Pressure on Wenger grows as Arsenal’s top-four odds drift

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Arsene Wenger is being forced to field yet more questions about his future after Arsenal suffered a third defeat in four Premier League games – during which they have conceded a staggering 14 goals – away to previously winless Blackburn.

The talk before kick-off was all about the future of opposite number Steve Kean, with a section of the home support staging a protest march against his running of the club, while the Gunners were perceived to be slowly returning to form.

All looked well at half-time as the visitors headed into the dressing room with a 2-1 advantage but dismal defending and two own goals saw them wind up pointless yet again and below all five of the favourites for relegation in the table.

An indication of how bad things are for the north Londoners right now is provided by the fact that they have flown out to 15/8 to finish in the top four, the longest price that they have been offered at so far this season.

The only real positive that can be taken from the opening few weeks is that neither Liverpool (8/13) nor Tottenham (11/4) – their main rivals for Champions League qualification – have performed well enough so far to build an intimidating early lead.

However, despite that, they still find themselves some way off the pace and serious question marks will start to be asked about just how temporary this blip is, given that they have won only three times in 16 league matches.

Regardless, there is optimism that next week will bring about a change in fortune when they host a similarly beleaguered Bolton. Owen Coyle’s side have lost four on the spin and are consequently 4/9 to be beaten again at Arsenal.

Wenger is the 5/1 third favourite to be the first Premier League manager to vacate his position in 2011-12.

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