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Allardyce raps Wenger

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Sam Allardyce will do battle with Arsene Wenger tonight, claiming the Arsenal boss has not given him enough respect over the years.


The Newcastle manager reckons he discovered the secret to beating Arsenal on their travels when he was Bolton chief - but he's never turned over the Gunners in north London.


Newcastle aim to put that right this evening at the Emirates Stadium just 48 hours after beating West Ham in the Premier League.


Allardyce has warned his Toon squad that Wenger currently has the "best side in the country" and openly admires the work achieved by the Frenchman.


But the pair had spats over Bolton's physical style that got under Wenger's skin and Allardyce said: "I've never disrespected him in any way, shape or form. It's more the opposite - but that's life, as we say.


"We had good results against them, although we never won at Arsenal. I am not telling you the key to rattling them. Arsene's not managed to work it out yet, so I might as well keep it going.


"We're certainly underdogs in this game because they're the best team in the Premier League right now. They've got the best squad.


"We must make sure that the players are aware of how we managed to beat them at Bolton. If they take that on board, they'll have a chance. If they don't, we could suffer at the hands of Arsenal - like many teams have this year.


"I have total admiration for Arsene. He has done a terrific job and his side play terrific football. He's rebuilt a team in a way that few managers could do.


"There's only one manager done it before and that's Alex Ferguson, and he's rebuilt four teams and he's still top of the tree.


"Arsene's the only other one who keeps taking players out and replacing them, and is still producing success.


"It didn't happen last year, but it looks like it will this season. Who doesn't enjoy watching Arsenal?


"Their conversion of chances into goals has increased by at least 50 per cent. "That's why they're top of the league. They created just as many chances last year but missed them. Now, they're creating them and scoring."


Allardyce was frequently accused of employing bullyboy tactics by Wenger's men, and Newcastle will come after Arsenal with their confidence boosted by Sunday's win over West Ham.


Big Sam will field his strongest possible line-up with Shay Given likely to be recalled along with Steven Taylor and Oba Martins - who will partner Mark Viduka in the absence of injured Michael Owen. Jose Enrique and Abdoulaye Faye will also get their first starts for the club. Allardyce is not expecting an easy ride from a young Arsenal side, adding: "He plays the kids every week. He plays Fabregas every week and what's he? A kid. Denilson and all that lot.


"It's not about whether they're kids or not, it's about how much experience they have. And they have lots.


"Last season, those so-called kids got Arsenal right the way through to the Carling Cup final. This time, they should be even better."

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