West Ham welcome Arsenal to Boleyn Ground on Saturday evening for a fixture that will undoubtedly be full of drama and Hammers boss Sam Allardyce believes he can heap further misery on the Gunners
For many seasons many Arsenal fans would look through the fixture list an pin point a visit to Allardyce's former home, the Reebok Stadium, as a trip to miss as they seemed to have a torrid time against his Bolton side.
The current West Ham manager has a good record in welcoming the Gunners to his home grounds where he has won five times, lost five times and draw three, but his sides are perceived as vastly inferior to Arsenal and Allardyce says in his Evening Standard column that the key is to playing a very tactical game against Arsene Wenger's side.
Allardyce said “If you want to play effectively against a team such as Arsenal, you have to be tactically ready — the players need to know what they must do to try and stop a fabulous team from passing at will.
“You ignore that at your peril because you might last for 50 minutes or even longer. Inevitably, though, you run out of steam and they’ll punish you. If it happens late in the game, Arsenal will beat you by one or two goals. If it happens earlier, it could be five or six.”
The West Ham boss also believes it is very hard to beat Arsenal and receive credit for your performance, but insists that gaining points against them is all that matters.
“You have to stop their players from doing what they want — our players, particularly the front men, have to do the stuff they’re never as keen on, such as defending by closing down,” added Allardyce.
“After that, you have to seek out Arsenal’s weaknesses. They have fewer than most but they have some because we all do.
“Ultimately, as I discovered, even if all that works and you manage to get a result against Arsenal, you get criticised for the way you’ve achieved it — but that doesn’t matter. The only thing which matters is to beat the opposition by tactics which give your team a chance.”
West Ham will be looking to capitalise on Arsenal's defeat last weekend at home to Chelsea after the Hammer's picked up a win at London rivals Queen's Park Rangers.
Contrary to what Allardyce says it takes to dismantle an inform Arsenal side, he believes if you catch them on an off day his side can beat the Gunners' regardless how they play, perhaps because he doesn’t believe they have another way of playing if their passing game is not up to scratch.
“If we catch Arsenal on the wrong day, it might not matter how well we play,” Wrote Allardyce.
He later stated, “I prefer to learn from my mentor, Sir Alex Ferguson, and have Plans B, C and D ready in the locker, as long as your players can adapt to it.
“I would stress this is only my opinion. If what they do works for these young managers then fantastic because there is no right or wrong way. The only way is your way and if that wins matches."