Arsene Wenger is expecting an even bigger challenge from Crystal Palace on New Year’s Day following Sam Allardyce’s appointment as manager.
The 62-year-old took over from Alan Pardew following a short spell as England boss, and guided the Eagles to a draw at Watford in his first game in charge.
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Wenger is not surprised to see Allardyce back in club football, and says he has all the attributes to make a success of his time in south London.
“Today, the clubs who are in trouble look for experienced managers… the position in the Premier League has become vital for everybody to stay in the league,” Wenger said.
“It has become an extremely big problem for everybody and when teams look for managers, he was one out there who had the experience and the quality.
“After that, all the rest is moral judgement. I don’t know how guilty he was of having done something or not [with England], I don’t know. But he was in a strong position as a national team manager, that means that people acknowledged that he had the quality to be there.
“What he did at Sunderland last year, he has been absolutely sensational. The success in every club is at a different level and the job of a manager is to take the best out of the potential of a team and that’s different at every level. Sometimes, to take the best out of a team is to avoid relegation.
“If you are at Hull today and you avoid relegation, you have done a superb job, maybe as good as the one who will win the league. It’s just down to competence and making the right decisions to prepare the team well.”
Wenger expects another big test of his side’s credentials against Palace, and says they must be wary of the Eagles’ attacking quality.
“It’s a talented squad, because they have potential going forward, they are quick on the break and they are very versatile,” he said. “They can be good in the air with Benteke, who is also good technically, and they can be quick in transition with Townsend and Zaha.
“In the last game, they played with Flamini, Puncheon and Cabaye in midfield. They have experience, they have technical quality. It’s a team that can be dangerous for everybody.”
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