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Barca attack picking up steam

Barcelona 35 minutes ago
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By ESPN Staff
Dec 4, 2007

Wenger bemused by Allardyce pressure

Arsene Wenger feels the pressure facing under-fire Newcastle manager Sam Allardyce is 'a bit harsh' and believes anyone 'needs time' to make a difference. The Arsenal boss takes his Barclays Premier League leaders to St James' Park tomorrow night looking to extend their unbeaten domestic run. Another defeat for the Magpies - who have lost four in five games - would be sure to see Allardyce receive the wrath of the home fans. The former Bolton boss was only appointed in the summer, and was seen as the ideal choice to reinvigorate the north-east club. Reports of player unrest and an unhappy dressing room have today been denied, with Allardyce maintaining he has the full confidence of club owner Mike Ashley. Looking from the outside, Wenger finds the situation difficult to understand. 'It is a bit harsh, but firstly I don't know if it is true and secondly I don't know what is really going on inside the club,' Wenger told Arsenal TV Online. 'But if the speculations you talk about are true then as he has just been appointed it is surprising.' The Gunners boss continued: 'You can't talk about them because you don't know exactly the atmosphere inside the club. 'For me Newcastle has a big support every time you go up there and you feel there is a great potential within the club - of course, in order to turn things round you need time.' Wenger, though, does not believe Newcastle will be anything other than ready to throw Arsenal's title charge off track tomorrow night. He said: 'I don't read a lot about that [Allardyce] as I prefer just to focus on facing a good Newcastle side - and I believe that every time we go up there you don't come back with points if you don't perform well and that is what we expect from Newcastle. 'When you go up there you always expect a passionate game and we will prepare to face a strong Newcastle side, but again we will focus mainly on our own performance.'