Big Sam on: Arsenal

Sam Allardyce intends to take a leaf out of Chelsea's book as he plots a positive result against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday evening.

The Gunners conceded twice inside the opening 17 minutes at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, a slow start which saw them fall to a second successive Barclays Premier League defeat. Though Arsenal are, no doubt, a different proposition at home, Big Sam reckons the Blues' tactical approach could prove similarly effective for his West Ham side in the rearranged fixture from Boxing Day.

Sam, could you start with team news for Arsenal?

SA: "There are one or two knocks and bruises without anything major in terms of injuries. But obviously with the game coming around quite quickly, we'll assess those on Wednesday and make a decision on whether it's right to risk them or leave them out and put someone else in the squad. There are no other injuries to the team from Saturday, which is pretty good. We're still a little short of defensive cover, everywhere else is looking fine now, even though we're obviously still waiting for Andy Carroll and George McCartney to recover as quickly as possible, and James Collins to get back in the squad."

How close is Wellington Paulista to making his debut?

SA: "He's just had five weeks off in his break to the season. So, he's going through what we'd normally go through at the July stage, which is pre-season work. It's about sustaining and maintaining a fitness level which is good enough to cope with playing in the Premier League. So he's not there for a week or two yet."

Do you wish this game had been played on Boxing Day?

SA: "I'll tell you after Wednesday night! If we get a performance and a result on Wednesday night, then we'll be very happy that we're playing the game this week. I think, generally, everyone wanted to play on Boxing Day. Everybody loves to play on Boxing Day and everybody looks forward to it. There's a tradition in this country.

You've had a few frustrating results of late, do you feel like you need a positive performance at Arsenal?

SA: "We had more than a positive performance on Saturday. We had the best performance we've produced this season. There was an outstanding performance of a complete domination of one team, who have been in the Barclays Premier League longer than us. They had little or no attacks at our goal, they did manage to score, but on the break, which was a fault from our defenders sadly. But because of our lack of finishing quality we didn't win 4-1 or 5-1, which we should have done. We're kicking ourselves on that one, but it certainly was the best performance we've produced this season. The sad thing is we didn't win."

Is this a good time to be playing Arsenal?

SA: "I don't know, I think whatever Arsenal team is out there at the Emirates it's always going to be very tough to play against them. We've got to try and frustrate them in terms of not letting them get into that nice free-flowing football that they like to play. I saw how well Chelsea disrupted them in the first half on Sunday, and how they went about the task.

"Even though they were playing at home, they went about the task of stopping Arsenal playing, and then exposing some of the spaces that Arsenal left when Chelsea did so well at closing them down and then pinching the ball back off them. And obviously the quality of the finishing then was the reason why they got into a comfortable lead. That will be the order of the day for us, about making sure we don't make life easy for Arsenal when they're in possession. That's them at their best, that's their strength and if we allow them to do that, they can run you ragged. So if we can do that, and that frustrates them and the crowd we've got a chance. We'll get a chance to get at their defence and a chance to score against them.

"Which means we're going to have to get a whole lot better at accepting our chances if we are to get something at the Emirates, because that has been our weakest link at the moment. It's been one of the massive disappointments over the last few weeks the fact we've not been able to finish several chances that we've been creating home and away. Hopefully that will turn on Wednesday, it will certainly have to if we're going to get anything out of the game."