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Arsenal frailties still clear to Allardyce — but he insists Wenger isn’t to blame

Date Posted,December 31, 2016

Sam Allardyce reckons the grumpy old days when he could not wait to bait Arsene Wenger have been consigned to history.

But the new Crystal Palace boss still sees frailties in the Frenchman’s Arsenal side — and he reckons there’s no better time in a season to face the Gunners than the period after Christmas.

Not that Allardyce blames Wenger for that.

Instead, he reckons they are hampered by their success of ­qualifying every year for the ­Champions League and fighting all the way in every domestic ­competition.

Allardyce, whose side travel to the Emirates on Sunday, said: “With the squad he has assembled, they’re in that period now when, in the past, they have tended to falter.

“Sometimes after the New Year – whether through injuries or fatigue – they must put in a vast amount of physical and emotional effort to stay at the top of the league, only being able to afford to lose four or five games, or ­staying in the Champions League.

Wenger’s men are victims of their own success, according to Allardyce (Photo: Getty)

“Then there’s the FA Cup, the League Cup… you can see why a club can falter.

“He [Wenger] gets the blame when, most of the time, it’s not the manager’s fault. They have a huge season to go through year in, year out, and, with not having a break like ­everyone else, it hinders them.

“There is no question that Chelsea now have the best chance of winning the league this year, on the basis that they have no European football.

“When I was with Bolton, it was difficult coming back after we had played in Europe during the week. The players just couldn’t rise to the level that they normally did. And that’s what clubs like Arsenal put up with.

“Players come from the Euros and have travelled all over the world playing Premier League football, Champions League ­football, international football and barely get three weeks off.

“It will always take its toll ­and the ­hardest thing for a top club is to manage that.”

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