Sam Allardyce, the Bolton Wanderers manager, has ensured there will be the usual frostiness that acc-ompanies Arsène Wenger's visits to the Reebok Stadium tonight by accusing his FA Cup fourth-round opponent of hypocrisy over his time-wasting complaints against Wigan.
Relations between the two adversaries had thawed prior to their initial 1-1 draw at the Emirates Stadium when Allardyce congratulated Wenger for his youth system and the Arsenal manager softened his harsh analysis of Bolton's style of play. It always did appear a fragile peace, however, and the Bolton manager confirmed as such yesterday when he accused Wenger of double standards with his condemnation of Paul Jewell's tactics during their eventful contest on Sunday.
Thierry Henry, who will be rested for tonight's replay, left Chris Kirkland in no doubt as to his feelings on time-wasting when he brandished the ball at the Wigan goalkeeper following Arsenal's equaliser - an action defended by Wenger who, despite having his goalkeeper Jens Lehmann booked for delaying a re-start in the same game, has also criticised Bolton in the past for similar tactics.
Allardyce responded: "Arsène has been very clever in choosing to make a little psychological profile of the time-wasting issue. It is as though the opposition always do it against them and they never do it, but it doesn't fool us and it doesn't fool most of the other managers either because we know they are just as good at doing it as anyone else when they are winning in the final minutes of matches. He criticised us heavily for time-wasting when we nearly beat Arsenal last season, so hopefully he will be moaning about us again after this game."
Wenger will also rest Lehmann tonight, while Kevin Davies and Abdoulaye Faye are notable absentees for the home side, and though the Arsenal manager concedes that Bolton represent a bogey team - having won the last three games between the clubs at the Reebok - he is still positive. "If you look at recent results then yes they are [a bogey team] but I don't experience it like that," insisted Wenger.
"They took advantage of our weak points every time but overall I never look at any opponents ever as being a team we cannot be successful against. I just think if you do the right things then you win."Reuse content