Allardyce: Wenger is more than a manager … he's an accountant too!

Although the Englishman is full of praise for the Frenchman’s management ability, he is backing his side to “get at” a vulnerable Gunners back line when they visit Upton Park

West Ham boss Sam Allardyce has praised Arsene Wenger’s stewardship of Arsenal, claiming that his Premier League peer is not only a great coach but a fine accountant.

The two men meet on Sunday with just one point separating their sides in the race for the top four, with Allardyce looking to bring European football to West Ham for the time since their early elimination from the Uefa Cup in 2006-07.

The Hammers are set to move into their new home at the Olympic Stadium in 2016 and Allardyce is looking to Wenger as an example of how to juggle the financial constraints of a new stadium while also remaining competitive.

“He’s been manager, accountant and financial director, there is no doubt about that,” the 60-year-old told reporters.

“The man set out a fantastic team before they decided to move and then built a couple of brilliant young teams based on the fact that the same amount of finance didn’t appear to be available to him.

“Now he has almost got the Emirates [Stadium] paid off. That’s his achievement and it is a massive factor considering it was a massive investment for them.”

He added: “The one thing we have got to our advantage is that we don’t have to pay £450 million for our new stadium, which is the best bit of business ever done in football by a set of owners.”

While Allardyce has enormous respect for Wenger’s achievements, he is confident that his high-flying Hammers can overcome their London rivals when they visit Upton Park.

“The last seven home games have been six wins and one draw so it shows the type of form we are in at Upton Park. We have turned it into a real fortress again and I hope that is going to be the case against Arsenal,” he continued.

“You have to get at them. You have to get at them the right way and play the right way against Arsenal to make sure you can try to get sometimes at the defence, which can be suspect at times, but you have to be good enough on the ball to get at those areas. If you can do that, maybe you can catch them out.

“Results-wise, they have done very well against us at home but, performance-wise, we have always been right in the game, only to fail to get anything from the games because of the quality Arsenal have shown.

“This time around we have a better squad, a better strength in depth and more confidence. We’ve beaten Liverpool and Manchester City at our place. Hopefully that will give us the confidence to do the same to them.”

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