Sam Allardyce claims he loves beating Arsene Wenger, and branded him an arrogant man and a bad loser, as reported by The Sun.
Big Sam has recently taken over at struggling Sunderland, and should go up against Wenger at least twice this season – assuming he keeps his job.
Wenger is well respected for the most part, and gets on well with his fellow managers. Allardyce clearly thinks the Frenchman is a good manager, but enjoys the rare occasions he’s able to get the better of him.
“I enjoyed beating Arsenal more than anyone when I was in charge at Bolton,” he wrote.
“We’d really got to them and Arsene Wenger hated us.
“Of course, Arsenal beat us sometimes, but we drew with them or beat them more often than expected and Wenger couldn’t handle it.
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“There was one time he wouldn’t shake hands with me at Highbury because we got a draw. I saw him ripping his tie off and throwing it on the floor in anger.
“He takes it all very personally and has an air or arrogance. He’s not one for inviting you into his office for a drink after games.
“He’s a fantastic manager, I cannot deny that. But the more I could wind him up, the more I liked it.”
While any manager is entitled to feel good about getting the better of one of their counterparts, Allardyce’s reasoning is a little ridiculous. He claims there was a misconception that his side’s weren’t there to play football, and they were just looking to be physical and kick other teams off the park.
He insists this is total rubbish, and that it was fallacy created by Arsene Wenger and the media.
“He tried to influence refs through the media and create a perception that we were bullies committing all the fouls, while his team just wanted to play,” he continued.
“I was always getting questions like ‘Arsene said you kicked them off the park, that you weren’t interested in playing football. What have you got to say about that?’
“There was no credit for the fact we’d spent all week studying how to nullify their skilful players and not let them have a second on the ball.
“It was a skill finding their weaknesses and how to exploit them.”
How he can deny that almost every side he’s managed plays physical, route one football is a mystery, as anyone who’s watched an Allardyce managed team will tell you that’s exactly the tactic he employs.
Every team he’s in charge of is built around physically dominant strikers like Kevin Davies or Andy Carroll, players who look to impose themselves on the other team and receive long balls.
There’s nothing wrong with applying this tactic, and it is often a good way of smaller teams getting the better of their bigger competitors. For him to suggest that Wenger has started false rumours about his playing style in the media is an absolute farce though.
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Hopefully we give Sunderland a good trouncing this season, and wipe that big grin off Big Sam’s face.