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Dec 7, 2012

Clarke defends under-fire Wenger

West Bromwich Albion head coach Steve Clarke is amazed by the criticism being directed at Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and feels it shows a lack of respect for the Frenchman's longevity and achievements in the Premier League.

• Arsenal chief: Winning not all
• Sagna: I'm happy at Arsenal

Wenger has faced a tough time of late and was booed by sections of the Emirates crowd following last Saturday's 2-0 home defeat by Swansea.

Albion will be hoping to inflict more misery on the former Monaco boss by looking to extend Arsenal's four game run without a victory and break their own run of two successive defeats.

An away victory would intensify the debate among Arsenal fans over whether Wenger is the right man to continue to take the club forward after seven seasons without a trophy, but Clarke feels Wenger deserves more respect.

"This week it's Mr Wenger, next week it might be someone else," he said. "It's the way the game is now. It's probably the way the game has always been but there is much more spotlight on it now. Nobody has really had a pop at me yet, I'm still waiting for that moment.

"Hopefully it won't come. I respect Mr Wenger because he's been a successful manager for a long period of time. If I'm lucky enough to manage in the same number of games and be as successful as him, then I will be delighted."

Meanwhile, Boaz Myhill has recovered from a stomach bug and will continue to deputise for first choice goalkeeper Ben Foster, who is expected to return to full training following groin surgery in the next seven days.

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