Who needs a win this weekend more than most?
Here's our quick rundown of who needs the three points and why...
Two points and bottom of the table; need we say more? Losing at home to West Ham on Monday was a near calamity for the Hoops, but owner Tony Fernandes moved quickly to give his backing to Mark Hughes amid fevered speculation Harry Redknapp was poised to take over. While its clear Rangers need time to gel, they don't have forever, especially not if their ambitions are loftier than just avoiding relegation. Their task this weekend is a difficult one, away to surprise package West Brom. Perhaps just avoiding defeat would in some part be considered success, but QPR are at the stage where they need wins, and with Everton visiting Loftus Road the following week, Mark Hughes knows his side must aim to get all three points this weekend.
Reading like QPR are still searching for that first Premier League win, albeit after five games rather than six thanks to a postponement. As a newly promoted side you could consider they need it more than most. For their players there will be a nagging doubt over their ability to get results at this level, and the longer it goes on the more the risk goes on of their confidence sapping. They face Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium, who are on a poor run of their own, and it could be a great chance to get off the board.
The buoyancy of August seems a long time ago for Swansea, who took one point from a possible 12 in September. Last weekend it was Stoke who beat them 2-0, but they will look to get back to winning ways against winless Reading. There were pundits who tipped the Swans for relegation prior to the season who quickly adjusted that view after their strong start, but their recent poor form has meant another reconsideration. A home defeat to Reading really would be a worrying sign for them, but a win could be a turning point.
The Saints remain one of the more unpredictable sides in the league, after hammering Aston Villa 4-1, but losing by a combined 9-2 scoreline to Everton and Arsenal. Villa was their last home match, and with Fulham visiting this weekend they will fancy their chances of a repeat at St Mary's. They currently sit narrowly above the relegation zone by a single point, but this is a chance to begin to establish themselves as more of a mid-table club. Their next home game is a trickier one against Tottenham, so they will be keen to make this one count.
Ask any Arsenal fans the chances of West Ham sitting two points above them after six games, and you would have got a spiky response at the start of the season, so what about the prospect of being five points behind after seven? With the Gunners facing the Hammers at Upton Park, it could happen. Wenger has increased the pressure after admitting after the Chelsea game that his side were 'psychologically damaged' after the defeat. For a side long associated with mental fragility it was a strange admission to make, and one West Ham will no doubt look to exploit that and test the Gunners' mettle with their physical approach. With Spurs above them in the table and facing Aston Villa at home, Arsenal will not want to lose more ground.
image: © Tom Cuppens