West Ham news

Allardyce prepared for Gunners

October 6, 2012
By Kevin Palmer

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce is relishing the chance to lock horns with his old foe Arsene Wenger once again, as his side welcome Arsenal to Upton Park on Saturday.

Sam Allardyce
PA PhotosSam Allardyce has history with Arsene Wenger from his Bolton days

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Allardyce and Wenger have clashed time and time again over differing football philosophies that have placed a divisive wedge between the duo.

The Arsenal boss has been riled in the past by a coach whose more direct style at Bolton and Blackburn was in stark contrast to the silky football he now promotes at West Ham.

Allardyce has often got the better of Wenger on numerous occasions down the years, with his well-honed plan of exploiting Arsenal's defensive weakness when defending set-pieces.

But despite playing a more attractive brand of football these days he is still prepared to tip his hat to the days of old in order to get a goal.

"Goals are scored in a variety of ways, there is no one simple way of scoring a goal especially in the Premier League. That is what makes it so appealing across the world," Allardyce said.

"We have to make the choice of what tactic to use to score, if you have many options available you give yourself a much better chance of catching your opponents off guard. If you play one way only you become too predictable."

Allardyce accepts the clash with Arsenal will be his side's toughest test of a season that has seen them collect 11 points from their opening six games.

But he is keen to exploit the weaknesses he has successfully tapped into when taking on Wenger's teams down the years.

"Arsenal are very good at keeping the ball so there will be times in the game when we need to concentrate out of possession to ensure they don't get a chance to score," he added. "We won't see the ball as much as we have done at Upton Park in previous games so we have to approach the game in a different way and of course make sure we make the most of the ball when we have it.

"People have suggested over the years that Arsenal have been weak at the back, but the problem you face is getting to their defence. They are so good at keeping the ball that chances are few and far between. Still, all teams have weaknesses and what we need to do is make sure we find them and exploit them to score a goal.

"We will have a game plan and hopefully it will help us to get a result on Saturday but a game plan will only work if the players perform to the very best of their ability. Even then it might not be good enough to beat Arsenal but if we can perform like we did against Fulham and Sunderland we will give them a very good game on Saturday."