SportSoccer

Wenger, Allardyce rekindle touchline rivalry

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 06 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 06 October, 2012, 3:33am

Arsenal's visit to West Ham today will rekindle the explosive touchline rivalry between Arsene Wenger and Sam Allardyce.

Arsenal manager Wenger and Hammers boss Allardyce regularly got under each other's skins when Allardyce was in charge of a Bolton side that revelled in upsetting the top four.

Wenger often criticised Bolton's physical approach while Allardyce appeared to take particular pleasure in winding up the Frenchman when his team beat an Arsenal side who sometimes struggled against opponents who focused on roughing them up.

Now the pair will meet again with Allardyce's promoted Hammers having moved above Wenger's club into seventh place to add extra spice to an already red-hot London derby at Upton Park.

But Arsenal defender Kieran Gibbs has warned West Ham his team will be in an aggressive mood themselves after getting back to winning ways by beating Olympiakos in the Champions League in midweek.

Arsenal won 3-1, although the scoreline suggested the game was more comfortable than it actually was for Wenger's side.

Gibbs, who has been called up to the England squad for the World Cup qualifiers with San Marino and Poland said: "It was important to bounce back after a defeat against Chelsea at home.

"It was important for the players especially. We wanted to shake off a few doubts in our minds that we had. We certainly did that and we're back on the front foot now. This is what we have to keep doing and keep pushing on from here."

West Ham will not be short of belief after an impressive victory at QPR on Monday that came with the added bonus of a return for the Hammers' England striker Andy Carroll.

And West Ham centre-back James Collins said: "Obviously we're coming off the back of a good win on Monday and we're full of confidence.

"[Carroll has] been great. The first game he came in against Fulham at home he was superb and unfortunately got injured and to have him back for the later stages of the game on Monday gave us all a boost.

"He's a handful. Obviously I've played against him before and I'm glad he's on my team now."

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