Tuesday 24 October 2017

Wenger buries the hatchet as old foes square up again

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. Photo: John Sibley/Reuters
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. Photo: John Sibley/Reuters
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Arsene Wenger feels he and Sam Allardyce are not quite as different as many people would believe.

The pair come up against one another today when Allardyce takes his Crystal Palace side to face Wenger's Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.

It will be just his second game in charge of the Eagles after the former England boss replaced Alan Pardew at the helm last week.

Having done battle in the Premier League for over a decade, Wenger and Allardyce have had their flashpoints, with the former admitting he still hurts from a 2-2 draw against Allardyce's Bolton in 2003 that went a long way to costing the Gunners the title.

Having been branded a long-ball specialist, Allardyce has always impressed his contemporaries with an ability to embrace the latest technology within the game. And Wenger feels his own, attacking approach to management is no longer at the opposite end of the spectrum to the man who will sit in the away dugout today. "It is less and less. I don't think the difference is as black and white," he said when asked about their respective philosophies.

Wenger has not always spoken as kindly about Allardyce and it was a game at the Reebok Stadium in 2003 that will stick in his mind.

The Gunners were fighting for the title but missed the chance to top the table in late April when they let a two-goal lead slip to draw with Allardyce's Trotters.

And the 67-year-old concedes it is a moment which still weighs heavy on his heart. "Unfortunately, you have awkward moments in a career and you never forget them," he said when asked about the game."But it's part of the game and it's part of the English charm, as well. Because what happens to us can happen to the opponents."

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