PA

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