Eight bookings on Monday night might suggest that Doctor Evil was using the game as a warm up, but that would be to misinterpret events. Yes we pressed, and pressed high, but we were not dirty at any point and the McCartney booking apart, Twattenbung was simply chucking around yellows to make himself look important. Today may be different.
The first question centres on team selection. Will Allardyce stay on the offensive and stick with Jarvis and Vaz Te in a 4-3-3, or will Taylor be brought back to screen whoever plays at left back? I warned before the season kicked off that we desperately needed a new left back but, for some reason, the Achilles heel was ignored. If Wenger decides to probe down our left, then it could turn into a rout.
But Wenger is scared of Allardyce. He is the football boff face to face with the playground thug. He found it hard enough when Pardew got in his face, and Allardyce has been in his mind for a decade now, knocking Arsenal out of their stride, using a bludgeoning cudgel to knock all the science out of the beautiful game. Wenger enters the game nursing a long standing headache and Carroll, Nolan and Diame will be primed to get under the Arsenal players' skins. It's unlikely to be pretty, but it could be fun!