Sam Allardyce has conducted his pre-match press conference ahead of Boxing Day's Barclays Premier League match against Arsenal.

Big Sam spoke to the assembled media about the form of their north London opponents, the return of Kevin Nolan and his side's latest injury news.

Morning Sam, what's the situation surrounding James Tomkins?

SA: "From a legal point of view it's difficult for me to comment. The only thing I can say is that I don't think James should have been there irrespective of whether he got into trouble or not. It's probably the highest profile public house in this country and I think it would have been better if he'd have stayed away. From a Club point of view there's nothing broken in terms of rules because it was five or six days ahead of the next game. I can't comment any further than that."

Onto the football now and it's Arsenal up next for you, who obviously played last night?

SA: "I have to put a lot down to the conditions that we didn't see a lot of action in both boxes last night and when Arsenal sneaked one shot on target in the whole 90 minutes it shows you how well Chelsea defended. It's something that we could do with doing against them on Boxing Day, locking them out like Chelsea did and see what we can get from there."

You've had a couple more days rest than Arsenal, will that be significant?

SA: "It may well be but I think that I could have said that against Manchester United. In the end it's about your own mentality and your own desire at this stage of the season to drive yourself through when you get that little bit more fatigued, because there's so many games coming along in such a quick period. It's about waking up in the morning and thinking positively, it's about waking up and saying I'm not tired, it's about going in and driving yourself on to get results. It lies more in the mental side, these lads can't be any physically fitter so mentally they've got to drive themselves on."

Two great clubs in a great Boxing Day fixture, games don't come much better than this do they?

SA: "We got tumbled over twice last year, not so much at home because it only happened in the second half when they hit us on the break twice. They gave us a second half hiding at the Emirates. We'll give it our best shot and make sure we protect ourselves against Arsenal's abilities like we saw Chelsea do the other night and then try and exploit some of the weaknesses that aren't as apparent as they used to be. There's a lot of work now which has gone on quietly about how well they defend and that's why they're near the top of the league."

You have Kevin Nolan returning from suspension, how much have you missed him?

SA: "I think we have. The most important thing we've missed with Kevin is his goals this year, only scoring one. Because we haven't produced the results he, like the all the other lads, has received a bit of criticism here and there. We have to accept it, take it on the chin and just focus on the fact that we know how well we can play and try to continue to get back to that level of performance but more importantly when you're in command of a game try and put a goal in the net to win it. Otherwise you end up where we are, we haven't scored enough goals this season."

What's the injury situation at present?

SA: "They're all progressing very well. Andy's training on a day-to-day basis with the rehab boys and improving all the time. He's kicking, turning, twisting, I watched him train yesterday for an hour or so, he's improving all the time and I expect him to be back with us shortly. I'm not going to put days or weeks on it because I don't want to but it won't be too long. Vaz Te's nearly ready to come back into training. Stewart Downing saw the specialist and has got a little more healing on the scar and then he can start training again. Winston Reid's still another few weeks unfortunately but Kevin's back and the rest of the players have a responsibility to get through this period with as many points as they can. We've left ourselves with a massive programme and we're going to use the squad to its full extent."

Arsenal haven't had a great December, have they gone off the boil?

SA: "I hope so. When you play the top boys you have to play to your very best on the day and hope that you take advantage of the opportunities you get or you get a bit of luck. If that goes your way then you can beat anybody in this league on the day but you need certain factors to be in your favour. I have to control the factors I can control and make sure the players play to their best."