Allardyce taunts 'time-wasting' Arsenal

February 13, 2007

Sam Allardyce has hit back at Arsene Wenger's time-wasting jibes by claiming Arsenal are just as good at using the tactic as anyone else.

A major row erupted at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday as Wigan unsuccessfully attempted to hold onto their narrow lead against the Gunners.

Arsenal became increasingly frustrated at what they perceived to be Wigan's time-wasting tactics, with Thierry Henry very publicly mocking Latics keeper Chris Kirkland immediately after Fitz Hall's own-goal leveller.

Ironically, Jens Lehmann subsequently picked up a booking for delaying a re-start which will rule him out of the Carling Cup final showdown with Chelsea at the end of the month.

Allardyce reflected on the row with a smile. After all, his Bolton side have been on the end of similar accusations from the north London giants as well.

And he hopes to hear Wenger moaning again after tomorrow's FA Cup fourth-round replay.

'Arsene has been very clever in choosing to make a little psychological profile of the time-wasting issue,' said Allardyce.

'It is as though the opposition always do it against them and they never do it.

'But it doesn't fool us and it doesn't fool most of the other managers either because we know they are just as good at doing it as anyone else when they are in winning in the final minutes of matches.

'He criticised us heavily for time-wasting when we nearly beat Arsenal last season, so hopefully he will be moaning about us again tomorrow.'

Wenger certainly has not been short of reasons to complain on his recent visits to the Reebok Stadium.

Bolton have come out on top in their last three meetings in the north-west, including a Premiership victory earlier in the campaign that featured two brilliant goals from former Arsenal favourite Nicolas Anelka.

The Frenchman does have an excellent record against his old clubs and, with Allardyce predicting Wenger will field a full-strength side as he looks to maintain Arsenal's impressive record in cup combat, Anelka might need to recapture the goalscoring touch again.

'The defining issue tomorrow will be who has their sharp-shooting boots on,' he said.

'We have Nicolas, they have Thierry Henry. Both of them are capable of turning a game in their side's favour in a moment.

'In the past, we have managed to beat Arsenal by capitalising on the first or second opportunity that comes our way. It will have to be the same again tomorrow.'

Bolton's chances of booking a Saturday lunchtime local derby with Blackburn have been hampered by the loss of key duo Kevin Davies and Abdoulaye Faye.

While Davies was always expected to miss out with an ankle injury, Faye's absence following a minor operation to remove an abscess is a major blow, leaving Allardyce to cross his fingers that fellow central defender Abdoulaye Meite overcomes a calf problem.

'It is a bit frustrating because I would have liked to have had the opportunity to work with the team and give them a little refresher in terms of what we should be doing,' said Allardyce.

'Unfortunately, that has not been the case. We have not been able to do any contact training because we were too worried about picking up any more injuries.'