Wenger may throw Gallas straight into action

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The Independent Football

William Gallas could be asked to fill the gap left by Ashley Cole in the Arsenal defence against Middlesbrough tomorrow.

The versatile 29-year-old is an option for the Gunners manager Arsène Wenger at left-back, given that Gaël Clichy is injured and Justin Hoyte's natural position is on the other flank. A shoulder injury to Johan Djourou suffered on international duty with Switzerland Under-21s against England in midweek may force Wenger into a rethink, though he said he would have no qualms about throwing Gallas straight into action.

"Gallas can play in different positions at the back and that is what we need," Wenger said. "He is used to the Premiership, he knows what it is all about and what it is to go to difficult places. That is why I am happy to have him. He can play left-back and there is a possibility he may play there [tomorrow].

"At the moment we have a problem there. Justin Hoyte prefers to play at right-back, so Gallas is the most capable to sort that out. He could play, but I do not know yet. Djourou came back injured, Hoyte had a difficult game yesterday. I will assess it on Friday."

Carlos Tevez, meanwhile, believes he and Javier Mascherano can do for West Ham what Ricky Villa and Ossie Ardiles did for Spurs nearly 30 years ago. The 22-year-old striker also assured West Ham fans he will not bring any histrionics to the Premiership.

Speaking of his fellow Argentinians Villa and Ardiles, he said, "Hopefully we can achieve something similar. They are legends. We shouldn't get carried away - this is a different story - but we feel the support of everybody at the club, starting with the manager."

Tevez asked for patience while he makes the adjustment to the English game. "They told us that Premier League is a no-nonsense league, with plenty of tough tackling and challenges," he said. "I'm sure we can cope with it - we just need time to adjust to its high tempo.

"We know we have to learn. We know that here we don't talk to the referee, don't dive and other tricks very common in South American football, but we will get better with games."